In the early years of the Cold War, having discovered Our Lady of Fatima’s message, Msgr. Harold V. Colgan partnered with John M. Haffert to create the “Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima”.
Members of this “Blue Army” were the spiritual force standing against the atheistic policies of the Soviet Union and their Red Army. They pledged to offer their daily sufferings and difficulties for the conversion of sinners, to pray the Rosary daily, to wear the Brown Scapular as a sign of consecration to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, and to practice the Five First Saturdays devotion.
The pledge, which Sister Lucia herself helped formulate, quickly gained popularity throughout the United States and soon became a worldwide movement, with between thirty and forty million people having signed the Blue Army Pledge.
In the early 1950s Msgr. Colgan, together with John Haffert, established the Ave Maria Institute on John Haffert’s farm in Washington, New Jersey. The farm served as the administrative center for sending and receiving new Pledge cards, handling correspondence, publishing Soul Magazine, and coordinating travel for the Pilgrim Virgin Statue. Around this same time they also purchased land in Fatima and built Domus Pacis hotel and conference center, which continues to house pilgrims and serve as headquarters for the International World Apostolate of Fatima.
John later donated his farm to the Blue Army, building a large shrine with a towering roof and 24′ bronze statue of Mary on the property. Today, this site is known today as the National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima officially became the World Apostolate of Fatima and on October 7, 2010 was named a Public International Association of the Faithful. Today we serve as the Church’s official voice on the authentic message of Fatima.
A World Apostolate of Fatima Prayer Cell is a group of two or more people who come together on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis to pray and form themselves more deeply in Our Lady’s message, and to grow in devotion to her Immaculate Heart.
As members learn together about Fatima and share insights, they form personal resolutions to uproot sin and cultivate virtue, modeling their lives after the Fatima shepherd children.