A Great Success

Posted on March 27th, 2012 by & filed under A Year With Myself, Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

AYWM 12 “Breakthrough: Discovering and Defining the Real Meaning of Success.”

Christopher Reeves had once said, “I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” 

success [səkˈsɛs]
noun
1. the favourable outcome of something attempted
2. the attainment of wealth, fame, etc.
3. an action, performance, etc., that is characterized by success
4. a person or thing that is successful

S-u-c-c-e-s-s-
that’s the way we spell success!


Every time I hear the word success, I think of that cheer. It’s about the way to victory. Cheering a team on, going for the win, being victorious, being the best, outreaching the expectations, being better than the other team. That is what the cheer encourages. That is what I learned was the meaning of success.
What does success mean to me now?

After thinking about it and reflecting on the exercises from A Year with Myself, I would define my personal success as being happy and satisfied with my life.

Generally speaking, I have acheived success in many ways. I have a successful marriage. We are still going strong and very happy after twenty years. I have successfully raised three bright, charming, healthy sons. I have been successful at managing and maintaining my health. Together with my husband, we own our home and our vehicles. We have travelled and have made a place for ourselves in our community. I have many wonderful friends and a terrific supportive family. In life, I have reached success. But I am always striving for more.

I do not think being successful is a one time thing. I do not think you either have it or you don’t. It is the success of each endeavor or project that I am striving for. Currently, that is blogging. It also applies to my job, my home, my kids, and all of my projects and ideas.

I might not be successful at everything I try. I might not even complete every project I begin. As long as I continue to try, that is success to me.

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting — it is the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard — reaching for the highest that is in us — becoming all that we can be. If we do our best, we are a success. Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have.” – Zig Ziglar

My very wise and insightful twelve year old son said this when I asked him, What is the definition of success?”:
“Success means getting to where you want or need to go.”


I hope to keep a youthful attitude about success. There may be many stops along the way, but I know I will be a great success when I arrive!

Azalea in Bloom

I met the artist, Liz Thoman of HealingPetals.com , who told me that my "life is about to bloom." Yes! I believe it is!

For more about A Year With Myself :

http://ayearwithmyself.com/

and Discovering the Meaning of Success:

http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/

To see more of my original photography: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/mizmeliz

 

 

Ordinary to Extraordinary

Posted on March 27th, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

This blog post is being re-posted as an excerpt from my book, This is the Sound of My Soul, A Transformational Journey.

The Hummingbird

It is fitting that a hummingbird flutters nearby me at this moment. I am distracted by the sound of a light buzzing and look in the direction of that sound. I see a flash of black and I am instantly comforted by the little guy as he hovers in front of me for a split second and lands on a branch a few feet away. There is significance in everything.

Ten years ago, I was very involved in raising my small children and taking care of my elderly parents. It was a difficult time for me. I loved my parents tremendously and never once doubted the decisions I made to help them as they needed it. I was ever grateful for the time I spent with them and for the enriched life that the so lovingly gave me.

Many many people who cared deeply for me suggested that it was too much for me to handle. Nothing about my situation lended itself for me to be the one with the extra responsibility and stress to take care of my parents when they were at their most dependant. I know everyone meant well and saw me struggling and wanted to help. I was fine. I found the strength I needed. I sought the support I needed. I had the faith I needed. Most of all I believed I could do it and I let the love of God envelope me and He took care of all of us.

Now every so often I hear people discuss how they would handle or are handling what is happening with their parents. There are so many options. I don’t judge. I don’t even make suggestions or offer advice because I know that everyone must do what feels right for them. For me, what I did may seem very ordinary. It may seem like a no brainer or an obligation. I fulfilled a promise. I completed my duty. I sacrificed. I help the family together. I did what needed to be done. I did what I felt in my heart was the right thing to do. I made decisions based on what my parents wanted even if it didn’t fit in with what I wanted or what my siblings wanted, or even when it was partly detrimental to my own well being. To me, it was that important. I didn’t know why. It just was.

When I went trhough it – it being helping my parents through the illness, disease, failing health and ultimately the death of my mother; while at the same time the dealing with the injury, surgery, rehabilitation, and recovery of my father and his inability to be her caretaker and then his decline in health and two years later his sudden death – I took it day by day. I honestly and intently took each ordinary day and with every bit of energy and abounding love, dealt with it and hoped the next one would be better.

It was by far the worst time in my life.

Most people would try to put it behind them. It is something most adults have to go through. It was messy, both literally and figuratively. It was hard. It was frightening. It was sad. It was maddening. I fought with my brother and sister. My husband was supportive, but at times needed reassurance. My boss was supportive, but needed constant reassurance. My family was supportive, but offered little reassurance and had much doubt or faith in me or what I was doing. I wasn’t always sure of what I was doing.

I believe that this time in my life was the most triumphant, and beautiful most enriching and spiritual happening in my life. I learned the most about myself. I gained insight and wisdom. I loved unconditionally and unabashedly and received the most amazing uplifting love in return. My heart expanded and was filled with life sustaining warmth that has not diminished since that time.

It is not only that I survived it and my children and husband lived through the experience unscathed. I had been warned that my family was concerned that having my mom at home with me until she died would actually be harmful for my young children. I was cautioned that it would be traumatic. I was afraid that I would break. I was worried that my marriage would fail. I was terrified that I would fail. I was careless for the first time in my life about what my siblings and cousins thaought was best. I trusted my instincts. I stuck to my guns. My mom wanted me and I was going to see it though and I did.

What empowerment! It was the most amazing gift she could give me. She trusted me to be there for her and do right by her through her last moments. My father trusted me and respected me enough to give me his confidence. Me. The baby of the family. Me. The one who didn’t finish college. Me. The one who could barely make ends meet. Me. The one who married her high school sweetheart and never moved away from the valley. Me. The one with three small children who just went back to work full time and was commuting to downtown LA each day. They trusted me. They entrusted me. They believed in me. They put their faith in me. They loved me!

What extraordinary love that death and dying brings! I believe that death is beautiful. Dying graciously and in the comforting arms of your loved ones is the most beautiful thing ever. It is as wonderful and sacred as birth. My mother and father gave me the gift of life and brought me into this world with tenderness and love. I reciprocated by facilitating the end of their lives here on Earth, by helping them transition from my loving arms to the angels in Heaven with tenderness and love.

By doing this I ended up earning the respect of my family. I taught my children about unconditional love, duty, honor and sacrifice. My marriage gained strength and momentum by weathering this experience through and being steadfast and true throughout the process. I learned to trust myslef, my instincts, my beliefs, my faith and my abilities.

I now believe this was the most extraordinary time of my life.

The worst and most difficult ordinary mundane threatening heartbreaking moments of my life became for me a sacred happening that I treasure and hold dear. My heart is full of love for each and every moment that brought me to this extraordinary understanding. Now, I must share it and pray that others can only hope for turning their struggles into triumphs, their worries into dreams, and their lives into gifts for others to go on and live more extraordinary lives.

Driving home from the place where I wrote this the hummingbird visited me again. I have never seen a hummingbird do this while I was driving before. He was flying by and swooped down low and almost crashed into me! He hovered right in front of my windshield and I said, “you’d better move before I hit you!” He flew up and over my car. It made me laugh. Gigggling, I remembered how comforting hummingbirds are to me since the day my sister was in the hospitral with severe infection. I sat on my patio deciding between going to be with her or continuing the plans for the fourth of July holiday and seeing her the next day. Two hummingbirds flew by and one did that hovering thing and looked right at me. I instantly thought of the two birds as the spirit of my parents and I knew what I had to do. I went to be with my sister. She died early the next morning. Now there are three hummingbird spirits watching over me.  

The Spirit of Adventure

Posted on March 26th, 2012 by & filed under A Year With Myself, Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

This post is all about adventure! Particularly women as adventurers.

Adventure may mean different things to different people. But it’s a fact that it gives life zest and spark and is directly linked to creativity. Besides, you don’t have to be an adrenaline addict or thrill junkie to enjoy the spirit of adventure.

The theme is “Spirit of Adventure: How to Invite Adventure and Enjoy Serendipity.”

In the last AYWM post I mused about my vision for my life and my future. I now believe that I can do it if I can see it. I made a vision board and looked at photos of things that I want to make happen in my life. Now, it is time to set sail on my quest. I will discover my dreams. I will be an adventurer!

Setting Sail Towards the Horizon

Creative Project Coach, Sue Mitchell, discusses the relationship of adventure, serendipity and creativity and how being adventurous helps creative projects. She talks about building self-confidence and finding life’s meaning through being adventurous and how inviting more adventure into your life, awakens the adventurer in you.

It has been said that, “Adventure is the marrow of life.” I have been encouraged to work to achieve the essence of the vision I’ve created, and to feel free to shake off any rigidity about how that has to look. Apparently, adventure awaits me! Let’s see. . .

Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

Dear Serendipity,

When it comes to designing my life, I have always left room for you, Serendipity. You have been so gracious and helpful in being just where I needed you when I needed you, even when I didn’t know it myself. Your ways are so subtle and delicate. Like the wind, you blow in and allow me to join you if I care to, never making me feel guilty, sometimes hardly noticeable, always there. You aren’t mysterious or obvious, although your ways are mysterious to me! You show up when the timing is right, and I always feel like you heard me calling out to you even when I had no voice. I would say that when things go your way, it is a happy accident. Being in the right place at the right time is one thing, but when one thing leads to another and everything falls into place, that is when my heart smiles because I know I did the right thing listening to you to begin with. You encourage me to take risks sometimes, I like that! You are always with me when I travel and venture out. You make the best things happen at parties and on vacations! It’s always unexpected and fun! When I started this year with writing my blog and devoting myself to the exercises in “A Year with Myself” I made no plan, no design, other than to discover. Thank you for being there to make it enjoyable, interesting and exciting! I look forward to seeing you present yourself throughout my journey this year. I will try to remain open to the possibilities and be on the look out for you around each corner!

Adventure is an exciting or very unusual experience, participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises:

the spirit of adventure.

Walking through an old cemetery with my mother became an adventure of imagination and inspired creativity.

At the beginning of 2012, I resolved to make experience my focus. I planned to be fully engaged in each moment and enjoy each experience that either came my way or that I created for myself and my family. I had no idea that the Spirit of Adventure would be along for the ride! Your involvement has helped me realize that every day can be an adventure if I want it to be! I have been meeting so many wonderful new people and I have had opportunities to do some pretty amazing things. Having you on my side is making life so much more interesting and hopeful. I am so happy and excited about the blogging, writing and photography and I love that you lend yourself to my creativity and joy. I appreciate having you with my on my journey and I am glad I can count on you to continue to make things exciting and fun while I plan the direction I will take throughout my life!

Dear Serendipity and Adventure,
You are cordially invited to join me as I strive to reach the following goals in my life. . .

I want to be a writer. I want to gain readership. I plan to start by writing and blogging, participating in the 52 week process of AYWM and then turn that experience into a book. I also want to write a novel and guest host on other blogs and magazines. My hope is to be inspired as I inspire others. I want to keep up the endorphins that I get when I write and let that happy feeling spread to my family and friends. Like a runner’s high – it can be contagious. So many people have already told me that they see a difference in me. I hope that it affects the people I love most in my life as much as my friendship affects people when we first meet. I want to help people and I want to improve my life as I go along. I want to be a successful published writer and enjoy the fruits of my success to finally put the money woes behind me and secure a future for my kids and for myself and my husband. I want to be able to freelance and write and work from home and for myself by the time my youngest son graduates from high school. I want to lay the groundwork now and build it for my future. I want to do what I am passionate about. I want to be myself and be true to my self and to my core values. I want to express myself creatively and make a difference in this world. I want to make a splash!

What I really want to achieve is to live a life doing what I am passionate about doing (writing) and making money doing it in order to eventually be able to work from home and be my own boss. Ways I can do this: start now. Write anything and everything. See everything as an opportunity. Write reviews of all of my experiences. Blog blog blog. Attend blogger conferences. Take writing classes. Meet other writers. Send writing examples to publishers. Self publish. Do poetry readings. Network and give my business card and the link to my blog to everyone I meet. I won’t be shy. I will seize the day. Ask friends for help. Get advice from other accomplished writers. Read more. Read magazines and articles. Follow more blogs. Publish old poems and writings. Copyright material. Write a business plan, vision and mission for a writing business. Write a story board for my novel. Write outlines for all of my ideas. Contact writers and artists that have inspired me by twitter, and email. Establish a focus on my style of writing. Practice writing. Get organized. Pray. Ask God to guide me.

I will work to develop the inner resources to follow through on my dream project.

My Dream Catcher will hold my memories and vision as I capture the resources I need to make them real.

When I was a little girl everything was an adventure. I lived in a world of adults. Some of my favorite adventures involved tagging along with my parents or my siblings and being given adult responsibilities. I have been thinking a lot lately of the groups that my mom was a part of. I was the mascot of the Women’s Air-force Mother’s Club. Being in women’s groups now online I realize the necessity of a support group and I love the positive ways that women support one another.

Besides tagging along with my parents, we also took lots of road trips and went camping. My parents were pretty adventurous, however subtle. My mom loved going for walks when we would camp at KOA’s and we often would come across a cemetery. I think walking through a cemetery with my mom was an adventure of imagination because we would make up stories of the people who were buried there.

There are few times I remember doing anything on my own or without my parents. I went on trips with my school that were fun. But the best times were those trips with my folks.

Once I learned to drive I became an explorer. If I took a wrong turn I never considered myself lost, just on an adventure. I have never had the feeling of being physically lost. I always knew I could either find my way home or end up going somewhere special. Some of the best experiences I have had have been stumbled upon.

In researching about adventure, I learned that there is a big difference between being an adventurer and being an adventuress.  I thought it would be fun to look at some literary examples of both.

Dating back to the beginning of Modern Times, women such as myself have dreamed of being adventurous.

The definition of Adventuress is: A woman who seeks social and financial advancement by unscrupulous means. A woman who seeks adventure, especially one who seeks success or money through daring exploits.

Just as in the book, THE ADVENTURESS by Coralie Stanton GROSSET & DUNLAP, 1907, Miriam Lemiere is described as, “This woman who spoke half a dozen languages with perfect ease, who painted, sculptured, wrote; who could hold her own with men and politicians; who knew the last word in everything; and who had she lived in fifteenth century would have ruled kingdoms and altered the destinies of nations, was nothing more or less than a moneylender – a society vampire.” “. . . There was always something great, something magnificent, about her wickedness.”

In another book by the same title written almost 100 years later,we have yet another example of an adventuress. In The Adventuress (2006)A Graphic Novel by Audrey Niffenegger, the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Time Traveler’s Wife, returns with another evocative “novel in pictures,” the much-anticipated follow-up to 2005’s The Three Incestuous Sisters. The Adventuress follows the dreamlike journey of an alchemist’s daughter. After she is kidnapped by a lascivious baron, she turns herself into a moth and flees to the garden of a charming butterfly collector named Napoleon Bonaparte. The story of how the two become lovers, and how their affair ends in tragedy and transcendence, is told through Niffenegger’s spare prose and haunting aquatint etchings. With a stunning and distinctive visual style reminiscent of the work of Edward Gorey, this gothic romance packs the emotional heft of the world’s great fairy tales.

A further search for ‘adventuress’ brought me to a page primarily about famous female pirates and adventuresses, or women of great adventure and courage.

There have been many women of the past who didn’t want to live within the confines of society’s idea of what a woman should be. Some of the ladies were willing to dress as men in order to go out into the world and fulfill their passions. Many of those women were pirates. They actually lived and were real, they were not fairy tale characters!

An adventuress was willing to go to any lengths to escape her bonds. An adventuress was willing to be unpopular.

Some went where no man had gone before. Others held the torch for women to follow. All faced risks and overcame them.

So let’s take a look at some of the greatest adventurers who have really made a splash and led the way to go where no one had gone before.

True inspiring stories of women who were true explorers and lived the spirit of adventure.

Nellie Bly
1864-1922
Journalist
(born May 5, 1864, Cochran’s Mills, Pa., U.S.—died Jan. 27, 1922, New York, N.Y.) U.S. newspaper writer. Bly started writing for The Pittsburgh Dispatch in 1885, producing feature articles on such subjects as divorce and slum life. After joining the New York World, she feigned insanity to get into an asylum and wrote an exposé that brought about needed reforms. Beginning in 1889, in an attempt to beat the fictional record in Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, she circled the globe in about 72 days, 6 hours. The much-publicized trip made her by name a celebrated synonym for a female star reporter.

Susan Butcher
1954-2006
Athlete
Born Susan Howlet Butcher on December 26, 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts. Susan Butcher was raised in Cambridge and studied to become a veterinarian technician at Colorado State University. She eventually moved to Alaska to pursue her passion for dogsled racing and to train for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Susan Butcher competed in her first Iditarod in 1985, but was forced to withdraw early after two of her dogs were killed and six were injured in an accident involving a moose. She went on to win the grueling race in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990. In doing so, she became the second four-time winner and the first to win four out of five sequential years. Susan Butcher dominated the sport for over a decade, placing in the top five 12 times during her career. She has won several honors, including the National Women’s Sports Foundation Amateur Athlete of The Year Award, the U.S. Victor Award and Female Athlete of the Year award.

In 2005, Susan Butcher was diagnosed with leukemia. She died on August 5, 2006 and is survived by her husband, attorney and fellow dog racer David Monson, and their two daughters, Tekla and Chisana.

Amelia Earhart
1897-1939
Pilot
At a Long Beach air show in 1920, Amelia Earhart took a plane ride that transformed her life. It was only 10 minutes, but when she landed she knew she had to learn to fly. Working at a variety of jobs, from photographer to truck driver, she earned enough money to take flying lessons from pioneer female aviator Anita “Neta” Snook. Earhart immersed herself in learning to fly. She read everything she could find on flying, and spent much of her time at the airfield. She cropped her hair short, in the style of other women aviators. Worried what the other, more experienced pilots might think of her, she even slept in her new leather jacket for three nights to give it a more “worn” look.

In the summer of 1921, Earhart purchased a second-hand Kinner Airster biplane painted bright yellow. She nicknamed it “The Canary,” and set out to make a name for herself in aviation. On October 22, 1922, she flew her plane to 14,000 feet—the world altitude record for female pilots. On May 15, 1923, Amelia Earhart became the 16th woman to be issued a pilot’s license. She had several notable flights and became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1928, and the first person to have flown both oceans. In 1937, she mysteriously disappeared while trying to circumnavigate the globe from the equator.

Gertrude Ederle
1906-2003
Athlete
Ederle early became an avid swimmer. She was a leading exponent of the eight-beat crawl (eight kicks for each full arm stroke) and between 1921 and 1925 held 29 national and world amateur swimming records. In 1922 she broke seven records in a single afternoon at Brighton Beach, N.Y. At the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris she was a member of the U.S. team that won a gold medal in the 4 100-metre freestyle relay. She also captured bronze medals in the 100-metre and 400-metre freestyle events.

In 1925 Ederle made an unsuccessful attempt to swim the English Channel, but the following year she returned to France to try again. In the face of widespread doubt that a woman could accomplish the feat, she set out from Cape Gris-Nez near Calais, France, on August 6 and swam the 35 miles (56 km) to Dover, Kent, Eng., in 14 hours 31 minutes, beating the men’s world record by 1 hour 59 minutes. Ederle was greeted on her return to New York City by a ticker-tape parade, and she toured for a time as a professional swimmer. A series of misfortunes, culminating in a serious back injury in 1933, ended her public career for a time, but in 1939 she appeared in Billy Rose’s Aquacade at the New York World’s Fair.

Ederle, whose hearing was permanently impaired while achieving her English Channel triumph, later became a swimming instructor for deaf children. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965 and the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.

Sally Ride
1951-
Educator, Astronaut, Physicist
Born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles, California. Sally Ride made history in 1983 when she became the first American woman in space. She grew up in Los Angeles and went to Stanford University where she was a double major in physics and English. Ride received bachelor’s degrees in both subjects in 1973. She continued to study physics at the university, earning a master’s degree in 1975 and a Ph.D. in 1978.

That same year, Sally Ride beat out 1,000 other applicants for a spot in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) astronaut program. She went through the program’s rigorous training program and got her chance to go into space and the record books in 1983. On June 18, Ride became the first American woman in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger. As a mission specialist, she helped deploy satellites and worked other projects. She returned to Earth on June 24.

The next year, Sally Ride again served as a mission specialist on a space shuttle flight in October. She was scheduled to take a third trip, but it was cancelled after the tragic Challenger accident on January 28, 1986. After the accident, Ride served on the presidential commission that investigated the space shuttle explosion.

After NASA, Sally Ride became the director of the California Space Institute at the University of California, San Diego, as well as a professor of physics at the school in 1989. In 2001, she started her own company to create educational programs and products known as Sally Ride Science to help inspire girls and young women to pursue their interests in science and math. Ride serves as president and CEO.

For her contributions to her field and to society, Sally Ride has received many honors, including the NASA Space Flight Medal and the NCAA’s Theodore Roosevelt Award. She has been inducted to the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Sacagawea
1788-1812
Interpreter
Daughter of a Shoshone chief, it is not known exactly when she was born. Some sources say 1788 while others say 1787 and 1786. Around the age of 12, Sacagawea was captured by Hidatsa Indians, an enemy of the Shoshones. She was then sold to a French-Canadian trapper named Toussaint Charbonneau who made her one of his wives.

Sacagawea and her husband lived among the Hidatsa and Mandan Indians in the upper Missouri River area (present-day North Dakota). In November 1804, an expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark entered the area. Often called the Corps of Discovery, the expedition planned to explore newly acquired western lands and find a route to the Pacific Ocean. The group built Fort Mandan, and elected to stay there for the winter. Lewis and Clark met Charbonneau and quickly hired him to serve as interpreter on their expedition. Even though she was pregnant with her first child, Sacagawea was chosen to accompany them on their mission. Lewis and Clark believed that her knowledge of the Shoshone language would help them later in their journey.

In February 1805, Sacagawea gave birth to a son named Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. Despite traveling with a newborn child during the trek, Sacagawea proved to be helpful in many ways. She was skilled at finding edible plants. When a boat she was riding on capsized, she was able to save some of its cargo, including important documents and supplies. She also served as a symbol of peace – a group traveling with a woman and a child were treated with less suspicion than a group of men alone.

Sacagawea also made a miraculous discovery of her own during the trip west. When the corps encountered a group of Shoshone Indians, she soon realized that its leader was actually her brother Cameahwait. It was through her that the expedition was able to buy horses from the Shoshone to cross the Rocky Mountains. Despite this joyous family reunion, Sacagawea remained with the explorers for the trip west.

After reaching the Pacific coast in November 1805, Sacagawea was allowed to cast her vote along with the other members of the expedition for where they would build a fort to stay for the winter. They built Fort Clatsop near present-day Astoria, Oregon, and they remained there until March of the following year. Sacagawea, her husband, and her son remained with the expedition on the return trip east until they reached the Mandan villages.

So, what do I want to be? An explorer? An adventurer? An adventuress? Perhaps a mash-up of all of these examples!

I just want to go where the wind takes me!

The path begins when I start walking!

I Believe in Miracles – Our Lady of Fatima

Posted on March 19th, 2012 by & filed under Be Inspired

March 13th Novena of Our Lady of Fatima

Today we remember the Anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin of Fatima .

When you read this, say a Hail Mary and ask for a special favor.

“Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen… (Your request).

Please share the Novena, send it to 12 people who deserve justice, peace, love, health, prosperity and truth.

“When you are down to nothing, God is up to something.”

The Anniversary of the Apparitions at Fatima

By , About.com Guide   October 13, 2011

October 13 marks the anniversary of one of the best-known Marian apparitions–the final appearance of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima, Portugal.  For six months, always on the 13th day of the month, the Blessed Virgin Mary had appeared to three shepherd children–Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco–asking them to perform penance and to pray, especially the rosary.  In the midst of World War I, the Blessed Virgin declared that the rosary would bring about peace.

The sixth and final apparition occurred on October 13, 1917, with approximately 70,000 people from across Portugal and around Europe in attendance.  The crowd witnessed what has become known as “The Miracle of the Sun,” in which the sun appeared to stand still, then spin in the sky before plunging toward the earth and returning to its place in the heavens.  Because of heavy rains earlier in the day, the ground and the crowds were soaked; but after the Miracle of the Sun, everything was dry once again.

The miracle was reported not only by the faithful in attendance but by newspapers and skeptics who had gathered as well.  At a time of great trials, the apparitions at Fatima brought increased devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary, and so it is particularly appropriate that the final apparition occurred in the month of October, which Pope Leo XIII had devoted to the rosary 33 years earlier.

The History of the Apparitions at Fatima

Theotokos Catholic Books – Approved Apparitions – www.theotokos.org.uk

During World War I Pope Benedict XV made repeated but forlorn pleas for peace, and finally, in May 1917, made a direct appeal to Mary to intercede for peace in the world. The response was Mary’s first appearance at Fatima just over a week later. At this time Fatima was just a small village about seventy miles north of Lisbon; the three children to whom she appeared were Lucia dos Santos, aged ten, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, brother and sister, aged eight and seven respectively.

The Angel of Portugal

However, it was in the spring of the previous year, 1916, that the children had their first joint supernatural encounter as a means of preparing them for their meetings with Mary. As they were looking after the sheep one day they saw a dazzlingly beautiful young man, seemingly made of light, who told them he was the Angel of Peace; he invited them to pray with him.

Later on, in the summer, the Angel again appeared to the children and encouraged them to pray and make sacrifices, as a way of drawing down peace on the country.

In the autumn the children again saw the Angel as they were out looking after the sheep. He appeared before them holding a chalice in his hands, above which was suspended a host from which drops of blood were falling into the chalice. The Angel left the chalice suspended in the air and prostrated himself before it in prayer.

He then gave the host to Lucia to eat, and let Francisco and Jacinta drink from the chalice whilst saying: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Repair their crimes and console your God.” Then he prostrated himself again in prayer before disappearing. The children did not tell anyone about these visits of the Angel, feeling an interior necessity of keeping quiet about these events.

13 May 1917

On 13 May 1917 the three children took their flocks out to pasture on the small area known as the Cova da Iria. After lunch and the rosary they suddenly saw a bright flash of something like lightning, followed quickly by another flash in the clear blue sky.

They looked up to see in Lucia’s words, “a lady, clothed in white, brighter than the sun, radiating a light more clear and intense than a crystal cup filled with sparkling water, lit by burning sunlight.” The children stood there amazed, bathed in the light that surrounded the apparition, as the Lady smiled and said: “Do not be afraid, I will not harm you.” Lucia as the oldest asked her where she came from.

The Lady pointed to the sky and said: “I come from heaven.” Lucia then asked her what she wanted: “I have come to ask you to come here for six months on the 13th day of the month, at this same hour. Later I shall say who I am and what I desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time.”

Lucia then asked if they would go to heaven and she was told yes, she and Jacinta would go to heaven, but Francisco would need to say many rosaries first. The Lady then said: “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners?” Lucia as spokesman for all three readily agreed: “Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”

Lucia recounted that at the same moment as she said these words the Lady opened her hands and streamed a “light” on the children which allowed them to see themselves in God. The Lady finished with a request: “Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and the end of the war.” With that she began to rise into the air, moving towards the east until she disappeared.

The children got together and tried to think of ways they could make sacrifices, as the Lady had asked, resolving to go without lunch and to pray the full rosary. Francisco and Jacinta received more support from their parents than Lucia, but the attitude of the local inhabitants was sceptical and even derisory; the children had much to suffer, just as the Lady had told them.

13 June 1917

About fifty people turned up at the Cova da Iria on June 13, as the three children assembled near the holmoak tree where the Lady had appeared. The children then saw a flash of light followed immediately by the apparition of Mary, as she spoke to Lucia: “I want you to come on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. Later, I will tell you what I want.”

Lucia asked Mary to take them to heaven and was reassured in this way: “I will take Jacinta and Francisco shortly; but you will stay here for some time to come. Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne.” This last sentence is found in a letter written in 1927 by Sr. Lucia to her confessor.

Lucia was sad at the first part of this reply, saying: “Am I to stay here alone?” Mary replied: “No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”

One of the witnesses to this apparition, Maria Carreira, described how Lucia then cried out and pointed as Mary departed. She herself heard a noise like, “a rocket, a long way off,” and looked to see a small cloud a few inches over the tree, rise, and move slowly towards the east until it disappeared. The crowd of pilgrims then returned to Fatima where they reported the amazing things they had seen, thus ensuring that there were between two and three thousand people present for the July apparition.

13 July 1917

On 13 July the three children assembled at the Cova and again they saw the indescribably beautiful Lady over the holmoak. Lucia asked what she wanted, and Mary replied: “I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only she can help you.”

Lucia then asked her who she was and for a miracle so everyone would believe: “Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe.”

Lucia made some requests for sick people, to which Mary replied that she would cure some but not others, and that all must say the rosary to obtain such graces, before continuing: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

The Vision of Hell

Lucia later revealed that as she spoke these words, Mary opened her hands and rays of light from them seemed to penetrate the earth so that they saw a terrifying vision of hell, full of demons and lost souls amidst indescribable horrors.

This vision of hell was the first part of the “secret” of Fatima, and was not revealed until much later. The children looked up to the sad face of the Blessed Virgin, who spoke to them kindly:

“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.

“To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

At this point the second part of the secret of Fatima ends and the third part begins with the words, “In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved … ” The first two parts of the secret only became publicly known in 1942. The third part of the secret has only recently been publicly divulged, in June 2000.

Mary specifically told Lucia not to tell anyone about the secret at this stage, apart from Francisco, before continuing: “When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.” After assuring Lucia that there was nothing more, Mary disappeared off into the distance.

August 1917

As 13 August approached, the story of the apparitions had reached the anti-religious secular press, and while this ensured that the whole country knew about Fatima, it also meant that many biased and negative reports were circulating. The children were kidnapped on the morning of the 13th by the Mayor of Vila Nova de Ourem, Arturo Santos. They were interrogated about the secret; but despite his threats and promises of money, they refused to divulge it. In the afternoon they were moved to the local prison and threatened with death but determined that they would die rather than reveal the secret.

On August 19, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta were assembled at a place called Valinhos, near Fatima, late in the afternoon, when they again saw Mary, who spoke to Lucia: “Go again to the Cova da Iria on the 13th and continue to say the Rosary every day.” Mary also said she would perform a miracle, so all would believe, and that if they had not been kidnapped it would have been even greater.

Looking very sad, Mary then said: “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.” With that she rose into the air and moved towards the east before disappearing.

By now the children had thoroughly absorbed Mary’s plea for prayer and penance, and did everything they could to answer it. They prayed for hours while lying prostrate on the ground and went as long as they could without drinking, in the burning heat of the Portuguese summer. They also went without food, as a sacrifice for sinners, to save them from hell, the vision of which had so profoundly effected them. They even knotted some pieces of old rope around their waists as a form of mortification, not removing them day or night.

13 September 1917

On September 13 very large crowds began to converge on Fatima from all directions. Around noon the children then arrived, and after the customary flash of light, they saw Mary on the holmoak tree. She spoke to Lucia: “Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolours and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices. He does not want you to sleep with the rope on, but only to wear it during the daytime.”

Lucia then began to put forward the petitions for cures, to be told: “Yes, I will cure some, but not others. In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.” With that she rose, moved to the east, and disappeared.

13 October 1917

The proclamation of a public miracle caused the most intense speculation throughout Portugal, and the journalist Avelino de Almeida, published a satirical article on the whole business in the anti-religious newspaper O Seculo. People from other parts of the country descended, in their tens of thousands, on the Cova, despite the terrible storm that lashed the mountain country around Fatima, on the eve of the 13th. Many pilgrims went barefooted, reciting the rosary as they went, all crowding into the area around the Cova, as by midmorning the weather again turned bad and heavy rain began to fall.

The children reached the holmoak around noon, and then saw the flash of light as Mary appeared before them. For the last time, Lucia asked what she wanted: “I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.”

Again Lucia made her requests, being informed that people must amend their lives, and ask forgiveness of their sins, if they wanted healings or conversions. She reported too that Mary grew very sad and said: “Do not offend the Lord our God anymore, because He is already so much offended.” Then rising into the air and opening her hands towards the sun, growing more brilliant as she did, she disappeared, being replaced by various visions seen only by the children.

The Miracle of the Sun

At the same time the vast crowd saw a true miracle. The black clouds parted, and the sun became visible, looking like a dull grey disc that could be looked at directly quite easily. In O Seculo Avelino de Almeida would adopt a very different tone from his earlier satirical article on Fatima:

“…one could see the immense multitude turn towards the sun, which appeared free from clouds and at its zenith. It looked like a plaque of dull silver and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort. It might have been an eclipse which was taking place. But at that moment a great shout went up and one could hear the spectators nearest at hand shouting: “A miracle! A miracle!” Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was Biblical as they stood bareheaded, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws – the sun “danced” according to the typical expression of the people. …

“People then began to ask each other what they had seen. The great majority admitted to having seen the trembling and dancing of the sun; others affirmed that they saw the face of the Blessed Virgin; others, again, swore that the sun whirled on itself like a giant Catherine wheel and that it lowered itself to the earth as if to burn it with its rays. Some said they saw it change colors successively. …”

Other witnesses too, such as Maria Carreira, testified to the terrifying nature of the solar miracle: “It turned everything different colors, yellow, blue, white, and it shook and trembled; it seemed like a wheel of fire which was going to fall on the people. They cried out: ‘We shall all be killed, we shall all be killed!’ … At last the sun stopped moving and we all breathed a sigh of relief. We were still alive and the miracle which the children had foretold had taken place.”

Other people witnessed the solar miracle from a distance thus ruling out the possibility of any type of collective hallucination. A final intriguing, and important, point was that the heat of the sun, as it descended on the people, also had the effect of drying their clothes and the ground, so that they went from being completely soaked to being dry in about ten minutes.

The Deaths of Francisco and Jacinta

An influenza epidemic swept Europe in autumn of 1918, just as the War was finishing, and both Jacinta and Francisco fell ill. Francisco recovered somewhat and there were hopes that he might become well, but he realized that he was destined to die young, as Our Lady had foretold, and his condition worsened again. He offered up all his sufferings as a way of consoling God for the sinfulness and ingratitude of mankind, becoming so weak that eventually he could not even pray. He received his first Communion, and on the next day, 4 April 1919, he died.

Jacinta too was confined to her bed during the long winter months, and although she recovered was struck down with bronchial pneumonia, while also developing a painful abscess in her chest. She was moved to the hospital in Ourem in July 1919, where she underwent the painful treatment prescribed for her, but without much effect, returning home in August with an open wound in her side. It was decided that another attempt should be made to treat her, and so in January 1920 she was taken to Lisbon, where she was diagnosed as having purulent pleurisy and diseased ribs.

Eventually in February she was admitted into hospital, where she underwent another painful operation to remove two ribs; this left her with a large wound in her side that had to be dressed daily, causing her agony. On the evening of 20 February the local priest was called and heard her Confession, but he insisted on waiting till the next day to bring her Communion, despite her protests that she felt worse, and as Mary had told her she died that night alone and far from her family. Her body was returned to Fatima and buried with that of Francisco, until both were later moved to the basilica built at the Cova da Iria.

Later Apparitions to Sr. Lucia

The new bishop of the restored diocese of Leiria decided that it was best if Lucia was removed from Fatima, both to spare her from the continual questionings she had to endure, and to see what effect her absence would have on the numbers coming as pilgrims. Her mother agreed to her being sent away to school, and she left in May 1921, in great secrecy, for Porto, where a school run by the sisters of St. Dorothy was situated. Later she became a sister in this congregation, before joining the Carmelites.

On 10 December 1925, while at the convent in Pontevedra, Spain, Lucia saw another apparition, this time of Mary with the Child Jesus. Mary told Lucia to announce that she promised all the graces necessary for salvation to those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, confessed, received Holy Communion, recited five decades of the rosary, and meditated on the rosary for fifteen minutes, all with the intention of making reparation to her.

On 13 June 1929 Sr. Lucia, while at prayer in the convent chapel at Tuy, where she had moved, saw another apparition, this time a representation of the Trinity. She also heard Mary speak to her, asking that the Pope, in union with all the bishops of the world, make the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart that she had spoken of during the July 1917 apparition.

On 25 January 1938, a strange light filled the skies of northern Europe; it was described as a particularly brilliant display of the Aurora Borealis, but Sr. Lucia realized it was the “unknown light,” also announced by Mary in the July apparition. It meant punishment for the world was close, principally through the Second World War, because it had not turned back to God.

Pope Pius XII consecrated the whole world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart in 1942, and carried out a similar consecration of Russia in 1952, but neither of these fulfilled Mary’s request at Fatima. This collegial consecration, in union with a “moral totality” of the world’s bishops, was finally carried out by Pope John Paul II in 1984. Fatima received further Papal support when, on 13 May 1979, the Pope declared Jacinta and Francisco “venerable,” the first stage in the process of their possible canonization.

Pope John Paul further emphasized the importance of Fatima by beatifying Jacinta and Francisco on 13 may 2000 during the Jubilee Year. At the same time he announced that details of the third part of the Fatima secret will be revealed, while also entrusting the third millennium to Our Lady of Fatima.

The Bishop Approves of Fatima

The Church, meanwhile, had maintained silence about the apparitions during the years from 1917, and it wasn’t until May 1922 that Bishop Correia issued a pastoral letter on the subject, indicating that he would set up a commission of enquiry. In 1930 he issued another pastoral letter on the apparitions, which, after recounting the events at Fatima, contained the following brief but important statement.

“In virtue of considerations made known, and others which for reasons of brevity we omit; humbly invoking the Divine Spirit and placing ourselves under the protection of the most Holy Virgin, and after hearing the opinions of our Rev. Advisors in this diocese, we hereby: 1. Declare worthy of belief, the visions of the shepherd children in the Cova da Iria, parish of Fatima, in this diocese, from the 13th May to 13th October, 1917. 2. Permit officially the cult of Our Lady of Fatima.”

Sources: Kondor, Fatima in Lucia’s own words, Fatima, 1976; De Marchi, Fatima from the beginning, Fatima, 1983; Martins & Fox, Documents on Fatima, Alexandria, 1992.

http://www.theotokos.org.uk/index.html

Peace

Posted on March 16th, 2012 by & filed under Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

The Lord bless you and keep you!
The Lord let his face shine upon you,
and be gracious to you!
The Lord look upon you
kindly and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

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