International pilgrim statue of Fatima to visit St. Louis

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In times of need, it's inherent for us to turn to our mother. For the past 100 years, millions of Catholics have turned to our spiritual mother, Our Lady of Fatima, for her message of hope, peace and salvation.

In November, the world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue will visit five churches in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The visit is part of the World Apostolate of Fatima's U.S. Tour for Peace, marking the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal.

"The visit of the International Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to intercede before this holy image for all the needs of the world and for our own special intentions," said Dan Burke of the St. Louis Blue Army Chapter of the World Apostolate of Fatima. "Over the course of almost 70 years, this blessed image has been the source of grace for conversions and healings. We hope this visit will bring abundant graces to our archdiocese and to our families."

The history of the statue dates to 1946, when young people from Portugal attended a congress on Fatima in Lisbon and took a statue of Fatima with them. As they walked to Lisbon, they stopped in towns along the way, and people gathered to pray. The statue returned to its original location of Cova de Iria, Portugal, but people still wanted to see the statue in their own communities.

In 1947, sculptor José Thedim created a new statue, reflecting the precise instructions of Sister Lucia of Fatima, one of three children who witnessed the 1917 Marian apparitions in Fatima. The statue was blessed by the Bishop of Leiria at Fatima, and it was named the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Since then, it has traveled to more than 100 countries, including Russia and China. The statue's principal custodian, Patrick Sabat, will bring the statue to St. Louis.

The purpose is to spread the message from Our Lady of Fatima, which is to offer prayer and penance in reparation for sin. In particular, she asks for communions of reparation on the first Saturday of the month. Daily, the faithful are called to offer each act as a sacrifice for sin, to pray the Rosary, to consecrate themselves to her Immaculate Heart and to wear the brown scapular as a sign of their consecration.

Numerous miracles have been attributed to some who have visited the statue, but perhaps the most important miracle has been the conversion of heart.

"People are constantly asking us, 'Is it true there are miracles? Is it true the statue cries?' and all those phenomenon?" statue custodian Carl Malburg said on a visit to St. Louis in 2011. "And it is true that those things happen occasionally. But I have always maintained that (conversion of heart) is the most important 'miracle' that God can give us ... A conversion changes eternity. It's probably the best miracle that Mary gives." 

>> Our Lady of Fatima statue tour

• Thursday, Nov. 10: St. Joseph, 1355 Motherhead Road in Cottleville; 8 a.m. Mass; the statue will be on display until 5 p.m.

• Friday, Nov. 11: St. Joseph, 567 St. Joseph Lane in Manchester; 8:30 a.m. Mass; the statue will be on display until 5 p.m.

• Saturday, Nov. 12: St. Gabriel, 6303 Nottingham Ave. in south St. Louis; 8 a.m. Mass; the statue will be on display until 5 p.m.

• Sunday, Nov. 13: St. Wenceslaus, 3014 Oregon Ave. in south St. Louis; 9 a.m. Mass; the statue will be on display until 5 p.m.

• Monday, Nov. 14: Sacred Heart, 751 N. Jefferson St. in Florissant; 8 a.m. Mass; the statue will be on display until 5 p.m.

For more information on the tour, call Dan Burke at (314) 918-8323. Or visit www.fatimatourforpeace.com. 

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