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The Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima
May 12, 2013 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
On this page:
1st Apparition | 2nd Apparition | 3rd Apparition 4th Apparition | 5th Apparition | 6th Apparition The Consecration of Russia | The Chastisement Papal Consecrations | The Third Secret
On May 13, 1917, Lucia dos Santos, Francisco, and Jacinta Marto were, respectively, ten, nine, and seven years old. The three children lived in Aljustrel, a hamlet of the township of Fatima.
After three apparitions of the Angel of Portugal in 1916, the children began to receive visits from a luminous Lady who later identified herself as “The Lady of the Rosary.” In Catholic language, “Our Lady of the Rosary” is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God made man.
The apparitions took place on a small property belonging to Lucia's parents called Cova da Iria, about a mile and a half from Fatima.
First Apparition of Our Lady
May 13, 1917.
The three children were playing at Cova da Iria on May 13, 1917 when they saw two flashes like lightning, after which they saw the Mother of God above a holm oak. She was, according to the description of Lucia, "a Lady dressed in white, more brilliant than the sun…" Her face, indescribably beautiful, was "neither sad nor happy, but serious," with an air of mild reproach. Her hands, joined together as if she were praying, were resting at her breast and pointing upward. A rosary hung from her right hand.
"Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war."
The seers were so close to Our Lady – about a yard and a half away – that they stood within the light that radiated from her.
The conversation developed in the following manner:
Our Lady: Do not be afraid; I will not harm you.
Lucia: Where is Your Grace from?
Our Lady: I am from heaven–pointing to the sky.
Lucia: And what does Your Grace wish of me?
Our Lady: I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession on the thirteenth day of each month at this same hour. Later I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterward, I will return here a seventh time.
Lucia: And will I go to heaven, too?
Our Lady: Yes, you will.
Lucia: And Jacinta?
Our Lady: Also.
Lucia: And Francisco?
Our Lady: Also, but he must say many rosaries.
Lucia: Is Maria das Neves already in heaven?
Our Lady: Yes, she is.
Lucia: And Amélia?
Our Lady: She will be in purgatory until the end of the world. Do you wish to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may be pleased to send you, as both an act of reparation for the sins with which He is offended and an act of supplication for the conversion of sinners?
Lucia: Yes, we do.
Our Lady: Well then, you will have much to suffer. But the grace of God will be your comfort.
"It was upon saying these last words, 'the grace of God...' that for the first time she opened her hands, which emitted a most intense light that penetrated our breasts, reaching the innermost part of our souls and making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we can see ourselves in the best of mirrors.
Then, driven by a deep inspiration, we knelt down and repeated inwardly: 'O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.'”
"A moment later, Our Lady added, 'Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.'
She immediately began to rise serenely toward the east until she disappeared far into the distance.
The light that surrounded her was, so to speak, opening her way through the starry firmament."
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Second Apparition of Our Lady
June 13, 1917.
Preceding the second apparition, the seers, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, once again saw a great brilliance, which they called lightning. Some people in the group of fifty spectators noticed that the light of the sunlight dimmed during the first few minutes of the conversation. Others said that the top of the budding holm oak bent down, as if under the weight of something. During Our Lady's conversation with the seers, some of the bystanders heard a whispering, like the humming of a bee.
Lucia: What does Your Grace wish of me?
Our Lady: I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month, to pray the rosary every day, and to learn to read. I shall later say what I want.
(Lucia asked for the healing of a sick person.)
Our Lady: If he converts, he will be healed within the year.
Lucia: I would like to ask you to take us to heaven.
Our Lady: Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you will remain here for some time yet. Jesus wishes to use you in order to make me known and loved. He wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it; and these souls will be beloved of God like flowers arranged by me to adorn His throne.
Lucia: Will I stay here alone?
Our Lady: No, daughter. Does that make you suffer much? Do not be dismayed. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart shall be your refuge and the road that shall lead you to God.
Lucia writes, ”Upon saying these last words, she opened her hands, and for the second time she communicated to us the reflection of that intense light. We could see ourselves in it, as if immersed in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in the part of this light that went up toward heaven, and I in the part that was cast toward the ground. In front of Our Lady's right hand there was a heart encircled by thorns that seemed to pierce it. We understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, insulted by the sins of humanity and which desires reparation."
When this vision ceased, the Lady, still surrounded by the light that she radiated, rose from the little tree and glided toward the east until she disappeared completely. Several persons who were closer noticed that the buds at the top of the holm oak were bent in the same direction, as if they had been drawn by the Lady's clothes. They returned to their usual position only some hours later.
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Third Apparition of Our Lady
July 13, 1917.
Mr. Marto, father of Jacinta and Francisco, noticed that when the third apparition began, a small grayish cloud hovered over the holm oak, the sunlight diminished, and a cool breeze blew over the mountain range, despite it being the height of summer. He also heard something like flies inside an empty jug. The seers saw the customary glare, and then Our Lady over the holm oak.
Our Lady: I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month and to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, for she alone can be of any avail.
Lucia: I would like to ask you to tell us who you are and to perform a miracle so everyone will believe that Your Grace appears to us.
Our Lady: Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I wish, and I will perform a miracle that everyone shall see so as to believe.
Lucia then made a number of requests for conversions, cures, and other graces. Our Lady recommended the constant recitation of the rosary; thus they would obtain those graces during the year.
Then Our Lady went on: "Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say many times, especially when you make a sacrifice, 'O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'"
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The first part—The vision of hell
Lucia writes, “Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear.
The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.”
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The second part—The warning of the chastisement and how to avoid it
The children then looked up at Our Lady, who said to them so kindly and so sadly:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war [World War I] is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI [World War II]. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this [World War II], I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world [Communism], causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc.”
Then, Our Lady again spoke:
“Do not tell this to anyone. But you may tell Francisco about it.
“When you say the Rosary, after each mystery, pray: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.' "
An instant of silence followed, and I asked, “Is there nothing else you wish of me?”
“No. Today I want nothing else of you.”
And, as usual, she began to rise toward the east until she disappeared in the vast distance of the firmament.
[ Words in brackets are ours ]
For information related to the Third Secret of Fatima , see below.
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Thoughts on the Third Apparition
It is painfully obvious that Our Lady's requests were not heeded in time. World War II broke out, and the errors of Russia spread throughout the world, not only with the implementation of communist regimes in many countries of Europe, Asia and the Americas, but equally through the spread of doctrines and customs that are consistently leading the world to abandon natural and Divine law. Drives for homosexual “marriage,” abortion and euthanasia are but a few of these manifestations.
According to a private revelation to Sister Lucia on June 13, 1929, Our Lady, appearing with the Infant Jesus, asserted that the hour for the consecration of Russia had come. Later, this request having not been heeded, Our Lady said to Lucia: “They did not want to pay attention to my request. Like the king of France, they will be sorry, but it will be too late. Russia will already have spread its errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer!”
In a letter to Father Gonçalves in 1936, Lucia mentions another communication from Our Lord: “…Pray very much for the Holy Father. He will do the consecration of Russia, but it will be too late. Nevertheless, the Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia. It has been entrusted to Her.”
The consecrations carried out afterwards were certainly pleasing to God but, as the historical events clearly show, they no longer had the power to forestall the chastisement.
Communism — "The Errors of Russia" Communism is an atheistic ideology that ultimately denies God’s natural order and natural law, which God inscribed on the hearts of men. Denying God, Communism attaches divinity status to the Party and to the State. As such, Communism transfers all personal responsibility to the Party and totalitarian state. Denying natural law, Communism rejects the basic rights to private property, and monogamous, indissoluble marriage two indispensable pillars of a free society. Dictatorship is not a chance fact in Communism, but the logical and necessary consequence of its ideology. For strategic reasons, Communism may take on different political forms, including apparently democratic ones, and hide behind varied labels. Already in the 1930’s, the Communist Party launched the so-called policy of the extended hand, in which it showed to the outside world a smiling, friendly face while, Stalin’s iron hand imposed a ferocious, despotic dictatorship in Russia. This deception has been used time and again throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Fourth Apparition of Our Lady
August 19, 1917.
On August 13, the day the fourth apparition was to take place, the seers were not at Cova da Iria.
They had been abducted by the mayor of Vila Nova de Ourém, who attempted to force from them the secret revealed in the apparition of July 13. The children held fast despite the mayor imprisoning them, and threatening to plunge them in boiling oil.
At Cova da Iria, thunder, followed by lightning, was heard at the usual time.
The spectators noticed a small white cloud that hovered over the holm oak for a few minutes. Phenomena of coloration were observed on the faces of the people, the clothing, the trees, and the ground.
Our Lady had certainly come, but she had not found the seers.
On August 19, at about four o'clock in the afternoon, Lucia was with Francisco and another cousin at Valinhos, a property belonging to one of her uncles, when the atmospheric changes that preceded the apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria began to occur: a sudden cooling of the temperature and a waning of the sun.
Feeling that something supernatural was approaching and enveloping them, Lucia sent for Jacinta, who arrived in time to see Our Lady appear – heralded as before by a bright light – over a holm oak slightly larger than the one at Cova da Iria.
Our Lady: I want you to continue to go to Cova da Iria on the thirteenth of each month and to continue to pray the Rosary every day. On the last month, I will perform the miracle for all to believe.
Then Our Lady’s face became more serious, and even upset.
Our Lady: If they had not taken you to Ourém, the miracle would have been even greater.
Lucia: What does Your Grace want done with the money that the people leave at Cova da Iria?
Our Lady: Have two portable stands made. You and Jacinta with two other girls dressed in white carry one of them, and let Francisco carry the other one with three other boys. The portable stands are for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The money that is left over should be contributed to the chapel that they shall build.
Lucia: I would like to ask you for the healing of some sick persons.
Our Lady: Yes, I will cure some during the year.
Becoming sadder, she recommended anew the practice of mortification, saying lastly, 'Pray, pray much, and sacrifice for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to sacrifice and pray for them.'
As usual, she then began to rise toward the east. The seers cut boughs off the tree over which Our Lady had appeared to them and took them home. The boughs gave off a uniquely sweet fragrance.
Fifth Apparition of Our Lady
September 13, 1917.
A crowd estimated at 20,000 observed atmospheric phenomena similar to those of the previous apparitions: the sudden cooling of the air, a dimming of the sun to the point where the stars could be seen, and a rain resembling iridescent petals or snowflakes that disappeared before touching the ground.
This time, a luminous globe was noticed which moved slowly and majestically through the sky from east to west and, at the end of the apparition, in the opposite direction. The seers saw a light, and, immediately following this, they saw Our Lady over the holm oak.
Our Lady: Continue to pray the Rosary to obtain the end of the war. In October, Our Lord will also come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus, to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices, but He does not want you to sleep with the ropes; wear them only during the day. (The children were wearing ropes around their waists as a sacrifice for sinners.)
Lucia: They have requested me to ask you for many things, for the cure of some sick persons, of a deaf-mute.
Our Lady: Yes, I will cure some, others not. In October, I will perform a miracle for all to believe.
And rising, she disappeared in the same manner as before.
Sixth & Last Apparition of Our Lady
October 13, 1917.
As on the other occasions, the seers, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, first saw a bright light, and then they saw Our Lady over the holm oak.
Our Lady: I wish to tell you that I want a chapel built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue to pray the rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.
Lucia: I have many things to ask you: if you would cure some sick persons, and if you would convert some sinners...
Our Lady: Some yes, others no. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.
Becoming sadder, she added, “Let them offend Our Lord no more for He is already much offended.”
Then, opening her hands, Our Lady shone the light issuing from them onto the sun, and as she rose, her own radiance continued to be cast onto the sun.
At that moment, Lucia cried, "Look at the sun!"
Once Our Lady had disappeared in the expanse of the firmament, three scenes followed in succession, symbolizing first the joyful mysteries of the rosary, then the sorrowful mysteries, and, finally, the glorious mysteries. Lucia alone saw the three scenes; Francisco and Jacinta saw only the first.
The first scene:
Saint Joseph appeared beside the sun with the Child Jesus and Our Lady of the Rosary. It was the Holy Family. The Virgin was dressed in white with a blue mantle. Saint Joseph was also dressed in white, and the Child Jesus in light red. Saint Joseph blessed the crowd, making the Sign of the Cross three times. The Child Jesus did the same.
The second scene:
A vision of Our Lady of Sorrows, without the sword in her breast, and of Our Lord overwhelmed with sorrow on the way to Calvary.
Our Lord made the Sign of the Cross to bless the people.
Lucia could only see the upper part of Our Lord's body.
The third scene:
Finally, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, crowned queen of heaven and earth, appeared in a glorious vision holding the Child Jesus near her heart.
While these scenes took place, the great throng of 70,000 spectators witnessed the miracle of the sun.
It had rained all during the apparition. At the end of the conversation between Our Lady and Lucia – when the Blessed Virgin rose and Lucia shouted, "Look at the sun!" – the clouds parted, revealing the sun as an immense silver disk shining with an intensity never before seen – though not blinding.
This lasted only an instant. Then the immense disk began to "dance."
The sun spun rapidly like a gigantic circle of fire. Then it stopped momentarily, only to begin spinning vertiginously again. Its rim became scarlet; whirling, it scattered red flames across the sky.
Their light was reflected on the ground, on the trees, on the bushes, and on the faces and clothing of the people, which took on brilliant hues and changing colors.
After performing this bizarre pattern three times, the globe of fire seemed to tremble, shake, and then plunge in a zigzag toward the terrified crowd.
All this lasted about ten minutes. Finally, the sun zigzagged back to its original place and once again became still and brilliant, shining with its normal brightness. The cycle of the apparitions had ended.
Many people noticed that their clothes, soaking wet from the rain, had suddenly dried.
The miracle of the sun was also seen by numerous witnesses up to twenty-five miles away from the place of the apparition.
The Fatima apparitions were: "without doubt, the most prophetic of all modern apparitions." — Pope Benedict XVI
The Consecration of Russia
In order to forestall the damnation of many souls and God’s chastisement, during the third apparition on July 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima while speaking to Lucia dos Santos offered as a solution the devotion to her Immaculate Heart, the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays for five consecutive months, and Russia’s consecration to her Immaculate Heart.
The Blessed Virgin warned that, if her requests went unheeded, World War II would break out and Communism would spread its errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. Finally, she promised divine forgiveness and the triumph of her Immaculate Heart, which would be followed by Russia’s consecration and conversion.
Sister Lucia writes:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war [World War I] is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI [World War II]. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this [World War II], I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world [Communism], causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc. ...” (Words in brackets are ours)
According to a private revelation to Sister Lucia on June 13, 1929, Our Lady, appearing with the Infant Jesus, asserted that the hour for the consecration of Russia had come. Later, this request having not been heeded, Our Lady said to Lucia:
“They did not want to pay attention to my request. Like the king of France, they will be sorry, but it will be too late. Russia will already have spread its errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer!”
- Pope Pius XII: On October 31, 1942, he consecrated the Church and the human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and on July 7, 1952, consecrated the Russians to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
- Pope Paul VI: On November 21, 1964, he confided the human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
- Pope John Paul II made two consecrations of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: in Fatima on May 13, 1982; and in Rome on March 25, 1984.
- Pope Benedict XVI on May 13, 2007 invoking Our Lady of Fatima on the ninetieth anniversary of the apparitions, stated, “In a special way we entrust to Mary those peoples and nations that are in particular need, confident that she will not fail to heed the prayers we make to her with filial devotion.”
The Third Secret
The first part of the secret of Fatima is the vision of Hell shown by Our Lady to the three children in the July apparition. The second part is Our Lady’s warning of a chastisement to come if her requests are not fulfilled. However, over the decades popular usage has been to refer to the first part (the vision of Hell) as the First secret, and Our Lady’s admonishing as the Second secret. Both parts or secrets were revealed by Sister Lucia in 1941. In addition to the first and second parts of the secret of Fatima, there is a third one, commonly called the Third secret, which the seer omitted in her Memoirs.
She only wrote this third part or Third secret, in January 1944, at the request of the Bishop of Leiria, Dom José Alves Correia da Silva. On June 26, 2000, in accordance with specific instructions from His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released the text of the Third Secret.
This is the Vatican’s official English translation of the text of the Third Secret as published on the Vatican website:
J.M.J. The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fátima, on 13 July 1917. I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine. After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God. Tuy, 3-1-1944
Fatima Prayers of Reparation
These short prayers were miraculously revealed to the three shepherd children at Fatima during the apparition of the Angel of Portugal.
Novena to Our Lady of Fatima
Say this prayer every day for 9 consecutive days from May 5th to 13th, or anytime throughout the year.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary: Core of the Fatima Message
Historically, devotion to Mary Most Holy in the form of her Immaculate Heart first occurs in the thirteenth century with St. Mechtilde, St. Gertrude, St. Bernardine of Siena and others.
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FIRST APPARITION of OUR LADY
Leading their flock out from aljustrel on the morning of the 13th of may, the feast of our lady of the blessed sacrament, the three children passed fátima, where the parish church and cemetery could be found, and proceeded a kilometer or so north to the slopes of the cova..
Leading their flock out from Aljustrel on the morning of the 13th of May, the feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, the three children passed Fátima, where the parish church and cemetery could be found, and proceeded a kilometer or so north to the slopes of the Cova. Here they allowed their sheep to graze as they played in the pasture land sprinkled with the occasional oak tree. After having had their lunch about noon they decided to pray a rosary, although in a somewhat truncated fashion, saying only the first words of each prayer. Shortly, they were startled by what they later described as "lightning in a clear sky." Thinking that a storm might be approaching they debated whether they should take the sheep and go home. Preparing to do so they were again surprised by a strange light.
And we began to go down the slope driving the sheep towards the road. When we were half-way down, near a holm oak there [the large tree which today is encircled with an iron fence], we saw another flash of lightning, and after a few steps we saw on a holm oak [a small one lower on the hillside] a lady dressed in white, shining brighter than the sun, giving out rays of clear and intense light, just like a crystal goblet full of pure water when the fiery sun passes through it. We stopped astounded by the Apparition. We were so near that we were in the light that encircled her, or which she radiated, perhaps a meter and a half away [4-5 feet].
Please don't be afraid of me, I'm not going to harm you.
Lucia responded for all three, as she would throughout the apparitions.
"Where are you from?"
I come from heaven.
The Lady wore a pure white mantle, edged with gold and which fell to her feet. In her hands the beads of a rosary shone like stars, with its crucifix the most radiant gem of all. Still, Lucia felt no fear. The Lady's presence produced in her only gladness and confident joy.
"And what do you want of me?"
I want you to return here on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months, and at the very same hour. Later I shall tell you who I am, and what it is that I most desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time.
"And shall I go to heaven?"
Yes, you will.
She will go too.
Francisco, too, my dear, but he will first have many Rosaries to say.
For a few moments the Lady looked at Francisco with compassion, tinged with a little sadness. Lucia then remembered some friends who had died.
"Is Maria Neves in heaven?"
Yes, she is.
She is in purgatory. Will you offer yourselves to God, and bear all the sufferings He sends you? In atonement for all the sins that offend Him? And for the conversion of sinners?
"Oh, we will, we will!"
Then you will have a great deal to suffer, but the grace of God will be with you and will strengthen you.
Lucia relates that as the Lady pronounced these words, she opened her hands, and
we were bathed in a heavenly light that appeared to come directly from her hands. The light's reality cut into our hearts and our souls, and we knew somehow that this light was God, and we could see ourselves embraced in it. By an interior impulse of grace we fell to our knees, repeating in our hearts: "Oh, Holy Trinity, we adore You. My God, my God, I love You in the Blessed Sacrament."
The children remained kneeling in the flood of this wondrous light, until the Lady spoke again, mentioning the war in Europe, of which they had little or no knowledge.
Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.
After that she began to rise slowly in the direction of the east, until she disappeared in the immense distance. The light that encircles Her seemed to make a way amidst the stars, and that is why we sometimes said we had seen the heavens open.
The days that followed were filled with excitement, though they had not intended it that way. Lucia had cautioned the others to keep their visitor a secret, correctly perceiving the difficulties they would experience if the events became known. However, the joy of seven year old Jacinta could not be contained, and she rather promptly forgot her promise and revealed all to her mother, who patiently listened but gave it little credence. Her brothers and sisters piped in with their questions and jokes. Among the interrogators only her father, "Ti" Marto, was inclined immediately to accept the tale as true. He believed in the honesty of his children, and had a simple appreciation of the workings of God, such that he became the first believer in the apparitions of Fátima.
Lucia's mother, on the other hand, when at last she heard what had transpired, believed her own daughter to be the instigator of a fraud, if not a blasphemy. Lucia would quickly learn what the Lady meant when she said they would suffer a great deal. Maria Rosa was unable to get Lucia to recant, event under threats. Finally she hauled her before the parish priest, Fr. Ferreira, with no better success. On the other hand, Lucia's father, who was not especially religious, was practically indifferent, attributing all of it to the fancies of women. The next few weeks, as the children awaited their scheduled appointment with the lady in June, would reveal that they had few believers, and many detractors, in Aljustrel and Fátima.
The story of Fatima: the apparitions, the miracles and the journey to sainthood
When Pope Francis goes to Fatima, May 12 to 13, for the centenary celebration of the apparitions of Our Lady to three Portuguese shepherd children, he will declare two of them saints, 10-year-old Francisco Marto and his nine-year old sister, Jacinta.
It will be the first time in the history of the church that children who are not martyrs will be proclaimed saints. The investigation into the cause for the beatification and canonization of Francisco (1908-1919) and Jacinta (1910-1920) opened at the diocesan level on April 30, 1952, but was only concluded on June 2, 1979, when the documentation was transmitted to Rome.
It will be the first time in the history of the church that children who are not martyrs will be proclaimed saints.
The main reason for the long delay in that first phase of the investigation was theological (and consequently also juridical): the question as to whether pre-adolescent children could be canonized had not yet been resolved by the church, even though the discussion had started in 1935. Cardinal Josè Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints (C.F.C.S.), wrote in 2000 that although St. Pius X had decreed that children could receive communion at a young age, the question being asked then was: “At what age can it be said that a young person is capable—ordinarily—of doing acts of virtue to a heroic degree?”
Father Paolo Molinari, an Italian Jesuit who was the postulator of their causes, explained in a position paper for the process in 1988 the two main elements that helped to finally resolve that problem in a positive way.
First, he wrote, by 1980 the C.F.C.S. had received an unprecedented number of letters from prelates from across the world, many of them well known for their theological expertise and pastoral experience, arguing that children could indeed be canonized and requesting that this happen in the case of the two Portuguese children. A total of 264 letters were sent to the C.F.C.S., from 30 cardinals, 25 archbishops, 195 bishops, 6 apostolic nuncios and many others. Some highlighted the need “to present to children and young people today examples of their peers who, in our day, have lived the Christian life in an exemplary way,” while others emphasized that it would serve as a counsel to Christian families “to care for the formation of children and young people.”
Second, a “Plenary Congregation” of the C.F.C.S. was held in the Vatican, March 24 to April 2, 1981, to focus on the question of “the beatification and canonization of adolescents.” The plenary assembly concluded—in the words of Father Molinari—that “children, and more precisely pre-adolescents, are capable of living the Christian life in a way that is uncommon, superior to that of their peers, in other words, they are capable of the exercise of the heroic virtues, or martyrdom, and so can be canonized.”
The story of Francisco and Jacinta is fascinating reading. At the time of their beatification, Father Molinari recalled that throughout the experience of the apparitions and afterwards, they remained “normal children, who responding to the invitations of the grace of God working in them, showed themselves ready to put aside their own personal interests so as to please God and their neighbor, and to do so readily and with joy.” They did so, “each in their own way, with the spontaneity of children.”
Drawing on information from Sister Lucia—their first cousin who witnessed the apparitions with them and died in 2005, at the age of 97, and is now on the path to sainthood—Father Molinari described the two children that will be declared saints on Saturday.
In 1917, as World War I was being fought, Our Lady appeared to the three children six times in all.
He said Francisco was “rather reflective and taciturn, good, reconciling, ready to give way to others rather than quarrel,” while Jacinta was “a rather lively and sensitive child, irritable and capricious, who easily got upset” but “had a very well-disposed heart” and “a sweet and tender character, that made her lovable and attractive.” She liked to dance and gather flowers with Lucia, he to play the whistle and sing. But even before the encounter with Our Lady they used to pray together while they watched their sheep, and also recited the rosary, sometimes at high speed so as to have more time for play.
In 1917, as World War I was being fought, Our Lady appeared to the three children as they shepherded their parents’ sheep near what is now the Fatima grotto. She did so six times in all, beginning on May 13 and concluding on Oct. 13.
We know what happened thanks to Sister. Lucia, who became a Carmelite nun and, at the request of the local bishop, wrote her memoirs of all the three children had experienced. She recalled that on her third appearance, July 13, the lady clothed in light revealed to them a secret in three parts. First, she let the children see a brief vision of hell—“we saw something like an ocean of fire. Immersed in the fire were the demons and the souls (of the damned), that were like transparent embers, black or bronze, that had human forms.” Next, the second secret, Our Lady told them that World War I would soon end but another world war would break out if people did not stop offending God and Russia was not converted. These first two secrets were made public in 1941, but the third—which speaks of the persecution of the church and the assassination of “a bishop dressed in white”—was only revealed by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 2000 at the behest of John Paul II, who identified with the bishop being killed and attributed his survival of the assassination attempt on May 13, 1981, to Our Lady of Fatima’s intervention.
During the apparitions, Our Lady invited Jacinta, 7, Francisco, 9, and Lucia, 10, to console Jesus, so insulted by men, and to contribute, by their prayers and penances, to the conversion of those who with their sins offended God and earned eternal punishment.
Our Lady asked them to keep all this secret, but after the first apparition Jacinta told her mother and soon the whole neighborhood and beyond came to know. People wanted to meet them, and they tried to hide as best they could. Butin August, hundreds of people began to arrive at Fatima for the day of the apparitions, and the local mayor put the children in prison and threatened to fry them alive in boiling oil unless they admitted that the whole story was false. Despite this, and other threats and punishments, the children never gave in; they held firm in their belief in Our Lady and, growing ever deeper in their love of Jesus, they offered their sufferings and prayers for sinners as she had requested. The final apparition on Oct. 13 ended with the sun turning in the sky, which was witnessed by thousands of people.
Our Lady had told Francisco and Jacinta that they would have short lives, and so it happened that within two years they both died from the Spanish flu. But Lucia lived until the age of 97, wrote her memoirs and met three popes—Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
On May 13, 1989, Saint John Paul II issued the decree recognizing that the siblings had lived the Christian life in a heroic way and then, after recognizing a miracle due to their intercession, he beatified the two shepherd children in Fatima on May 13, 2000. Next Saturday, exactly 100 years after the first apparition, Pope Francis will declare them saints.
It is important to underline here—as Father Molinari did when first presenting their cause to the C.F.C.S.—that Francisco and Jacinta are being canonized not because they witnessed the apparitions but because, at a tender age, they led Christian lives and virtues in a heroic way, even in the face of opposition, threats and persecution (including imprisonment).
Speaking of the eve of his visit to Fatima when he will canonize them, Pope Francis told seminarians of the Portuguese College in Rome that “the encounter with the Madonna was for them an experience of grace that caused them to love Jesus. As a tender and brave teacher, Mary introduced the young seers into the intimate knowledge of the trinitarian love and led them to feel God as the most beautiful reality of human existence.”
Gerard O'Connell is America 's Vatican correspondent.
I have known the story of the Fatima apparition since I was a child. The miracle still intrigues and mystifies me. (How could this be? What does it mean?) I will be praying to the Marto children, St. Jacinta and St. Francisco, on Saturday, thinking of the extraordinary grace that was given to them. They are, indeed, SEERS, Visionaries. They saw the Mother of God in this life, in this place. They came to know God as the most beautiful reality of existence. That is quite a vision.
I agree with you, Beth. There is much to learn from the short but immensely rich spiritual lives of Jacinta and Francisco. Their brave acceptance of death is no less exemplary.
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Our Lady of Fatima Feast day: May 13
May 13 is the anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady to three shepherd children in the small village of Fatima in Portugal in 1917. She appeared six times to Lucia, 9, and her cousins Francisco, 8, and his sister Jacinta, 6, between May 13, 1917 and October 13, 1917.
The story of Fatima begins in 1916, when, against the backdrop of the First World War which had introduced Europe to the most horrific and powerful forms of warfare yet seen, and a year before the Communist revolution would plunge Russia and later Eastern Europe into six decades of oppression under militant atheistic governments, a resplendent figure appeared to the three children who were in the field tending the family sheep. “I am the Angel of Peace,” said the figure, who appeared to them two more times that year exhorting them to accept the sufferings that the Lord allowed them to undergo as an act of reparation for the sins which offend Him, and to pray constantly for the conversion of sinners.
Then, on the 13th day of the month of Our Lady, May 1917, an apparition of ‘a woman all in white, more brilliant than the sun’ presented itself to the three children saying “Please don’t be afraid of me, I’m not going to harm you.” Lucia asked her where she came from and she responded, “I come from Heaven.” The woman wore a white mantle edged with gold and held a rosary in her hand. The woman asked them to pray and devote themselves to the Holy Trinity and to “say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.”
She also revealed that the children would suffer, especially from the unbelief of their friends and families, and that the two younger children, Francisco and Jacinta would be taken to Heaven very soon but Lucia would live longer in order to spread her message and devotion to the Immaculate Heart.
In the last apparition the woman revealed her name in response to Lucia’s question: “I am the Lady of the Rosary.”
That same day, 70,000 people had turned out to witness the apparition, following a promise by the woman that she would show the people that the apparitions were true. They saw the sun make three circles and move around the sky in an incredible zigzag movement in a manner which left no doubt in their minds about the veracity of the apparitions. By 1930 the Bishop had approved of the apparitions and they have been approved by the Church as authentic.
The messages Our Lady imparted during the apparitions to the children concerned the violent trials that would afflict the world by means of war, starvation, and the persecution of the Church and the Holy Father in the twentieth century if the world did not make reparation for sins. She exhorted the Church to pray and offer sacrifices to God in order that peace may come upon the world, and that the trials may be averted.
Our Lady of Fatima revealed three prophetic “secrets,” the first two of which were revealed earlier and refer to the vision of hell and the souls languishing there, the request for an ardent devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the prediction of the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism. The third “secret” was not revealed until the year 2000, and referred to the persecutions that humanity would undergo in the last century: “The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated'”. The suffering of the popes of the 20th century has been interpreted to include the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981, which took place on May 13, the 64th anniversary of the apparitions. The Holy Father attributed his escape from certain death to the intervention of Our Lady: “... it was a mother's hand that guided the bullet's path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death.”
What is the central meaning of the message of Fatima? Nothing different from what the Church has always taught: it is, as Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict the XVI, has put it, “the exhortation to prayer as the path of “salvation for souls” and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion.”
Perhaps the most well known utterance of the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima was her confident decalaration that “My Immaculate Heart will triumph”. Cardinal Ratzinger has interpreted this utterance as follows: “The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Saviour into the world—because, thanks to her Yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time. The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God. But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise.
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Explore saintly wonders and mystical phenomena
Our Lady of Fatima
Some believe that the Fatima apparitions truly began in April — perhaps on April 13 — because sometime before the children saw Our Lady, they were first visited by an angel to prepare them.
The three children were named Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. During her apparitions, Our Lady gave them messages for mankind and secrets about the future. Francisco and Jacinta died as children but Lucia lived until she was an old woman.
Our Lady also said, “When you recite the Rosary, say at the end of each decade: Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy.”
Our Lady promised to give a sign on the final day of her apparitions. On October 13, 1917, over 70,000 gathered to be present at the final apparition. The Miracle of the Sun occurred and was witnessed by all. Here is an eyewitness account from an atheist reporter:
“Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was biblical as they stood bare-headed, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws – the sun ‘danced’ according to the typical expression of the people.”
And this is the testimony of an eye doctor who was there:
“The sun, at one moment surrounded with scarlet flame, at another aureoled in yellow and deep purple, seemed to be in an exceeding fast and whirling movement, at times appearing to be loosened from the sky and to be approaching the earth, strongly radiating heat.”
The secrets seemed to be very accurate although some is left up to interpretation:
The first secret was a vision of Hell:
Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.
This is the second secret:
The third part of the secret was revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fátima, on 13 July 1917. The text of the Third Secret, according to the Vatican, was published on 26 June 2000. The following are Lucia’s words:
I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine. After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
Today, pilgrims flock to Fatima to venerate Our Lady.
The 6 Apparitions of Fatima
what were mary's messages in fátima, portugal.
On May 13, Catholics around the world celebrate Our Lady of Fatima. On this day in 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fátima, Portugal. It was the first of six total apparitions Blessed Mary would make to the children from May to October 1917. Throughout her apparitions, Mary makes predictions and warns that unless everyone prays, repents, and abandons sin, the world will suffer war, turmoil, and persecution of the Church. Let’s take a closer look at the six apparitions.
On May 13, 1917, Blessed Mary appears for the first time to the children as they were tending the sheep in Fatima, Portugal. The children -- Lucia dos Santos, age ten, Francisco Marto, age nine, and Jacinta Marto, age seven were cousins. Blessed Mary urged the children to " Pray the Rosary every day , in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war (World War I)." She instructed the children to come to the same place at the same time every 13th day of the month for the next five months.
Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world
As promised, on June 13, 1917, Blessed Mary appeared again instructing the children to continue to Fatima Say the Rosary every day and for Lucia to learn to read and write. Lucia was told she would live longer than the other two children and that she should spread the message of Mary throughout mankind. She told Lucia that God wants to “establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world.” Whoever embraces it is promised salvation.
Blessed Mary said "God wants to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world"
On July 13, 1917 in addition to urging the children to continue to say the Rosary for peace in the world, Blessed Mary told the children to pray for the conversion of sinners and all the sins committed against her Immaculate Heart. In this apparition, Mary revealed three secrets or prophetic visions.
The first secret was a glimpse of what hell looks like and told them that to save future souls God wants the world to become devoted to her Immaculate Heart. “If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”
The second secret was the prediction that World War I would end, but Mary warned if people didn’t stop offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius Xl. To prevent this, she asked for the dedication of Russia to her Immaculate Heart to prevent the damage that Russia would do to humanity by embracing communism.
The third secret was not revealed until 2000. The children saw a vision of a bishop dressed in white (who they thought to be the pope) walking towards a mountain with other priests and religious figures. During their journey they go through a town that is in ruins and the pope prays for the souls of the corpses he passes along the way. As they reach the top of a mountain, the pope kneels before a cross and he and the others are killed by soldiers.
There’s been much debate on what the third secret means. Pope John Paul II believed this vision referred to his own assassination attempt.
On In August, the children were prevented by the disapproving civil authorities to go to their usual meeting place and missed Mary’s apparition on the 13th day. However, on August 19, Blessed Mary appeared to the children and urged them to continue to say the Rosary and to "Pray for the many souls that go the hell because there is none who pray for them.”
Pray for the many souls that go the hell because there is none who pray for them
By the fifth apparition on September 13, the children were joined by thousands of onlookers. People went to see Mary but only the children saw the apparitions of Mary and described them to the people. The Blessed Lady appeared to the children with the message: "Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Carmel, Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world. In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe."
On October 13, 1917 the children surrounded by a crowd of 70,000 people stood under a torrential rain as Blessed Mary appeared and revealed her identity: “I am the Lady of the Rosary, I desire here a chapel in my honor to be built, that people continue to recite the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes. Do not offend the Lord our God anymore, because He is already so much offended.” Then the miracle she promised happened: the Miracle of the Sun.
Many described the miracle similarly: Mary opened her hands and launched a ray of light in the direction of the sun; the rain stopped suddenly and there appeared an exceptionally bright sun. The sun began to turn, projecting colorful bands of light. Then the sun appeared as if it was spinning out from the sky and towards the crowd, as people fell to their knees and begged for mercy. Meanwhile, as promised, the three children saw the Blessed Lady dressed in white with a blue cape, along with St. Joseph with the Child Jesus blessing the world. Then after this vision they saw The Lord bless the world, standing next to Our Lady of Sorrows. After this vision vanished, they saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Mount Carmel .
Celebrating the 100 Years of Our Lady of Fatima
Pope Francis visiting Fátima, Portugal in 2017 to celebrate the centenary of the apparition of Mary has brought the focus of the devotion back into Catholics' minds. Given the message she brought to us this is not surprising and makes us concentrate on the message she sent.
For this reason there are a number of devotional statues celebrating her apparition.
This statue (SA3113) is one of the most popular statues due to the sheer elegance and sophistication of the design.
Love it love it love love it..beautiful..because i love our Lady..today i was admitted in the hospital and while laying in the hospital bed and looking straight ahead of me i felt i saw an image of the statue that i purchased of our Lady of Fatima to my side view with her hands folded praying for me..and telling me to pray..I felt comforted..
Lorna New York, NY
You may be interested in these:
Unlocking the love: st. margaret mary alacoque and the sacred heart devotion, understanding the luminous mysteries of the rosary, why is st. faustina kowalska the messenger of divine mercy, meditating on the dolors of mary: a guide to the devotion of our lady of sorrows, unveiling the significance of the feast of the holy cross, st. augustine of hippo: the life and teachings of a renowned doctor of the church , why do catholics celebrate the “queenship of mary”, something to look at: the importance of beauty in your college dorm.
Wonderful to be able to read this.
I love this. Thank you.
Thank you so much. Thankful to have this hear to refer to. God bless you.
This is blasphemous false doctrine perpetrated by Lucifer, Satan, as so much of errant Catholic doctrine is. Catholicism contradicts the teachings of the Bible, of which things I will be glad to show the searching soul, anytime!
can you eplain categorically how blasphemous this doctrine otherwise your assertion is just fallacious
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Our Lady of Fátima: History, the Five Prayers Given to the Children at Fátima, and Their Sainthood
Cate Von Dohlen
On May 13, 1917, Mary appeared to three children of Fátima, Portugal — cousins Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta – and said she would appear on the 13th of each month for the next five months. This Marian apparition led to the Blessed Mother’s title of Our Lady of Fátima. Pope Francis recently advanced the cause for the sainthood of Sister Lucia on June 22, declaring the late holy woman “venerable.”
My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God. Mary to Lucia, the Second Apparition on June 13, 1917
Our Lady of Fátima’s feast is celebrated on May 13 annually, though pilgrims travel to Fátima year-round. An influx of young pilgrims is expected at this holy site in the weeks surrounding World Youth Day , which will take place August 1-6 in Lisbon, Portugal. Pope Francis also plans to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima on August 5 during his World Youth Day journey.
Read more about the apparitions at Fátima and the widely popular prayers given to the children at Fátima, including the “Fátima Prayer” prayed each decade of the Rosary .
Table of Contents
- 3 Visits from the Angel of Peace/Portugal
- 6 Apparitions to Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta
Lucia and Our Lady
- Fátima Prayer
Angel’s prayer, eucharistic prayer, sacrifice prayer, canonization.
- Related Reading
Apparitions at Fátima
Before Our Lady of Fátima appeared to Lucia (9), Francisco (8), and Jacinta (6), the Angel of Peace visited the three children in 1916 amidst World War I.
These apparitions [of the Angel] offered a catechesis of grace and sacrifice that disposed Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco to receive the coming of the Holy Virgin and her message with a depth of commitment and maturity that far exceeded their years or education. Fr. John Horgan, Catholic Exchange
Visits from the Angel of Peace
First Visit, Spring 1916
The Angel of Peace visited Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta while tending to their flocks in the field. The Angel said, “Do not be afraid! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me,” and then gave the children the Pardon Prayer (read the prayer below).
Second Visit, Summer 1916
During the Angel of Peace’s second visit, he called himself the “Angel of Portugal. He told the children, “Pray! Pray very much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you.
Third Visit, Fall 1916
The Angel appeared a third time, holding a chalice above which the Host was suspended in the air, dripping blood into the chalice. Giving the host to Lucia and the chalice to Jacinta and Francisco, the Angel asked them to pray for the crimes of the ungrateful and gave them the Angel’s Prayer (see prayer below).
Our Lady of Fátima Apparitions to Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta
A few months after the Angel of Peace’s third visit to Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta, Our Lady first appeared to the three children while they were shepherding at la Cova da Iria.
First Apparition, May 13, 1917
Mary appeared to the three children in the field surrounded by light. She asked them to return on the 13th of each month for her visit and requested that they pray the Rosary daily to end the war. “Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”
Second Apparition, June 13, 1917
Mary appeared for a second time to the children at Fátima and asked Lucia to learn how to read and write. She also told them, “Soon I will take Jacinta and Francisco, but Lucia is to stay a while longer,” and to Lucia, “Don’t be discouraged, I will not abandon you ever. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and through it will conduct you to God.”
Third Apparition, July 13, 1917
At the third apparition, Mary revealed the “three secrets of Fátima” to the children, pertaining to Hell, World War I and II, and Christian persecution. Undisclosed for many years, St. Pope John Paul II revealed the three secrets of Fatima in full after the attempt of his assassination. She also gave them the Fátima Prayer and Sacrifice Prayer during this visit.
Fourth Apparition, August 19, 1917
“The children missed their scheduled meeting with the Lady at the Cova da Iria on Aug. 13 because they were detained by the anti-clerical civil authorities,” writes Robert Fastiggi for Our Sunday Visitor. Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta were released on the Assumption (August 15th). Our Lady appeared to the three children a few days later near one of their homes and encouraged them to continue returning to la Cova da Iria on the 13th of each month.
Fifth Apparition, September 13, 1917
30,000 people accompanied the three children to la Cova da Iria at the fifth apparition. Mary said , “I Want you to come here on October 13 and that you continue to recite the Rosary to obtain the end of the war. In October, the Lord, the sorrowful Lady, the Lady of Mt. Carmel, and St. Joseph with the child Jesus will also come to bless the world.”
Sixth Apparition, October 13, 1917
More than 50,000 people gathered near la Cova da Iria in the rain to see the Blessed Mother. They witnessed what has been called the “Miracle of the Sun.” Many scholars and theologians have pointed to Revelation 12:1 in pertinence to this miracle and other apparitions like Our Lady of Guadalupe .
“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” ( Revelation 12:1 )
View images of the witnesses here .
The sun started spinning and grew larger. It looked like it was going to fall on the earth. People fell to their knees in fear. The people then noticed that their clothes were completely dry even though they had been standing in the rain for some time. Even unbelievers and skeptics witnessed the phenomenon. The secular newspaper, O Século, had a front page story on “How the sun danced at midday in Fátima.”
Robert Fastiggi, Our Sunday Visitor
While the thousands accompanying them saw the miracle of the sun spinning, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta saw just what Our Lady had promised them: St. Joseph with Jesus and Mary as both Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
In 1919, Francisco passed away from influenza, and in 1920, Jacinta passed away from complications related to influenza. Lucia left Fátima to attend the school of the Sisters of Saint Dorothy at Vilar near Porto and eventually took vows as a woman religious. She took the name Sr. Mary of the Sorrowful Mother on October 3, 1934, after Our Lady appeared to her alone twice more.
Years after her sixth apparition and the deaths of Jacinta and Francisco, Mary appeared privately to Lucia on June 13, 1929, and asked her to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.”
The Church approved Fátima as an apparition site in 1930, shortly after Our Lady’s eighth appearance to Lucia.
The Five Prayers Given to the Children at Fátima
Over many years, the children at Fátima received five prayers from the Angel of Peace and Our Lady. As Our Lady of Fátima has become very well-known in the last several decades, people worldwide turn to these short prayers to draw near to God.
Fátima Prayer/Decade Prayer/Oh My Jesus Prayer
Also called the “Oh My Jesus” prayer and the “Decade Prayer,” the Fátima prayer is said after the Glory Be for each decade of the Rosary. Mary gave it to the three children at Fátima on her second apparition.
“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.”
The Angel of Peace gave the Pardon Prayer to the children at Fátima on his first visit.
“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee. Amen.”
The Angel of Peace gave the Angel’s Prayer to the children at Fátima with the Body and Blood of Christ on his third visit.
“O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”
The three children received this prayer in their hearts at the first apparition “after a bright line shone all around them.”
“Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
Mary gave this prayer to the children on July 13 at the third apparition.
“O Jesus, it is for the love of Thee, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners.”
Pope Francis canonized Jacinta and Francisco in 2017 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima as the youngest non-martyrs to ever be made saints .
Confirmed in this hope, we have gathered here to give thanks for the countless graces bestowed over these past hundred years. All of them passed beneath the mantle of light that Our Lady has spread over the four corners of the earth, beginning with this land of Portugal, so rich in hope. We can take as our examples Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta, whom the Virgin Mary introduced into the immense ocean of God’s light and taught to adore him. That was the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering. God’s presence became constant in their lives, as is evident from their insistent prayers for sinners and their desire to remain ever near “the hidden Jesus” in the tabernacle. Pope Francis
In 2017, Sister Lucia was named a Servant of God, the first step in becoming a saint after death. While Jacinta and Francisco passed away at ages 10 and 12, Sister Lucia lived to be 97, which means her canonization process is still underway.
In 2022, Philip Kosloski for Aleteia reported , “Since then there has been no official announcements on the progress of her case, as it is likely the Vatican is still reviewing all of the material submitted … Furthermore, a miracle through her intercession will eventually be necessary to solidify Sr. Lucia’s status, confirming her presence in Heaven.”
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How the ‘Miracle of the Sun’ in Fátima Helped to End an Atheist Regime
Oct. 13, 1917, marked the last Marian apparition in Fátima.
Oct. 13, 1917, marked the last Marian apparition in Fátima and the day on which thousands of people bore witness to the miracle of the dancing sun — a miracle that shattered the prevalent belief at the time that God was no longer relevant.
Marco Daniel Duarte, a theologian and director of the Fátima Shrine museums, shared with CNA the impact that the miracle made during those days in Portugal.
If one were to open philosophy books during that period, he or she would likely read something akin to the concept conceived by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who boldly asserted in the late 1800s that “God is dead.”
Also, in 1917 Portugal, the majority of the world was embroiled in war. As World War I raged throughout Europe, Portugal found itself unable to maintain its initial neutrality and joined forces with the Allies. More than 220,000 Portuguese civilians died during the war, thousands due to food shortages and thousands more from the Spanish flu.
A few years before, a revolution had led to the establishment of the First Portuguese Republic in 1910 and a new liberal constitution was drafted under the influence of Freemasonry, which sought to suppress the faith from public life. Catholic churches and schools were seized by the government, and the wearing of clerics in public, the ringing of church bells, and the celebration of public religious festivals were banned. Between 1911 and 1916, nearly 2,000 priests, monks and nuns were killed by anti-Christian groups.
This was the backdrop against which, in 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children — Venerable Lucia dos Santos, 10, and her cousins Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto, 9 and 7 — in a field in Fátima, Portugal, bringing with her requests for the recitation of the Rosary, for sacrifices on behalf of sinners, and a secret regarding the fate of the world.
To prove that the apparitions were true, the Lady promised the children that during the last of her six appearances, she would provide a sign so people would believe in the apparitions and in her message. What happened on that day — Oct. 13, 1917 — has come to be known as the “Miracle of the Sun,” or “the day the sun danced.”
According to various accounts, a crowd of some 70,000 people — believers and skeptics alike — gathered to see the miracle that was promised: The rainy sky cleared up, the clouds dispersed, and the ground, which had been wet and muddy from the rain, dried up. A transparent veil came over the sun, making it easy to look at, and multicolored lights were strewn across the landscape. The sun then began to spin, twirling in the sky, and at one point appeared to veer toward the earth before jumping back to its place in the sky.
The stunning event was a direct and very convincing contradiction to the atheistic regimes at the time, which is evidenced by the fact that the first newspaper to report on the miracle on a full front page was an anti-Catholic, Masonic newspaper in Lisbon called O Seculo .
The miracle was understood by the people to be “the seal, the guarantee, that in fact those three children were telling the truth,” Duarte said.
Even today, “Fátima makes people change their perception of God,” since “one of the most important messages of the apparitions is that even if someone has separated from God, God is present in human history and doesn’t abandon humanity.”
This article was originally published on CNA on Oct. 12, 2017, and was updated Oct. 12, 2023.
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Our Lady of Fatima
by Lourdes Policarpio
Of all the apparitions of the Blessed Mother during the last hundred years, the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima stand out as the most wide-ranging in scope and in dramatic impact on mankind.
Way back 1917, Our Lady voiced out her motherly concerns about the world to three shepherd children in the simple village of Fatima in Portugal. She prophesied the errors Russia would spread through Communism and spelled out clearly what God wanted for mankind to be rid of this menacing threat. She said that God had entrusted the peace of the world to her and consequently, she laid down what each of us must do to work out this peace. What is singularly striking and amazing about the messages of Our Lady of Fatima is that if you study everything closely read through our simplified chronology of events, you will discover that events from 1917 to the present give a glimpse of how God collaborates with man for man to obtain peace in this world.
Here's a specific example. For the conversion of Russia, God wanted a consecration of the world, especially Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be done by the Pope in union with the Bishops of the world (a "collegial" consecration). Several Popes consecrated the world to Our Lady but it was only in 1984, with the prayers and sacrifices of millions of Fatima devotees over the years, that the proper collegial consecration which God wanted was finally done, in accordance with the request of Our Lady of Fatima.
When Lucia asked Our Lord why He would not convert Russia without the Holy Father making the desired consecration, He replied, "Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary... The result of all the prayers and sacrifices of Fatima devotees and the collegial consecration was the dramatic, peaceful collapse of the Soviet Communist empire from within its own borders without a single shot fired.
The Chronology of events below attempt to capsulize and simplify the messages of Our Lady of Fatima. Compressing the main points in a few pages has been a little difficult considering their gravity and the very long time frame the events encompass. The Third Secret of Our Lady of Fatima may baffle and mystify.
But with all the images these pages evoke, we hope that what will predominate with you is that striking scene in the Third Secret of Our Lady of Fatima: the Angel with a flaming sword, flashing his sword towards us and crying out for penance, his sword giving out flames that look as though they would set the world on fire but on the other hand, Our Lady vanquishing the flames with the splendor that radiated from her.
We thank Our Lady of Fatima for the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, considered as one of the greatest dramas of our age, and the vision of hope found in the Third Secret. But as our glance turns to other parts of the world, we sigh, alas!, that the turmoil is not yet over.
In these times of global uncertainty and turbulence, like little children let us hasten to Our Lady of Fatima, our Mother in Heaven.
Chronology of Fatima Events
1916 An angel appears three times to three children, Jacinta (6), Francisco (8), and Lucia (9) in Fatima, Portugal.
May 13, 1917 Our Lady of Fatima's first apparition to the three children. She asks them to come during the next six months on the 13th day. Tells them to say the Rosary devoutly everyday to obtain peace for the world and the end of World War I which was then raging.
June 13, 1917 Second apparition. Our Lady of Fatima tells Lucia she will take Jacinta and Francisco soon but Lucia will remain here for some time yet so she could be the living voice of Fatima.
July 13, 1917 Third apparition. Our Lady of Fatima gives Lucia three secrets. The first secrets referred to as the vision of hell. In Lucia's words:
We saw...a great sea of fire submerged in that fire were demons and souls in human shapes who resembled red-hot, black and bronze-colored embers that floated about in the blaze... amidst shrieks and groans of sorrow and despair that horrified us and made us shudder with fear. The devils stood out like frightful and unknown animals with horrible and disgusting shapes....
Our Lady of Fatima told them:
You saw hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. If they do what I shall tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.
The second secret contains the warning on Russia. Our Lady of Fatima said:
The war (World War 1) is going to end, but if they do not stop offending God, another even worse war will begin in the reign of Pius X1 (World War II). Behold a night illuminated by an unknown light will be the great sign that God shall give you that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent it, I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays. If they listen to my requests, Russia will convert and there will be peace; if not, it will spread its errors throughout the worlds, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and several nations will be annihilated. Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia which will convert to me, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.
The first two secrets were however revealed by Lucia only in 1941 after asking permission from Heaven. The third secret (text found in next page) was made public only last May 13, 2000.
October 13, 1917 Our Lady says she wants a chapel built in Fatima. As promised, Our Lady of Fatima performs a miracle that all may believe. The sun danced for around 10 minutes, witnessed by about 70,000 people and seen up to 25 miles away from the place of the apparition.
November 1917 In Russia, the communists under Nikolai Lenin gain power. Religious instruction is abolished. Atheism becomes official policy, thousands of priests are imprisoned and put to death, many churches are destroyed and desecrated. From 1917 through the second half of the 20th century, communism spreads to the world from Russia. In the 1970s and 80s, almost a third to a half of mankind was considered under communist domination with other countries suffering from it in varying degrees. The years since 1949 especially have been full of tensions between democratic and communist countries.
December 10, 1925 The Blessed Virgin with the Child Jesus at her side appears to Lucia. Among other things, Our Lady of Fatima announces the First Saturday devotion:
Tell men that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, confess, receive Holy Communion, pray a Rosary, and keep me company for a quarter of an hour meditating on the fifteen mysteries with the intention of offering me reparation.
A year later, Lucia told Our Lord that going to confession on Saturdays posed a problem to some people and she requested that confession within a period of eight days before and eight days after the first Saturday be valid. Our Lord answered,
Yes it can even be within many more days, provided they are in the state of grace when they receive Me and have the intention of offering reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
June 13, 1929 Our Lady of Fatima tells Sr. Lucia the moment has come for God to ask the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart. He promises to save Russia by this means.
October 13, 1930 After seven years of inquiry, the Bishop of Fatima judges the apparitions worthy of credence and authorizes officially the cult of Our Lady of Fatima.
October 31, 1942 Upon request of Sr. Lucia, Pope Pius XII consecrates the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary including an indirect reference to Russia. Although this was done without the participation of the bishops, Sr. Lucia said God was pleased and promised to end World War II soon but the conversion of Russia would not yet be granted.
Subsequent consecrations were later done again by Pope Pius XII and also, Pope Paul VI. But these consecrations were considered insufficient because they were not done in union with the bishops of the world.
January 3, 1944 Lucia writes down the Third Secret at the insistence of the Bishop of Leiria - Fatima when she was gravely ill. The sealed envelope was eventually kept in the Secret Archives of the Holy Office.
1950s up International apostolates, like the Blue Army of Our Lady Fatima, spring up spreading the Fatima Messages. For the conversion of Russia and world peace, devotees pledge to say daily the Morning Offering and offer up every day the sacrifices demanded by daily duty, pray the Rosary daily, consecrate themselves to Our Lady and wear the Scapular of Mt. Carmel as a sign of this consecration. The spreading of the apostolate of Our Lady of Fatima is deemed important inasmuch as Sr. Lucia said that God will permit the collegial consecration (a condition for the conversion of Russia) when a sufficient number of people are fulfilling the above requests.
August 17, 1959 The sealed envelope on the Third Secret is brought to Pope John XXIII. The Holy Father opens it, decides not to reveal it and returns it to the Holy Office.
May 13, 1981 On the 64th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, Pope John Paul II suffers an assassination attempt. To the Pope, this event is a reminder of the urgency of the Fatima messages. The next year, on May 13, 1982, he undertakes a pilgrimage to Fatima to thank Our Lady for saving his life.
June 7, 1982 U.S. President Ronald Reagan and the Pope meet at the Vatican for the first time. Time magazine much later reports that both men agreed to undertake a clandestine campaign to hasten the end of the communist empire with Poland, native land of the Holy Father, as the focus.
Decembers 8, 1983 The Holy Father writes the bishops of the world asking them to join him in collegial consecration to Our Lady on March 25, 1984, feast of the Annunciation, each bishop in his own diocese.
March 25, 1984 Collegial consecration to Our Lady of Fatima made by the Holy Father in union with all the bishops of the world, while Russia is not directly mentioned, the Pope prays, "We consecrate to you those men and those nations who have a special need to be entrusted to you in this way. Shed your light in particular upon those peoples from whom you yourself await our consecrations." Sr. Lucia told the Papal Nuncio that this consecration was finally accepted by God. She said that God will keep His word regarding the conversion of Russia.
March 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev becomes head of the Soviet Union. Under his leadership, he initiated reforms which later spun out of his control and led to the breakup of the Soviet Communist empire.
June 7, 1987 Following a Marian Year in the Philippines, the Pope inaugurates a special Marian Year to be completed on August 15, 1988. The declaration of Marian Year could have contributed to the prayers necessary for the dismantling of Soviet Communism.
Dec. 1, 1989 The Pope receives Mikhail Gorbachev at the Vatican. In introducing the Pope to his wife Raisa, Gorbachev refers to the Holy Father as the "highest moral authority on earth".
1989-91 Soviet communist empire disintegrates: first in the Pope's beloved Poland, then in Eastern Europe, and finally in the Soviet Union itself. In his first visit to post-communist Prague, the Pope says Communism "had revealed itself to be an unattainable utopia because some essential aspects of the human person were neglected and negated: man's irrepressible longing for freedom and truth and his incapacity to feel happy when the transcendent relationship with God is excluded.”
May 13, 1991 The Pope undertakes a second pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal on the 10th anniversary of the assassination attempt on his life. He publicly gives thanks to Mary for the liberation of east central Europe from communism.
May 13, 2000 The Holy Father beatifies Jacinta and Francisco in Fatima, Portugal with Sr. Lucia in attendance. He makes public the Third Secret.
The Third Secret of Fatima
After the two parts (or the two secrets) which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand; pointing to the Earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: “Penance, penance, penance!” And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front it’ a Bishop dressed in white,’ we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of the cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big City haft in ruins and haft trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrow at him, and the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priest, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in the hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
Excepts from the Theological Commentary on the Third Secret by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith:
….the figurative of the vision is symbolic. In this regard, Cardinal (Angelo) Sodano stated; ‘(they) do not describe photographically the details of future events. But synthesize and compress against the single background fact which extend through time in an unspecified succession and duration! “The angel with the flaming sword… represents the threat of judgment which looms over the world. Today the prospect that the world might be reduced to ashes by a sea of fire no longer seems pure fantasy: man himself, with his inventions, has forged the flaming sword. The vision then shows the power which stands opposed to the force of destruction-the splendor of the Mother of God and, stemming from this in a certain way, the summons to penance. The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. Therefore, we must totally discount fatalistic explanations of the “secret”, such as, for example, the claim that the would-be assassin of 13 May 1981 (Pope Paul II’s) was merely an instrument of the divine plan guided by Providence and could not therefore have acted freely... The Church’s path is thus described as a Via Crucis, as a journey through a time of violence, destruction and persecution. The history of an entire century can be seen represented in this image. Just as the places of the earth are synthetically described in the two images of the mountain and the city, and are directed towards the cross, so too time is represented in a compressed way. In the vision we can recognize the last century as a century of martyrs, a century of a suffering and persecution for the Church, a century of World Wars and the many local wars which filled the last fifty years… The concluding part of the ‘secret’ …is a consoling vision, which seeks to open a history of blood and tears to the healing power of God. Beneath the arms of the cross, angels gather up the blood of the martyrs, and with it they give life to the souls making their way to God…
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More than a hundred years ago, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three little shepherds in Fatima, Portugal, with a crucial message for the century and its looming dangers. Even if many of these events seem like part of a distant past, the message of Fatima is not irrelevant. The latest World Youth Day in Lisbon gives us the opportunity to once again reflect on the message of faith, hope and charity that Our Lady gave us for times of difficulty. Let us look back on the events of Fatima — in Venerable Lucia dos Santos’ own words.
What happened at Fatima?
Lucia dos Santos and Francisco and Jacinta Marto were ordinary children, poor shepherds who were well-loved by their community and families, each very pious in their own way. In 1916, an angel appeared to them on three different occasions in the Cova da Iria.
In these apparitions, the angel asked them to pray for sinners and insisted on the importance of offering our sufferings to God for their conversion. He asked them to pray often: “Oh My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you. And I beg pardon for all those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love you.”
Our Lady’s apparitions began eight months later. Much of the world was suffering in 1917 at the time. World War I was wreaking havoc across Europe, and in Russia, a turbulent revolution would later give rise to the Soviet Union. The apparitions, safe to say, were just what the world needed.
On May 13, when Lucia was 10, Francisco, 9, and Jacinta, 11, Our Lady appeared to the children with a flash of lightning.
She asked them, “Will you offer yourselves to God, and bear all the sufferings he sends you, in atonement for all the sins that offend him and for the conversion of sinners?”
They replied that they would. She then asked them to return to the same location she appeared to them every month.
Lucia describes the encounter: “We were bathed in a heavenly light that appeared to come directly from her hands. The light’s reality cut into our hearts and our souls, and we knew somehow that this light was God, and we could see ourselves embraced in it. By an interior impulse of grace we fell to our knees, repeating in our hearts: ‘Oh, Holy Trinity, we adore you. My God, my God, I love you in the Blessed Sacrament.’”
Following the visit, the children told their families. The Marto parents were the first believers of Fatima, but Lucia’s parents would prove more difficult. Her mother believed she was lying, while her father was not religious at all and was indifferent.
Secrets and sufferings
Between the second and fourth apparitions, the children suffered much at the hands of their families and the local authorities, who believed they were lying. But the children remained steadfast, and with encouragement from Francisco and Jacinta, Lucia overcame her own doubts caused by her family’s disbelief.
The second apparition, on June 13, revealed that Francisco and Jacinta would soon be taken to heaven. Lucia would remain on earth for a while to tell the story of Fatima. The third apparition would reveal much more.
On July 13, Our Lady revealed to the children three “secrets of Fatima,” the third of which would not be released until 2000 by St. John Paul II. The first was a vision of hell and a warning about World War II; the second, a warning about Russia.
L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, published a special insert in 2000 on the secrets. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also published a document titled “The Message of Fatima,” in which all three secrets are published “in their entirety.” It contains an interpretation of the secrets approved by John Paul II and signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then prefect of the Congregation.
The document stated: “The first and second parts of the ‘secret’… refer especially to the frightening vision of hell, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism.”
The third secret was a prophecy. Lucia wrote, “[There was] a Bishop dressed in white, we had the impression that it was the Holy Father. Other bishops, priests, men and women religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big cross … before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain on his knees, at the foot of the big cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other bishops, priests, men and women religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the cross, there were two angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.”
John Paul II saw himself reflected in the image of the martyred Pope. The assassination attempt that he miraculously survived on May 13, 1981, occurred on the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. He later said, “It was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path.” He considered he was delivered by Our Lady from the death that was prophesized for him in Fatima.
The ‘Miracle of the Sun’
Two apparitions later, tension was growing in Fatima; authorities were alarmed by the number of people flocking to the Cova da Iria. The children were promised a miracle at the final apparition, which would take place on October 13, so that the world would believe.
Lucia described the vision: “After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child Jesus seemed to bless the world, for they traced the sign of the cross with their hands. When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Sorrows. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel.”
Then came the miracle: the sun “danced” to eyewitnesses, who were 70,000 in attendance.
“Opening her hands, she made them reflect on the sun, and as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continued to be projected onto the sun itself,” Lucia wrote. “Here … is the reason why I cried out to the people to look at the sun … I was moved to do so under the guidance of an interior impulse.”
Fatima for today
Even though the secrets of Fatima seem to refer to events of the past, her message is still relevant today. Many of the errors of communism are still alive and have found renewed force in our culture and other parts of the world. Christian persecution in the world is on the rise and many people are leaving the faith.
The message of Our Lady of Fatima is filled with hope. As she warned of future wars, death and persecution, she didn’t request anything that surpassed our abilities. Instead, she reminded us that prayer, the offering of our sufferings and our own conversion were powerful means of transforming history. She reminded us that, as Christians, we can only bear fruit if we abide in Christ — sin, on the other hand, sterilizes our actions.
She said that God wished to establish in the world the devotion to her Immaculate Heart for the salvation of “poor souls.” Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary implies embracing the same attitude of heart as Mary in her fiat — “your will be done” — and defining this attitude as the center of our whole life. Our Lady was asking us to imitate her, as St. Paul did in his letters (1 Cor 4:16).
Let us then not forget her message in our time. We must look at history through the eyes of salvation history: God and the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph, but Christ calls us to collaborate in his plan of salvation in our daily lives. Christ calls us to become true disciples, following the example of Mary, his Mother.
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Home > Catholic Perspective > How One Man’s Bad Actions Impacted Fatima’s Miracle of the Sun
How One Man’s Bad Actions Impacted Fatima’s Miracle of the Sun
On May 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared to three children in Fatima , Portugal and asked them to return on the thirteenth of the next five months. However, on August 13, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco failed to go to the place of the apparition because they had been arrested by the mayor of nearby Ourem and placed in jail with the threat of being boiled in oil. They were eventually released.
Our Lady appeared to the children later that month on the nineteenth.
During this brief apparition, Our Lady said something very significant. Her face became grave and even upset. Our Lady then referred to the coming miracle she was to perform in October, saying, “If they had not taken you to Ourem, the miracle would be even greater.”
Eternal and Natural Law: The Foundation of Morals and Law
The “Miracle of the Sun” took place in October, dazzling everyone with its supernatural character and the monumental movements of the sun. It exceeded all imagination. It was terrifying, yet magnificent. Those who witnessed the miracle experienced special graces, healings and conversions—even when many miles away.
As great as this miracle was, it was supposed to be yet more magnificent. However, the actions of the mayor of Ourem and any accomplices caused the diminishing of the miracle.
Thus, many miraculous healings and conversions did not take place because of this man. The actions of one or a few can have an impact on what Our Lady decides to do. When we sin, we offend God, Who can choose to withhold His graces from the world.
If the single evil action of the Mayor of Ourem had such an effect on heaven, we can imagine the impact of sacrilege, blasphemy, contraception, abortion, adultery, fornication, homosexuality and same-sex “marriage,”
Every sin offends God, yet we must also consider the billions of grave mortal sins thrown in the face of God. These offenses merit unimaginable chastisements in due proportion.
We must also consider that Our Lady complained about the sins of the early twentieth century. Marriages and families at that time were still largely intact. Divorce, abortion, fornication, sodomy and other behaviors were illegal then. However, Our Lady still was incredibly saddened by the sins of that time. Today, she must be much more saddened.
Learn All About the Prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success About Our Times
There is much we can do in the face of so much sin. We can offer up our adoration and prayers to God. We can offer reparation for our own sins and those of the world. We also must act by protesting against so much wickedness committed in the public square. Our protest, reparation and prayers must also be done in public. Such bold pubic stands are a manifestation of our love of God.
These acts also show our zeal for the conversion and salvation of sinners. Our courageous actions can further move Our Lady to multiply the humble merits of our efforts. She can disproportionately grant graces of conversion and repentance as a result.
Moreover, those who act now can expect Our Lady’s help in times of chastisement and trials. Let us be like the Fatima children and not like the Mayor of Ourem.
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