Robert Ward

Chapter 7
Totus tuus sum, Maria: Fatima

Totus tutus sum, Maria: FatimaMay 13th, 1981
It is the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima. Five-thirty p.m. As he bends spontaneously to caress the girl with the picture of the Virgin pinned to her blouse, the first two bullets whistle through the space where his head had been. But the next ones find him. Now the ambulance must run the gamut of Rome’s traffic to reach Gemelli hospital. The victim of the shooting is bleeding profusely from a bullet wound to the abdomen. He has already gone into shock. As the blood seeps from his body, staining his white robes, the same word passes his lips with every breath:
“Madonna... Madonna...”

The ambulance reaches the hospital in eight minutes. The patient is now unconscious, his pulse almost imperceptible, his blood pressure plummeting. The last rites are administered before the operation begins. Five hours later, though he has lost 60 percent of his blood, it is clear that he will pull through. The bullet has missed his aorta by millimetres, passing through his body without striking any vital organs or causing irreparable damage.

“It’s a miracle,” the doctors exclaim.

The Pope concurs in their opinion.

From his hospital bed, Karol Wojtyla calls for a certain handwritten letter that has been in the hands of the Vatican since 1957. Popularly known as “the Secret of Fatima,” it contains an account of the vision revealed by the Virgin in June of 1917 to a ten-year-old girl named Lúcia dos Santos - now Sister Maria Lúcia of the Immaculate Heart…

John Paul has time, plenty of time, to pore over “the secret.” He has already perused it once since becoming pope in 1978, but like his predecessors he set it aside for a future Pope. The events of May 13th, the day of Our Lady of Fatima, however, suggest that the future is now, that prophecy is becoming headline.

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