Barbara Oleynick - creator of the Miracle of Fatima - the musical
In 1997, after a thirteen years absence from church I made a decision (admittedly on a bit of a whim) to apply to NYU Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Writing Musical Theatre Program. Low and behold I was accepted, one of twenty-two out of the two thousand that apply annually from around the globe to an amazing and extremely intense program. In retrospect, I needed the tools to create the vehicle that would bring the message of Our Mother, the Beloved Beautiful Lady of Fatima to our much wounded world and this was where I would get them. I learned how to tell the story through scene and song making it accessible so that many ears will listen and hearts will embrace Her plea for peace.
I was neither special, nor terribly religious before entering the program, however, by April of 1998 I was attending daily mass at St. Gabriel’s church in Milford, CT. I began my days running on the beach praying the rosary in the wee hours of the morning. I was already working on a musical adaptation of my autobiography as my thesis project; working alone because no one wanted to work with the “older woman who lived in Connecticut and spoke often of faith”. One morning in May, while running on the beach praying, I heard a voice so loud that I thought someone was behind me. The words were simple, “You must write about the Marian apparitions.” I spun around, surely there must be someone there, but no, I was alone. The first thing that came to mind was the film, The Song of Bernadette, then Medjugorje – I had seen a special on television a few years earlier, Fatima was not a thought in my mind. I kept running, returned home, got in the shower and once again the voice repeated the same command. “You must write about the Marian apparitions.” I laughed aloud, thinking, "Sure I’m going to write about the Mother of God in the den of iniquity and get it produced." However, the voice haunted me day and night, driving me to the quest for information on the subject matter. I discovered that there were (back in 1998) over 8000 recorded visits from Mary since 40 AD when She first appears to James as he is evangelizing outside of Zaragoza, Spain. It is seven years after the death of Christ and he is feeling very much alone and unworthy of doing what he committed himself to do. He cries out for his beloved Christ to return, just once to reassure him, and it is Mary who comes, interceding on behalf of Her Son. I began there and with help from others I learned about the many other notable visits. One of the supervisors at the hospital where I worked and who was starting a Rosary Society for children spoke to me, gave me a few short films to watch on the subject and I was drawn in. For a few weeks I tried, really hard to pull something together on the subject, completely abandoning my autobiography, however, the task was daunting and I threw up my hands in defeat. I left my writing/music room in anger, frustration and headed for the beach and not with my rosary in hand, just unworthiness in my heart. I returned after an hour and headed upstairs to my room. I opened the door and was immediately taken by the scent of roses that filled the room. The beautiful fragrance lasted for over a week, others smelled it as well, only in that room, no where else in the house. I discovered via the internet that that was one of the ways the Blessed Mother makes herself known. And so, I looked to the heavens and said, “All right, I’ll do it, but don’t leave me, because I do not know what I am doing.” She has been at my side, during the highs and low these past 13years during the process of writing, developing, directing and producing the show.
The love I experience from Her and for Her is indescribable and I will forever be in Her service and that of Her Son. How blessed am I to have such a task as to spread Her message of Peace to the world through music and words that came from Her through me. There is much, much more to tell of these past twelve years and I will write all of the stories down – but first this part of the journey must take place.