Bev’s play on Fatima


ACT Right to Life President Beverley Cains is best-known in Canberra for speaking out against the ills of abortion and euthanasia, rather than being an author.

That all changed recently when her new book called – ‘Fatima: The Play’ was launched at the Catholic Bookshop by Fr Tony Percy.

“Bev it’s my great joy and pleasure to honour this book, to honour you and to launch the book,” Archdiocesan Vicar General said.

Mrs Cains responded in kind, whilst also thanking God for the Great Land of the Holy Spirit, Our Lady Help of Christians, and Our Lady of Fatima “for the many blessings”.

“Thank you, Fr Percy, for launching this book,” she said.

Fr Percy joined with the new author at the launch in saying that he looks forward to the book being performed in schools.

“The play provides an accessible vehicle to share and understand this hundred-year-old story using a modern scene transported over the traditional story,” Holy Trinity Primary School Curtin Principal Judy Spence said.

“The structure and language of the play engages students and provides a powerful introduction for further discussion and investigation.”

With Mrs Cains having a long association with education, choral, musical and drama groups in North Queensland and the ACT, it hardly comes as a surprise that the book is written in the style of a play.

The mother of five with 17 grandchildren and two great grandchildren had husband Kevin and a number of her family were present at the book launch.

She wrote it very much with the intention of wanting to engage young people in the story of Fatima.

“Drama has been proven to be very successful tool for communicating with young people,” Mrs Cains said.

“Plays have been used since medieval times to convey spiritual messages.

“Drama has the ability to engage people.”

The timing of the launch purposefully coincided with the 100th anniversary of the sixth and final apparition of Our Lady in Portugal on October 13, 1917.

For Mrs Cains’ launch speech see below:

“Thank you, Fr Percy, for launching this book.
I will begin by thanking God for our land, the land of the Holy Spirit, and Our Lady Help of Christians, and indeed Our Lady of Fatima for many blessings.
And I thank my Irish ancestors who brought a strong and living Faith to the Palmer Goldfields in the 1850’s, who first settled in Cooktown and by 1921, to Cairns, North Queensland.
And so, to the play – why Our Lady of Fatima? Catholic spirituality has considerable involvement with Mary, the Mother of God. And in 1917, just over 100 years ago, the Virgin Mary came to speak to all of us, at Fatima. Her first announcements were to three young children: Lucia 10 years, Francisco 9 years, and Jacinta 7 years old. They were shepherds, poorly educated in our terms, but richly educated in their Catholic Faith. They said the Rosary, the Angelus as they minded their sheep. They attended Mass each Sunday and longed for the day they would receive their First Holy Communion– they worked, played games, danced and sang as they celebrated Liturgical and family occasions.
But in 1916, the year my mother was born, the Angel of Portugal came to them to deepen their faith, heighten their awareness of spiritual things, encourage them to pray, offer reparation to God and to sacrifice for sinners – they were then 9yrs, 8yrs and 6 yrs old.
Can there be a little step to touch the hearts and minds of our children in a special and memorable way? Yes, I hope so – the kids today love dressing up and acting-out – all the Superman, Wonder Women, Spiderman and unfortunately, at the moment, Halloween costumes are jumping out at them from the stores where they often recreate at the weekend with parents. Every Institution they visit for educational purposes offers a dress-up room.(War Memorial, National Gallery and Museum) So why not give the technical mums and dads and technagers a chance to dress up, light up and fire up their computers to light up the stage with the Angel of Portugal, the visits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and then to demonstrate the final Miracle of the Sun dancing in the heavens and plunging towards earth, before resuming its natural pathway – over 70,000 people witnessed this wonderful sight on 13 October, 1917. Why not challenge our youngsters with the technical aspects and the more important, spiritual aspects of a play- not a Star Wars adventure – but a real episode of Catholic tradition-a moving and touching performance to win the hearts and souls of their audiences!
Drama has been proven to be very successful tool for communicating with young people. Plays have been used since medieval times to convey spiritual messages. Drama has the ability to engage people.

St. Pope John Paul, in his Letter to Artists, spoke of a new epiphany of beauty and a new dialogue of faith and culture between Church and art. On another occasion he spoke of the artistic patrimony inspired by the Christian faith as a “formidable instrument of catechesis” fundamental to “re-launch the universal message of beauty and good.”
I return to the age of the Visionaries in 1917– Lucia 10, Francisco and Jacinta 9 and 7years – and the July Apparition. We all remember something of that – “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and bring all souls to heaven, especially those in need of your mercy”. That wonderful prayer said between the decades of the Rosary. This was the prayer Our Lady taught the children towards the end of the apparition – that is after she had given them a vision of the suffering of souls in hell. Think of their ages. 10, 9 and 7 yrs. Such a thing today would be termed emotional abuse! (Trigger warning!)
Lucia’s description of hell, appears in detail in her Memoirs. Here is an abbreviated description: “Our Lady opened her hands and rays of light penetrated the earth and revealed a vast sea of fire. Demons, terrifying like ugly unknown animals, were black and transparent like burning coals. The condemned souls in human forms were blackened and rising the air with flames amid shrieks and groans of despair. (such sights made me cry out) The vision lasted only a moment, but we recalled the promise made at the first apparition that Our Lady would take us to heaven. Without that I think we would have died of terror and fear.”
The reason Our Lady gave this vision to the children was to encourage them to continue to pray for sinners. “So many people go to hell because there is no one to pray for them”, she said. And at every apparition The Virgin Mary, reminded the children to “continue to say the Rosary every day”. On the 13 October,1917, before the extraordinary miracle, she told the children” I am Our Lady of the Rosary”.
Remember that Lucia lived until 2005 – she was 97 years old when she died. She visited Fatima at the request of three Popes and worked at her task of getting the messages of Fatima known. Cardinal Martins confirmed her beatification would take a while because of the volume of material available. She wrote an estimated 300,000 – 400,000 letters…..not emails!
(If I feel it is not too long I will give this story of Cardinal Caffarra.)

As we now await the result of the opinion poll on marriage, I will refer to an incident with Lucia and the Cardinal of Milan, Cardinal Caffarra. Cardinal Caffarra explained that Saint John Paul II had commissioned him to plan and establish in the early eighties the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. The Cardinal wrote to Sister Lucia.
“Inexplicably, since I did not expect a reply, seeing as I had only asked for her prayers, I received a long letter with her signature, which is now in the archives of the Institute,” the Italian cardinal said.
“In that letter we find written: ‘The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family.’ Don’t be afraid, she added, because whoever works for the sanctity of Marriage and the Family will always be fought against and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. Then she concluded: ‘nevertheless, Our Lady has already crushed his head’.”
Cardinal Caffarra added that “speaking again with John Paul II, you could feel that the family was the core, since it has to do with the supporting pillar of creation, the truth of the relationship between man and woman, between the generations. If the foundational pillar is damaged, the entire building collapses and we’re seeing this now, because we are right at this point and we know it.”
Our children do know that we are all part of God’s family. God loves us and though we may turn away from Him, He does not stop loving us – we may stop loving Him. Yet though He is the God of Love, He is also a just God.
God’s Justice is the strongest argument in support of our belief in Eternal Life. We strive for fulfilment but our Faith reminds us that we were made for Eternity and that is our ultimate goal. The Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, is asking us to be patient – to pray – to pray the Rosary every day – to offer sacrifices for sinners- offer sacrifices in reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary’s Immaculate Heart.