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  June 2018  
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The Virgin Mary and Three Little Shepherds, Gift of the Fatima Shrine to Pope Francis

May 12, 2017. An Alabaster “Promise”

The Fatima Shrine will offer Pope Francis an alabaster sculpture representing the Virgin Mary with her arms open spreading her mantle over the three kneeling little shepherds of Fatima, with Lucia on her right and Jacinta and Francisco on her left.

The artist is Portuguese sculptor Ligia Rodrigues. At the bottom of the sculpture she inscribed: “To Pope Francis + Centenary of the Apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima + May 13, 2017,” reported the Fatima Shrine.

The stone that lets light pass is altogether a message. The artist was inspired by the description of light made by Sister Lucia in her Memoirs. She explained: “A material like alabaster was necessary, which lets light pass through, suggesting Mary’s imminence and transparence.”

In her right hand, the Virgin presents her Immaculate Heart and, in the left, the Rosary. Jacinta and Francisco have their hands folded in sign of prayer, sign of their response to the Virgin’s appeal. And Lucia seems to be talking with the Virgin Mary.

The name of the work is “Promise,” because it recalls four promises.

First of all, it refers to “the Virgin Mary’s promise that Love will overcome evil – her Immaculate Heart, that is, mercy, tenderness, love, the fullness of light.”

“It is a ‘promise of life’: the little shepherds promised to offer their sacrifices for sinners, “to love for those who do not love.”

It is a “promise of prayer”: they promised to pray the Rosary every day.

It is also the promise of the “people”: of all persons who come to Fatima who do not despair because they have confidence in Mary, the Mother who comes to their help; her Immaculate Heart is their “refuge,” explained the artist who said she wished to represent the fact that no one of the people “is excluded.”

Ligia Rodrigues is 55. She studied Fine Arts at Lisbon and taught at the University of Algarve, in the south of Portugal. Since 2005, she has been totally dedicated to sacred art.