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By A.F. Phillips

 

“And how shall they preach unless they be sent, as it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things!’” Romans 10:15

 

From the start, TFP/America Needs Fatima has been missionary.

At the beginning, volunteers boarded a Volkswagen van and covered thousands of miles taking the message of Fatima to homes across the continent. As the years passed, and the Volkswagen van phased out, minivans took over.

At night, after a long day on the mission, young volunteers either checked into a hotel room or accepted the charity of hosts who generously offered their hospitality.

One day, on Fatima visits in Florida, the Snowbird State, where motor homes abound, ANF full-time volunteer and custodian, Matthew Shibler, had an idea—why not a motor home?

“Rather than spending all this money on hotels and meals, why not carry our own hotel/restaurant with us,” mused Matthew.

He soon found a used motor-home with few miles on it, outfitted the vehicle with bunk-beds, decorated the interior in the spirit of ANF, and christened it “Saint Raphael,” patron saint of travelers, the angel who protected Tobias on his journey.

 

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More Cost Effective

Now on Saint Raphael II, and having learned the ropes, Matthew has the numbers. To begin with, a used motor home is almost the same price as a new minivan. Because of road wear and tear, minivans had to be bought new. Since motor homes run on diesel, used is not an issue; diesel engines go far.

Not only has “ANF on Wheels” saved largely on hotels and meals, but also on shipping. Custodians sell publications and devotional items. One of these is a thirty-inch statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Matthew remembers driving a minivan for ninety consecutive days, and the weight of inventory had to be reduced, as it was causing the steering to malfunction. Now, he has all the stocking space he needs. Whereas, previously, items had to be shipped from headquarters several times a year, now he almost never runs out of stock, and if a visit to the headquarters takes place, Matthew stocks up for a full year with many dollars saved.

There is the cost of parking the motor home in camping grounds and RV parks. But often the custodians are able to accept the hospitality of friends who offer their large driveways. One such case was that of a friend who offered his driveway, in typical Texan style, for several months while Matthew and his team did Fatima visits in the area.

At times, Fatima custodians join other efforts of TFP/ANF. One such example was the 2013 campaign for marriage in Indiana when, due to an NRA convention, hotel rooms were a minimum $120 per night. Saint Raphael housed seven of a group of thirteen. The other six were lodged in a log home, while meals came from the motor home kitchen.

“Our expenses reverted,” says Matthew. “Before, the order of expense was: lodging, food and fuel; now it is fuel, food and lodging–which order has certainly balanced the budget.” 

One of the great advantages of a motor home is the large storage space for publications and religious articles sold at Fatima home visits.

 

A Home Retreat in Which to Rest and Receive

Custodians’ lives are demanding, conducting an average of two to three visits a day, often traveling many miles in between.

It is good to have a place to call “home” where the volunteers can rest in their own bunks, relax in their own living room, enjoy a chat and a cup of coffee, read a book from a well-stocked library, or have a time of quiet prayer.

“Rest is also work,” goes the adage. Having such a place to revamp injects a new freshness and a renewed spirit into each day and each visit.

Camping grounds are often beautiful places, at times by lakes, and ANF custodians like to walk under the trees or by the water praying their daily rosaries.

Another great aspect of the motor home is that it allows the custodians to receive friends.

“People love to visit,” says Matthew. “They find it curious that a motor home, typically used for leisure, can also be used for mission.”

Maybe it is the combination of “leisure and mission” that makes the idea of the Saint Raphael ANF motor home so attractive to those who visit. They know these missionaries of Mary are doing God’s work, often for months on end.

It is comforting to think that they’ve found a way to relax their spirits so as to serve Our Lady better the next day, and the next, and the next.

Indeed, the modern-day motor home, under Saint Raphael’s patronage, has found a new purpose, and a new mission. To the surprise of many, Fatima Custodian Matthew Shibler and his team have found a new way to travel more comfortably, more economically and work more efficiently to bring Our Lady of Fatima’s statue and message to thousands of homes across America.


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for May 5, 2021

Thou hast formed us for Thyself O Lord and our hearts are re...

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May 5

 

Thou hast formed us for Thyself O Lord
and
our hearts are restless
till they find rest in Thee!

St. Augustine of Hippo

 
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Hilary of Arles

On one side, I saw the Lord calling me; on the other the wor...

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St. Hilary of Arles

Hilary was of a noble, patrician family of means and influence, a close relative of St. Honoratus and the founder of the Monastery of Lérins on the Mediterranean island of the same name, a monastery which is active to this day.

Wealthy, highly educated, and endowed with exceptional abilities, Hilary looked forward to a brilliant career in the world. But his saintly relative felt that he was called to serve his God in religious life and did his utmost to convince him to leave the things of the world.

After a fierce inner struggle, Hilary decided to sell his patrimony and follow his holy mentor to Lérins. He writes of this interior battle: “On one side, I saw the Lord calling me; on the other the world offering me its seducing charms and pleasures. How often did I embrace and reject, willed and not willed the same thing!  But in the end Jesus Christ triumphed in me. And three days after Honoratus had left me, the mercy of God, solicited by his prayers, subdued my rebellious soul.”

When Honoratus was elected Bishop of Arles in 426, being already an old man, he wished to have Hilary’s assistance and companionship, and himself traveled to Lérins to fetch his relation.
At Honoratus’ death in 429, Hilary, though grieving, rejoiced to return to his island abbey. He had started on his journey, when he was overtaken by messengers from the citizens of Arles begging him to accept the miter. Though only twenty-nine, he submitted, being well prepared for the task by his years of religious life and assistance to Honoratus. Though observing the austerities of the cloister, he took up his diocesan work with immense energy.

Known for his kindness and charity, he is also remembered for publicly rebuking a government official for bringing shame to the Church. He helped establish monasteries, and strengthened the discipline and orthodoxy of the Church through several councils. He sold Church property to ransom those kidnapped, and is said to have worked miracles in his lifetime.

Though his life was marked by some canonical disputes with Pope St. Leo I, the same Pontiff praised him in a letter to his successor, calling him, “Hilary of holy memory.”

He died on May 5, 449, just short of fifty years of age.

Second Image by: Esby

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One of the stories that particularly touched me was Jacinta'...

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“Why Don’t They Tell us These Things”

JacintaIt often happens that while traveling with the Fatima statue we get into conversations with host families about the Fatima message. Such was the case one evening in Atlanta, Georgia while chatting with one father and his 12 year old daughter, Lillie.

The last time I had seen this girl was close to five years ago. In the interim, she has developed into a lovely respectful young lady with an artistic talent matched by her keen desire for knowledge.

The subject that evening was children who had attained sanctity. This naturally led to a conversation about the heroic sacrifices of the youngest seer at Fatima, Blessed Jacinta Marto.  I never tire of telling the story of her heroism that was so well recounted by William Thomas Walsh in his masterful book, Our Lady of Fatima

One of the stories that particularly touched me was Jacinta’s final illness with the dreaded flu of the time and her death — alone in a hospital far from home. It was actually there in the hospital that she had a private apparition in which Our Lady asked her if she would undergo such suffering for poor sinners. Jacinta unhesitatingly accepted but in her weak moments, she would break down in tears as she contemplated her situation. She was, after all, only 8 years old, dying in a strange hospital, far away from her mother and Lucia, whom she loved so much.   

However, she had an iron will and she would regain her composure the minute she remembered the good she was capable of doing for poor sinners by her suffering. Immediately she would wipe away her tears and offer up her suffering.

Telling this story, I noticed that Lillie was paying close attention absorbing it in all its details. Realizing this, I made it a point not to leave out any detail in the narration of the life of this heroic little girl. When I finished, Lillie asked a simple yet pungent question: “Why don’t they tell us these things?”

“That is a very good question,” I responded.

And although I don’t know if I know the answer, one thing I do know: young people are starving for marvelous examples like that of Blessed Jacinta Marto.

Written by Norman Fulkerson


Invitation to learn more about Blessed Jacinta Marto:

Jacinta’s Story is the Fatima story imaginatively told through the eyes of Blessed Jacinta Marto, the youngest of the three seers to whom Our Lady appeared in 1917 to deliver the most important message of our times. The book is hardbound and richly illustrated by author Andrea F. Phillips.

Jacinta’s Story contains many vital lessons for children—why it is so important that they pray the Rosary, obey their parents and follow the difficult but rewarding road of virtue in this life.

Visit our On-Line store to place your book order: https://store.tfp.org

One of the stories that particularly touched me was Jacinta's final illness with the dreaded flu of the time and her death — alone in a hospital far from home. 

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