It is well known in Catholic circles that people have received many graces, blessings and miracles at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. Fatima’s many pilgrim statues have extended these blessings wherever they travel, especially the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, now under the custodianship of the World Apostolate of Fatima—USA. Yet, another effort to spread the Fatima devotion is lesser known. Still, this humble effort brings its own set of blessings.
This program is America Needs Fatima’s Home Visitation program. America Needs Fatima (ANF) is a campaign of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP). Its custodians crisscross the nation bringing copies of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima to people’s homes and talking about her message, prophecies and requests. Approximately 28 such statues are traveling throughout the year. Some travel constantly, doing as many as 13 presentations a week, while others travel only periodically. Some 2,000 Home Visitation presentations happen each year.
These programs consist of a video about the Fatima apparitions and the prophecies. The custodian explains why the statue is so special and the relevance of her requests. Participants pray a rosary together and spend some personal time with the pilgrim statue.
However simple they may be, these events are frequently filled with blessings. The Pilgrim Virgin statues have touched so many people. In some cases, inexplicable phenomena have happened.
Here are three surprising anecdotes.
A Note About Anecdotes
Anecdotes are tricky. The faithful are not bound to believe in private revelations. Anecdotes are even less binding. Human memory is a fickle thing. Thus, some readers may have doubts about the reliability of these stories.
The author assures the readers these stories were witnessed first-hand. They were not embellished or inflated to make them sensational. In addition, the people involved confirmed the stories.
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However, a convicted skeptic is never convinced. So, if it will help a reader swallow this pill easier, let him think this is a work of fiction. For those who believe miracles happen, rest assured that these stories are as precise as human memory permits. May they serve to brighten, uplift, and inspire all who read them. Either way, the stories will be interesting.
Here are the anecdotes.
The Lady Dying of Cancer
One time a group of sister siblings hosted the Pilgrim Statue in Chicago. Nothing special happened. It was an average visit.
Several years later, one sister called the custodian asking if the Pilgrim Statue might visit her dying sister, who was terminally ill with cancer. The doctors said she had three to six months to live.
As much as custodians would like to respond to all these requests, it is sometimes difficult. The particular custodian in this story covers most of the Midwest. If his tour of talks is in central Missouri, it isn’t easy to drive 16 hours to visit one person. Thus, the sister was told that the custodian would give her a call as soon as he was near Chicago.
Her health turned for the worst. She had weeks to live. The dying sister had a few deathbed requests. The last one was to see the same statue of Our Lady of Fatima that she had seen a few years ago and for the family to gather around her to pray the rosary. The sisters called the scheduling office several times, insisting on the urgency of their request. They received the same answer.
The relatives were so frustrated that they decided to take the issue into their own hands. They pooled their money, went to Chicago’s best Catholic gift shop, and bought the most beautiful Fatima statue they could find. They took that statue to the sister’s bedside and said: “Look, Our Lady of Fatima is here to visit you.”
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She looked at the statue, reached over, and patted the sister’s hand, saying: “Thank you. But I’ll wait for the other one if you don’t mind.” Indeed, not all statues touch people in the same way. There’s something about the gaze of the ANF pilgrim statues that touched the sister in a manner other statues did not. She did not want to settle for a different statue.
Soon after, her health took a turn for the worst. She flatlined in the hospital and was revived twice. The staff was given instructions not to revive her a third time. She was taken home on a Sunday so the family could be with her when the moment came.
The custodian was scheduled for visits in Chicago starting that Wednesday, but the schedule was full. He would need to find a slot of free time to answer the lady’s request. He was unaware of the extreme urgency.
He arrived at his 10 a.m. appointment, and the people refused to open the door. They explained that the whole family fell ill that night and thus asked to reschedule. “What an odd thing to happen,” the custodian thinks.
He called ahead to his 2 p.m. appointment, and the same thing happened. Thus, the custodian found himself in the middle of Chicago with his whole morning and afternoon free. The thought came loud and clear to call the relatives of the dying lady. They said yes, bring Our Lady. Everybody was getting off work, and all the children were being pulled from school.
When the custodian arrived, the room was full of relatives. In the middle of the room was the dying woman. She was completely emaciated, literally just skin and bones. She was alert and eager to see Our Lady’s face. The statue was placed where she could easily see her. She started crying. The way she looked at the statue’s eyes was unbelievably intense.
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This was not a death of a bitter person who questioned God’s motives. It was instead a devotee who wanted the joy of looking into the beautiful face of the Mother of God one last time. She called the custodian over, pulled him closer by the hand, gripped him, and said, “Thank you. I’ve been waiting for her. I knew she would come again before I died. Now I’m ready to die.” She asked the custodian to lead the family in a rosary.
The visit exhausted her. Soon she was asleep. The statue left. The family was utterly moved by her display of devotion and confidence in Our Lady. The following day, she passed away peacefully.
The Lady who Answered an Invitation Postcard After Three Years
The next anecdote concerns a lady named Mary who received a postcard from ANF’s Kansas office inviting her to receive the Pilgrim Virgin statue in her home. While looking at the postcard, she thought to herself, “Why would I want to have her in my home,” and stuffed it in her catch-all drawer. As she explained later, she was not in a good spiritual state at the time.
Three years later, she was rummaging through her drawers looking for a lost document when she pulled out the same postcard. She took one look at Our Lady’s face on the postcard and froze. She was no longer in the same spiritual state.
She remembered with shock her thoughts from three years previous. She started crying. She could not believe how horrible she was not to want Our Lady to come to her home.
Suddenly, the phone rang, which jarred her out of her reverie. The young lady on the phone said: “Hello, Mary. Good morning. This is Catherine from America Needs Fatima. Would you like to have Our Lady visit your home?”
Mary, who was barely keeping it together, broke down even more and began to sob. Catherine asked: “I’m sorry. This sounds like a bad time. Should I call back later?” Mary responded, “I don’t think you could have timed this any better.”
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Mary finally had her home visit and was so happy about it. Our Lady of Fatima waited for her patiently for three years until she was in the right state of mind, then struck with graces of compunction and tears. With one gaze, Our Lady moved a mountain of rejection.
The Lady Attached to American Idol
This third anecdote is amusing. It was a routine home visit that was wrapping up with people praying before the statue. The program was supposed to end at 8 p.m.
Rather than pray, the lady of the house asked the custodian if she might turn on the television to watch the end of a singing competition show called “American Idol.” The custodian said he could not stop her but pointed out that the Pilgrim Statue would only be there for another 15 minutes. Would it not be better spent to pray a little more? She insisted that it was only 15 more minutes. The competition was a nail-biter. She just had to see the results.
Thus, she turned on the television, and nothing appeared except static. She flipped the channel. Still, nothing. She turned the cable box off and on with no results. A TV in another room only showed static.
For the next 15 minutes, she troubleshot. The husband, the cable company, and the teenagers could not figure out why none of the TVs in the house worked. The husband commented, “They were working fine before the statue arrived.”
She approached the custodian with trepidation saying, “Do you think Our Lady is blocking the signal?” The custodian had never heard of such a thing, so he just shrugged and shook his head in confusion.
As the visit ended, the custodian put away the free pictures of Our Lady and other items. As he prepared to cover Our Lady, the lady’s question about blocking the signal came to mind. He thought, “Is it possible that once the cover goes on the statue, the TV signal would come back on?”
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Much to his surprise, the moment he pulled the cover down on her, the TV signal very audibly clicked on. The show had just finished, and the credits were rolling. The four teenagers sitting on the couch watching this whole drama unfold jumped out of the sofa, shouting, “No way! Mom! Come in here! The signal came back as soon as the man put the cover on the statue.”
They were tempted to test it, so they asked, “Take it off again. Let’s see what happens.” The custodian saw that whatever point Our Lady had to make was already made. Taking it off might make it look like a circus trick. So, he didn’t.
The lady looked pale. She apologized profusely to the custodian and the Pilgrim statue. Several years later, the custodian met the same lady, and she proudly declared she no longer watches the show.
Claiming Her Dominion
On May 13, 1951, Pope Pius XII said; “In 1946, I crowned Our Lady of Fatima as Queen of the World and the following year, through the Pilgrim Virgin, She set forth as though to claim Her dominion, and the favors She performs along the way are such that we can hardly believe what we are seeing with our eyes.”
Her favors through the two International Pilgrim Virgin statues have been great. The blessings from the other Pilgrim Statues are a humble contribution to the overall picture. Both pilgrimages point to Our Lady’s actions wherever she travels. Souls come back to the Faith. Sinners return to the sacraments. Indifferent souls become pious. Pious souls become fervorous. These are markers of the wonders Our Lady of Fatima performs “as she claims her dominion.”
These three anecdotes are not unique. They are selected from a treasury of stories, each one as surprising as the other. Each one is proof that Mary’s Immaculate Heart will triumph.