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.
September 15 – Third battle of Ypres’ 2nd phase, London
troops capture strong point
September 26 – British advance towards Passchendaele, advancing on a six mile front north of Ypres
October 7 – British
repulse German attack near Ypres
October 13, 1917 The Miracle of the Sun
On October 13, the three shepherd children made their way to the Cova da
Iria through pouring rain. Some seventy
thousand people were there, waiting to see if, indeed, they would be witnesses
to a miracle. Lucia requested for people
to close their umbrellas and to begin to pray the rosary with them. Before long, the Lady appeared, and the crowd
watched with breathless excitement. This
final visit began with the mysterious Lady at last identifying herself – she
was the Lady of the Rosary. She
requested that a chapel be built there in her honor. She also requested the continuation of the
daily recitation of the rosary; stating as well, that the war would end and the
soldiers would soon be returning home.
Lucia had a number of requests from the people. As before, Our Lady stated ‘some yes, but not
others’. Her final request was for
people to stop offending ‘the Lord our God, because He is already so much offended’.
Rising as she always did, she began to glide away. This time, however, she stopped before
disappearing. Opening her hands, they
reflected on the sun, and ‘as she ascended, the reflection of her own light
continued to be projected on the sun itself’.
Moved by an interior impulse, Lucia cried, “Look at the sun!”
The clouds had suddenly dispersed, and the people found
themselves able to look at a silvery disk that was the sun. Three times the muted sun spun round on
itself, spitting out multi-colored rays.
The rays flew in all directions, illuminating the sky as far as the eye
could see. Then, the sun appeared to
detach itself from the sky and came plunging toward the crowd, before resuming
its normal position and color. The
incident had taken about ten minutes.
Shaken by the experience, the crowd began to discuss what it was they
had just witnessed. It was discovered
that that was not the only miracle at Fatima.
Their clothing, which was wet and dirty from kneeling in the mud, was
perfectly clean and dry.
While the sun had been dancing about the heavens, the
children were granted a vision of the Holy Family, where St. Joseph and the
Child Jesus appeared to bless the world.
Lucia was also favored with a vision of Jesus accompanied by Our Lady of
Sorrows. In this vision, Jesus again,
appeared to be blessing the world. She
then saw Our Lady of Mount Carmel. When
the crowd heard of these visions, they asked if they were all above the
holmoak, as was Our Lady of the Rosary.
The answer was no, they were in the sky alongside the dancing sun.
And so was brought to
a close, the mysterious Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Her message had been delivered, and it was up
to the three children to spread it.
August 26 British capture over one mile of enemy positions
September 1 In the Riga offensive, Germany takes the end of
Russia’s northernmost front
September 9 The Third French offensive at Verdun ends
September 13, 1917
September 13 saw more than 25,000 people gathered to attend
the Lady’s visit. Many came with
intentions they wished the children to place before their heavenly
visitor. It was a feat in itself for the
three to get through the pushing, grabbing, desperate-for-a-brief-word-with-them
crowd. When, at last, they reached the
holmoak, they knelt down and began to recite the rosary. There was a flash of blue light, and the Lady
once again appeared as promised. Again,
she stressed the importance of the praying of the rosary for
peace in the world
and an end to the war. She went on to
tell them that the following month she would be accompanied by ‘Our Lord…as
well as Our Lady of Dolours and Our Lady of Carmel.’ Saint Joseph also, would come ‘with the Child
Jesus to bless the world.’ Lucia mentioned the numerous requests of the crowds,
requests for cures and conversions.
Some, the Lady said would be granted, others not. Then, with a promise to perform a miracle in
October ‘for all to believe’, she rose and disappeared.
July 16 Third
Battles of Ypres (Passchendaele) begins
July 31 Major
British offensive at Ypres is launched
August 1 Pope sends a note of Peace
August 11, 2017
As word of the apparitions at Fatima spread, so did people’s
curiosity. This was especially troubling
to the atheistic government leaders.
Wishing to put an end to the devotion beginning to spread, the local
government Administrator ordered the three children to appear before him,
accompanied by their fathers. Francisco
and Jacinta’s father felt they were too small for such a journey and left them
home. Lucia had to testify alone. In vain the Administrator tried to get the
ten year old to admit to lying. When
that failed, he sought to get her to promise to never go to the Cova de Iria on
the 13th again. Also, he
attempted to coax from her the ‘secret’ revealed by the Lady the month
before. All to no avail. But he was not about to be outdone.
August 13, 1917
On the morning of the 13th he arrived in
Fatima. Lying, he stated his interest
had been peeked, and he wished to take the children to the Cova in his
automobile. Once they were on their way,
however, he quickly turned around and sped the children to Ourem. For three days he kept the children prisoners. The first day, they were allowed to play with
his children; his wife made sure to fix them lunch. However, when the niceties failed to bring
about any change in their stance on things, all pleasantries were quickly
dismissed. Eventually, they found
themselves in prison, with other actual criminals. Even there, the little ones’ devotion won
their fellow prisoners over. They even
attempted to join the three in the praying of the rosary.
His best efforts having failed, the Administrator tried one final, desperate
attempt to break the children. They were
informed that a cauldron of boiling oil had been prepared in which to fry them
if they didn’t share their secret. They
came for Jacinta first. As she declared
she could not divulge the secret, she was taken away. Francisco was taken next. Lucia was told her cousins had been burnt to
death. Nevertheless, she remained
steadfast, and went to meet her fate.
The whole incident was nothing more than a ploy, and Lucia was
astonished to find her cousins quite alive.
At last, on August 15, they were returned home.
August 19, 1917
That Sunday, while with the sheep in Valinhos, Lucia and
Francisco, accompanied by the boy’s brother, John, felt that the Lady was about
to appear. They sent John off to get
Jacinta. As soon as the girl arrived,
the Lady appeared over a holmoak tree.
The conversation was very similar to those of the previous months, with
the Lady promising to perform a miracle in October ‘so that all may believe’.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.