"A Strange and Unknown Light"

On Jan. 25, 1938, fear struck the hearts of millions around the world. A bizarre phenomenon lit up the sky across Europe and could even be seen as far west as Bermuda. Many thought the world was ending. The next day, the newspapers were calling it an aurora borealis. But others remembered what Our Lady of Fatima had told the three shepherd children on July 13, 1917. She said, "When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine and persecution of the Church and the Holy Father." Less than a month later, Hitler marched his army into Austria, and in September, he invaded Poland.

It's unclear whether or not St. Faustina saw this light, but in a Diary entry dated Jan. 25, 1938, she wrote, "I saw the anger of God hanging heavy over Poland. And now I see that if God were to visit our country with the greatest chastisements, that would still be great mercy because, for such grave transgressions, He could punish us with eternal annihilation" (1533).

Herman Carvalho of Clinton Corners, New York, didn't know much about Our Lady of Fatima or the mercy of God when he was just 7 years old. But living in a remote village in Portugal, he indeed witnessed this astonishing sight.

At dusk, he was outside playing near his mother who was doing chores. He wandered toward an iron gate leading to the road when he noticed something in the northern part of the sky. "What I saw I can never forget because it was so real," he said. "Far away as far as my eyes could see, I saw something coming up from the ground. It went up to the sky and was going up. But then I didn't look anymore and I started to play." Herman didn't think to tell anyone what he had seen.

About a half an hour later, while the Carvalhos ate dinner together, they heard people outside crying. "We went to the terrace, and we were going to ask the people why they were crying," he said.

Looking out over the surrounding olive trees to the other end of the landscape, they saw the sky burn a vibrant red. "It was as red as red can be ... like in flames," he said. The rest of the sky was completely dark.

"I remember my father saying, 'If this falls on top of us, we all die,'" he said. "It was scary, and I never saw that again in my life." As little Herman shook from fright, his mother took him to her bedroom to calm him down. She told him to look at a picture of Our Lady of Fatima that she had hanging in her room. She told him to pray.

"I believe it very much because I never forgot. I've told numerous people what happened that it's true," he said. "It was unbelievable."


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