By Bro. Josefino Rona
The Visit of the International Pilgrim of Fatima to the Diocese of Paloay Theme: “I am always here by your side.”
In 1957 the International Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima, brought by Fr. Patrick Moore, visited the Diocese of Palo, Leyte. The Lady stayed for three wonderful days at the cathedral, some 6 kilometers from where the Sacred Heart Seminary is located.
The purpose of the visit was to propagate the Peace Plan of Our Lady.
I was a second-year high school minor seminarian in Sacred Heart Seminary.
We could not understand our feeling when She arrived. We were bursting with joy and tears when we saw Our Lady of Fatima coming out of the plane. The rejoicing of the people could not be described. The faith, the love, the humility, the peace…. The Queen of Heaven come among us!… oh, what a feeling it was.
The motorcade started from the airport to the cathedral in Palo some six kilometers away. The beautiful ceremonies were done there during those three wonderful days. Our Lady did all she could, making private miracles and healings among the devotees during her three days stay with us.
The third day was the departure of Our Lady. All of us seminarians formed our line. We were in our gala uniform, black coat and tie with white pants. The major seminarians were with their black cassock. The motorcade gradually rolled on faster and faster, leaving behind all of us who were on foot. The image of Our Lady went farther and farther away. The farther she went the deeper was my feeling of sadness and painful longing. I felt deep in my heart that my mother seemed to depart from me. I felt so alone, so deeply alone. I started to shed silent tears; the little tears became a profuse sobbing. I was disconsolate. I could not stop my tears to my embarrassment from the other seminarians. I was a little boy who got lost from his mother or who himself lost a mother.
Back at the seminary I rushed to a side-chapel where Our Lady of Lourdes was venerated. I knelt in front of her image, looked at her, pleading that she would comfort my lovesick soul. But the more I prayed to Our Lady of Lourdes the more I felt so lonesome. My heart was being torn and squeezed in pain because as I looked at the image of Our Lady the image was looking up and not down to where I was kneeling. I was disconsolate. I pleaded. “Please, Nay (mother), just give me a glance. I need your comfort.” I was sobbing with this deep feeling of love and longing for my Mother.
Then from nowhere, I heard a voice, a very distinct young lady’s voice, so soothing, so consoling, so sweet. The voice seemed to be just beside me by my left. “Why are you crying, my son? I am not far away from you. I am your mother and I am always with you.“ I did not know whether I heard the voice physically or not, but I know it was so very clear. Is this what they call inner locution?
I looked around the chapel from where I was to see if there was any woman by the altar of Our Lady. There was no one. But I heard the sweet voice. I noticed the sadness in my heart and the pain in my bosom immediately disappeared and a sweet feeling of love and peace was taking over. I felt and I knew Mother Mary was just beside me. She was real. That assurance of her love filled my heart with joy, with peace and with love for her. I knew from then on, that Mother Mary is always with me, close to me. And I can call her anytime.
Mother Mary is not far away from us her children. She is so close to us and are ready to show us that she is there to comfort us and take care of us in all circumstances of our lives. She just wants us to keep conscious attention to her and she’ll be there with us.