OVERVIEW: When I was growing up my family would always visit Fatima when we went to Portugal. We would go to the church, say a few prayers, and visit the outdoor chapel. It is a spiritual place, but you do not need to be Catholic to appreciate it. Many people claim to have a sense of calm come over them in this town.
BASILICA DE NOSSA SENHORA DO ROSARIO DE FATIMA: Fatima became famous when supposedly the Virgin Mary appeared to three children (Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia) in this town in 1917. Since then people have flocked to Fatima to worship in this sacred place. The church itself is beautiful as the light flows through the stained-glass windows. The walls are carved with religious illustrations and there are many statues of the Virgin Mary.
The three children that Mary approached, are now buried here.
Outside, there is a chapel that was created in the exact spot where Mary was said to have appeared. There are church services held throughout the day. There is also an area where you can light a candle. An interesting thing is you can buy wax body parts that you can melt down as a symbol of that organ being healed. For instant, if you have someone with a heart condition, you can melt a heart shaped piece of wax to burn.
Another impressive thing to see here are the people making “promessas.” People that would like to thank God for healing their loved one, or themselves, crawl on their knees while reciting the rosary. They crawl across the entire length of the courtyard on a path made of marble in any weather. It is an amazing act to see.