Our Lady of Fatima gave 20th century a powerful message

May 13 is the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady to three shepherd children in the small village of Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. She appeared six times to Lucia, 9, and her cousins Francisco, 8, and his sister Jacinta, 6, between May 13, 1917 and Oct. 13, 1917.

The story of Fatima begins in 1916, when a resplendent figure appeared to the three children who were in the field tending the family sheep. “I am the Angel of Peace,” said the figure, who appeared to them two more times that year exhorting them to accept the sufferings that the Lord allowed them to undergo as an act of reparation for the sins which offend Him, and to pray constantly for the conversion of sinners.

Then, on the 13th day of the month of Our Lady, May 1917, an apparition of “a woman all in white, more brilliant than the sun” presented itself to the three children. The woman wore a white mantle edged with gold and held a rosary in her hand. The woman asked them to pray and devote themselves to the Holy Trinity and to “say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.”

She also revealed that the children would suffer, especially from the unbelief of their friends and families, and that the two younger children, Francisco and Jacinta would be taken to Heaven very soon but Lucia would live longer in order to spread her message and devotion to the Immaculate Heart.

In the last apparition the woman revealed her name in response to Lucia’s question: “I am the Lady of the Rosary.”

That same day, 70,000 people had turned out to witness the apparition, following a promise by the woman that she would show the people that the apparitions were true. They saw the sun make three circles and move around the sky in an incredible zigzag movement in a manner that left no doubt in their minds about the veracity of the apparitions. By 1930 the bishop had approved of the apparitions and they have been approved by the Church as authentic.

The messages Our Lady imparted during the apparitions to the children concerned the violent trials that would afflict the world by means of war, starvation and the persecution of the Church and the Holy Father in the 20th century if the world did not make reparation for sins. She exhorted the Church to pray and offer sacrifices to God in order that peace may come upon the world, and that the trials may be averted.

Our Lady of Fatima revealed three prophetic “secrets,” the first two of which were revealed earlier and refer to the vision of hell and the souls languishing there, the request for an ardent devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the prediction of the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism.

The third “secret” was not revealed until the year 2000, and referred to the persecutions that humanity would undergo in the last century: “The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated.” The suffering of the popes of the 20th century has been interpreted to include the assassination attempt on St. John Paul II in 1981, which took place on May 13, the 64th anniversary of the apparitions.

Perhaps the most well-known utterance of the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima was her confident declaration that “My Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

—Catholic News Agency

 

Other feast days

St. Damien of Molokai
(May 10)

St. Matthias, Apostle (May 14)

St. Isidore (May 15)

St. Simon Stock (May 16)

St. Paschal Baylon (May 17)

St. John I (May 18)