By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
On 21 July 1972, newspapers around the world published this photograph from New Orleans showing a statue of Our Lady of Fatima shedding tears.
The best source of information on the matter is found in an article with the title: “The Tears of Our Lady Wet My Finger” by Fr. Elmo Romagosa. It was published on 20 July 1972, in the Clarion Herald, a New Orleans weekly, distributed in eleven Louisiana parishes or counties.
The background to this event is universally known to Fatima devotees. During 1917, Our Lady appeared six times to Lucy, Jacinta, and Francisco, three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. The authenticity of these visions was confirmed by the miracle of the sun, witnessed by a whole multitude, even as the Virgin spoke to the three children.
In general terms, Our Lady charged the little shepherds to tell the world that she was deeply upset by the wickedness and corruption of mankind. She warned that if we did not amend, a terrible chastisement would come that would annihilate many nations. Russia would spread its errors throughout the world. The Holy Father would have much to suffer.
The punishment could only be avoided if man converted, Russia and the world were consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and mankind did the communion of reparation on the first Saturday of each month.
In view of the above, a question naturally comes to mind: Were Our Lady’s requests heeded?
In 1942, Pius XI consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Sister Lucy said the consecration lacked some characteristics Our Lady had requested. I do not intend to analyse this complex subject here. I simply mention, in passing, that whether Our Lady’s request for the consecration of Russia was heeded is open to debate.
As for Our Lady’s second request for an amendment of life, it has so obviously been neglected that no further comment is necessary.
Our Lady stated that obedience to her requests was a condition to avoid the apocalyptic punishments that she predicted. Therefore, since her requests have not been irrefutably kept, it is logical that God’s vengeful and purifying wrath should fall upon mankind. Yet, furthermore, Our Lady promised that, after the punishments, “Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph and there will be a certain period of peace.”
Of the three Fatima children, only Lucy survived beyond her childhood. She became a Carmelite nun in Coimbra. Under her supervision, a sculptor carved two statues that reproduced as closely as possible the facial expression of the Most Holy Virgin as she appeared at Fatima. Both of them were called “pilgrim statues” and have been taken around the world by priests and laity. One was in New Orleans, where it shed tears.
Father Romagosa, author of the above-mentioned report, was told of the statue’s tears by Fr. Joseph Breault, M. P., the statue’s custodian. However, he was reluctant to admit the miracle and thus asked Father Breault to call him if any further weeping occurred.
Father Breault noticed moisture in the eyes of the Pilgrim Virgin statue on July 17 and immediately called Father Romagosa, who reached the statue at 9:30pm, bringing along photographers and reporters. In fact, they all noticed the moisture in the eyes of the statue, which was soon photographed. Father Romagosa then touched his finger on the moist surface and collected a drop, which was also photographed. According to Father Breault, this was the thirteenth weeping he had witnessed.
At 6:15 the next morning, Father Breault called Father Romagosa saying that the statue had been crying since 4am. Father Romagosa arrived shortly afterwards. In his words: “I saw much liquid in the statue’s eyes, and a large drop hanging from the tip of her nose.” This drop, so graciously hanging, was captured in the famous photograph that came out in the press.
Father Romagosa adds that he saw “a tear move as it slowly formed on the lower eyelid.”
However, he wanted to eliminate all doubt. He noticed that the statue had a crown fixed on its head by a small metal connecting rod and thought: can it be that water was poured into the hole where the crown is fixed on the statue, and this water drains into the eyes?
Once the weeping ceased, Father Romagosa removed the crown from the statue: the metallic connecting rod was entirely dry. He then inserted into the hole a wire wrapped in a special paper which would absorb any liquid that might be there. The paper remained absolutely dry.
Still not satisfied with his efforts, he poured some water into the hole. Yet the eyes remained absolutely dry. Father Romagosa then turned the statue upside down. The water he had poured into the hole drained normally. He was finally convinced that no water could come through the hole in the statue’s head into her eyes, and there simply was no other hole.
Father Romagosa knelt. At last, he believed.
These mysterious tears show Our Lady of Fatima crying over the modern world, as Our Lord once cried over Jerusalem. Tears of most tender affection, tears of deep pain for the punishment that will come.
It will come in God’s due time if mankind does not reject immorality and corruption. It will come if we do not fight especially against the self-destruction of the Church, the cursed smoke of Satan that, according to Paul VI, has penetrated even into the sacred places.
There is still time, therefore, to stop the punishment!
But, some will say, these thoughts are not those for a pleasant Sunday afternoon. I answer: Is it not better to read this article now under the tender manifestation of our Mother’s prophetic sadness than to live through the days of tragic bitterness that will come if we do not amend?
If they come, I am convinced a special mercy will be shown to those who, in their personal lives, have taken the miraculous warning of Mary seriously. I offer my readers this article so they may benefit from that mercy.
It is logical that God’s vengeful and purifying wrath should fall upon mankind. Yet, furthermore, Our Lady promised that, after the punishments:
“Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph and there will be a certain period of peace.”
The Five First Saturdays devotion is one of the principal points of the Fatima message. It centres on the urgent need for mankind to offer reparation and expiate for the many injuries that the Immaculate Heart of Mary suffers from the hands of both impious and indifferent men and women.
In December of 1925, Our Lady appeared to Sister Lucia, giving her the guarantee of salvation for those who complete the First Five Saturdays Devotion: