My mother booked an Airbnb for the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, on October 13th, 2017, two years in advance. No matter where we would be, or what our circumstances might be like then, it was certain that we would be in Fatima to celebrate. When I say we, I mean that my mom called me to inform me that I’d be going with her.
I’m not sure what lies at the heart of my mother’s fondness for Fatima, except that she is a superfan of every Marian apparition and Mary herself. I was her first child, and when I was born she gave me the name Mary and, carrying me out of St. Mary’s hospital at a few days old, dedicated and entrusted me to Our Lady in front of a mural of her in the lobby. Growing up, she would take my brother and I to meet what seemed like everyone within driving distance who claimed to see visions of the Virgin Mary, from small apartments in Indianapolis to farms in Kentucky and supernatural light shows in Cincinnati. She helped arrange speaking engagements for visionaries and carted us to day-long conferences about apparitions. As a child, I was jealous of the visionaries, and always tried to pray, be a good girl, and squint hard at the sky, and always felt disappointed that I wasn’t chosen to see Our Lady.