The M+G+R Foundation

An excerpt from the booklet

"The Rosary of Hiroshima", by Hubert F. Schiffer, S.J.


At 2:45 A.M. on August 6th, 1945, a B-29 took off from.the island of Tinian to drop the first atomic bomb on Japan. Over Iwo Jima it met with an in- strument plane and a photography ship. Three weather planes had taken off an hour ahead to scout the sky over three Japanese cities chosen as possible targets: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Kokura.

The big flight was on. Soon the first A-bomb would explode only eight city blocks from the Jesuit Church of Our Lady's Assumption where I was stationed in Hiroshima.

The bomb exploded over the city at 8:15 in the morning. It came as a complete surprise, out of a blue and sunny sky. Suddenly, between one breath and another, in the twinkling of an eye, an unearthly, unbearable brightness was all around me; a light unimaginably brilliant, blinding, intense. I could not see, or think. For one short moment everything was at a standstill. I was left alone swimming in this ocean of light, helpless and frightened. The room seemed to catch its breath in deadly silence.

Suddenly, a terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunderstroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me, whirled me 'round and 'round like a leaf in a gust of Autumn wind.

(Up in the air, the B-29's co-pilot scribbled in his log: "The flash was terrific. About 25 seconds after the flash we felt two very distinct slaps on the ship. We then turned the ship so that we could observe the results, and there in front of our eyes was without a doubt the greatest explosion man has ever witnessed: the city was nine-tenths covered with smoke of a boiling nature, which seemed to indicate buildings blowing up, and a large column of white cloud which in less than three minutes reached 30,000 and then went to at least 50 - 60,000 feet. I am certain the entire crew felt that this experience was more terrifying than any human being had ever thought possible. It seemed impossible to comprehend. Just how many Japanese did we kill ? I honestly have the feeling of groping for words to explain this, or I might say 'My God! What have we done?' If I live a hundred years, I'll never quite get these few minutes out of my mind.")

The light was suddenly gone. All was darkness, silence, nothingness. I was not unconscious, because I was trying to think what was happening. I felt with my fingers in the total blackness enveloping me. I was lying with my face down on broken and splintered pieces of wood, some heavy load pressed on my back, blood was running down my face. I could see nothing, hear no sound. I must be dead I thought.

Then I heard my own voice. That was the most frightening experience of all, because it showed me I was still alive, and convinced me that some horrible Catastrophe had occurred.

An explosion? — Heavens, that was a BOMB! A direct hit!

It took only a second: a flash — fearfully frightening — and Hiroshima, home of half a million people, was wiped off the earth. What was left was only darkness, blood, burns, moans, fire and spreading terror.

Four Jesuit priests were stationed at the church of Our Lady's Assumption: Father Hugo Lassalle, Superior of the whole Jesuit Mission in Japan, and Fathers Kleinsorge, Cieslik, and Schiffer. We spent the whole day in an inferno of flames and smoke before a rescue party was able to reach us. All four were wounded but through the grace of God we survived.

Nine days later peace came. It was August 15, the feast of our Blessed Mother's Assumption.

On the other side of the world more than a year later occured a series of events which on the surface appeared to have no connection, but which have since proved to be the most powerful single force in preventing a repetition of the horrible experience of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S.A., a priest had just finished offering a Requiem Mass when he collapsed at the foot of the altar, the victim of an extremely serious heart attack.

Doctors gave him only a few weeks to live. But the priest, Rev. Harold V. Colgan, Pastor of St. Mary's Church, Plainfield, completely startled the doctors a few days later when he walked from the hospital a completely cured man, in response to his fervent prayers to the Mother of God.

He promised the Blessed Virgin Mary that if She would obtain from God his complete cure, he would spend the rest of his life spreading devotion to her.

He has fulfilled this pledge by starting the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima, which has spread to some 25 million persons in 57 nations of the world in observance of the opening quotation in this booklet and the rest of the message given by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal in 1917.

Recognizing that prayer is more powerful than the atom bomb, Father Colgan, who has since been elevated to the rank of Right Reverend Monsignor, thoroughly studied the requests of Our Lady of Fatima and then insisted that each of her requests be fulfilled by the person signing the Blue Army Pledge.

Blue Army members promise to say the Rosary every day, to consecrate themselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and show their consecration by wearing the Brown Scapular, and properly to fulfill the duties of their state in life, offering the sacrifices and penances involved to God in reparation for sin.

The Blue Army also urges the first Saturday devotions announced in Fatima.

(1) "The Rosary of Hiroshima" (1953), by Hubert F. Schiffer, S.J., brought to the general public courtesy of Sacred Heart University - Library Special Collectons. The excerpt reproduced in this document is a full and literal copy of the section "The Atom Bomb" (pp. 9-14)

Return to the Originating Document

The M+G+R Foundation
Online since 1998
Introduction for First Visit  |  Frequently Asked Questions
Home Page  |  English  |  Español  |  Portugues
Search Page  |  Index of Documents
Disclaimer  |  About Us  |  Contact
Back Up Home Page (Mirror Site)