Tuesday, March 16, 2010
My Aunt Violet and Uncle Frank will celebrate their 88th birthdays this year, but when they were younger, they were world travelers like myself. Many years ago, Aunt Vi told me about their visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima in Fatima, Portugal. And, recently, she gave me some of the beautiful photos she and Uncle Frank took while there.
The story of Our Lady is so well known. Three young children, Lucia Santos (the oldest at age 10) and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto (now both Blesseds) were tending their sheep in Cova da Iria near Fatima. Our Lady appeared to the young shepherd children on the thirteenth day of six consecutive months from May 13 to Oct. 13, 1917.
Lucia described the Virgin Mary as "a woman brighter than the sun shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal ball filled with the most sparkling water."
Francisco died from influenza in 1919 and Jacinta followed in 1920. Lucia, who became a Roman Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun, lived to an old age just a month short of her 98th birthday in 2005.
Their story is one of faith and hope even in the darkest of days. Our Lady of Fatima feast day is May 13.