In the harbor bay, the wind was fair and the waves calm. On a sailboat, the Papal and American flags fluttered alongside the crimson standard of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). The passenger of honor was the miraculous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima under the custodianship of the World Apostolate of Fatima USA.
Remembering Our Lady’s Sorrow
The sailboat was accompanied by a small flotilla of other boats who escorted it toward the beach where a crowd awaited to say the Rosary. The purpose of this gesture was to make reparation to Our Lady for the many insults and countless sacrileges committed in this neo-pagan world.
This particular statue is renowned for its countless miracles, one of which was her weeping in New Orleans, Louisiana, on July 17, 1972. The tears of Our Lady were examined and found to be real human tears, which dumbfounded even the atheists.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the miraculous weeping, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) held several events and rallies to remind America of Our Lady’s tears. One of these efforts was a Midwest tour of many cities to promote devotion to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart and celebrate the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The mid-August tour culminated with a solemn waterway procession and flotilla on Lake Michigan on August 22.
A Flotilla in Her Honor
The first indication of Our Lady’s arrival in Milwaukee’s harbor was the sound of serene bagpipes resounding over the waves in the late afternoon. Several Catholics among the onshore crowd of nearly 200 declared they heard bagpipes several miles distant. It set the stage perfectly by bringing a kind of seriousness to the event.
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Soon, the flotilla appeared, and Our Lady’s flagship was securely anchored just offshore in the harbor. The pure white sails were solemnly exchanged for the Papal and American flags, while the TFP standard was hoisted afterward.
The final preparations were made to bring Our Lady to the foredeck where the onshore crowd could see her. There was a beautiful blue felt canopy attached to the mainmast. It was lined with white linen and topped with a crown of shining gold. A medieval crusader cross standard was fixed to the front rail, and the sides draped with a gold-lined blue cloth. Our Lady made her appearance amidst shouts celebrating her queenship while many waved white handkerchiefs. It truly was a grand moment.
An Angry Devil
However, amidst the beauty, solemnity and grandeur of the occasion, something happened that reminded the participants that being a Catholic means being a member of the Church Militant and, therefore, a soldier of Christ. There was a concert area directly behind the hill where the crowd stood. Although the TFP organizer had confirmed that no events were scheduled for the day, the crowd suddenly heard an extremely loud rock band called Alice in Chains blaring its music and screams as Our Lady approached.
The contrast could not have been more glaring. This modern music clashed with the pure and regal nature of Our Lady. One participant described it as “a clash of good and evil, the angelic against the demonic.” The whole crowd sensed this conflict.
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The unscheduled appearance of this concert seemed to confirm the outrage of the devil towards this sublime event. All the preparations had been plagued by incredible mishaps too frequent to be coincidences. This concert threatened to ruin everything.
Satan The Eternal Loser
Nevertheless, the TFP event went ahead. On the ship’s foredeck, TFP members with small standards and megaphones led the rosary of reparation while the crowd onshore with banners and enthusiasm answered. They added to the Rosary intentions that the infernal concert be silenced. Although the boat was some distance from the shore, the hill behind the crowd served as a perfect sounding board so that no one had trouble hearing the Rosary.
To the amazement of all, the music stopped during the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Some concert-goers even stood on the hill to witness Our Lady’s flotilla. The news came later that the sound system at the pavilion broke down. In this case, the devil’s attempt to disrupt the event suffered a defeat because Satan is the eternal loser.
A Little Incident of a Dove
With the sun setting, three white doves were released during the Glorious Mysteries in honor of the Trinity and the Purity of Our Lady. They flew in different directions. One dove, however, returned, landed in the water and began to swim back towards Our Lady’s ship.
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The dove approached the boat, flapped its wings and tried to board. Someone onboard fortunately lifted it out of the water and placed it in front of the statue, where it remained content for the remainder of the event. The bird could have closed many safer places to land or even tried to board the other boats nearby. However, it did not rest until set in front of Our Lady. The curious incident was a beautiful symbol of Our Lady’s Queenship over all creation.
Our Lady Departs but Remains Afflicted
Our Lady departed as she came, with shouts of joy and admiration from the crowd and handkerchiefs waving in the wind. The boat was equipped with special lighting to focus on Our Lady. Her shining ship seemed heavenly as it slowly backed away, turned and set sail for port.The International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima has now returned to her constant pilgrimage across America. However, she has many more causes for weeping today than in 1972. So many people cause her sorrow and injury by their sins and scorn for God and Holy Mother Church.
She is comforted by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which was a cause for a great deal of sorrow. However, the defeat only marks a new phase in the fight against procured abortion. The pro-life movement cannot rest until abortion becomes unthinkable.
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In this fiftieth year of her weeping in New Orleans, all Catholics should do their utmost to remember her sorrow in their rosaries and sacrifices and continue this year of reparation in anticipation of her triumph predicted at Fatima.
The Dethroned Queen Calls for Help
The situation of Our Lady in these times is like that of a dethroned queen. TFP founder Plinio Corrêa de Oliviera used this metaphor to stress the importance of defending the Catholic cause. He imagined Our Lady as a queen seated upon her throne. The room is filled with enemies. These enemies have already torn down the canopy over her throne. They have removed from her venerable brow the crown of glory to which she has every right. They have wrenched the scepter from Her hands. She is bound in preparation to be taken away.
In his throne room, there is a handful of faithful. Our Lady looks to her faithful ones in her hour of need, conveying a wordless plea for help. Will her gaze be in vain?
As part of the Church Militant, the Catholic Faithful needs to respond to her pleas. They must not allow Our Lady to be mocked and tortured without any resistance.
The Church Militant Must Fight
The flotilla in honor of Our Heavenly Queen was done in the spirit of standing up for the dethroned queen. This symbolic gesture of protest against the evils of these times demonstrates that there are still those who will not be silent.
Catholics must be unafraid to pray, reparate, and fight for Mary Most Holy and her cause in their homes, the streets, and even on the water. In the end, Our Lady will be the victor, and her children will be by her side. May they never tire of defending the dethroned queen or preparing for her triumph.