Praying the Rosary for Our Lady of Fatima
Current Marian Devotions at Nativity
- Monthly Rosary for Our Lady of Fatima: On the 13th day of each month, in honor of the day that Our Lady appeared to the children of Fatima, faithful Nativity parishioners gather in the Chapel at 7:00pm to pray the Rosary together.
- 7:30am Rosary before Daily Masses in the Chapel
- Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima: Nativity has had a statue of Our Lady of Fatima that has travelled through the households of parishioners since 1953. A family takes the statue into their home for a week with the promise that they will pray the rosary each day in front of the statue of Our Lady. These households have received so many blessings over the decades!
For more information about participating in these devotions, please contact the Parish Office!
History of Marian Devotions at Nativity
by Mary Jo Paulus, parishioner
In 1985, Ed Adams and I were talking about the need for some Marian Devotion at our parish of Nativity of Mary. Ed said, “Well let’s just do it.” We met with three or four other families to see if they would be interested. They were interested but the consensus was “we just want to pray the Rosary, not a lot of meetings.” We got the okay from Fr. Johnson, and in June or July of that year we began saying the Rosary in front of the statue of Mary that is outside by the school. I said that I would be willing to put notices in the bulletin to invite everyone to come.
As we talked to people about this several people said, “Well there used to be a statue that traveled from family to family.” One day Ed was talking to someone about it and they said, “You ask Bertha Brinkhaus. She’ll know where that statue is.” So Ed went to Bertha, and lo and behold, Bertha had the statue in her home but said she hadn’t been able to keep it scheduled for some time. She was happy to have someone get it going again. On September 13, 1985, Ed brought the statue to our Rosary to give me the privilege of getting it started again. I made the commitment to schedule it from week to week, and so Mary was traveling again.
As I looked to find out the history of the statue, I found a little history of it in a book about the history of the parish called “The Church of the Nativity 1949-1980.” It explained that in 1953, Liz and Elden Oxborough purchased the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. On February 8 of that year, Fr. Martin Larkin came to the Oxborough home, blessed the statue, and led the Rosary, and the statue began traveling from home to home in the parish. Each day that you had it, the family would pray the Rosary in front of the statue, and many times, invite family and neighbors in to pray with you. The Rosary was prayed for peace in the world, for the conversion of Russia, for the success of Nativity Parish, and for personal intentions. One intention that the original families were praying for was that the several young men who were in the war in Korea would return home safely. Mary answered that request. At one point the statue got broken, so the Oxboroughs bought a second statue. Rober Waldoch, an artist in the parish, repaired the first statue so there were two statues. Della Wilson, whose family was among the first group of families to have the statue in their homes, volunteered to start circulating the second statue. Della did the eastern part of the parish and Liz did the western part. Della did this until sometime in the 1990s. Liz was continuing to circulate the statue in 1980. When she was no longer able to do it, her sister, Bertha Brinkhaus, took it over and that’s where Ed found it in 1985.
Back to where I came involved. We continued to pray the Rosary outside for a couple of months but as the weather god cold, we asked Fr. Johnson if there was a place in the church where we could pray. He said the most appropriate place would be in the Chapel in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The Rosary has been prayed on the 13th of each month at 7:00pm in the Chapel from then until the present. In about 1987, we began having the Living Rosary, and the first and last months that Mary appeared to the three children of Fatima. In the Living Rosary, each bead in the Rosary is represented by a person. We invited anyone to be a bead, especially the children. We had a votive light for each person to hold, red for the “Our Father,” blue for the “Hail Mary” and clear for the “Glory Be.” If you were a Glory Be, you carried a rose and placed it in a vase in front of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima that was up by the Altar. There was a drawing to see which children got to stand on the Glory Be and carry a rose. The Rosary was formed up the middle aisle and around the Altar. Whatever bead you were standing on, you led that bead. Someone would hold the microphone for you and light your votive candle, so the Rosary lit up around the Altar as it was prayed. We invited priests and deacons from throughout the diocese to come and give a talk on Our Lady of Fatima, or Mary in general, or the Rosary. The Living Rosary continued every 13th of May and 13th of October from 1987-2003.
Further development of Marian Devotion at Nativity was the beginning of the Rosary being said before daily Mass or Communion Service. Sometime in 1986 and 1987, I asked Fr. Johnson if I could lead the Rosary on Tuesday mornings before Mass or Communion service. Father said fine, start it at 7:30. Walt Bartos said we should be saying the Rosary every day especially to end this war. Walt said he would lead it and so it began. If Walt wasn’t there, whoever was there would lead it. Two of the most faithful were Lizzy Feist and Mary Briol.
I continued to schedule the parish Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima until 2003 when I was no longer able to do it because of my mother’s health. Finding no volunteers to take it over, I kept the statue in our home where we have prayed the Rosary almost every day and have told anyone who would like to have ot to give a call and come and get it. This situation continued until May of 2017 when Cynthia Biros, then Director of Adult and Family Faith Formation, set up the 33 Days of Morning Glory in preparation to make the consecration to Mary (another beautiful devotion to our Blessed Mother.) In the process of doing this, Cynthia became aware of our Pilgrim Virgin Statue and said she would get the statue traveling again. And so Mary starts a new phase of her travels around our parish to bless us. I highly recommend that if you can possibly take the statue for a week, that you do so, because wherever these Pilgrim Statues travel, Mary grants many graces and blessings. For all the years that I scheduled the statue going from family to family, I heard many, many stories of requests that were granted while they had the statue in their home.
I pray that these devotions to the Blessed Mother will continue to grow and strengthen in our parish. If we do this, we will see our wonderful parish of Nativity of Mary grow closer to our Lord Jesus.
This is a summary of what I know of Marian Devotion in our parish. I’m sure there are others who could add to this story.
(February 28, 2018)
Other thoughts about Marian Devotion at Nativity of Mary in Bloomington (updated July 19, 2020)
When Della Wilson was no longer able to continue moving the second statue, it was brought to the Parish Office and I don’t know where it went from there.
After Cynthia Biros was no longer the Director of Adult and Family Faith Formation, I took the statue back to our home where we pray the Rosary in front of it almost every day. My invitation is always open: call, come, take, and have it in your home.
People wonder why we have kept the Rosary devotion to our Lady of Fatima on the 13th of each month. One reason, of course, is that Our Lady always appeared to the children of Fatima on the 13th. It would be easier to have it on the second Tuesday, or the fourth Thursday, etc. I was convinced that it should stay on the 13th when in 1986, our family went to St. John of God in Chicago. In that church was a statue of Mary as the Mystical Rose that had cried tears. When I read about this devotion, Mary asked that some form of Marian devotion be given to her on the 13th of each month.
I am so happy that someone has begun to lead the Rosary before the daily Mass now that things are starting to return to normal after COVID-19. I hope that more and more people will develop a greater devotion to the Rosary and come to understand the amazing messages of Our Lady of Fatima.