The world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima has been traveling since 1947, bringing the message of Fatima to a world in need. The statue will be on tour at schools and parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from Sept. 8-29.
The tour begins at St. Stanislaus Parish and Oratory, as the statue will arrive at 6 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8. The day starts with a Low Mass, followed by private veneration, presentation by the statue’s custodian, rosary, High Mass, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, adoration, and private veneration, confessions, benediction and Marian consecration. The statue will then depart for St. Anthony and Chesterton Academy. St. Sebastian Parish will host the final pilgrimage on Sept. 29 before the statue leaves the next day.
Sculpted by artist Jose Thedim, the image reflects the precise instructions of Sr. Lucia, the surviving seer at Fatima. She desired that the pilgrim image represent Our Lady’s position when she revealed herself as the Immaculate Heart to the Shepherd children in 1917.
The Bishop of Fatima blessed the statue of Our Lady of Fatima on Oct. 13, 1947, which was the second “twin” statue commissioned as the Pilgrim Virgin that would carry the blessings of Fatima to the West; the first statue, commissioned on May 13, 1947, would travel to the East. The Virgin Statue tours bring the graces of Fatima and Our Lady’s message of hope, peace and salvation to the millions who may not have the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Fatima.
The Bishop of Fatima entrusted the image to John Haffert, co-founder of the Blue Army, and prayed that Mary herself accompany the statue wherever it goes. It has traveled around the globe many times. In 2014, the statue was placed under the auspice of the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA, and continues its pilgrim journeys today.
Accompanying the Fatima statue tour are an interrupted flow of graces and favors wherever the statue traveled, including physical cures (which can only be officially pronounced by the Church) and numerous conversions.
As the local liaisons of the Fatima statue, Ronald Gamache and Jean Weymie were able to arrange the archdiocesan tour through the chief custodian, Patrick Sabat, of the tour.
“We are acquaintances of Rex Teodosio, the local America Needs Fatima representative,” said Gamache. “Jean and I became liaisons through our relationship with Rex.”
Canon Benoît Jayr, parish administrator and rector of St. Stanislaus, requested the statue on Sept. 8 as the first stop on the Fatima statue tour.
“Rex is also a parishioner of St. Stanislaus, and he is friends with the custodian, which is how it all got worked out to have the statue in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee,” Weymie said. “Rex is with The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property. Their headquarters is in Pennsylvania, but Rex has a local chapter in Waukesha, so he goes to St. Stanislaus when he is in Wisconsin.”
Teodosio became involved with the Fatima statue after attending a student conference in Texas and witnessed how much visitors were touched by her presence.
“I had traveled with Patrick Sabat over the summer last year, where (the statue) was present for rosary rallies in several state capitols. It was moving to see how the statue touched the hearts of the people,” he said. “It was at the height of the pandemic panic, and the supernatural was being removed from the people. At the moment when people needed religion the most, it was not available for many. I saw many people moved to tears seeing the Virgin statue.”
Teodosio said the world needs Mary’s maternal presence more than anything right now. He recalled a time when he was quite ill, and nothing was more comforting than the presence of his mother.
“The world is sick. I can’t imagine it’s going through everything without Mary’s presence,” he said. “It should be noted that this statue cried from 1972 to 1973. I had come across a lady who lived in Racine in 1973; she said that the statue cried there, too, and she had a piece of cotton soaked in the tears of Our Lady. When she cried in June 1972, a priest took samples and had them analyzed. With the technology they had back then, the lab corroborated that the liquid was in fact real human tears from a woman.”
(Times shown are when veneration is open to the public)
Sept. 8: St. Stanislaus, Milwaukee, 7 to 11 a.m.; 1:15 to 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 9: St. Anthony and Chesterton Academy, Menomonee Falls, 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sept. 10: St. Josaphat, Milwaukee, 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Sept. 11: St. Mary, Lomira, 6 to 10 p.m.
Sept. 12: St. Mary, Lomira, 7 to 10:50 a.m.
Sept. 13: Fatima Shrine, 141 N. 68th St., Milwaukee, 3:30 to 7:20 p.m.
Sept. 14: Holy Trinity, Kewaskum, 2:15 to 4 p.m., 6:20 to 8 p.m.
Sept. 15: St. Frances Cabrini, West Bend, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 16: St. Jerome, Oconomowoc, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 6 to 7 p.m.
Sept. 17: Holy Apostles, New Berlin, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 18: St. Agnes, Butler, 3 to 6 p.m.
Sept. 19: St. Peter, Slinger, 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sept. 20-21: St. Francis Borgia, Cedarburg
Sept. 22: St. Augustine School, Colgate, 9:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Sept. 23: St. John the Evangelist, Greenfield, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 24: Aquinas Academy, Menomonee Falls, 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 25: Holy Hill Basilica, Hubertus, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 26: St. Charles, Hartland, 2 to 4 p.m.
Sept. 27: St. Mary’s Visitation, Elm Grove, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sept. 28: St. Mary, Waukesha, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sept. 29: St. Sebastian, Milwaukee, 8:15 a.m. to 7 p.m.