May 13 is a double anniversary in recent Catholic history and we should not let it go by without reflection and prayer. In the year 1917, when much of Europe was embroiled in the First World War and Russia was convulsed in her own revolution which brought Russian Communism into existence, Our Blessed Mother appeared in Portugal to three shepherd children for the first time. Those three children: Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco, have all died—two in their childhood and the other one, Lucia, as a very old nun in the Carmelite monastery in the Portuguese city of Coimbra. The place where she appeared was Fatima, and so we call her Our Lady of Fatima, although when she identified herself to the children, she said, “I am the Lady of the Rosary.” She asked for prayer and penance for the conversion of Russia, and here we are, ninety-[nine] years later, watching the resurgence of Christianity in Russia and the blossoming of beautiful cathedrals and churches, most of which had been dynamited or closed by the cancer of Communism during the heyday of Marxism/Leninism in that great part of the world.
Then, on May 13th, 1981, a Turkish would-be assassin shot and gravely wounded Pope Blessed John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. After his weeks of recuperation, the Holy Father indicated the connection in his mind between Our Lady and his escape from death on that occasion by going to Fatima to give public thanks to God and Our Lady of Fatima for his recovery. Today we can very happily say “Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, pray for us”; “[Saint] John Paul II, pray for us.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.