Person, places, and things: Waiting patiently for Our Lady

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Gloria Casas stands with a statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

By Barb Arland-Fye
Editor

After a friend hosted the crowning of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in her home 20 years ago, Gloria Casas began a persistent appeal to host a crowning ceremony in her own home in Muscatine.

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A month ago, she received an answer to prayer. The America Needs Fatima Campaign called to arrange for a replica of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima to spend a few hours in Gloria’s home on March 9. Her joy filled the house, adorned inside with statues and paintings of Mary and other beloved saints, including Juan Diego.

“I waited 20 years to have her in my house,” said Gloria, who whenever she sent a donation to America Needs Fatima included a note asking, “When are you bringing Our Lady to my house?” Actually, she received her first hosting invitation in 2020, but reluctantly declined because of the pandemic. The organization called back in February to see if she was still interested. “Sure,” she said. “I’ve been waiting a long time.”

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Gloria began preparations in earnest. She invited friends from her parish, Ss. Mary & Mathias in Muscatine; her pastor, Father Chris Weber; Father Hai Dinh, who previously served at the parish; and other guests. She spent three days cleaning the house and hours making seven dozen pork-filled tamales with another woman to serve to guests.

Her excitement turned to worry when forecasters predicted snow, possibly heavy, the day of the crowning. She sent a text message to Father Hai, saying she was praying for the snow to stop. He said he advised her not to pray for the snow to stop. Instead, she should pray for “no snowing in people’s hearts and for the love of the Virgin to be in their hearts so that they will come to the crowning even if it is snowing.” His response reassured Gloria.

The day of the statue’s anticipated arrival, an America Needs Fatima representative called to ask if Gloria would like to cancel because of the weather. “Are you kidding,” she responded. “I’m cooking all of these tamales and expecting all of these people.”

Other unexpected obstacles tested her resolve but she kept the faith. About 15 of the 30 invited guests arrived at her house, along with the representative and the statue. “It just melts your heart when you see her,” Gloria said of the statue. “She’s so beautiful.”

Asked if she would like to crown Our Lady of Fatima, she answered, “I don’t know if I’m worthy, but I’ll do it.” Later, the representative asked Gloria if she could keep the statue overnight while he stayed in a hotel because of the weather. Generally, hosts have the statue for just a couple of hours.

“I’d be honored to have her here,” Gloria told the representative. A friend stopped by later that evening to pray the rosary in front of the statue. The next morning, Gloria prayed the rosary in front of the statue. “She looks at you with these beautiful eyes … it’s like she’s talking to you,” Gloria said. The representative picked up the statue to take to another home in another city.

While she was sad to see the statue go, “I knew it was just for a little while,” Gloria said. “I’m glad she stayed overnight. Something good came out of the bad weather. That left her here overnight.”

(Contact Barb Arland-Fye at arland-fye@davenportdiocese.org)


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