Friday, May 14, 2010


Yesterday was the feastday of Our Lady of Fatima. On May 13, 1917 ”a Lady all white, more brilliant than the sun” appeared to three children tending sheep in the Cova da lria in Portugal. It was just eighteen months before the end of World War I.

This was not the first time a supernatural visitor had appeared to the children. Some time earlier an angel called the “Angel of Peace” had come three times. He had given them Holy Communion and had exhorted them to pray and make sacrifices.

Tenderly, the beautiful woman told the children not to be afraid; she would not hurt them. Lucia, the oldest of the three children, asked the woman where she had come from and what was it she wanted. The lovely Lady told her that she had come from Heaven and that she wanted the children to return to this same spot on the 13th of the month for the next six months. At the last visit, she would tell them what she wanted.

And so began the famous and incredible apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima.

Dutifully, the children returned to the Cova da Iria in spite of persecution, misunderstanding, ridicule, and impossible obstacles. And faithfully, month after month, the Blessed Mother appeared to the children entrusting to them secrets, revealing to them visions, and giving them prophetic words.

The last apparition at Fatima took place on October 13, 1917. More than 70,000 people gathered at the Cova da Iria. It was a rainy, windy day and the parents feared the children would be killed if no miracle took place. When the Blessed Lady appeared, Lucia asked her one last time, “What do you want of me?”

Our Lady responded, “I want to tell you to have them build a chapel here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Let them continue to say the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.”

Many people had come to the Cova to be healed and Our Lady said that some would be healed but others would need to amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins first. “Let them offend Our Lord God no more, for He is already much offended.” These were her last words.

Then the miracle began. As the crowd looked up into the sky, the clouds rolled back to reveal the sun. Suddenly, it was a white disc of light, its brilliance shrouded, so that all could gaze upon it. During this time the children saw a tableau in the heavens, with one scene after the other depicting the mysteries of the Rosary. They saw the Holy Family with the Christ Child in the arms of St. Joseph, who blessed the crowd three times. Lucia saw Our Lady of Sorrows and then Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The sun began to dance in the sky, twirling and whirling, shooting rainbow-colored rays all over the earth.

Within three years, the two youngest of the children, Jacinta and Francisco died, as Our Lady predicted they would. Lucia, the oldest and the spokesperson, stayed at home with her family until she was fourteen. She eventually entered religious life and died on February 13, 2005 at the age of 97.