The on-the-hour novena had continued through the day for Our Lady’s birthday. Birthday cake and milk from the Community of Caritas’ dairy cows were in abundance for the Birthday party the Community gave Our Lady joined by thousands of pilgrims in the Field in the morning. But the party they gave Our Lady was nothing compared to the party She gave later that afternoon in the Field for Her apparition. Great anticipation was felt as pilgrims entered the Field that evening. The sky was partly cloudy, but also blue patches were scattered and the sun was shining. There was no rain and many left their umbrellas behind as there wasn’t a forecast for bad weather. All those in the Field gathered around Our Lady’s Nativity to begin praying the Rosary.
Rapidly, after beginning the Rosary with clear skies, the weather began changing. The wind picked up, gray clouds began to roll in, and thunder could be heard in the far distance. As each decade was prayed, the thunder became louder, lightning began appearing and rain could be heard and seen in the distance, but heading toward the crowd in the Field. The nearer to apparition time, the more severe the weather became. As Marija and her husband made their way up to Our Lady’s little house for the apparition, the storm suddenly broke out in full fury. Thunder so loud it shook the ground, lightning cracking down all around, torrential rain and wind pouring down so hard that umbrellas were useless, and then, amazingly, hail began pounding down on people in the open Field, where a lone pine tree reached up in the sky, where lightning bolts were everywhere.
Yet the reaction of all those who were present was of wonder, awe and yes, joy >because there was a realization that God was allowing a recreation of Our Lady’s birth in the storm that we were experiencing, just as we heard the night before in the 3rd Marian Mystery, when Our Lady was born. As the word hail was said, beginning the ‘Hail Holy Queen’, hail began falling upon the people! No one left the Field. Many were laughing out loud with pure joy, even while being pelted with hail. The prayers had to be shouted to be heard above the storm, and then just at the exact moment Marija went into ecstasy, a lightning bolt struck, coming out of the sky exactly down to the point where Our Lady appeared, just over the little house, so loud and so bright, yet without causing any harm. Our Lady appeared at 6:48 p.m. The apparition lasted nearly four minutes. Marija’s description of the apparition follows:
“When Our Lady came I recommended all of us and all our intentions. Our Lady prayed over us for a long time, and She blessed us with Her Special Motherly blessing. Our Lady came with a gold dress, and there were three angels around Her. Then She said:
“Dear children! Do not forget that I am your Mother and I love you.”
Marija relayed Our Lady then said:
“I thank you for your novenas.”
Then Our Lady gave the final blessing and said: “Go in peace.”
The joy of the storm, hail, lightning and then for Our Lady to thank the group for the 9-hour daily novenas for Her birthday was such tangible evidence that Our Lady was attentive in watching everything we did. This left the crowd in awe. Marija said that she thinks the sacrifice of being here, under the rain was just the icing on the cake. The 15-minute ride back to the hotels ended up taking 2-3 hours. Traffic lights and power lines were down from the rapidly moving storm that came from nowhere. Without power, people stayed outside their hotels late into the night, talking of this wonder. Many people relayed it as a Fatima miracle experience. The storm came directly out of the east, which no one in the valley had ever seen happen before, as storms always come out of the west and south. A neighbor three miles down the road said that he saw the biggest bolt of lightning he’d ever seen in his life over the Caritas area, though he’s not a believer in the Field. Eerily, the sun was setting in the west, causing it to cast its rays under the storm clouds; a phenomenon also never witnessed, as the storm came from the east.