Statue of Fatima Touches Students

Statue Visits Mount Carmel on Historic Tour

Abbigail Alonzo, Editor-in-Chief

On Thursday, September 21, Mount Carmel Academy’s Assembly Center, which normally hosts athletic events, pep rallies, and class dances, was transformed into a sacred place of worship.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis blessed six statues of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and sent them off to six different continents for viewing as part of the International Fatima Centennial U.S. Tour for Peace commemorating the 100th anniversary of the appearance of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal. Amazingly, MCA was on the list of destinations for one of these very special statues.

Simply stepping into the gym brought a sense of community unity, as people from all over the greater New Orleans area took time out of their day to come together to experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Despite the variety within the crowd – male, female, sick, healthy, employed, unemployed – solidarity was incredibly present. Along with these visitors, each student was assigned a specific time to enjoy the prayer service and presence of the icon.

The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima stood on a pedestal at the center of a platform surrounded by a sea of exquisite flowers and bright floodlights; its golden crown illuminated the dimly lit gym, both physically and spiritually. The statue’s beauty was breathtaking; her white cloak embroidered in gold was so elegant. Its attractiveness reflected the pure, beautiful heart of Mary herself.

The service was even more beautiful. It began with the deliverance of prayers to the mother of God led by multiple students from different religion classes. Young nuns fostered many great opportunities for conversation about faith, including historical context, cultural and controversial topics, and faith guidance. The program concluded with the dispensing of brown scapulars and recitation of a peaceful rosary.

After the service was over, there was time to reflect in the intimate setting; a lovely voice sang paeans to Mary and people processed to the platform to deliver flowers to the Blessed Mother, making the moment even more phenomenal and meaningful. Many people sat mesmerized by the image, some smiling, some crying, some praying.

Not many people can say they witnessed this stunning sight. As I was asked to describe what I saw or what I felt, I struggled. Remarkable? Exceptional? Incredible? Sensational? No. Those words do this experience no justice; there are merely no words that even come close to deservedly describing it. The best description I can offer those who were not able to see for themselves is it was like a glimpse of Heaven.