July 11, 2019
By Cindy Justice, Image from Our Lady of the Lake archives
TITLE: OUR LADY OF FATIMA SHRINE: This week’s image is a real photo showing early worshippers at the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine. Founded in 1938 Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church is home to the Shrine, which is one of Lake Arrowhead’s most significant works of art. When Father Michael O’Duignan was assigned pastor in 1945 he dedicated himself to the planning and construction of the Shrine. Fatima is a tiny village in Portugal where in 1917 the vision of a woman in white appeared six times to three shepherd children, warning the world of upcoming trials and tribulations. Father O’Duignan presented the idea of a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima to the parish and received an overwhelmingly positive response. Mrs. Mary Coony became a valuable fundraiser for the project and soon attracted other wealthy donors. RC Hartwell of Los Angeles said he would donate the adjacent land as well as the finest group of Fatima figures that could be found. He contacted Mr. Jose Ferreira Thedim from Fatima, Portugal. Mr. Thedim, an award winning painter and sculptor, agreed to carve white Estremoz marble, which comes from the actual site of the apparitions in Fatima. In the fall of 1948 Captain William Haller, assigned to the 817th Army Corps of Engineers, visited Our Lady of the Lake Church and learned of the plans to build the Shrine. He organized a group of volunteers from the 817th combat unit and a nearby airmen unit to prepare the site. The completed sculptures were sent by ship through the Panama Canal and eventually transported up the mountain. Mr. Nishan Toor, an Altadena artist and sculptor, erected the sculptures and oversaw the completion of the outdoor altar and pews. The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima was dedicated on Sunday, August 16, 1953 and continues to serve the faithful. Additional information can be found at https://olllakearrowhead.org/fatima-shrine/. The shrine is open to the public at 27627 Rim of the World Drive.