Fatima is second only to the Vatican as the most-visited pilgrimage destination in Catholicism, renowned for the story of three young people who witnessed a miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Fatima) in 1917.

I went to Fatima expecting to find a modest, rustic, secluded grotto… an eminently humble retreat far removed from the trappings of modern life.  Instead, I was surprised to find … after surviving a gauntlet of souvenir shops… a sprawling, modern complex which initially gave me some mixed feelings about being there.  That said, I was deeply moved by the handful of devout pilgrims who were there seeking miraculous interventions, both physical and spiritual, on behalf of their loved ones.

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