The Power of a Picture
“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She said excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?”
As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22 years old young son who had recently passed away after being in the hospital for about three weeks due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.
During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima her friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing. She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of her son’s stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men.
After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring the priest for me. I want to receive the sacraments.”