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December 10, 2020 | Joseph Ferrara

 

As one of the privileged souls chosen to be a custodian of the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima for America Needs Fatima, I have experienced many amazing things. As I travel visiting homes across or country, I have seen grace working wonders inside souls. Many may say the Grace of God no longer operates in the modern world but I could not disagree more.

One such case among many truly exemplified this reality for me.

 

The Home Visit

It was during a visit to a modest, unassuming home with the hostess and mother of five adult children, all present with rosaries in hand.

I could not help but notice that some children had tattoos and body piercings, which I normally do not find among everyday devotees of the Rosary. Notwithstanding, I sensed an atmosphere that expressed profound piety.

The visit proceeded with the reciting of the Holy Rosary, a video presentation on the Fatima message and the filling out of intentions envelopes that are taken to Fatima, Portugal. It ended quite naturally with the family expressing heartfelt gratitude for Our Lady’s visit.

As I gathered up my materials, I chatted with the hostess, who confided to me how her deceased husband had spent his last days. He was a sports enthusiast and trained his boys in boxing. His Sundays consisted of going to Mass and spending the rest of the day with sports.

On Holy Days of Obligation, his wife would remind him about going to Mass. However, he would usually cut her off and say, “Look here, I go to Mass on Sunday, and that’s it!” She prayed many Rosaries for his conversion.

 

Providence at work

One day, her mother accepted the invitation to receive our Fatima Pilgrim Statue in her home. Our hostess recounting this story planned to attend. As Providence would have it, the hostess and her husband had a previous engagement on the same date to attend a meeting at their local school.

She and her husband decided to split up. She would go to the school meeting, and her husband would oblige his mother-in-law by putting in a polite appearance at the Fatima event “as long as she doesn’t harangue me about praying the rosary.”

Thus, her husband went to the event when something very unusual happened. Unlike himself, he was quiet and observed the proceedings and devotions most attentively.

His mother-in-law was so surprised by his unusual, mute behavior that she called her daughter to ask if her husband was alright. She said she had never seen him like that and wondered if he was ill and possibly “suffering from a heart attack.”

At the conclusion of the evening, the husband spent some time kneeling in quiet prayer in front of the Pilgrim Statue and then departed. Upon his arrival home, his wife was equally concerned when he remained for some time in his truck in the driveway without coming immediately inside, as was his custom.

Our hostess was expecting the worst from this turn of events. She thought he must be fuming and that she was going to get an earful. Much to her surprise, he entered the house and declared with deep emotion, “I just met the most beautiful woman in my life!”

 

A changed man

From that day forward, he was a changed man. He gave up his obsession with sports and would often steal away to visit Our Lady at a shrine or a nearby church. His conversion was so profound that he started bringing a pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima to homes. The hostess pointed to the statue her husband had used for the visits. It was a traditional one molded in plaster.

Years after this transformative visit with Our Lady, he announced to his family that he was going to die on a First Saturday—a day so special to Our Lady of Fatima. That is exactly what happened, as his family was gathered around his bedside praying the rosary.

Yes, the graces of God and the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Spouse of the Holy Ghost, are still very much at work in our world and bearing unexpected fruit.

 


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 20, 2021

God's purpose in creating us is to draw forth from us a resp...

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January 20

 

God's purpose in creating us is
to draw forth from us a response of love and service here on earth,
so that
we may attain our goal of everlasting happiness with Him in heaven.

St. Ignatius Loyola


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Pope St. Fabian and St. Sebastian

Fabian was the first layman ever to be elected to the papacy...

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Pope St. Fabian and St. Sebastian

Pope St. Fabian was the first layman ever to be elected to the papacy. Before entering into his pontificate in 236, Fabian was a humble and well respected farmer. Upon the death of his predecessor, Pope Anterus, Fabian traveled with some companions to Rome to mourn his passing with the faithful and to be present when the new pope was elected. While attending the council to determine who Anterus’ successor would be, a dove suddenly appeared and descended upon the head of Fabian as a clear sign of his divine election.  By unanimous vote, Fabian was instantly chosen as the next pope.

During his fourteen-year pontificate, the Church enjoyed relative peace under Emperor Philip, and Fabian was able to do much to consolidate and develop the Church. He died a martyr’s death in 250 and was one of the first victims of the persecution under Emperor Decius, who considered him a rival and personal enemy. He was buried in the Catacomb of Calixtus.

Celebrated alongside St. Fabian is the Roman martyr, Sebastian. Though the narrative of his story is largely unhistorical, legend tells us that he was a young officer in the imperial army, who secretly dedicated himself to the spiritual and temporal assistance of the Christians and martyrs. It was he who exhorted Sts. Marcus and Marcellianus to constancy in the Faith and inspired them with the courage to face their deaths when they began to waver under the pleas of their friends. Being thus discovered, Sebastian was condemned by Emperor Diocletian and delivered over to Mauritanian archers to be shot to death. Miraculously, he survived though and was nourished back to health by St. Zoe, a convert of his and mother of Sts. Marcus and Marcellianus. Refusing to flee, Sebastian confronted the Emperor again and harshly reproached him for his cruelty to the Christians. He died in 288 after being clubbed to death and his body thrown into the common sewer. It was privately removed, and he also was buried in the cemetery of Calixtus.

Although St. Fabian and St. Sebastian’s feasts are liturgically separate, they are celebrated on the same day; and the relics of the two saints are both kept and venerated together in the Basilica of St. Sebastian in Rome.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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