17 07 2012

After the miracle at Fatima, people came by the hundreds to pray, to weep, to ask forgiveness, and to ask for blessings.  They brought money and produce to the Cova to thank The Blessed Virgin for favors. Maria da Capelinha who was taking care of the site had been gathering up the money.  But then, she didn’t know what to do with it.  She went to the home of Jacinta and Francisco and offered it to their father. He refused, but the Pastor was there and said that she should keep the money until some decision was made about it.

She continued to collect the money and to sell the produce which made for more funds.  People began to talk of building a chapel at the Shrine.  Then she and her husband were accused of taking the money for their own benefit.  After that, a small chapel was erected.  Someone offered to donate a statue and a procession was planned to place the statue in the chapel.  The government guards tried to intervene but a sudden thunderstorm drove them away.  The statue was quietly brought into the church, blessed and venerated and then hidden for awhile.  Later on, the statue was quietly moved into its permanent niche.  Then the statue had to be removed each night for fear of vandalism.  Two years later, someone did blow up the church but a bomb was also placed at the holmoak where Our Lady stood and it failed to detonate.  Now, the people gathered in front of the Capelinha home because the statue was kept there.   There were so many who wanted to see the statue that it was decided to move it to the Cova.  The people again decided to build a chapel and again, the government tried to intervene.  This time there were sixty thousand people who came for the veneration of the statue.  A large chapel was built later along with other buildings.

Later, while in the convent, Lucia was given permission by Our Lady to reveal the secrets of the Vision of Hell and the Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  In 1929, Our Lady appeared again to Lucia,  ‘I shall come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart.   If they heed my request, Russia will be converted and there will be peace.’  Our Lady went on to say that this consecration was to be made by the Holy Father in unison with all the bishops of the world.  Lucia  told her Confessors and was told to write it down. Then it was passed on to the Bishop and to the Holy Father.

Nothing was accomplished for three years.  Lucia wrote to the Bishop, adding the words of Our Lord, ‘As long as the King of France did not listen to my request (when He asked St Margaret Mary to obtain the consecration of France to the Sacred Heart by the king) the Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, but it will be late.’

Time passed and in March, 1938, Germany invaded Austria and World War II was begun in September, 1939.  Lucia was asked  by a Confessor if Our Lady mentioned the Pope’s name. She said ‘Yes, Our Lady spoke of Pius XI.  He answered that the war did not start under Pope Pius XI. Lucia then said that the annexation of Austria gave the occasion for the war.  Lucia was also asked about the great sign which was to appear when God would punish the world for its crimes.  She answered this was the appearance of the Great Northern Lights of 1938.

In 1940,Lucia wrote again to the Bishop of Leiria expressing her regret.  Then she was commanded to write to Pope Pius XII. She asked for the consecration of the world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart with a special mention of Russia.

In 1942, the Bishops gathered at the Cathedral of Lisbon to join the Holy Father in fulfilling the request of Our Lady. The Pope said these words.  ‘Give peace to the peoples separated from us by error or by schism and especially to the one who confesses such singular devotion to thee and in whose homes an honored place was ever accorded thy venerable icon; bring them back to the one fold of Christ under the one true Shepherd.’   On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Pope repeated this consecration at St. Peter’s in Rome with 40,000 people present.  This consecration marks the beginning of the Age of Mary.

Forever War

5 10 2009

collage tintI remember it like it was yesterday – or maybe today. That usual nice Sunday evening. We had gone over to my parents to visit awhile. They had invited us to stay for dinner and so me, my husband and our children had opted to stay for a quick dinner. It was pleasant and fun for all. Our children were young, too young for battle. The Vietnam War had been raging on for awhile. We all hated that War. Even today, there is never any agreement that we should have been there or done anything in that region of the world at all. We had all had enough War to last us for awhile. But seems that some men never get enough of war. Our politicians just keep right on planning one war after another, over and over again. There was the World War I before my time. But I have heard my parents and grandparents talk about that War to end all Wars. And then after that was the Great Depression which I have also heard my parents talk about. And then about the time people recovered from a little bit of that or perhaps to help the people recover from that, we had the great World War II. That one war was enough to last me for the rest of my life.  I was not very old, but do remember many of the pictures and battles from that one. And then here we come right after that with the Korean Conflict – didn’t want to call it a war at that time. And right on the heels of that ‘conflict’ was the Vietnam War. Enough!!!!

I was listening to a history tape the other day wherein Winston Churchill bemoaned the fact that War had lost its glamour. It was no longer a gentlemen’s game. No longer a place where young gentlemen were honed into wiser old gentlemen who could then sit around with their drinks and cigars and talk about the old days, the glamourous days of their particular war. Their necessary war.

But this particular Sunday evening, we all settled down in the living room after dinner to watch the President of the United States make an important speech about the War in Vietnam. We were all expecting he would say it was over and the men – those that were left – were coming home at last. I was much more tuned into raising my family than I was in the upcoming speech, but I sat down to watch anyway. And then here he came, the President of the United States. He cleared his throat like he always did when he wanted to say something  important. And then he dropped the bomb of the century. He had sent more troops into Vietnam. A lot more troops. And bombers. And all the other stuff that goes into the making of Wars.

All my family, my parents, and my own small family were speechless. How could he do this to us? How could he continue to send our young  men into harm’s way and sit there like it was nothing. How could he possibly justify any of this. And then the short speech was over.  My Dad had been a staunch Democrat all his life. But now, he just got up from his chair and walked out of the room. He had nothing to say in support of the President like he usually would have. There was just nothing to say at all. Not by any of us.

When we did finally regain our composure, we all agreed that we could not understand how any of this could be done. Didn’t make any sense to  us. And we must have been representative of all the other households in our country that Sunday evening. Almost everyone  that we talked to was against the War. None of us agreed that our young men should be sent over and over into that hell of a place way on the other side of the world. We had nothing to gain there and an awful lot to lose. Why was our President doing this awful thing to us again and again.

And then on this Sunday evening many years later, I am watching the news and hear that our current President of the United States is considering sending thousands more troops into Afghanistan. To be slaughtered for no gain once again? The news also gave the tally for today’s fighting. Seems there were eight killed today. Just think of those eight mothers and wives who will mourn every day of their lives on this earth. Think of the tears shed over and over again. Think of that gaping hole left in their lives and in their families. Think of the children left fatherless. And then explain to me once again why we need another War. Why send more troops into that place of horrors full of rocks and mountains where our men will have to fight and defend a position that none of us is quite sure of.

I agree wholeheartedly in protecting our country from terroristic activity. I think our borders should be made more secure. And our agencies should be allowed to do their jobs to find these terrorists and convict them and get them off the streets and out of our country. But I do not think Afghanistan is worth the life of even one of our young men. Protect us at home. That is where we are. Bring our young men home. Get out of Afghanistan. Stop fighting one war after another in this world. It is time for the so-called necessary wars to become unnecessary.

And maybe, just maybe it is time for all of us to pray more and fight less.

Thoughts About War

3 09 2009

soldiersWell, I don’t know how anyone else feels about this issue, but I am sick of hearing about Wars. I have heard of the various wars all my life. I grew up in the 1940’s with World War II. I was definitely tuned in to what was going on during those years and wholeheartedly supported Mr. Roosevelt and all his decisions. You can read more about World War II from my perspective in my book, In the 1940’s. Then as I graduated from high school, the Korean War was going strong. Some of my classmates went to that war. So did my brother. I didn’t know enough about what was going on to be supportive or not. I never could get excited over the 38th Parallel. When I began having a family, the Vietnam War was going full steam. I certainly did not agree with the terrible atrocities that were occurring at the hands of the North Vietnamese. I was all for getting our men out of there and bringing them home. And of course as a mother, I was beginning to worry that my sons might have to go and fight that one.

Next was the Gulf War and I was all for getting Hussein to stop bullying everyone else. So that one was alright and it was fast and furious and over before we hardly knew about it. That was the way to win a war, period. Then we had the Iraq war. We were going to clean up Hussein’s problems and let those people who wanted a better way of life have a chance at it. And we have done just that. But now that they have a chance at a better life, let them get on with it. Get out of there and bring our men home. Let the Iraqi’s deal with their own problems. We have done more than our part.

And then I pick up the morning paper and there is Afghanistan. Why. I don’t want a single one of those rocks over there. Nothing there has any interest to me. Why waste even one more life on that barren place. I don’t see that those people want anything better than what they have. I can still remember the pictures of the Russians pulling out of Afghanistan, riding on their tanks. We don’t need to be there. We don’t need to try and teach everyone how to live our good life. If they want that good life, they can get it for themselves. I don’t see that anyone over there even tries to have a better life. And I cannot buy the story that by being there, we are protecting our way of life.

We need to strengthen our own borders, build up our own defenses and as President Teddy Roosevelt once said, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick.’ I’m all for that.