This year’s Rosary Crusade will be a special one for Shirley Dufrene of Luling, as it will for thousands of people worldwide.
“This is the 100th year of the Fatima miracle,” Dufrene said.
It’s the Fatima Centennial (1917 – 2017), bringing the world to a historic crossroad. To honor the historic date, Dufrene said 20,000 crusades will be held throughout the United States on the same day and time.
The local crusade will be held at noon Oct. 14, where it’s been held for the last eight years at Monsanto Park.
Dufrene said she’s done the crusades as “Thanks giving to the Blessed Mother. She’s helped me so much.”
The Fatima Miracle, also called the Miracle of the Sun, occurred Oct. 13, 1917 in front of a large crowd near Fatima, Portugal in response to a prophecy made by three shepherd children that the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Fatima) would appear and perform miracles.
The sun reportedly came down upon the crowd and terrified the people, but it returned to the sky and left the people, who were ankle deep in mud from rain and then saw the earth had dried.
This prayer vigil celebrates the “Miracle of the Sun.”
Dufrene’s group, the Fatima Rosary Group of Luling, is holding the local Rosary Crusade.
It started in 1974 with the late Father Bobby Gus in 1974 who wanted to say the rosary in St. Anthony Catholic Church in Luling, she said. They said the rosary there on Monday nights and then the Fatima people brought them a “Fatima statue” of the Blessed Mother or a copy of the one in Portugal.
For at least a year, they said the rosary at the church averaging about 10 people at every vigil. A year later, they started praying in the homes with the number of participants growing to nearly 24 people.
The vigils were aimed at bringing “people to think about God and pray, and bring God back in their lives. Period,” Dufrene said.
The prayer rallies, which she had steadily played a role in organizing, have been successful.
“We hear from people who say they felt the spirit of God there,” Dufrene said. “It’s real quiet, but it’s so spiritual.”
One of her original prayer group people, a 92-year-old woman, will crown the Blessed Mother statue, she said.
The Fatima statue will be at this year’s rally, she said.
“We have the original statue we started with in 1975,” Dufrene said. “It got lost along the way” and it resurfaced and was returned with the original rosary around her neck. “I was overjoyed.”
For Dufrene, the Public Square Rosary Crusade comes at a pivotal time.
“It’s important for people to come together and pray,” she said. “We need a miracle. We need something for people to wake up.”