A Prompting

On December 18, 2018, one week before Christmas, I felt a prompting to email the “Blue Army.”

Before I begin with that story, however, I would like to formerly introduce you to the Blue Army which is also known as the “World Apostolate of Fatima.” They are located in  Washington, New Jersey and their mission is to help people learn, live and spread the message of Our Lady of Fatima in communion with the Church and in concert with the New Evangelization.

Below is a little blurb taken from their website for your information:

“The World Apostolate of Fatima, USA, Inc., was founded in 1947 as The Blue Army.  The name was changed when the Vatican raised our organization to the status of Public International Association of the Faithful, which was permanently decreed in October 2010. The tagline, “Our Lady’s Blue Army” appears with our name for the sake of continuity. The apostolate is the only Fatima organization in the world which speaks “in the name of the Church” and “with the authority of the Church” on Fatima.”

I joined this “Blue Army” at 17 years old when I was in High School and I remember signing the card to “pledge to pray the Rosary and to remain faithful to Our Lady.” When one signs their name to something, they truly do not realize what ramifications that means to their life for “then and the future.”  I signed on to be a devotee of Fatima.

A Hand to Hold Through Life’s Journey

I also signed on with Christine Watkins in the Summer of 2017 (the 100th anniversary year of Fatima) to blog for Queen of Peace Media and entitled my postings  “A Hand to Hold Through Life’s Journey.” Basically it was about unpacking my life’s experiences with Mother Mary and how She manifested her tears to me through a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in a church in Jersey City so many, many years ago when I was a young child.

I thought I was going to be writing about past experiences and sharing with my readers my love of the Blessed Virgin Mary! But what we think and what happens are two different sides of the coin for sure! So I now find myself sharing with you the NOW and what is happening in my life at the present moment.

December 16, 2018

On this date, I sent an email, right before Christmas, to the Blue Army!  Somehow, I felt inspired to do it and after I wrote my letter requesting the Pilgrim Virgin of Our Lady of Fatima to visit St. Brigids in Westbury and St. Thomas the Apostle in West Hempstead, I hit the send button. Little did I know what would happen next!  I received an immediate reply from Patrick Sabat, one of the three guardians for the Blue Army’s International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.  I was so shocked to get the email from him telling me that “yes,” both parishes could have her visit and that July 2019 would be designated to us as a confirmed visit from Our Lady!

I couldn’t believe it!  I hadn’t even approached either of these two pastors! I just went ahead and asked!  Ask and you shall receive! I was definitely on the “receiving end!” I could never have dreamt of what was to unfold in the coming months! I hoped, too, that I wouldn’t be in “big trouble” with either of the Pastors of St. Brigid’s and St. Thomas for starting this “ball” to roll!

From a simple question of “Could she come to these two parishes,?” I found myself in a situation of receiving emails from “Debbie,” President of the World Apostolate of Fatima for our Diocese of Rockville Centre.  You see, Patrick had copied Debbie on all future correspondence between us, and I found myself emerged into an email swirl of information.

What did I know?  You had to get approval from your Bishop before her actual visit.  There were letters, texts and more emails.  It turned out to be six months worth of correspondence and “Debbie and I” found ourselves in a “stance of waiting, waiting and more waiting” for “approval letters” from our diocese.

The International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima

So I must tell you that when that initial email went out, I just requested a “Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima!”  Months later, Debbie, who now became my soul sister, asks me, “Anita, can I ask you a question? Why did you request the International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima?” Well, my answer was pretty simple!  I didn’t!  But the Holy Spirit was at work and Mama wanted to come to us through this “Presence” of the “International Pilgrim Statue!”

What is that you might ask?

The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima

IPVS“The world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima was on a two-year tour of America during the Fatima centennial, 2016-2017, visiting 140 dioceses in 50 states.

The historic statue was sculpted in 1947 by Jose Thedim. The image reflects the description of Sr. Lucia, the oldest of the three Fatima seers. On October 13,1947, more than 150,000 Fatima pilgrims witnessed the blessing of this image of Our Lady by the Bishop of Leiria at Fatima, Portugal as he commissioned it to serve as the Pilgrim Virgin who would carry the blessings of Fatima and Our Lady’s message throughout the world to the many millions of her children who would never have an opportunity to visit Fatima.

The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue has traveled the world many times visiting more than 100 countries, including Russia and Red China, bringing the great message of salvation and of hope, “the peace plan from heaven,” to countless millions of people.

So many miracles and signal graces have been reported wherever the statue has traveled that, in 1951, Pope Pius XII remarked: “In 1946, we crowned Our Lady of Fatima as Queen of the World and the next year, through her Pilgrim Statue, she set forth as though to claim her dominion, and the favors she performs along the way are such that we can hardly believe what we are seeing with our eyes.”

Patrick L. Sabat, who has served as one of the custodians of this statue for many years, is its principal custodian. To inquire about a visit of the IPVS, please contact Mr. Sabat at 219-218-8991 or psabat@bluearmy.com.” 

What Happens Next?

Debbie contacts me and tells me, “Well, Anita!  We have to make it a worthwhile  trip to Long Island for Our Lady!  We are going to try and bring her to many parishes, just not St. Brigid’s and St. Thomas!”  Our Lady of Fatima International Pilgrim Statue is coming for a period of July 12-27th, 2019 visiting not just “two” parishes but 20.  It was quite obvious to both of us that Our Lady was “setting out in great haste” and coming to our Diocese of Rockville Centre in a tremendous way!

She Arrives on Friday, July 12th

I cannot convey in our English language what it felt like to enter into Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Malverne, New York that morning at 8:30 am.  The statue was already situated on the altar and a great silence fell upon my soul and my senses.

If any of you have gone on pilgrimage, especially to Medugorje, Fatima or Lourdes, I know you can attest to the feeling of instant peace as your feet hit that Holy Ground.  I’ve been to all those places and more but I can only say that this was beyond what I experienced in those far away places!

“She made a pilgrimage to us!” Fr. Tony Stanganelli would say when she visited his parish of St. Brigids. 

But now She was here in Malverne, New York in Our Lady of Lourdes and she was coming to St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Hempstead the next day on July 13th.

As I entered into the church and my eyes met “hers,” I was in complete meltdown!

It’s funny how the body reacts to the Divine!

It somehow knows where it came from,

where it originated,

and it goes back into that “realm.”  

That’s the only way I can describe it.

I totally broke down in tears and could not pull myself together. I couldn’t even verbalize the Hail Mary’s of the rosary before the Mass and felt overwhelmed in the presence of this statue!

I would find out later from “the guardians,” Tom and Larry, accompanying the statue on this visit, that this International Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima was an anointed and blessed statue commissioned in 1947 in Portugal and sculpted with direct specifications from Sr. Lucia.

Sr. Lucia was one of the little shepherd children who spoke and saw the Blessed Mother during all six apparitions from May 13th to October 13, 1917.  Our Lady would continue to appear to Sr. Lucia many times afterwards during Sr. Lucia’s pilgrimage on earth to bring forth the message of Fatima and to promote the Triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.

The words of the guardians confirmed what I felt, what my whole body experienced, and what the mother of God was trying to convey to me through a statue made of plaster. I was feeling not only my emotions but feeling “her emotions” and my soul was pouring out the tears as I sat before her in my pew. This was clearly not just a “statue.” She was clearly speaking to me in a most profound way that overcame my very soul.

What Happened Next

I was able to compose myself for the Mass that was about to begin at 9:00 am and celebrated so beautifully by the Pastor.  I hung on his every word for the Mass and the readings were centered around the Mother of God. One word touched me and seemed to resonate in my soul over and over, tranquility.

I felt her gifting those present in the church at that moment with the grace of tranquility.  

What did that actually mean to me personally?  

I was able to let go of any of my preconceived notions of what this visit meant or what intentions I had planned on giving her at this moment in time. I totally let go of everything and after the Mass, I found myself creeping up slowly to her presence in the statue and kneeling before her.

As I gazed up at her beautiful image, her tearful eyes searched my heart and it was then at that moment, in that “listening and silent stance” on my knees before her that she spoke to my heart like no other time that I have ever heard her speak to me before.

Below, is an image that a dear friend was able to capture of this significant moment for me. Maura had no idea what was happening between the gaze of “mother and daughter” pictured below and what was being said to my soul in that moment of illuminating light in the darkness, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Malverne, New York on July 12, 2019.

 

 

 

To be Continued

 

 

 

 

 

©2019 Anita Guariglia

Excerpts in quotes taken from (Blue Army.com)

Photo Credit – Haydee Torres (Featured Image)

Photo Credit – Maura Goodwin of (Blessed Mother and Anita)

Youtube – Our Lady of Fatima Song