Statue of Our Lady visits diocese Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Sep. 22, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

We living in the Diocese of Madison have a unique opportunity to view the world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

The statue will be visiting four cities in our diocese (see schedule) and will be displayed outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Madison on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 3 p.m.

I did some research on this statue, and it has a remarkable story.

International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima

The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima will be at the following parishes in the Diocese of Madison:

• Monday, Sept. 26 — St. Cecilia, Wisconsin Dells

• Tuesday, Sept. 27 — St. Clement, Lancaster

• Wednesday, Sept. 28 — Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monona

• Thursday, Sept. 29 — St. Michael the Archangel, Mt. Horeb

It will also be present on September 29 at 3 p.m. at Planned Parenthood (40 Days for Life) in Madison.

For details, go to the diocesan website at

Background of the statue

The statue was sculpted in 1947 by Jose Thedim, based on the description of Sister Lucia, one of the three young seers who saw Our Lady each month from May to October 1917 in Fatima, Portugal (next year marks the 100th anniversary of these apparitions).

On October 13, 1947, in the presence of some 150,000 pilgrims, the statue was blessed by the bishop of Leiria at Fatima to be the pilgrim, the traveler. Sent out to bring the message of Fatima to the world, the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue has traveled the world many times, visiting more than 100 countries.

Miracles of tears

There have been many miracles attributed to this statue. One of them happened in New Orleans, La., in July of 1972. The miracles are described on the statue’s website (

During the statue’s tour of the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 1972, the statue was seen to shed tears on numerous occasions. This was the first time that the press reported widely the miracles of tears from the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue.

Although it was known that tears have run from her glass eyes numerous times before, none of those had gained much attention. This time the press began to report it, large crowds flocked around, and even Archbishop Philip Hannan of New Orleans was asked to comment by reporters. He took the statue and had it investigated.

That was the first time it was discovered that the moisture was human tears and also the first time photos began to circulate. The statue has been seen to shed tears frequently ever since.

It is believed that these manifestations of 1972 were related to the legalization of abortion. Abortion was being debated and decided at that time, just before the infamous January 22, 1973, Supreme Court decision.

Other miracles

Other miracles have occurred with the presence of the statue throughout the world. For example, in 1999 the statue is credited with saving the island of Aruba from a hurricane and bringing peace to the country.

What is astounding is the fact that, even in countries with a minority of Catholics, millions of people have gathered for visits of the pilgrim statue.

People in our diocese have the opportunity to see this special statue. Besides visits to parishes, it will also be present outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Madison on September 29. Who knows what miracles the presence of this statue might bring about here in our diocese?