Yesterday was the anniversary of one of the strangest experiences I have ever had. I posted about it several months ago, but I thought I would share it with you again. I am not a writer, so I probably am not able to do justice to this little story. But it is a true story, so just imagine you are sitting with me in my living room, we are having some refreshments and chatting, and I am reciting the story to you just as it happened. I must say, also, that although I was baptized in the Catholic Church, I am not a Catholic so I have no special affinity to the Pope. I am spiritual but non-religious, secular. This is my Pope story.
It was Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10, 1981 and my daughter and I went for a two-hour walk to Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks, near where I live. When we got home my daughter settled down to do her homework, and I enjoyed the rare luxury of a Sunday afternoon nap. Just as I was waking up, I looked out the French doors in my bedroom that lead to the garden. The cherry trees were in bloom and I thought how wonderful they looked. I was wide awake.
As I was looking at the trees, I had a vision of a radio tower, similar to the RKO radio tower, and I could hear voices coming from it. The voices were speaking in various languages that I could not understand, but then I could understand the voices as they spoke in French and English. They were announcing that the Pope had been shot and was being rushed to Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic in Rome. The voices went on to say who did it and how he did it. His name was Mehmet Ali Ağca and he was a Turkish gunman for hire. He had smuggled the gun into Rome and hid it in a locker at the train station. I was visualizing the "boot" of Italy, and I could see his journey. He later retrieved the gun, went to St. Peter’s Square and shot the Pope.
I sat up in bed and thought, “How evil. Why would anyone shoot the Pope?” It left me feeling very unsettled and I tried not to think about it. An hour or so later, a thunderstorm passed over Vancouver and lightning struck very close to our house. One of the basement windows was shattered and I felt very disoriented, as if I were part of the electrical energy.
The next day, Monday, I checked the television and newspapers to see if there had been any news about the Pope being shot, but there was nothing. By Tuesday, I had put it out of my thoughts. On Wednesday morning, May 13th, as I was getting ready for work and my daughter was getting ready for school, she came into my bedroom and said, “Mother, someone has just shot the Pope.” I said, “I know” and I told her about my premonition. I said, “Wait, there’s more,” Two days later, the rest of the story was announced on the six o’clock news. It was just as I had predicted.
A few years later I learned the assassination attempt on the Pope took place on the anniversary of the day and the hour when the Virgin Mary first appeared to the three peasant children in Fátima, Portugal, May 13, 1917. The Virgin Mary divulged three secrets to the children, the third of which was of “a bishop clothed in white who falls to the ground, apparently dead under a burst of gunfire.” The third secret had been kept sealed for many years and had been interpreted as the assassination of a Pope. One of the three children, Lucia, became a Carmelite nun and Pope John Paul II met with her on May 13, 1982, one year after the attempt on his life. He always felt that the Virgin Mary had protected him.
Three years after the assassination attempt, the Pope came to Vancouver. Everyone went to see him, and I was standing by the side of the road near the Burrard Bridge as he passed by in his Popemobile with the bulletproof dome. Just as he pulled beside me and he was a few feet away, he turned and looked at me and our eyes locked for a brief moment, and on his face was a look of recognition. A strange and powerful force of the universe had connected us on May 13, 1981, and had also connected us both to another extraordinary event that had taken place on May 13, 1917. However, I will never fully understand what it was.
The Pope believed the bullet that hit him was diverted by the Virgin Mary and one year later he visited the shrine at Fátima in Portugal, where he placed the bullet in Mary's crown. In 1983 The Pope forgave Mehmet Ali Ağca.