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by Horacio Espinosa
Ntra Senora de Fatima durante la procesion de antorchas

At this point in my life, Maria had already won me. The time had gone to go to a Sanctuary just to accompany Andrea, now I wanted to go too.

Our trip began as part of a larger pilgrimage, of which, Fatima was one of the places I hoped to know given little knowledge of this dedication, I only knew the history of the shepherds.

At this point of my life, Maria had already won me, the time had gone to go to a Sanctuary just to accompany Andrea, now I wanted to go too.

On a trip from Santiago de Compostela, we passed through Pontevedra, a place practically unknown to me until then.

There we learned that Sr. Lucia, one of the seers, in fact the one who lived the longest among us, had lived in a Convent, which is currently on the street called Sr. Lucia, but in complete anonymity, as was her will.

By saying anonymity I mean men, remember that it can be for other men but not for Our Lady who was presented several times in her cell, and it is there where the child Jesus and his Mother ask Sister Lucia that prays for his Immaculate Heart.

According to the story of Sister Lucia, the facts were as follows: “The Blessed Virgin put her hand on my shoulder, and in doing so, showed me a heart surrounded by thorns, which she held in another hand. At the same time, the Child said: ‘Have compassion on the Heart of your Blessed Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce her at all times, and there is no one who does an act of reparation to eliminate them. ” Mary then makes the request that today we call Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In the convent we had a moment of prayer in the inner chapel of the sisters, where Mary also made one of her apparitions, but we had a moment of Faith and Emotion very big contemplating the picture that represents the Child Jesus and the Virgin Mary located in the Exact place in the cell where they appeared to Sister Lucia. 

Continuing the journey we arrived at Fatima, a small town, but unlike Lourdes, which is much more modernized, we believe that this “modernization” had to do with the fact that we arrived a few months before the Jubilee of the Centennial of the apparitions and the visit of thousands of people accompanying the Holy Father.

That same night we could have mass in the place of the apparitions and attend the march of torches (similar to Lourdes) The next day we had our celebration in the great Basilica, and we went through the houses where the shepherds lived. Up to this point I had lived without a doubt it was strong, but we knew that there was something more, beyond the chapel of the apparitions, my heart knew that Mary had more for us. As I said, the Sanctuary has a lot of cement, which makes it a bit cold. A large iron cross and an image of St. John Paul II, whom Our Lady of Fatima saved when he suffered an attack, show the entrance to the lower chapels on the opposite side of the Great Basilica.

Upon entering the lower ground you see an imposing semicircular church and to the other side some smaller chapels that surround an image of the Heart of Mary with a mirror inside, which allows you to photograph yourself with our face inside your heart.

One of those chapels is of permanent adoration. But back to our trip, at the end of the visit to the house of the Little Shepherds, we decided to walk to our hotel through the town.

Then we decided to realize the path that they traveled daily between their houses and the place of the apparitions, now the Sanctuary. This tour includes a Via Crucis that we pray with Andrea practically alone in a sunset. It ends almost in the place where the Angel teaches the Little Shepherds to pray.

As an anecdote in the first apparitions the Virgin asks them to pray the Rosary, and the boys, for childish mischief perhaps, prayed only the first words of each prayer: “Our Father …” followed by God save you … repeated 10 times “it was like a game for them.

Returning to this journey, which lasts about an hour, it was very special, a journey of introspection and feeling a little bit like a little shepherd, small, insignificant at the mere fact of knowing that those same lands had witnessed the visit of the Angel and of Our Lady.

After the tour we returned to the sanctuary, the hotel where we were, it is located in front of the Great Basilica, we had dinner and then we returned with Andrea to the Sanctuary.

Nuestra última foto en el Santuario

It was late at night, there was nobody in the whole esplanade, we went to the inner chapels to see if any were open, they were all closed, and we sat on the floor, on one side to pray the rosary in front of Maria’s heart . That rosary, in itself, was a moment of intimacy and recollection that we live in front of the Heart of Mary.

The next day we left early closing our first experience at Fatima, but as I once told you in the past, these sanctuaries call us back for a second chance. And that was our case, in a tourist visit to Portugal, we realized that we were about 50 km from Fatima, we could not miss the opportunity of being in the Sanctuary again.

This visit was shorter but as always Maria gives us something. The gift this time was to be there on Palm Sunday at the time of Holy Mass. As you can imagine we did not have Olive Branch, many people who were there, noticed this and gave us a piece of Olive Branch and Palm, and thus, sharing in community we finally had a nice bouquet. But more important was to leave with a heart full of emotion for having been able to share in community that Palm Sunday, in one of the places in the world where the Virgin decided to be among us.

Traveler Tips

  • Walk along the path they made between their house and the now Sanctuary. It is a bit steep, you walk on land but it is really special. This if the path that includes the Way of the Cross
  • Pray as children in front of the Image of the Angel, the same image that they saw and that taught them to pray.
  • Go to the Shrine at night, there is no one, and the open places are special, the space of the Heart of Mary, or even the Chapel of the apparitions remain open.
  • A curiosity, the image that is in the chapel of the apparitions has in the crown the bullet with which they attempted against the life of Saint John Paul II
  • Ask Mary, she makes everything possible.

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