|The United Nations Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima was brought to Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Springfield and five other parishes in the Diocese of Nashville from Oct. 7 through Oct. 11. Our Lady of Lourdes parishioner Patricia Solomon prays before the statue, as the statue’s custodian, Judith Studer, stands at left. Photo by Andy Telli
As the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s appearances at Fatima draws nearer, she continues to beckon people to Jesus through her, said Judith Studer, the custodian of the United Nations International Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
“Mary loves every person created. We’re all her children and have a special place in her Immaculate Heart,” said Studer, who brought the statue to six churches in the Diocese of Nashville Oct. 7-11. “She wants us all to turn to her son in heaven.”
“The Lord loves his Mother. He wants us to come to him through his mother,” said Studer, who noted that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana at the behest of Mary. “He did that for his Mother. He always listens to his mother.”
Catholics don’t worship Mary, but honor and venerate her, Studer said. “We ask her to pray for us and with us to Jesus.”
In 1917, the Blessed Mother appeared to three shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, at Fatima.
“Mary’s great promise was in the end (her) Immaculate Heart will triumph. The world will have a new era of peace when people do what she asked,” Studer said. In every apparition to the three children from May 13 to Oct. 13, 1917, “she asked us to pray the Rosary every day for peace in the world and the conversion of sinners.”
During her visit to Nashville, Studer brought the statue to Holy Rosary Church, Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, St. Edward Church, St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows Church, the Cathedral of the Incarnation and Our Lady of Lourdes in Springfield.
At each stop, Studer told the story of her own devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. “Several years ago I was more materialistic (and) interested in climbing the ladder of success,” she said. But Studer, who recently retired as a nurse, was diagnosed with cancer and was told she had less than six months to live.
Studer’s mother noted that their statue of Our Lady of Fatima was coming to their hometown in Rhode Island and implored Studer to pray before the statue.
“I was angry at God” after losing a daughter and grandchild to cancer, Studer said. But she knelt before the statue and prayed, “I’m unworthy to be in your presence or the presence of your son. Mom says you hear all prayers. Please pray for me that God will heal me.” Studer promised that she would dedicate her life to promoting devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.
A week later, she took a battery of medical tests and her doctor invited her to his office to talk about the results. “I don’t know how it happened, I can’t explain it, but you’re cancer free,” the doctor told Studer. “It was Our Lady. Our Lady brought my prayer to Jesus and Jesus healed me.”
The World Apostolate of Fatima, formerly known as the Blue Army, asked Studer to take the statue for a month, visiting churches in Rhode Island and telling her story. Before she could return the statue, the headquarters of the World Apostolate of Fatima in New Jersey was damaged by a fire. The apostolate’s leaders asked her to hold onto the statue because they didn’t have a safe place to keep it. They would ask for the statue later, they added. “That was 13 years ago and they haven’t asked for it back yet,” Studer said.
In those 13 years, she has taken the statue around the United States and the world, including the Philippines, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and India, among other countries. “I’m very blessed,” Studer said.
The wood statue was carved in 1946 and in 1952 was brought to the United Nations in New York where it was placed in the Meditation Room. Since then, it has been part of the World Apostolate of Fatima and its Dicastery.
To learn more about the World Apostolate of Fatima and tours of the United Nations statue, visit