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Fatima - 100 Years

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima.  One hundred years ago, as the Great War was ravaging Europe, Heaven chose three little shepherd children to be the conveyors of the Queen of Heaven’s message to the entire world.  May 13, exactly one hundred years after Our Lady's first visit to the children, Pope Francis visited Fatima, and there, canonized Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the seers.

Lucia dos Santos, aged 10, and her cousins, brother and sister Francisco, 9 ,  and Jacinta Marto, 7, had been visited in the spring of 1916 by the Angel of Peace.  He taught them the prayer, “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You!  I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.”  They were instructed to “Pray thus”, before he vanished.  That summer, they were visited by the Angel of Portugal, and that fall, by the Angel of the Eucharist.  Each visit, the angel instructed them to pray and offer little sacrifices ( much akin to St. Therese of Lisieux’s  Little Way).  It was in this way that Heaven prepared the children for the Mother of God.

1917 Headlines

June 15 U.S. passing Espionage Act

June 24 Germany’s Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron) takes command of a new fighter unit, one             comprised of four mobile fighter squadrons, the birth of the ‘Flying Circus’

June 26 The first U.S. troops (1st Division) arrive in France

June 27 Greece joins the Allies

July 6 T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and the Arabs capture Aquaba

July 11 General Pershing revises army request from 1,000,000 to 3,000,000 men


July 13, 1917

Surrounded by three to four thousand people, the three little shepherds once again ventured to the Cova in order to fulfill the request of the Lady.  It did not take long for her to return, just as she had the previous two months.  She began by repeating her request for the daily recitation of the rosary for peace in the world.  Lucia, then, had a request of her own.  She asked that the Lady tell them who she was, and to work a miracle for all to see.  In turn, the Lady responded by telling her to ‘continue to come here every month’, and promised to fulfill both of the requests in October.  She entreated that they offer sacrifices for sinners, teaching them a prayer to accompany all their sacrifices: ‘O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary’.  Then, opening her hands, she shone a light which seemed to penetrate the earth, revealing hell.  The terrified children felt they would have died from fright, had not the beautiful Lady been there with them.  Once the vision ended, she sadly informed them of what it was they had seen.  She taught them another prayer, one to be said between the mysteries of the rosary, after the Glory Be: ‘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 that, she revealed to the children what is now referred to as the Three Secrets of Fatima. 

1917 Headlines  


May 28 General Pershing leaves the United States for France  

June 4 Americans begin to register for the draft

June 7 British explode 19 large mines under the Messines Ridge, causing a joint explosion that ranks among               the largest non-nuclear explosions of all time


June 13, 1917 Feast of St. Anthony (The 2nd Apparition) 

Despite the children’s decision to keep the visit from the Lady a secret, little Jacinta could not keep quiet, and told her family everything that very evening.  Of course, no one believed that such a story could possibly be true; and when Lucia’s mother heard about it, she was determined to get her daughter to confess she was lying.  As a result, Lucia felt it best to not go to the Cova da Iria that June, and decided to attend the fair being held for the Feast of St. Anthony.  Last minute, though, she had a change of heart, and joined her cousins on the way to the Cova.

As news of the supposed apparition had spread, some 70 people were with the children at the Cova, curious to see if there was anything to it.  The little shepherds said the rosary, and once finished, saw the Lady approaching.  Lucia asked what the Lady wanted of her.  She again requested that the three come on the 13th of the following month.  She also requested the Lucia learn to read.  When Lucia asked for her and her cousins to be taken to Heaven, the Lady revealed that she would be taking Francisco and Jacinta soon, but that Jesus wished for her to “establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart”.  Seeing that the girl was troubled at the thought of being left alone, she spoke words of comfort to her.  Then, bathing the children in a Heavenly light, she showed them her Immaculate Heart, “encircled with thorns which pierced it…outraged by the sins of humanity, and seeking reparation”.

No one else saw the Lady the children spoke of.  Some took that as proof the children were lying for attention.  Others felt that something had indeed happened, and believed the three shepherds were telling the truth.

1917 Headlines                                                                               

Feb. 1 Germany resumes unrestricted submarine warfare  

Feb. 3 U.S. severs diplomatic ties with Germany

Mar. 15 Czar Nicholas abdicates due to Russian Revolution

April 6 U.S. Declares war on Germany

April 9-20 Neville Offensive (Second Battle of Aisne, Third Battle of Champagne)

April 16 Lenin arrives in Russia

May 13, 1917  A Sunday

While the world was in chaos, three shepherd children were busy tending their sheep. They were playing in the pasture called the Cova da Iria, when they were disrupted by a great flash of light.  Fearing a thunderstorm would soon be upon them, and much afraid of lightning, they decided to gather the sheep and head home.  Despite the blue sky, they wished to take no chances.  Before they could begin to collect their flock, a second flash caused them to freeze.  Their attention was drawn to a small holmoak tree.  There, apparently atop the tree was “a Lady all dressed in white.  She was more brilliant than the sun.”  She spoke to the children, telling them not to be afraid.  When Lucia, after learning the lady was from Heaven, inquired what she wanted, she requested that they return to that very spot, at the same hour, on the 13th of every month for six consecutive months.  Later, she would tell them who she was, and what she wanted.  Then, she too, asked them to pray very much, especially the Rosary, for peace and the end of the war. “Then she began to rise serenely, going up towards the east, until she disappeared in the immensity of space.”  Lucia had been the only one to talk to her, as it would be on all the Lady’s visits.  Jacinta heard everything.  Francisco, however, had only seen, and begged to know what it was the Lady had said.  The children decided it best to keep the visit to themselves, at least for the time being.

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