Great Novena To Our Lady of Fatima

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The Great Novena to Our Lady of Fatima

I hope this finds you well! The title I give this true story I am sharing with you today is “A Mother’s Love.”

My friend’s name is Rebecca. She was widowed when her child, Will, was only a toddler. Unfortunately, because they were poor, as Will grew up, everything about his mother embarrassed him. Not only the shabby but clean apartment they lived in, but also Rebecca’s job cleaning houses in the neighborhood, particularly since some were the families of his classmates.

Rebecca always wore second-hand clothes and Will called her the “Beggar Mom” because she came weekly to one of our Franciscan food pantries. When the time came for Will’s high school graduation, he made it clear that he didn’t want her there because she would be sitting alone in “some old hand-me-down dress.”

It seemed like the only one who understood Rebecca’s pain and sorrow was Our Lady of Fatima.

For Rebecca, Our Lady of Fatima was her best friend and she confided to the Mother of God that her son Will was causing her so much pain in her heart. Rebecca knew that Our Lady of Fatima also knew the pain of motherhood and felt that the grace of Our Lady helped and comforted her immensely.

The night Will told his mother she would never see him again when he left for college was the night Rebecca literally held onto her statue of Our Lady of Fatima and wept uncontrollably. Never seeing her son again was too much for her heart to handle.

Even though Rebecca called Will every week, and although he never responded, she always ended her messages: “Love you so much.” She would pray to Our Lady of Fatima that Will would answer her call the next week. But he never did.

Will married his college sweetheart and they had four children. When he took the family to his high school reunion, a former classmate told Will he was sorry to hear about his ailing mother. Will’s wife, Carla, was stunned. Will never spoke about his mother, so she had assumed she was deceased. Carla asked around and found out that Rebecca was living in a nursing home and she convinced Will to visit her.

Rebecca wept with joy when Will walked into her room. While she was crying, she said a prayer of thanksgiving to Our Lady of Fatima. Will cried, too, embracing his frail mother. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your beautiful family? Tell me your names,” she said to her grandchildren. Then Carla took the children to the cafeteria so Will and his mother could have alone time.

Rebecca then asked Will to get a shoebox out of the closet in her room. “I’ve been saving this for you ever since your father died.” She handed him papers – an investment account she started for Will with her husband’s life insurance policy. It was now over 3 million dollars!

“Why, mom?” he asked through his tears. “Why did you work all those hard jobs when you had this? And wearing used clothes? Rebecca just smiled.

Because I love you and I want you to have it easier than I did.” Will wept uncontrollably, thinking about all the years he was embarrassed of his mother and how he abandoned her when everything she did was out of love for him.

But the story has a happy ending. Will and Carla moved Rebecca to their house to care for her. She still clutches her statue of Our Lady of Fatima, praying to Our Lady – her best friend – every day, thanking her for the wonderful family she has been given. Rebecca knows Our Lady of Fatima had a lot to do with this story’s happy ending. I still keep in contact with the family and they tell me the grandchildren have grown fond of their grandma Rebecca – and Our Lady of Fatima!

With the Great Novena to Our Lady of Fatima coming up, we have this beautiful image of Our Lady comforting and uniting Rebecca with her family. Our Lady of Fatima comforts and unites all her children, including us! The tender love and protection she showed young Lúcia dos Santos and Jacinta and Francisco Marto in Fatima is the same mother’s love she showed for Rebecca, and for all of us.

The Franciscan Friars invite you to join us in praying the Great Novena to Our Lady of Fatima. Praying with the Friars, alongside our Beloved Saint Anthony, is a powerful way to show the Mother of God that we love her and place our full trust in 

her, just like Rebecca did. If we all would let Our Lady of Fatima into our hearts, the Mother of God promises to intercede with her Son for all of us.

Along with your Novena prayers, and in gratitude for Our Lady of Fatima’s love and protection, we invite you to generously support the Franciscan Friars and our ministries in caring for the poor. Your donation is like Our Lady’s love because your generosity helps the Friars bring love, hope and care promised by Our Lady of Fatima to the more than 2 million children, women and men who come to us for food, clothing, and other basic life necessities.

Your generosity also helps us to care for our elderly Friars and educate our young Friars for ministry in the Church. Our Lady of Fatima will do anything for her children. Please be a part of Our Lady’s love shared with the poor who come to the Friars every day for help!

The Great Novena to Our Lady of Fatima will take place at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Florida, starting on May 4 and ending on the Feast Day, May 13, with a Mass in celebration and tribute to Our Lady of Fatima.

May all your prayer intentions to Our Lady of Fatima be answered.

Picture of Fr. David Convertino, OFM

Fr. David Convertino, OFM

P.S. Please remember what Pope Francis says about generosity: “…the Church expects great things of you and your generosity. Don’t be afraid to aim high.”

Imagine Our Lady of Fatima opening her cloak to protect each of us in our pain, trials, illness, and loneliness. She is always there to warm our hearts with her love! Provide the same for those cared for by the Friars.

- Text a Prayer to St. Anthony at (347) 640-4806

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