ALLIANCE, Ohio -- A very special statue linked to countless miracles, blessings and spiritual conversions is being displayed for a very limited time at a few lucky NE Ohio churches.
The National Pilgrim Virgin Statue is carved in the same image and likeness of the Virgin Mary, as described by the children who claimed to have seen her at Fatima
The children, Lúcia dos Santos, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, were sheep herding near the village of Fatima, Portugal, on May 13, 1917 when they say they saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary.
The children told everyone that she revealed three secrets including a brief look at the fires of hell and the prediction of World Wars I and II.
However, many people did not believe the children, so Mary promised a miracle to occur on October 13, 1917, which became known as the "Miracle of the Sun."
“In the history of apparitions it’s the first time a miracle was predicted when, where, and the exact time it would take place,” said Katie Moran, President of Our Lady’s Blue Army, a group dedicated to spreading the message of Fatima.
It’s estimated that between 70,000 up to 100,000 people witnessed the “Miracle of the Sun.”
Pictures of the event were also captured afterward and numerous articles about it published in newspapers around the world.
“They saw the sun dance, they saw the colors, then they all saw the sun come hurdling toward the earth and they felt the heat of it, they felt like they were gonna be burned alive,” said Katie, “And afterward, they had been standing in mud but afterward the ground was dry and their clothes looked like they’d gone to the dry cleaners and were all clean.”
Many miracles have been reported by the faithful who flock to Fatima but also by those who visit there and replica statues.
This statue is one of only a few sanctioned and blessed replicas and the only one made to travel the United States.
It was blessed by Pope St. Paul VI during the 50th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions and has been traveling the U.S. for 55 years.
“Women a couple of years ago, they came and almost 9 months to the day they called and said they had a baby and previously had been infertile, someone else had incurable cancer,” said Katie, “And that man is still alive today.”
All prayer intentions left at the statue are taken to Fatima and buried in the sacred ground where the Miracle of the Sun happened in 1917.
The statue was at St. Joseph’s Parish in Alliance on Friday, where the Very Rev. Canon Fr. Matthew Mankowski said, “We are very blessed to have the statue here, in the Catholic church we have a very special place for the Virgin Mary, those images are supposed to help us come closer to God.”
This weekend, the public can view the statue for free at St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church in Parma.
People can see her starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
For the full list of times and locations, CLICK HERE.