OUR LADY OF FATIMA
What is Fatima?
Fatima is Heaven’s intervention to save us from persecution, war, annihilation, enslavement and hell.
Fatima is a visit by Our Heavenly Mother Mary in our time for our time. It is a Message of concern, a practical plan for world peace, a promise of Heaven.
It is Heaven’s interventions to save us from persecution, martyrdom, war, enslavement or annihilation. Above all it’s a way to save our souls from hell. It is meant for you.
Today Our Lady, by Divine Providence, invites you to learn The Whole Truth About Fatima by giving you this opportunity to know Her beautiful Message of Fatima.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, appeared 6 times to 3 shepherd children; Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta; between May 13 and October 13, 1917. She came to the little village of Fatima which had remained faithful to the Catholic Church during the recent persecutions by the government.
Our Lady’s Message
She came with a message from God to every man, woman and child of our century. Our Lady of Fatima promised that the whole world would be in peace, and that many souls would go to Heaven if Her requests were listened to and obeyed.
She told us that war is a punishment for sin; that God would punish the world for its sins in our time by means of war, hunger, persecution of the Church and persecution of the Holy Father, the Pope, unless we listened to and obeyed the commands of God.
Pope Benedict XV Demands World Peace (May 5, 1917)
In 1917 the First World War was raging, without showing any sure sign of concluding peacefully. By this time the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XV, who had been in the diplomatic service of the Vatican, had exhausted all of the natural means in his power to bring about peace, but to no avail. Realizing the limited power of even Papal diplomacy, the tired and frail Pope turned to the Blessed Mother of God, through Whom all graces are dispensed. He urgently requested all Christians to beg the Virgin Mary to obtain peace in the world, and to solemnly entrust the task to Her alone.
The Pope wrote of his plea for peace in a letter dated May 5, 1917:
Our earnestly pleading voice, invoking the end of the vast conflict, the suicide of civilized Europe, was then and has remained ever since unheard. Indeed, it seemed that the dark tide of hatred grew higher and wider among the belligerent nations, and drew other countries into its frightful sweep, multiplying ruin and massacre. Nevertheless Our confidence was not lessened …. Since all graces which the Author of all good deigns to grant to the poor children of Adam, by a loving design of His Divine Providence are dispensed through the hands of the most holy Virgin, we wish that the petition of Her most afflicted children, more than ever in this terrible hour, may turn with lively confidence to the august Mother of God. 
He wished the world to have recourse to the Heart of Jesus through the mediation of Mary, and he ordered that the invocation Queen of Peace, pray for us be permanently added to the Litany of Loreto. Then, confidently placing the peace of the world in Her hands, the Pope made another appeal:
To Mary, then, who is the Mother of Mercy and omnipotent by grace, let loving and devout appeal go up from every corner of the earth – from noble temples and tiniest chapels, from royal palaces and mansions of the rich as from the poorest hut – from blood-drenched plains and seas. Let it bear to Her the anguished cry of mothers and wives, the wailing of innocent little ones, the sighs of every generous heart: that Her most tender and benign solicitude may be moved and the peace we ask for be obtained for our agitated world. 
The Blessed Mother responded quickly to this agonizing plea of the Pope and the Christian people. Only eight days later, at Fatima, the Virgin Mary came in response to the cries raised to Her from a warring world. She came to demonstrate Her maternal care for us, and that, as Mediatrix of all Graces, She alone can show us the way to peace. In order to grant this favor, though, She requires our cooperation. She requires that each one of us obey Her requests for prayer and penance, and that the Pope and bishops obey Her request for the Consecration of Russia.
While the Blessed Virgin responded to the Holy Father only eight days after he appealed to Her, the Virgin still awaits worldwide prayer and penance, and the fulfillment of the collegial Consecration of Russia. How sad it is that so many years later Her simple requests have still not been fully obeyed.
. Rope, Henry E.G., Benedict, the Pope of Peace, (London, 1941), pp. 104-105.
. Walsh, William Thomas, Our Lady of Fatima, (New York, 1947, 1954), p. 49.
Circumstances and Dialogue of the 1916 Apparitions
In the spring of 1916, three young Portuguese shepherds, Lucy dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, led their sheep to graze on a hill called the Cabeço. Rain began to fall, so the children found a place on the hillside to serve as a shelter. Even after the rain had passed and the sun had returned, the little shepherds spent the day at this spot, eating lunch, saying the Rosary and playing games. Lucy was then only nine years old, Francisco was eight, and Jacinta was six.
As they were playing, a strong wind suddenly blew, shaking the trees, and the children saw a figure approaching above the olive trees. Lucy described the figure as having "the appearance of a young man of fourteen or fifteen, whiter than snow, which the sun rendered transparent as if it were of crystal, and of great beauty. We were surprised and half absorbed. We did not say a word.
"While coming closer to us, the Angel said: ‘Do not fear! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.’ And kneeling on the earth, he bent his forehead to the ground. Prompted by a supernatural movement, we imitated him and repeated the words which we heard him pronounce: ‘My God, I believe in Thee, I adore Thee, I hope in Thee and I love Thee. I ask pardon for all those who do not believe in Thee, do not adore Thee, do not hope in Thee and do not love Thee.’
"Having repeated that prayer three times, he got up again and said to us: ‘Pray in this way. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.’ And he disappeared."
Lucy recalled, "The supernatural atmosphere which enveloped us was so intense that, during a long moment, we barely realized the fact of our own existence. We remained in the position in which the Angel had left us, always repeating the same prayer. The presence of God made itself felt in such an intense and intimate manner, that we did not dare even to speak any longer among ourselves. The next day, we still felt our spirit enveloped in this atmosphere which only disappeared very slowly."
The Angel of Peace had come to speak to the children, to infuse them with this extraordinary grace through which they were penetrated with the Divine Presence, and to demonstrate to them the attitude, posture and fervor with which to pray to God. Interestingly, during the apparition Francisco could not hear the words of the Angel, and had to be told what was said afterward; this would be the case for all of the other apparitions as well. After some time the three little shepherds recovered their physical strength and playfulness.
The second apparition of the Angel took place during the summer of 1916. While the children were playing around their favorite well, the Angel suddenly appeared. "What are you doing?" he asked. "Pray, pray a great deal! The Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer unceasingly prayers and sacrifice yourselves to the Most High."
Lucy asked the Angel how they were to make sacrifices.
The Angel replied, "Make of everything you can a sacrifice and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. In this way, you will draw peace upon your country. I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission the sufferings which the Lord will send you."
Lucy comments, "Those words of the Angel engraved themselves in our spirit, as a light which made us understand Who God is, how much He loves us and wants to be loved by us, the value of sacrifice and how pleasing it is to Him, and that out of respect for it, God converts sinners." The dominant theme in this second apparition of the Angel was the importance of making offerings to God through every possible action and sacrifice, even the smallest, and of making the offerings with special intentions, especially for the conversion of sinners.
In the autumn of the same year, the children took their sheep to the same place where the first apparition took place. There in the blessed place of the Cabeço, they were reciting the prayer the Angel had taught them when above them an unknown light appeared. Lucy relates, "We got up again to see what was happening, and we saw the Angel again, who had in his left hand a Chalice over which was suspended a Host, from which some drops of Blood fell into the Chalice."
Leaving the Chalice and the Host suspended in the air, he prostrated himself down to the earth near the children and repeated three times this prayer:
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He, Himself is offended. And I draw upon the infinite merits of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that You might convert poor sinners.
Then, getting up, the Angel took the Chalice and Host. He gave Lucy the Sacred Host on the tongue. Then while giving the Precious Blood from the Chalice to Francisco and Jacinta, he said:
"Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God." Then, prostrating himself on the ground he repeated with the children three times the same prayer: Most Holy Trinity, etc., and disappeared.
This final apparition of the Angel was clearly the summit of the three, as the children were graced to see the Precious Blood of Our Lord fall from the Sacred Host into the Chalice, and then receive Holy Communion from the hands of the Angel.
Again, the need for converting poor sinners was a theme in this final apparition of the Angel. The prayer repeated by the Angel demonstrates that through our prayers, united with the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, sinners can be converted. Our prayers and sacrifices alone amount to very little; but when they are united to the merits of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, they become infinitely valuable. Also emphasized was the need for reparation for the sins committed against God, by which He is constantly hurt and seeking consolation. In addition, the way the children received Holy Communion is particularly instructive for our time: they received Communion in the kneeling position, and the Sacred Host was given on the tongue.
The appearance of the Angel of Peace to three little Portuguese shepherds was a preparation for the signal grace that was about to be bestowed upon them: the appearance of the Queen of Heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary. The apparitions of the Angel prepared them for seeing the Mother of God, through the transforming Divine graces the Angel showered on them, and his instructions about prayer, sacrifice and offerings. Through his apparitions to Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta, the Angel of Peace came to ready them for the decisive roles they were each to play in the most important event of the Twentieth Century, the appearance of Our Lady at Fatima.
Yet the Angel of Peace’s instructions were not meant for the children alone. They apply to each of us, and just as they prepared the children for the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, they can also serve as a preparation for our reception of Our Lady’s Fatima Message.
Circumstances and Dialogue of the 1917 Apparitions (May 13, 1917)
By May of 1917 several months had passed since the final apparition of the Angel to the three children. They had continued their task of shepherding their flocks, and had resumed their former vivaciousness and playfulness. On the thirteenth of May, after Sunday morning Mass, they chose to lead their sheep to a property of Lucy’s parents called Cova da Iria. After eating their meal at noon and praying the Rosary, the children began to play. Suddenly they saw a kind of lightning, making them believe that a storm was approaching, and they began to descend the hill to make for home.
When about halfway down the slope there was another flash of light, and a Lady appeared above a holm-oak tree. Lucy says that the Lady was "all dressed in white, more brilliant than the sun, radiating a light clearer and more intense than a crystal glass filled with clear water pierced by the most burning rays of the sun." The children stopped and found themselves in the light that emanated from Her.
Lucy describes the apparition in this way:
Then Our Lady said to us: ‘Do not be afraid. I will do you no harm.’
‘Where is Your Grace from?’ I asked Her.
‘I am of Heaven.’
‘What does Your Grace want of me?’
‘I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the 13th day, at this same hour. Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards, I will return here yet a seventh time.’
‘Shall I go to Heaven too?’
‘Yes, you will.’
‘Also, but he will have to say many Rosaries.’
I remembered then to ask about two girls who had died recently. They were friends of mine and they used to come to my home to learn weaving with my eldest sister.
‘Is Maria das Neves already in Heaven?’
‘Yes, she is.’
It seems to me that she was about sixteen years old.
‘She will be in Purgatory until the end of the world.’
It seems to me that she must have been between eighteen and twenty years old.
‘Are you willing to offer yourselves to God to bear all the sufferings He wants to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and for the conversion of sinners?’
‘Yes, we are willing.’
‘You are then going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.’
It was in pronouncing those last words (the grace of God, etc.) that Our Lady opened Her hands for the first time, and communicated to us, as by a reflection which emanated from them, a light so intense that, penetrating our heart and even to the depths of our soul, it made us see ourselves in God, Who was this light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best mirrors.
Then, moved by an interior impulse which was communicated to us, we fell on our knees and said repeatedly: ‘O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee. My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Holy Sacrament.’
The first moments passed, and Our Lady added:
‘Recite the Rosary every day in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.’
‘Can You tell me whether the war will still last a long time, or if it will soon end?’
‘I cannot tell you yet, as I have not yet told you what I want.’
Then She began to rise serenely, going up towards the east until She disappeared in the immensity of the sky.
During the apparitions, each child’s part was distinct: Lucy was the only one who spoke to Our Lady; Jacinta saw and heard Her but did not speak; and Francisco saw Her but could not hear Her, and had to be told afterward what She said.
In the Divine light that had shone forth from Our Lady’s hands in this apparition, the most profound impression the children received, especially Francisco, was the sadness of God. In fact, consoling the sadness of God would afterward become Francisco’s particular vocation. The children understood that God is very much offended by the sins of humanity. Another important theme that would be reaffirmed in each apparition was the necessity and power of the Rosary. Our Lady always held a Rosary in Her hands when She appeared, and in each apparition reminded the children to say the Rosary to obtain peace.
Lucy explains the experience: "The apparition of Our Lady came once again to plunge us into the supernatural, but in a much milder manner [than the apparitions of the Angel]. Instead of this annihilation in the Divine Presence, which prostrated us, even physically, this last apparition left us a peace, an expansive joy which prevented us from speaking afterwards about what had happened."
Since Our Lady did not ask them to make known what they had been told, the children decided that it would be best to remain silent about the apparition. Little Jacinta, however, could not contain her joy for long and, prompted by a special grace, immediately gave an enthusiastic account of the apparition to her parents. As a result, the news spread quickly.
June 13, 1917
The children went to the Cova da Iria on June 13 as they had promised Our Lady, even though it meant missing all of the festivities for the Feast of St. Anthony, who was Patron Saint of their parish and of Portugal. When they arrived at the Cova that morning there were already several dozen people gathered there, mostly from the neighboring hamlets, where word of the apparition had spread.
By noon the number of spectators had risen to about fifty. The crowd had just finished praying the Rosary when Lucy cried out, "There is the lightning! … Our Lady is arriving!" The crowd saw neither the lightning nor Our Lady, but one witness observed that "the branches of the tree gave way on all sides, as if the weight of Our Lady had really been supported on them." This observation demonstrates that Our Lady was in fact physically present, in Her glorified body, and that the children were not merely "seeing" a vision of questionable authenticity. Others present related that they had heard something like the sound of a very light voice, though they could not make out what was being said. Also observed was that the bright noontime sun had dimmed considerably.
Lucy gives an account of the second apparition of Our Lady in her Fourth Memoir:
… we saw Our Lady, on the holm-oak, just as in the month of May.
‘What does Your Grace want of me?’ I asked.
‘I wish you to come here on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn how to read. Later I will tell you what I want.’
I asked for the cure of a sick person.
‘If he is converted, he will be cured within the year.’
‘I would like to ask You to take us to Heaven.’
‘Yes, I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you, Lucy, are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you in order to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. To whoever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation; those souls will be cherished by God, as flowers placed by Me to adorn His throne.’
‘Am I to stay here alone?’ I asked painfully.
‘No, My daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Do not lose heart, I will never forsake you! My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.’
It was at the moment when She pronounced those last words that She opened Her hands and communicated to us, for the second time, the reflection of that immense light. In it we saw ourselves as submerged in God. Jacinta and Francisco appeared to be in the part of that light which elevated itself to Heaven, and I in the part which spread itself on the earth.
In the palm of the right hand of Our Lady there was a Heart, surrounded by thorns which seemed to pierce it. We understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity, which demanded reparation.
Then, as Our Lady left them, the crowd heard a sound like a firecracker in the distance. Lucy rose quickly and pointing, cried, "See, She is going, She is going!" The crowd did not see Her, but did note a small cloud that rose from above the tree and, moving toward the east, gradually disappeared. The holm-oak tree, on which Our Lady had stood, had its branches bent slightly toward the east.
In this apparition Our Lady had once again conveyed to them the reflection of that Divine light, through which they were given a special knowledge of and increased love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Lucy writes,
It seems to me that on that day, that reflection of light had as a principal goal to instill in us a knowledge and a special love towards the Immaculate Heart of Mary; in the same way as the other two times, it had that same goal, but with respect to God and to the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Since that day, we felt in our hearts a more ardent love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
July 13, 1917
The third apparition brought to the Cova da Iria a crowd of 5,000 people. Lucy led the Rosary and the crowd answered. At noon she rose and looked toward the east, crying, "Close the umbrellas! Close the umbrellas! (They used umbrellas to protect themselves from the intense noontime sun) … Our Lady is arriving!"
The apparition then began in the usual way, with a flash of something like lightning and the appearance of Our Lady atop the holm-oak. Lucy relates the apparition in her memoirs:
‘What does Your Grace want of me?’ I asked.
‘I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue reciting the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace in the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you.’
‘I should like to ask You to tell us who You are, and to work a miracle so that everyone will believe that Your Grace is appearing to us.’
‘Continue to come here every month. In October, I will say who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle so that all might see and believe.’
Here I made some requests which I do not remember. What I do remember, is that Our Lady said it was necessary to say the Rosary in order to obtain these graces throughout the year.
Our Lady continued: ‘Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say often to Jesus, especially whenever you make a sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’
As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands once more, as She had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. 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 huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. That vision lasted only a moment, thanks to our good Mother of Heaven, Who, at the first apparition, had promised to bring us to Heaven. Without that, I think we would have died of terror and fear.
Terrified and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, 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 is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI. 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, 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, 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 will 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. Do not tell this to anybody. Francisco, yes, you may tell him.
‘When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.’
After this, there was a moment of silence, and then I asked, ‘Is there anything more that You want of me?’
‘No, I do not want anything more of you today.’
Then, as before, Our Lady began to ascend towards the east, until She finally disappeared.
In the cycle of the apparitions, the apparition of July 13 is decidedly the most important. It was in this third apparition of Our Lady that the Secret was given to the seers. Also, the announcement of the October miracle was made for the first time, clearly indicating its date, time and place. Our Lady would reiterate the coming miracle in the August and September apparitions as well.
August 13 & 19, 1917
On August 13, between 10,000 and 20,000 people gathered at the Cova da Iria to await the arrival of Our Lady. The three little seers, however, were not present. The administrator of the district, Artur de Oliveira Santos, a prominent Freemason, had imprisoned the children on August 13, and for two days he used many means, including the threat of boiling them in oil, to pry from them either the Secret itself, or a confession that they were lying. Courageously the children refused to betray their confidence and remained steadfast under every tactic used. In fact, believing that they were soon to be killed, they were full of joy at the thought of soon being in Heaven. This willingness to suffer martyrdom is another proof of the truthfulness of the Message. Realizing that he was getting nowhere, after two days the administrator released the children.
While the seers were being held on August 13, Our Lady still came to the Cova da Iria and manifested Her presence to the large crowd. One faithful woman described the scene:
The clap of thunder was more or less similar to that of the preceding time. Some say that it came from the road, others from the holm-oak …. It seemed to me that it came from very far. Everyone kept quiet, frightened …. At the clap of thunder there followed lightning, and at once we began to notice a small cloud, very pretty, white in color, very light, which hovered some moments over the holm-oak, then rose towards the sky, and disappeared in the atmosphere.
While looking around us, we observed a strange thing, which we had already seen the previous time, and which we were going to see again in the future. The faces of the people had all the colors of the rainbow: pink, red, blue … The trees did not appear to have branches and leaves but only flowers; everything seemed laden with flowers, and every leaf appeared to be a flower. The ground was covered with squares of different colors. Clothes were also of every color of the rainbow.
On the afternoon of August 19, Lucy and Francisco, accompanied by Francisco’s older brother John, went to put their sheep to pasture. This is the account that Sister Lucy gave of what occurred:
I felt that something supernatural was approaching and enveloping us. Suspecting that Our Lady was going to appear to us, and feeling sorry that Jacinta would not be there to see Her, we asked her brother John to go and get her.
However John wished to stay and see Our Lady. Lucy, therefore, gave John one coin to fetch Jacinta, and promised him another when he brought her back. While he ran to get her, Lucy and Francisco saw the characteristic flash of light, and just as Jacinta arrived, Our Lady appeared above a holm-oak tree. Lucy’s account continues:
[Lucy asked:] ‘What does Your Grace want from me?’
‘I want you to continue going to the Cova da Iria on the 13th, that you continue praying the Rosary every day. On the last month, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe. If they had not taken you to the town, the miracle would have been greater. Saint Joseph will come with the Child Jesus, to give peace to the world. Our Lord will come to bless the people. Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows will come also.’
‘What do You want them to do with the money the people leave at the Cova da Iria?’
‘Have two litters made. You will carry one with Jacinta and two other girls dressed in white; the other one Francisco is to carry, with three boys, like him, dressed in white. It will be for the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. What is left over will help towards the construction of a chapel that is to be built.’
‘I should like to ask You to cure some sick persons.’
‘Yes, I will cure some of them during the year.’
Then looking more sad, Our Lady said: ‘Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and pray for them.’
As usual, Our Lady began to ascend towards the east.
After the apparition of August 19, the three children looked for ways to make more sacrifices to offer to Jesus, "for His love, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary."
Lucy describes one example:
Some days after [the apparition of August 19], we were following a path with our sheep and I found a piece of rope which had fallen from a cart. I took it and amused myself by attaching it to one of my arms. I did not take long to notice that the rope hurt me. I then said to my cousins: ‘Look, that hurts! We could attach it around our waist and offer this sacrifice to God.’ The poor children accepted my idea immediately and we then decided to share that rope among the three of us. A sharp stone, rubbing on another, served as a knife. Whether because of the size and roughness of the rope, or because sometimes we squeezed it too much, that instrument made us suffer horribly. Sometimes Jacinta shed some tears because of the discomfort which the rope caused her. I told her on several occasions to take it off, and she replied, ‘No! I want to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord in reparation and for the conversion of sinners.’
September 13, 1917
On September 13 as many as thirty thousand people gathered at the Cova da Iria. While waiting for noon to arrive, Lucy led the Rosary for the crowd. At noon, a certain phenomenon announced the arrival of Our Lady to many in the crowd. As one witness relates,
The sky was blue, without any clouds. I also looked up, and began to scrutinize the immensity of the firmament, to see what other eyes, more fortunate than mine, had already contemplated. To my great astonishment, I then saw, clearly and distinctly, a luminous globe, traveling from the east to the west, and gliding slowly and majestically in space … Suddenly the globe, with its extraordinary light, disappeared from our eyes.
The light of the sun then dimmed, and the atmosphere became a yellow-gold color, like it had during the former apparitions. Some reported that they could see the stars, the sky had darkened to such an extent. Lucy then spoke to Our Lady, asking, "What does Your Grace want of me?"
‘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 Mount Carmel, and Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus in order to bless the world. God is satisfied with your sacrifices, but He does not want you to sleep with the rope. Wear it only during the day.’
‘There is a little girl here who is a deaf-mute. Would not Your Grace wish to cure her?’
Our Lady replied that a year from now, the girl would be better.
‘I have many other requests, some for conversion, others for a cure.’
‘I shall cure some, but others no, because Our Lord does not trust them.’
‘The people would indeed like to have a chapel here.’
‘With half of the money received so far, they should make litters and carry them on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary; the other half can be used to build the chapel.’
Lucy then offered Her two letters and a small flask of water with a fragrance, which had been given her by a man of the parish of Olival. In offering them to Our Lady, she said to Her: "They gave me that. Does Your Grace want it?"
"That is not suitable for Heaven," Our Lady replied. "In October I will perform the miracle so that all may believe."
Our Lady then ascended toward the east and disappeared as usual. The crowd once again saw the luminous globe, which had accompanied Her upon Her arrival, rise up toward the east and disappear.
October 13, 1917
There were about 70,000 people present at the Cova da Iria for the October 13 apparition and Miracle of the Sun. Beginning the night before and persisting throughout the morning of the 13th, a cold rain fell on the crowd. The ground was muddy and the rain soaked everything. At the time when Our Lady was due to arrive, Lucy begged the people to close their umbrellas, which they did at once.
‘What does Your Grace want of me?’ [Lucy asked.]
‘I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in My honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. May you continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.’
‘I had many things to ask You: to cure some sick people, to convert some sinners, etc.’
‘Some yes, others no. They must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins.’
Then taking on a more sorrowful air, Our Lady said:
‘Do not offend the Lord Our God any more, for He is already too much offended!’
‘You want nothing more from me?’ [Lucy asked.]
‘No, I want nothing more from you.’
"Then I do not ask anything more of You either."
As Our Lady ascended into Heaven, Lucy shouted: "She is going! She is going! Look at the sun!"
The miracle announced by Our Lady then took place: the sky abruptly cleared and the sun "danced". The people were able to look at the bright sun directly, without it bothering their eyes at all. A physician, Dr. Almeida Garrett, testified:
Suddenly I heard the uproar of thousands of voices, and I saw the whole multitude spread out in that vast space at my feet … turn their backs to that spot where, until then, all their expectations focused, and look at the sun on the other side … I turned around, too, toward the point commanding their gazes, and I could see the sun, like a very clear disc, with its sharp edge, which gleamed without hurting the sight … It could not be confused with the sun seen through a fog (there was no fog at that moment), for it was neither veiled, nor dim. At Fatima, it kept its light and heat, and stood out clearly in the sky, with a sharp edge, like a large gaming table. The most astonishing thing was to be able to stare at the solar disc for a long time, brilliant with light and heat, without hurting the eyes, or damaging the retina.1
The testimony of Avelino de Almeida, editor-in-chief of O Seculo, Lisbon’s anticlerical and Masonic daily newspaper, is similar:
And then we witnessed a unique spectacle, an incredible spectacle, unbelievable if you did not witness it. From above the road … We see the immense crowd turn towards the sun, which appeared at its zenith, clear of the clouds. It looked like a plate of dull silver, and it was possible to stare at it without the least discomfort. It did not burn the eyes. It did not blind. One might say that an eclipse had occurred.
Others also testified:
"It shook and trembled; it seemed like a wheel of fire." (Maria da Capelinha)
"The sun turned like a fire wheel, taking on all the colors of the rainbow." (Maria do Carmo)
"The sun took on all the colors of the rainbow. Everything assumed those same colors: our faces, our clothes, the earth itself." (Maria do Carmo)
The most terrifying aspect of the Miracle of the Sun then took place:
"We suddenly heard a clamor, like a cry of anguish of that entire crowd. The sun, in fact, keeping its rapid movement of rotation, seemed to free itself from the firmament and, blood-red, to plunge towards the earth, threatening to crush us with its fiery mass. Those were some terrifying seconds." (Dr. Almeida Garrett)
"The sun began to dance and, at a certain moment, it appeared to detach itself from the firmament and to rush forward on us, like a fire wheel." (Alfredo da Silva Santos)
"Finally, the sun stopped and everybody breathed a sigh of relief …" (Maria da Capelinha)
"From those thousands of mouths I heard shouts of joy and love to the Most Holy Virgin. And then I believed. I had the certainty of not having been the victim of a suggestion. I had seen the sun as I would never see it again." (Mario Godinho, an engineer)
Yet another astonishing aspect of the Miracle was that all of the thousands of people, most of whom were soaked to the bone and dirty from the mud, suddenly found that their clothes were dry and clean.
"The moment one would least expect it, our clothes were totally dry." (Maria do Carmo)
"My suit dried in an instant." (John Carreira)
The academician Marques da Cruz testified:
This enormous multitude was drenched, for it had rained unceasingly since dawn. But – though this may appear incredible – after the great miracle everyone felt comfortable, and found his garments quite dry, a subject of general wonder … The truth of this fact has been guaranteed with the greatest sincerity by dozens and dozens of persons of absolute trustworthiness, whom I have known intimately from childhood, and who are still alive (1937), as well as by persons from various districts of the country who were present.
In one aspect, this is the most astonishing effect of the miracle and an indisputable proof of its authenticity: The amount of energy needed to accomplish this process of drying in a natural way and in such a short a time, would have incinerated everyone present at the Cova at that time. As this aspect of the miracle contradicts the laws of nature radically, no demon could ever have achieved it.
Finally, many miracles of conversion, the greatest miracle God can bestow, also occurred. Here are two examples:
The captain of the regiment of soldiers on the mountain that day – with orders to prevent the gathering of the crowd – was converted instantly. Apparently so were hundreds of other unbelievers, as their testimony will show.
"There was an unbeliever there who had spent the morning mocking the ‘simpletons’ who had gone off to Fatima just to see an ordinary girl. He now seemed paralyzed, his eyes fixed on the sun. He began to tremble from head to foot, and lifting up his arms, fell on his knees in the mud, crying out to God." (Father Lourenço)
A number of other cases of cures and conversions are documented in, among other places, the following books: Documentação Crítica de Fátima and Fatima from the Beginning.
The great Miracle of the Sun lasted for ten minutes. Many more accounts of the miracle have been taken and recorded from the masses of people present, which verify this incredible manifestation of the authenticity of the entire Fatima Message. (For more accounts, see Chapter 1 of The Devil’s Final Battle.)
During the Miracle of the Sun, the three children were witnessing something else: the beautiful spectacle promised by Our Lady. Lucy writes:
Our Lady having disappeared in the immensity of the firmament, we saw, beside the sun, Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady clothed in white with a blue mantle. Saint Joseph and the Child Jesus seemed to bless the world with gestures which they made with their hands in the form of a cross.
Soon after, that apparition having ceased, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady, Who gave me the impression of being Our Lady of Sorrows. Our Lord seemed to bless the world in the same manner as Saint Joseph.
That apparition disappeared and it seemed to me that I saw Our Lady again, this time as Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
These three successive visions are connected to one of the dominant messages of Fatima: the Rosary. In each of Her six apparitions, Our Lady asked that the Rosary be prayed and here, in these visions granted to the three children, the mysteries of the Holy Rosary were represented. With the vision of the Holy Family we find the Joyful mysteries; the Sorrowful mysteries are represented by the vision of Our Lord and Our Lady of Sorrows; and the Glorious mysteries are represented in the vision of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
When the visions had disappeared and the sun was again normal, Lucy was placed on the shoulder of a man in the crowd and carried safely through the masses to the road. As she was moving past the people, she cried out to them, pleading one of the important themes in the Fatima Message: to convert, return to God and to flee sin. Her exact words were: "Do penance! Do penance! Our Lady wants you to do penance!" but Frère Michel states that in Portuguese this does not mean "performing mortifications", but rather "being converted, returning to God, fleeing sin." Through this plea Lucy was reiterating the sorrowful request Our Lady had made of humanity in Her final apparition: "Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already too much offended."
Thus the Miracle of the Sun, witnessed by 70,000 people, concluded the cycle of the apparitions at Fatima. Yet the Message of Fatima, with its great depth and scope, was to continue to be unfolded to the eldest of the three seers, Lucy. In the years to come Heaven’s Messenger would be visited and, as promised by Our Lady in the July 13 apparition, would be instructed to reveal Heaven’s plan for peace for a turbulent world: the Reparatory devotion of the Five First Saturdays and the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Chapter 1 of The Devil’s Final Battle
. Frère François de Marie des Anges, Fatima: Intimate Joy World Event, Book One: The Astonishing Truth, (English edition, Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, New York, 1993) pp. 172-173.
. O Seculo, article of October 15, 1917.
. Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume I: Science and the Facts, (Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, New York, U.S.A., 1989) p. 337.
. Frère François de Marie des Anges, Fatima: The Astonishing Truth, p. 178.
. Ibid, pp. 178-179.
. Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume I, p. 340.
. Frère François de Marie des Anges, Fatima: The Astonishing Truth, p, 179.
. Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume I, p. 340. See also Father John de Marchi, I.M.C., Fatima From the Beginning, (Missoes Consolata, Fatima, Portugal, 1981, third edition, first published in 1950) p. 141; and Joseph A Pelletier, A.A., The Sun Dances at Fatima, (Doubleday, New York, 1983) pp. 129-130.
. John M. Haffert, Meet the Witnesses, (AMI International Press, Fatima, Portugal, 1961) p. 62.
. Ibid., p. 65.
. Documentaçáo Crítica de Fátima, Volume II, (Santuário de Fátima, 1999) 17 cases documented on pp. 277-372; and Father John de Marchi, I.M.C., Fatima From the Beginning.
Sister Lucy of Fatima Describes the Vision of Hell
At Fatima, the Blessed Virgin Mary told the three child seers that many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray or make sacrifices for them. In her Memoirs, Sister Lucy describes the vision of hell that Our Lady showed the children at Fatima:
"She opened Her hands once more, as She had done the two previous months. The rays [of light] appeared to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a vast sea of fire. Plunged in this fire, we saw the demons and the souls [of the damned]. The latter were like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, having human forms. They were floating about in that conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke. Now they fell back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fright (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons were distinguished [from the souls of the damned] by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. That vision only lasted for a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, Who at the first apparition had promised to take us to Heaven. Without that, I think that we would have died of terror and fear."
The Consecration of Russia
"I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart…If people attend to My requests, Russia will be converted and the world will have peace."
In the apparition of July 13, Our Lady warned the three seers that if people did not stop offending God, He would punish the world "by means of war, hunger and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father," using Russia as His chosen instrument of chastisement. She told the children that "to prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart" and promised that, by this single public act, Russia would be converted and peace would be given to the world.
The Mother of God cautioned that if Her requests were not granted, "Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer and various nations will be annihilated."
True to Her word, Our Lady reappeared to Sister Lucy on June 13, 1929 at Tuy, Spain, when in a great and sublime vision representing the Blessed Trinity, She announced that "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. By this means, He promises to save Russia."
When God sent Our Lady to convey His command that Russia be consecrated, it seems clear that He expected swift obedience from the Pope and bishops. The pastors of the Church, however, chose to delay and, on August 19, 1931, Our Lord Himself appeared to Sister Lucy in Rianjo, Spain and expressed His displeasure, saying "make it known to My ministers that, given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution My command, they will follow him also into misfortune."
Our Lord’s warning is a grave one indeed, referring as it does to His command, through St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to the King of France that he consecrate his nation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The King chose to ignore the command and thus condemned his dynasty and throne to the horrors of revolution, chaos and the guillotine.
The Blessed Virgin’s request for the Consecration of Russia remains one of the most controversial aspects of the entire Fatima Message. While several popes have undertaken consecrations of the world since the request was made public (including Pope John Paul II in 1982 and 1984), sadly, none of these have fulfilled the specific requirements of Our Lord and Our Lady’s requests. In repeated visits to Sister Lucy, Heaven’s King and Queen have insisted that it is Russia (and Russia only) that is to be the object of this public act of obedience and prayer. In addition, Our Lord and Our Lady have indicated that the Holy Father is to be joined in the act of consecration by all the Catholic bishops of the world on the same day and at the same time in their respective dioceses. Interestingly, only Pope Pius XII’s consecration of the world in 1942 included substantial involvement of the bishops. Sister Lucy has written that this imperfect act of obedience, while not fulfilling Our Lady’s Fatima request, nevertheless hastened the end of the Second World War, thus sparing the lives of tens of millions of souls.
In response to Sister Lucy’s question why He would not convert Russia without the Holy Father consecrating that nation to His Mother’s Immaculate Heart, Our Lord replied "Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary so that it may extend its cult later and put the devotion of the Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart."
The Miracle of the Sun
An Eyewitness Account by Dr. José Maria de Almeida Garrett, professor at the Faculty of Sciences of Coimbra, Portugal
"It must have been 1:30 p.m when there arose, at the exact spot where the children were, a column of smoke, thin, fine and bluish, which extended up to perhaps two meters above their heads, and evaporated at that height. This phenomenon, perfectly visible to the naked eye, lasted for a few seconds. Not having noted how long it had lasted, I cannot say whether it was more or less than a minute. The smoke dissipated abruptly, and after some time, it came back to occur a second time, then a third time
"The sky, which had been overcast all day, suddenly cleared; the rain stopped and it looked as if the sun were about to fill with light the countryside that the wintery morning had made so gloomy. I was looking at the spot of the apparitions in a serene, if cold, expectation of something happening and with diminishing curiosity because a long time had passed without anything to excite my attention. The sun, a few moments before, had broken through the thick layer of clouds which hid it and now shone clearly and intensely.
"Suddenly I heard the uproar of thousands of voices, and I saw the whole multitude spread out in that vast space at my feet…turn their backs to that spot where, until then, all their expectations had been focused, and look at the sun on the other side. I turned around, too, toward the point commanding their gaze and I could see the sun, like a very clear disc, with its sharp edge, which gleamed without hurting the sight. It could not be confused with the sun seen through a fog (there was no fog at that moment), for it was neither veiled nor dim. At Fatima, it kept its light and heat, and stood out clearly in the sky, with a sharp edge, like a large gaming table. The most astonishing thing was to be able to stare at the solar disc for a long time, brilliant with light and heat, without hurting the eyes or damaging the retina. [During this time], the sun’s disc did not remain immobile, it had a giddy motion, [but] not like the twinkling of a star in all its brilliance for it spun round upon itself in a mad whirl.
"During the solar phenomenon, which I have just described, there were also changes of color in the atmosphere. Looking at the sun, I noticed that everything was becoming darkened. I looked first at the nearest objects and then extended my glance further afield as far as the horizon. I saw everything had assumed an amethyst color. Objects around me, the sky and the atmosphere, were of the same color. Everything both near and far had changed, taking on the color of old yellow damask. People looked as if they were suffering from jaundice and I recall a sensation of amusement at seeing them look so ugly and unattractive. My own hand was the same color.
"Then, suddenly, one heard a clamor, a cry of anguish breaking from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, seemed all at once to loosen itself from the firmament and, blood red, advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was truly terrible.
"All the phenomena which I have described were observed by me in a calm and serene state of mind without any emotional disturbance. It is for others to interpret and explain them. Finally, I must declare that never, before or after October 13 , have I observed similar atmospheric or solar phenomena."
Professor Almeida Garrett’s full account may be found in Novos Documentos de Fatima (Loyala editions, San Paulo, 1984)
The Three Child Seers
(A Brief Biography)
Of the three shepherd children who witnessed the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima, only one remains alive today, Sister Lucy dos Santos, an 89-year-old Carmelite nun living in the convent of her order in Coimbra, Portugal. As Our Lady predicted at Fatima, both Francisco and Jacinta Marto died several years following the apparitions and are now candidates for sainthood.
FRANCISCO MARTO was born on June 11, 1908 to Manuel and Olimpia de Jesus Marto and was the older brother of Jacinta and the first cousin of Lucy dos Santos. He was nine years old at the time of the apparitions. During the appearances of the Angel and of the Blessed Virgin, he saw all, but, unlike his two companions, was not permitted to hear the words which were spoken.
When, in the course of the first apparition, Lucy asked if Francisco would go to Heaven, Our Lady replied: "Yes, he will go there, but he will have to recite the Rosary many times." Knowing that he would soon be called to paradise, Francisco showed little interest in attending classes. Often, when arriving near the school, he would tell Lucy and Jacinta: "You go on. I am going to church to keep company with the hidden Jesus" (an expression which refers to the Blessed Sacrament). Many contemporary witnesses affirm having received gifts of grace, after having asked Francisco to pray for them.
"The Virgin Mary and God Himself are infinitely sad. It is up to us to console Them!"
In October 1918, Francisco fell gravely ill. To his family members who assured him that he would survive his sickness, he responded firmly: "It is useless. Our Lady wants me with Her in Heaven!" In the course of his illness, he continued to offer constant sacrifices to console Jesus offended by so many sins. "Only a little time remains to me before going to Heaven," he told Lucy one day. "There above, I am going to console Our Lord and Our Lady a great deal; Jacinta is going to pray a great deal for sinners, for the Holy Father and for you. You are going to stay here because Our Lady wishes it. Listen, do everything She tells you."
As his illness worsened and broke his formerly robust health, Francisco no longer had the strength to recite the Rosary. "Mamma, I can no longer say the rosary," he called in a loud voice one day, "it is like my head is among the clouds…" Even as his bodily strength declined, his mind remained fixed on the Eternal. Calling to his father, he begged to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament (he had not yet received his first Holy Communion at this time). Preparing himself for confession, he urged Lucy and Jacinta to recount for him the sins which he had committed. Hearing of some mild pranks he had committed, Francisco began crying, saying, "I have confessed these sins, but I will confess them again. Perhaps it is because of these that Jesus is so sad. You both ask also that Jesus will pardon all my sins."
His first (and also his last) Holy Communion followed in the tiny room in which he lay dying. No longer strong enough to pray, he asked Lucy and Jacinta to recite the Rosary in a loud voice so he could follow with his heart. Two days later, nearing his end, he exclaimed: "Look mamma, look, a light so beautiful, there near the door." Towards 10 o’clock in the evening, on April 4, 1919, after asking that all his offenses be pardoned, he died calmly, without any sign of suffering, without agony, his face shining with an angelic light. Describing the death of her young cousin in her Memoirs, Sister Lucy writes: "He flew away to Heaven in the arms of our Heavenly Mother."
JACINTA MARTO was born on March 11, 1910. At the time of the apparitions she was seven years old. She was the youngest of the seers. During the apparitions she saw and heard everything, but spoke neither to the Angel nor to the Mother of God. Intelligent and very sensitive, she remained profoundly impressed when she heard the Blessed Virgin declare that Jesus was much offended by sin. After seeing the vision of hell, she decided to offer herself completely for the salvation of souls.
The night of the first appearance of Our Lady (May 13, 1917), it was Jacinta who, despite the promises she had made to Lucy, revealed the secret of the apparition to her mother: "Mamma, today I have seen the Madonna in the Cova da Iria. Oh, what a beautiful Lady!" Later, Heaven would further grace Jacinta with two powerful visions of the Holy Father: A Pope suffering for the persecutions made against the Church and also for the wars and destructions which convulsed the world. "Poor Holy Father," said Jacinta, "there is a great need to pray for him." From that time on, Christ’s Vicar was always present in the prayers and sacrifices of all the seers, but especially Jacinta.
"If only I could place in theheart of everyone the fire which I have in my heart which makes me love the Heart of Mary so much!"
To free souls from the fires of hell, Jacinta freely undertook sacrifices. In the fierce heat of the summer, she gave up drinking water. As a sacrifice to God’s Glory, she offered her afternoon snacks to children even poorer than she. To save souls, she took upon herself the pain of wearing a rough piece of knottted rope next to her bare skin. She endured the exhausting interrogations and insults of disbelievers all without the smallest lament. "If only I could show hell to sinners!" she said, "how happy I would be if all could go to paradise."
A year following the apparitions at the Cova da Iri, the illness which would carry her to death began. First came bronchial pneumonia, then an abscess on the lung, both of which made her suffer intensely. Yet from her hospital bed, she declared cheerfully that her sickness was just a new opportunity to suffer for the conversion of sinners.
After two months in hospital, she returned home whereupon an open and ulcerous sore was shortly discovered on her chest. Soon thereafter she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Over the course of the next year, she suffered greviously for Our Lady. "Will Jesus be content with the offering of my sufferings?," she asked Lucy. In February of 1920, she was rushed to another hospital, this time in Lisbon. Wasting away to a virtual skeleton and dying without the presence of her beloved parents or Lucy, she consoled herself with the thought that this, too, was yet another chance to offer up her suffering for sinners. In the Lisbon hospital she was visited no less than three times by the Mother of God.
Finally, on the night of 20th February 1920 the promise of the "Lady more brilliant than the sun" was accomplished. "I have come to take you with Me to Paradise." Like Francisco, Jacinta now lies buried in the great Basilica of Our Lady in Fatima.
LUCY DOS SANTOS was born on March 22, 1907 to Antonio and Maria Rosa dos Santos. The cousin of Francisco and Jacinta, she was the youngest of seven brothers and sisters and the oldest of the three little shepherds. From infancy, she was recognized as especially precocious and was a particular favorite of young and old alike. Buoyed by an open, cheerful temperament and lively intelligence, she organized games, prayers, dances, and other initiatives among the children of the village.
Her sufferings began immediately after the first apparition of the Virgin. She became the principal target of criticism on the part of her family and their friends to the point that she was greatly reluctant to return again to the Cova da Iria for the appointment with Our Lady on the 13th of July. The parish priest of Fatima actually insinuated that she could be a "little instrument of the devil." It was only at the insistence of the other seers that she overcame her fears and journeyed to the Cova as the Blessed Virgin had requested.
Lucy’s other great moment of suffering came when Our Lady told her that She would soon carry Francisco and Jacinta to Heaven and informed her that she was to remain alone on earth, to spread the devotion of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But the Virgin comforted her, "My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which will lead you to God."
It was Lucy who spoke with the Queen of Heaven, who presented requests of favors on the part of many people and who requested a miracle so that all would believe the apparitions. It was also Lucy who, when the prophets were placed in prison on the 13th August 1917, organized the resistance to the threats and flatteries of the authorities, which had the purpose of discovering the Secret revealed by Our Lady. And when Francisco and Jacinta fell ill, it was again Lucy who assisted them lovingly until the end.
"Lord, make a saint out of me, preserve my heart always pure for You alone!"
In 1921, on the decision of the Bishop of Leiria (the Diocese of Fatima), Lucy was sent away from her village of Aljustrel and taken immediately to the Dorothean Sisters of Villar in Oporto. It was believed that her presence at Fatima could obstruct the impartiality of the investigations then being undertaken to determine the validity of the apparitions. In addition, the 14-year-old Lucy had been the subject of almost continuous harassment and interrogation by friends and enemies alike of the apparitions.
In the year 1928, Lucy became a sister of Saint Dorothy and, later in 1946, after a brief visit to Fatima, she entered the convent of the Carmelite Sisters of Coimbra, where she resides still, under the name of Santa Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart.
The Mother of God, who had asked her to remain in the world to propagate devotion to Her Immaculate Heart, came several more times to visit Her servant, including on the 10th of December 1925 when, at Pontevedra, Our Lady gave the young postulant nun the promise of the Five First Saturdays and also, five years later, at Tuy, where, in the presence of the Holy Trinity, She further revealed the spirit of this great devotion of reparation.
Today, nearly 90 years of age, Sister Lucy calmly awaits the hour in which the Blessed Virgin will deign to call her to that same Heaven where her cousins Francisco and Jacinta are waiting.
Approvals by the Popes
In 1917, as the First World War was being fought across Europe and showing no signs of concluding peacefully, Pope Benedict XV turned in petition to the Blessed Virgin Mary, through Whom all graces are dispensed. The Pope urgently asked all of the Christian people to beg the Virgin Mary to obtain the peace of the world, and to solemnly entrust the task to Her alone.
He wished the world to "have recourse to the Heart of Jesus, throne of graces, and to this throne to have recourse through the intermediary of Mary", and he ordered that the invocation ‘Queen of Peace, pray for us’ be permanently added to the Litany of Loreto. Then, confidently placing the peace of the world in Her hands, the Pope made another appeal:
To Mary, then, who is the Mother of Mercy and omnipotent by grace, let loving and devout appeal go up from every corner of the earth – from noble temples and tiniest chapels, from royal palaces and mansions of the rich as from the poorest hut – from blood-drenched plains and seas. Let it bear to Her the anguished cry of mothers and wives, the wailing of innocent little ones, the sighs of every generous heart: that Her most tender and benign solicitude may be moved and the peace we ask for be obtained for our agitated world.
The gracious Virgin responded quickly to the urgent pleas of the Pope: only eight days later She appeared at Fatima and gave to the Pope and humanity a plan for peace. However, this plan first required the obedience of the people and especially of Christ’s Vicar on earth, the Pope. God and the Blessed Virgin agreed to give the world peace, but since it was the Pope who asked to be shown the way to peace, his cooperation in the designs of Heaven became requisite.
Thus, from the beginning the Holy Father has had a specific role in the Message of Fatima: because of his insistence God sent His holy Mother to Fatima; and when the Pope fulfills God’s demands, the Blessed Virgin will bring peace to the world. Therefore, because their role in the Fatima Message is so primary, let us examine how the Popes have approved of and promoted Fatima.
Firstly, Pope Benedict XV re-established the ancient diocese of Leiria on January 17, 1918, and in an April 29, 1918 letter to the Portuguese bishops, he referred to the occurrences at Fatima as "an extraordinary aid from the Mother of God." In 1929, at an audience of the Portuguese Seminary in Rome, Pope Benedict’s successor, Pius XI, personally offered each seminarian two pictures of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima. Pope Pius also wished to read all the results of the Canonical Process of Fatima so that he would be personally acquainted with Our Lady’s apparitions.
On October 1, 1930 the Sacred Penitentiary under Pius XI granted a partial indulgence to those who individually visited the Shrine and prayed for the intentions of the Holy Father, and a plenary indulgence once a month to those who went there in a group. These indulgences granted in Rome came just in time to prepare minds to receive with entire confidence the soon-to-be-announced Episcopal approval, which the Holy See had thus discreetly supported.
With the knowledge and consent of Pope Pius XI, on October 13, 1930 Bishop da Silva of Leiria (the diocese in which Fatima is contained) announced the results of the official inquiry of Fatima in a pastoral letter on the apparitions. This official approval contained these important paragraphs:
In virtue of considerations made known, and others which for reason of brevity we omit; humbly invoking the Divine Spirit and placing ourselves under the protection of the most Holy Virgin, and after hearing the opinions of our Rev. Advisors in this diocese, we hereby: –
1. Declare worthy of belief, the visions of the shepherd children in the Cova da Iria, parish of Fatima, in this diocese, from the 13th May to 13th October, 1917.
2. Permit officially the cult of Our Lady of Fatima.
Pope Pius XII, whose Episcopal consecration took place on May 13, 1917, the date of Our Lady’s first apparition at Fatima, did many things to help encourage devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. He was known as "the Pope of Fatima". He said, "The time for doubting Fatima has passed, the time for action is now." When the Pilgrim Virgin statue was touring Italy, and miracles were being worked wherever it went, Pius XII stated in amazement: "We can hardly believe our eyes."
In 1940, Pope Pius XII spoke of Fatima for the first time in an official Papal text, his encyclical Saeculo exeunte, which was written to encourage the Church in Portugal to further its foreign missionary activity. In the text he stated: "Let the faithful not forget, especially when they recite the Rosary, so recommended by the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima, to ask the Virgin Mother of God to obtain missionary vocations, with abundant fruits for the greatest possible number of souls. …"
He then concluded the encyclical with, "Without any doubt God in His goodness will pour out His abundant blessings on these generous enterprises and on the most noble Portuguese nation. The Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of the Rosary venerated at Fatima, the Holy Mother of God who brought victory at Lepanto, will assist you with Her most powerful assistance. …" Also in 1940, the Holy Father granted the new diocese of Nampula, in Mozambique, Our Lady of Fatima as its Patroness.
In October of 1942, in response to a message given to him by Sister Lucy in 1940, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with a special mention of Russia. In early 1943, Sister Lucy explained that the Lord told her that He would accept this Act of Consecration to help speed the end of the World War II, but that it will not obtain worldwide peace. As predicted, this act obtained the end of the war, but did not usher in the reign of peace Our Lady promised, as it was not a consecration of specifically Russia, and the world’s bishops did not participate in it.
On May 4, 1944, the Holy See instituted the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In 1946 His Eminence Cardinal Masella, acting as the personal Legate of the Holy Father, crowned Our Lady of Fatima, "Queen of the World." The entire Portuguese episcopate and over 600,000 pilgrims gathered at Fatima for the event.
In 1950 Pope Pius XII even said to the Master General of the Dominicans: "Tell your religious that the Pope’s thinking is contained in the Message of Fatima."
On October 13, 1951 the Pope’s Legate, Cardinal Tedeschini, was sent to Fatima for the closing of the Holy Year. He told the crowd that Pope Pius XII had himself seen, repeated in Rome, the Miracle of the Sun that had occurred at the last Fatima apparition. It is clear that the Holy Father chose Fatima for this major event, to bring attention to the Message of Our Lady of Fatima. The Holy Father had, in fact, been graced to see the Miracle of the Sun on four separate occasions the previous year: October 30 and 31, November 1 (the day Pius XII solemnly defined the dogma of the Assumption), and November 8 (the octave of the same solemnity).
On July 7,1952 Pope Pius XII, in response to the petitions of the Russian Catholics, consecrated Russia and her people to the Immaculate Heart. Unfortunately, the petitioners were unaware that the Holy Father had to do the Consecration in union with the bishops of the world. Thus, Pius XII did the Consecration in a private ceremony, without inviting the world’s bishops to join him, as Our Lady requested.
On October 11, 1954 His Holiness issued an encyclical on the Queenship of Mary, and in it he referred to Her miraculous image at Fatima. Two years later the Church that stands on the apparition site at Fatima was elevated to the rank of Basilica.
In 1964, during the Second Vatican Council, at the solemn closing ceremonies at the end of the third session, before all the Catholic bishops of the world, Pope Paul VI renewed Pius XII’s consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He also announced that a special envoy was to be sent to Fatima. In the Pope’s name the Papal Legate would carry, as a symbolic gift, a Golden Rose to the Fatima Shrine. The inscription on it would say that Pope Paul was entrusting the entire Church to the care of Our Lady of Fatima. Then, in fact, on May 13, 1965, through his Papal Legate, as he had announced at the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul presented the Golden Rose at Fatima, commending the whole Church to Our Lady of Fatima’s care.
On May 13, 1967, on the fiftieth anniversary of the first Fatima apparition, the Holy Father went on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. He wrote an encyclical on the occasion of his pilgrimage. While there, he also blessed seventy National Pilgrim Virgin statues, to travel continually so that many nations would remember and practice the Message of Fatima.
Before his election to the Papacy, Pope John Paul I exhibited a particular devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, and as Cardinal Patriarch of Venice he led a pilgrimage there. It was during this trip that he met with Sister Lucy, and was very struck by the meeting.
Pope John Paul II has many times exhibited his approval of Fatima. He has visited Fatima three times – in 1982, 1991 and 2000. During his 2000 visit he beatified the two deceased seers, Jacinta and Francisco. He has also made the Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima universal by ordering it to be included in the Roman Missal.
During his homily at Mass in Fatima on May 13, 1982, Pope John Paul II said, "The appeal of the Lady of the Message of Fatima is so deeply rooted in the Gospel and the whole of Tradition that the Church feels that the Message imposes a commitment on Her." He also said, "The Message is addressed to every human being. … Because of the continuing increase of sin and the dangers, such as nuclear war, now threatening humanity, the Message of Fatima is more urgent and relevant in our time than it was when Our Lady appeared 65 years ago."
He also stated, "Today John Paul II, successor of St. Peter, presents himself before the Mother of the Son of God in Her shrine at Fatima. In what way does he come? He presents himself reading again with trepidation the motherly call to penance, to conversion, the ardent appeal of the Heart of Mary that resounded at Fatima 65 years ago. Yes he reads it again with trepidation in his heart because he sees how many people and societies – how many Christians – have gone in the opposite direction to the one indicated in the Message of Fatima. Sin has thus made itself firmly at home in the world, and denial of God has become widespread in the ideologies, ideas and plans of human beings."
Thus, from the above examples, we can see that in addition to its official approval in 1930, the Popes have approved of Fatima in many decisive ways.