The warm Mediterranean sun hung low above the western horizon. Our bus slowed and turned into a parking lot. Our pilgrimage director announced, “We’ve arrived at Fatima. Before going to our hotel, we are stopping so you can shop for souvenirs.”
I looked at the building next to the parking lot and commented to my daughter Tammie, “This is different. Usually there are dozens of small souvenir stores near pilgrimage sites. All I see is one huge store.”
Following the others off the bus, I entered the store and discovered why there was only one building. It was set up like a department store devoted to all things religious and in particular, objects showing they came from Fatima, Portugal.
As I made a circular tour of the store I came across luggage, which I reasoned was for pilgrim trips, veils and shawls to wear in church, statues of every size up to full scale, medals, biographies of saints, prayer books, bibles, rosaries and rosary-making supplies. The variety of each item was staggering. I felt like a child in a candy store. Continue reading