Behind a series of twisting, hilly roads in East Boston is probably the last place you’d expect to find a giant tribute to our Lady of Fatima. But there she stands.
The titanic holy lady was built in 1954 by the fathers of the Don Orione order. The holy men wished to create a devotional work to pair with their charitable work at their nearby nursing home. It was their belief that every charitable work of theirs should be paired with such a devotional site. The large lady stands atop a globe representing her God-given power over the universe.
The shrine was intended to host swarms of religious pilgrims, although these days you’ll be lucky to encounter one or two stray senior citizens, and that’s only if the wind isn’t kicking up too much. This is probably the best spot in the city to watch planes taking off from nearby Logan International Airport, and it makes for a rare opportunity to be alone and collect your thoughts in a town where it often seems like people live on top of one another.
The Don Orione retirement home next door is still in operation and the oversize Mary stands as a reminder of the religious devotion that continues to drive the charitable facility.
Know Before You Go
Make sure to visit the gift shop for religious goods and trinkets. There is also a collection of relics from recent saints at the complex, making it the perfect stop for the religious enthusiast. The chapel also hosts daily masses in English, as well as in Portuguese and Spanish.
The twists and turns leading to this site will fool even the most recently updated GPS. Turn right off of 1A when you see the signs for the 40-foot tall Virgin Mary, then keep going up.