In 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared a total of six times to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal.
Picture Above. Actual photograph of all three Fatima Visionaries. From left to right, Jacinta Matos, Francisco Matos and Lucia dos. Santos
The Story of Our Lady of Fatima (By Michael K. Jones)
In the year of 1916 three shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos, age nine and her two cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, age eight and six respectively tended their parents flock of sheep. It was a fine spring morning for grazing sheep on Lucia’s father property. The children played as the sheep feasted on the grass.
Suddenly there was a change in the weather. A steady drizzle fell and the breeze was chilling from a northwest wind. Quickly gathering the sheep they lead them to a small wooded area where they took shelter in a cave. The drizzle proved to be just a passing shower.
While still at play without warning a light whiter than the driving snow appeared. As it approached, the light took the shape of a transparent young man. He began to speak, “Fear not. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.” The figure of light knelt on the ground, bowing low and three time recited this prayer: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.” Then he arose and said: “Pray this way. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.” Then the transparent young man disappeared.
The man of light appeared to the children three time. On the second visit the children were playing as usual when they were startled by a voice saying, “What are you doing? Pray, pray a great deal. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy for you. Offer unceasingly to the Most High prayer and sacrifices.”
Lucia asked, “But how are we to make sacrifices?” “Offer up everything within your power as a sacrifice to the Lord in reparation for the sins by which he is so much offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners. Thus bring down peace upon your country. I am the Guardian Angel of Portugal. More than all else, accept and bear with resignation the sufferings that God may send you.” On the third visit the Angel came holding aloft a chalice with a host suspended above it. From the host drops of blood fell into the chalice cup. Leaving both chalice and host suspended in air, he prostrated himself upon the ground and three times prayed: “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 all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you the conversion of poor sinners.”
The Angel arose and gave Lucia the Host and the contents of the chalice was given to Francisco and Jacinta. Again he spoke: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.”
Once more the Guardian Angel of Portugal prostrated himself upon the ground and again recited three times the Holy Trinity, than disappearing once again.
On May 13, 1917 the children were tending the sheep on the same piece of land known as the Cova da Iria. They had finished praying a Rosary, ate some lunch and were beginning to play. Abruptly there was a brilliant flash of light. Fearing a storm they excitedly herded the sheep to head for shelter. Again, there was another flash of light and there before the children appeared the vision of a beautiful Lady. The Lady majestically floated above the branches of a small oak tree. She was all dressed in white and was as radiant like the sun.
The children first impulse was to run away but the Lady beckoned them to draw near. Here is the conversation on May 13, 1917.
(Lady) “Do not be afraid, I will not hurt you,” (Lucia) ‘Where do you come from?’ (Lady) “I come from Heaven” (Lucia) ‘And why have you come down here?’ (Lady) “Because I want you children to come here on the thirteenth of each month at the same hour. In the month of October I shall tell you who I am and what I want you to do.” (Lucia) ‘Do you really come from Heaven, and shall I go to Heaven too?’ (Lady) “Yes, you will go there.” (Lucia) ‘And Jacinta?’ (Lady) “Yes Jacinta will go to Heaven, too” (Lucia) ‘And Francisco?’ (Lady) “Yes Francisco, too, will go to Heaven, but he will first have to say many Rosaries.”
Lucia now confident asked about two childhood playmates. (Lady) “one is in Heaven, and the other is in Purgatory.” (Lucia) ‘And Amelia?’ (Lady) “Amelia will be in Purgatory till the end of the world” (Lady) “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God in order to accept all the suffering he wishes to send you, in reparation for sin and for the conversion of sinners?” (Children) ‘Yes, we are willing.’ (Lady) “Than you will suffer much but the grace of God will be your comfort.”
Here the children receive rays of penetrating light comming from the Lady’s hands and as Lucia writes, “it penetrated our hearts and the innermost depth of our soul making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors.” After this the children fell to their knees repeating over and over, “0 most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!”
After a few moments the Lady spoke again saying, “Pray the Rosary, every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.” The Lady drifted off to the East and disappeared.
In the following days and months there was great concern in the little village of Fatima. People from near and far poured into the tiny hamlet. As news of the apparition spread it reached authorities of the communistic ruled government. The three shepherd children were beginning to experience the sufferings the Lady had spoken of.
The second apparition, June 13, 1917
(Lucia) “What do you want of me?” (Lady) ‘I wish you to come here on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. Later, I will tell you what I want.’ Lucia asked for the cure of a sick person. (Lady) ‘If he is converted, he will be cured during the year.’ (Lucia) “I would like to ask you to take us to heaven.” (Lady) ‘Yes, I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. (Lucia) “Am I to stay here alone?” (Lady) ‘No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
Once again the children were to receive the ray of light as before. Lucia writes; Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which rose toward heaven, and I in that which was poured out on the earth. In front of the palm of the Lady’s right hand was a heart encircled by thorns which pierced it. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity and seeking reparation.
The third apparition, July 13, 1917
(Lucia) “What do you want of me?” (Lady) ‘I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, 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, because only she can help you.’ (Lucia) “I would like to ask you to tell us who you are, and to work a miracle so that everybody will believe that you are appearing to us.” (Lady) ‘Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe. Here Lucia makes some requests which she does not recall. The Lady said it was necessary for such people to pray the Rosary in order to obtain these graces during the year.’ (Lady) ‘Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially whenever you make some sacrifice: O Jesus it is for the love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in the reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’
At this time the Lady opened her hands once more and Lucia writes; and 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 coal. Terrified and as if to plead for succors, we looked up at the Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly:
(Lady) ‘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 pontificate of Pius Xl. 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 persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.’
(Lady) ‘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 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 anyone.’ (Lucia) “To Francisco?” (note: Francisco was only able to see the Lady not hear her words) (Lady) ‘Yes, you may tell him. When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery, O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need. After this there was a moment of silence, (Lucia) “Is there anything more that you want of me?” (Lady) ‘No I do not want anything more of you today.’ Then, the Lady ascended towards the East and disappeared.
The forth apparition, August, 1917
Note: The apparition did not take place on the 13th as the children were taken into custody by the local authorities. Lucia recalls the date as being August 15. At the time of the apparition the children were tending sheep on a piece of land called, Valinhos.
(Lucia) “What do you want of me?” (Lady) ‘I want you to continue going to the Cova da Iria on the 13th and to continue praying the Rosary every day. In the last month, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.’ (Lucia) “What do you want done with the money that the people leave in the Cova da Iria?” (Lady) “Have two litters made. One is to be carried by you and Jacinta and two other girls dressed in white; the other one it to be carried by Francisco and three other boys. The money from the litters is for the festa of Our Lady of the Rosary, and what is left over will help towards the construction of a chapel that is to be built here.’ (Lucia) “I would like to ask you to cure some sick persons.” (Lady) ‘Yes, I will cure some of them during the year. Than looking very sad the Lady said, (Lady) ‘Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.’ And the Lady disappeared as before
The fifth apparition, September 13, 1917
(Lady) “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 Dolours and Our Lady of Carmel, Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices. He does not want you to sleep with the rope on, but only to wear it during the daytime.” (Lucia) ‘I was told to ask you many things, the cure of some sick people, of a deaf-mute….’ (Lady) “Yes, I will cure some, but not others. In October I will perform a miracles so that all may believe.” And the Lady disappeared into the East as usual.
The sixth and final apparition, October, 13, 1917
(Lucia) “What do you want of me?” (Lady) ‘I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always 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: the cure of some sick persons, the conversion of sinners, and other things…’ (Lady) ‘Some yes, but not others. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.” Looking very sad Our Lady said, (Lady) ‘Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.’ Lucia write; “Then, opening her hands, she made them reflect on the sun, and as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continue to be projected on the sun itself.
Here, Your Excellency, is the reason why I cried out to the people to look at the sun, because I was not even aware of their presence. I was moved to do so under the guidance of an interior impulse.
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 appeared 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 Dolours. 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.”
The promised miracle of Oct. 13, 1917
Gradually the sun grew pale, lost its normal color, and appeared as a silver disk at which all could gaze directly without even shading their eyes. Then, to the astonishment of all present, rays of multicolored light shot out in every direction; red, blue, yellow, green, every color of the spectrum. Meanwhile, the very heavens seemed to be revolving as the sun spun madly on its axis like a gigantic wheel of fire, painting the rocks, the trees, the faces of the people with sunshine such as human eyes has never seen before. Three times it stopped and three times the mad dance was resumed. Then, while the crowd went to its knees in abject terror, the sun suddenly seemed to be torn loose from its place in the heavens. Down it hurtled, closer and closer to the earth, staggering, “drunkenly” as it zigzagged through the skies while from all parts of the now terrified multitude arose cries of repentance and appeals for mercy. “Its the end of the world,” Shrieked one woman hysterically.” “Dear God, don’t let me die in my sins,” cried another.” “Holy Virgin, protect us,” implored a third.”
Suddenly, as if arrested in its downward plunge by an invisible Heavenly hand, it poised from a moment and then, in the same series of swirling motions it began to climb upward till it resumed its accustomed place in the heavens. Gone was the silver disk with the brilliant rays. It was once more a ball of fire at which nobody could look directly with unshaded eyes.
During that day drenching rains had left an estimate 70,000 pilgrims soaking wet. The apparition site, was a pit of mud. After the miracle the weather was beautiful. While the people looked at one another, still trembling from their terrifying experience and not yet sure that some further disaster would not overtake them, a cry of astonishment was heard on every side. The rain-sodden garment had suddenly dried, someone said out loud, and the muddy pit of land was also dry.
Jacinta’s vision of the Holy Father (some think this Holy Father could be Pope John Paul II)