Happy Feast of Our Lady of Fatima!
I love sharing travel trivia with you.
On this day back in 1981 Pope John Paul II was shot during a Papal Audience. He survived of course.
Today in Saint Peter’s Square, you can find two things that relate to this day…
Near the security entrance to the basilica, there is a small marble marker on the ground. It simply has the coat of arms for JPII and a date. This is the exact spot of the assassination attempt. Each year on May 13th, people bring flowers and toss them on the spot.
If you’ve been to Saint Peter’s Square, or seen it in photos, you’ve surely noticed all the statues surrounding the piazza. There are 140 saints, and if you know how to read art, you can pick out who’s who.
As John Paul II was being hurried to safety, he looked to Mary for comfort. Realizing that there was no Mary in Saint Peter’s Square, he commissioned a mosaic so that Our Lady is always looking over the piazza.
In the Vatican Museums, there is a rarely visited gallery, the Carriage Museum. This is a great place to visit to see the history of Vatican transport. From horse drawn carriages to a custom Mercedes, and even a simple Volkswagen bug, there are probably over twenty papal modes of transportation.
They also have the Pope-mobile that Pope John Paul II was riding in when he was shot.
The Pope was shot on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. He traveled there to give her thanks for saving his life. He brought the bullet they pulled out of him, and put it into the crown of a statue of Mary.
I’m taking a group to Fatima (and Lourdes) this summer, and should join me.
As for the wax body parts… many people travel to Fatima for healing. So all the gift shops sell wax body parts that people can buy and then toss into a fire to offer up their prayers.
Happy Feast and hope to see you in Fatima!
PS Joannie and I did a whole podcast on the pope getting shot and one of the things he did that helped him survive. Here’s the link to listen.