by Michael Whitcraft
America Needs Fatima has just republished John Haffert’s 1960 book, Meet the Witnesses, which contains the most complete collection of eyewitness testimonies to the Miracle of the Sun, in Fatima, ever made.
In an era of rationalism and doubt, this is the book’s unique contribution to the many volumes written on Fatima. However, since the unfortunate death of Sister Lucy in 2005, Meet the Witnesses has become even timelier.
For decades, Sister Lucia’s very presence within the cloistered walls of her convent had reminded millions of Fatima and Our Lady’s requests: daily recitation of the rosary, sacrifice for the conversion of sinners, abandonment of sin, the Five First Saturdays devotion and reparation for the offenses committed against her Immaculate Heart. Sister Lucy’s presence also reminded Catholics worldwide of the chastisement that Our Lady predicted would ensue if her requests were not heeded.
Despite this reminder, people did not reform their lives. A consideration of the general decline of morals since 1917 begs the question: “Will the world have to be chastised before people will change?”
If so, it is good to think back to October 13, 1917. Three months earlier Our Lady had promised Lucy a miracle “so that all might see and believe.” The news had spread throughout Portugal and over 70,000 people traveled to the Cova da Iria to see what would happen. Atheists and probably even some Catholics ridiculed the “credulous” and “gullible” pilgrims.
In spite of these chides, Our Lady did work a miracle. Though some may have expected wonderful cures like those she worked at Lourdes, Our Lady astonished the crowd with a miracle so terrifying that many thought the end of the world had come.
The sun unexpectedly spun all over the sky and even plummeted towards the earth. Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, founder of the first TFP, wondered if the Miracle of the Sun might not indicate the magnitude of the chastisement unrepentant mankind is bringing on itself. Might other things “spiral” out of control and threaten the world with total destruction?
To encourage reflection on this miracle and hence on the Fatima message, we are now offering Meet the Witnesses. The personal accounts it contains bring the Miracle of the Sun to life. They vividly project the image of the sun spinning in the sky and nearly crashing to earth. They cause readers today to echo the cry of the witnesses. In the depths of their souls, they too exclaim, “We believe!” Today, the book has become even more valuable, since God has called to Himself most of the witnesses Mr. Haffert interviewed.
Meet the Witnesses invites everyone to prepare diligently for serious trials in a world that deserves divine punishment. It challenges each one to strengthen his faith, increase his love and proclaim his unshakable certainty in Mary’s promise: “Finally, My Immaculate Heart will triumph!”