Editor’s Note – The Church is commemorating the 100th year anniversary of Our Lady’s miraculous appearances to shepherd children Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco in Fatima, Portugal. This entry is the second of a series by a group of local Marian devotees and will present informational pieces about Our Lady and the Fatima miracles during a year-long celebration.
By Teri Untalan
For Umatuna Si Yu’os
How did a village in Portugal come to be named Fatima, a popular name for Muslim girls? Fatima is the name Muhammed, the founder of Islam, gave to his daughter who was revered by his followers. Nevertheless, after Fatima’s death Muhammed wrote, “Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary.” Muslims believe in the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception and in her virgin birth. There is, further, a connection between Muslims and Mary regarding the place where she appeared to relay her message of Peace.
Spain and Portugal are part of the Iberian Peninsula conquered by the Moors (or Muslims, Turks and Moslems, the other names for followers of Islam) in a series of invasions in earlier centuries. The name for Fatima comes from the period of the Reconquista, or the reconquering by Christians, according to historical legend. A Moorish princess named Fatima was captured along with other Muslims during that period. One of the Christian captors fell in love with the princess and upon her conversion to Catholicism, they were married. The young princess took the name Oureana, “the golden one,” upon her baptism and the name was also given to the village in which she and her knight bridegroom lived. The village name was eventually shortened to Ourem. Tragically, the young woman died shortly afterward and her aggrieved husband named the nearby village Fatima, honoring her Muslim name.
The followers of Islam, like Jews and Christians, believe in only one God. Muslims, however, have engaged in wars with Christians and Jews over their perceived right worship. This has gone on for centuries and would appear that there is very little hope for peace. Heaven’s Peace plan involving Our Lady, is evidenced at Fatima, Portugal. Perhaps this plan involves being the bridge between these two world religions. Perhaps the conversion of the Muslim princess Fatima to Catholicism is also a part of this plan of peace from Our Lady. Venerable Fulton Sheen assuredly believed in a Muslim – Fatima connection. He believed that missionaries would find success in their apostolate among the Muslims by preaching Our Lady of Fatima. Since Muslims have a devotion to Mary, we should pray that the path to Jesus through Mary will eventually bring them into the fullness of Christ’s Divinity.
Recent world events highlight this continuing need for peace. Heeding Our Blessed Mother’s plea to pray the rosary for world peace is still very relevant today as we celebrate the centennial of the apparitions at Fatima.
Public Prayer for Peace
The island faithful are promoting a series of public Rosary events through October 11, 2017, the anniversary of the final apparition. The next Rosary prayer event honoring Our Lady of Fatima will be on Saturday, June 17 at 12 noon at the Agat Mayor’s office complex. Please contact Dee Peredo at 565-2610, 777-6836 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. The faithful are urged to participate in this public Prayer for Peace.