Welcome to Our Lady of Fátima Garden in Charles Town, West Virginia. We hope that your visit to this is filled with peace, inspiring you to learn more about the Fátima apparitions and, more importantly, what Our Lady and Jesus ask of us. It is important to note that at each apparition, Our Lady told the children that she wanted them and each of us to pray the rosary daily.
The Our Lady of Fátima Garden-Shrine was designed to be an all-encompassing memorial to the one hundredth anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady to the three children of Fátima, Portugal. It was designed for all ages as a place of silent worship and communal prayer as well as a means of iconography to teach the important message of Fátima.
Our intention was to create the opportunity to recite the prayer (The Rosary) Our Lady gave to the children in a Rosary Walk. The quatrefoil cruciform space displays all of the Mysteries of the Rosary and the Magnificent Artwork of Fátima. The multicolored stone pavers replicate a rosary (no excuses if you forgot your own rosary…you can recite just by walking on the given stones.
Upon entering the Shrine, you will notice the three children in the center of the Shrine. Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia are kneeling in awe before Our Lady. They are positioned such (with space between them) to invite all visitors to join them in prayer and kneel next to them to pray and offer sacrifice as the children did 100 years ago. Notice the expression of the children, the rapture and shock as they listen intently to what Our Lady speaks to them.
Before them stands the larger-than-life statue of Our Lady floating upon a holm oak tree based on the children’s descriptions of the apparitions. The placement allows space for outdoor Masses within the Shrine walls. The beautiful statue of Our Lady encourages contemplative prayer and devotion to her son. The white Carrara marble used for all of the hand-carved statues was quarried in the Tuscan region of Italy in a town called Pietrasanta (Holy Land). Famous sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti exclusively used these same mountains to quarry marble for all of his sculptures.
Each quadrant of the quatrefoil holds one of the four mysteries (Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious) of the Life of Christ. Pilgrims are invited to meditate on the images of the mysteries to enhance their prayer experience. The images were created using the same Azulejos Blue tile painted and fire-kilned in the traditional Portuguese way.
The statues on either side of Our Lady are of the Angel of Peace and St. Pope John Paul II. The Angel first appeared to the children a year before the Marian apparitions to prepare them and give them spiritual communion. The Angel is shown with the Chalice and Host offering the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ. The Angel is “in motion” floating just as the same way as the children described.
The statue of St. Pope John Paul II is shown holding the bullet and giving thanks to Our Lady for saving his life. It was on May 13 (Feast Day of Our Lady of Fátima) when a professional would-be assassin shot and attempted to kill St. Pope John Paul II but failed in his mission. St. Pope John Paul II is holding the bullet and offering it to Our Lady in thanksgiving for saving his life. The same bullet that St. Pope John Paul II was shot with is in the underside top of the crown of Our Lady of Fátima (note the crown of Our Lady has the same bullet carved in marble in her crown too).
The brick walls (six panels total) will soon have bronze plaques depicting and commemorating the six apparitions of Our Lady to the children. Each will have a bronze photo-authentic picture showing the people and/or the countryside at the time of each apparition along with the special message Our Lady gave to the children each time she appeared to them.
This garden is made possible by the Alfred and Barbara Braddock Foundation, originally of North Bergen, NJ and inspired by Our Lady of the Rosary. Their sons, Francis and Anthony (Tony) J. Braddock, and with the help of their cousins, Joseph and Bertha Braddock, have brought this garden to fruition for Our Lady and the world. This garden is dedicated to the Braddock, Romano, and Navarroli families.
Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, dedicated the shrine on October 14, 2017. The garden was designed by St. Jude Liturgical Studios of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Design Concepts of Winchester, Virginia. Its rich design uniquely presents a world-class Garden to Our Lady.