excerpt from the booklet
Rosary of Hiroshima", by Hubert F. Schiffer, S.J. (1)
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
Nine days later peace came. It was August 15, the feast of our Blessed
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
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
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
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)