Our Lady of Fatima didn’t mean much to Michelle Ruffels apart from being a story told to her as a young child, but more than 60 years later she has no doubt the woman who appeared to three shepherd children in Portugal is also behind her finding her new home.
Downsizing with her late husband David, she had all but given up finding somewhere in their price range in their beloved Caringbah, until a last-minute Google search revealed exactly what she was searching for.
“We had been desperately looking for months and getting quite anxious about finding somewhere to live when a voice told me to do one more check on Google. I logged on and Fatima Court popped up,” she said.
A unit had just become available in Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT’s Fatima Court and while completing the application she realised it was May 13, the date Our Lady first appeared to the children at Fatima.
And that was all she needed to know this was where she was meant to be.
The retirees put down a deposit, packed up their lives and prepared to start a new one.
“Moving to Fatima Court completely changed our lives, I truly believe Our Lady brought us here and for that I am so full of gratitude,” she said.
“Our Lady has been with me my whole life, and while I didn’t understand much about her when I was little, she means everything to me today.
“From that moment I knew she had a hand in us finding our new home.
“Moving in was life-changing, as we are right next door to the Our Lady of Fatima church I started going to daily Mass and made a lot of good friends, who would pray together in the chapel and volunteer in the parish.
“Living here has made me the happiest I’ve ever been, it’s my paradise.”
Michelle moved into Fatima Court when she had just turned 60, and her only regret is that she didn’t do it sooner.
“I think people are a little frightened about the word retirement and somehow see it as the end, but it really is just the beginning,” she smiled.
“You retire from work, but you don’t retire from life, there is so much going on here, you can do as little or as much as you want.
“As funny as it sounds, living in a retirement village keeps me young, mostly because I am so happy.”