Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherd children: Lucia Dos Santos, ten years old, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, seven and nine years old respectively.
She appeared to them six times from May 13 to October 13, 1917. She comes as a Mother calling men to conversion, to prayer and penance. She wants to spare humanity and the world from the punishments that threaten it because of the sin that has invaded it.
THE HISTORY OF THE APPARITION
Among the Marian apparitions, those related to Our Lady of Fatima are among the most famous. According to their account, the three little shepherds, the siblings Francisco and Giacinta Marto (9 and 7 years) and their cousin Lucia Dos Santos (10 years), on May 13, 1917, while taking care of the pasture in the locality of Cova da Iria (Conca di Iria), near the Portuguese town of Fátima, reported seeing a cloud descend and, as it thinned out, the figure of a woman dressed in white with a rosary in hand appear. They identified her later as Our Lady. After this first appearance, the woman would meet the children for the 13th of the following month, and so for 5 other meetings, from 13 May until 13 October.
The apparitions continued for some time and were accompanied by revelations about future events, in particular: the coming end of the First World War; the danger of an even more devastating second war if men had not converted; the communist threat from Russia, eradicated only through the consecration of the nation itself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, by the Pope and in union with all the Bishops.
In confirmation of the promise made to the three shepherd children by Our Lady regarding a prodigious event, on October 13, 1917 thousands of people, believers and non-believers, reported having witnessed a phenomenon that was called the “sun miracle”. Many of those present, even at a distance of several kilometers, said that while it was raining and thick clouds covered the sky, suddenly the rain stopped and the clouds thinned: the sun, once again visible, begun to rotate on itself, becoming multicolored and growing, as if it were falling on the earth.
The two siblings Francesco and Jacinta died a few years later, respectively in 1919 and 1920, due to the Spanish epidemic which in those years made many victims also in Portugal. Lucia instead became a barefoot Carmelite nun, and wrote down in her Memoirs the events that happened in Fatima, as she herself had seen them.
In 1930 the Catholic Church proclaimed the supernatural character of the apparitions and authorized its devotion. A sanctuary was built in Fatima, visited for the first time by Pope Paul VI on 13 May 1967, and later also by Pope John Paul II, a pontiff very close to the events of the place, where he went on pilgrimage more than once.
The story of the Secrets of Fatima begins on July 13, 1917, when the three children claimed to have met the Lady for the third time. In 1941, 24 years after the apparitions, Sister Lucia, at the invitation of the Bishop Mons. Josè Alves Correia de Silva, wrote a summary of the apparitions. Lucia explained that the only secret, revealed to her on July 13 of 24 years earlier, was actually divided into 3 parts, of which, however, the third could not yet be revealed. Consequently Lucia gave the Bishop only the first two parts of the secret, which were made public by Pius XII in 1942, on the occasion of the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The third part of the secret was then written by Sister Lucia on January 3, 1944, which was then entrusted in a sealed envelope to the Bishop of Leiria, who gave it to Pius XII. The third secret, by express order of Our Lady, should have been read only after 1960, but John XXIII and his successors, deemed it appropriate not to reveal the secret.
It was John Paul II who on 13 May 2000, on the occasion of the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco, declared that he wanted to divulge the secret.
THE THREE SECRETS OF FATIMA
Regarding the first secret, Sister Lucia says that Our Lady showed the three shepherd children:
«… a great sea of fire, which seemed to be beneath the earth. Immersed in that fire, demons and souls, as if they were transparent and black or bronze embers, with human form floating in the fire […]. The demons were recognized by the horrible and repulsive forms of frightening and unknown animals, but transparent and black. This vision lasted a moment. And thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, who sustained us by previously promising to take us to Heaven (in the first apparition). Otherwise, I think, we would have died of fright and terror. »
Practically, the first part of the secret spoke of the vision of hell. Sister Lucia tells of “a great sea of fire, with demons and souls”.
Again according to what Sister Lucy wrote, the second part is a kind of continuation of the previous one. It was Our Lady who spoke during the second part:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners fall. To save them, God wants to establish devotion to My Immaculate Heart in the world. If they do what I tell you, many souls will save themselves and have peace. The war is about to end; but if they do not stop offending God, during the Pontificate of Pius XI another even worse one will begin. When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you that he is going to chastise the world for its crimes, through war, hunger and persecution of the Church and the Holy Father. To prevent it, I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the reparation Communion on the first Saturdays. If they accept My requests, Russia will convert and have peace; if not, she will spread her errors around the world, promoting wars and persecutions to the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. Finally, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will convert, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. “
In the second part, Our Lady not only warns of the beginning of “a war even worse than the one in progress”, but speaks of the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. She also says that God will send a “great sign”, that is, a night illuminated by an unknown light. Sister Lucy said she recognized the “great sign” in the extraordinary northern lights which illuminated the sky on the night between 25 and 26 January 1938 (from 8.45 pm to 1.15 am, with short intervals).
Sister Lucia identifies the second world conflict with that foreseen by the vision, describing it as:
«The outbreak of an atheist war, against faith, against God, against the people of God. A war that wanted to exterminate Judaism from where Jesus Christ, Our Lady and the Apostles came who transmitted the word of God and the gift of faith, hope and charity to us, people chosen by God, chosen from the beginning: “salvation comes from the Jews”».
In fact, the Second World War broke out (1st September 1939) during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, being his predecessor, Pius XI, named in the prophecy, who died on February 10, 1939. Furthermore, the prophecy was revealed by Sister Lucia in 1941, after the outbreak of the conflict itself. But Sister Lucia would have always maintained that the Second World War had actually started during the reign of Pius XI, with the annexation of Austria.
The third secret was written separately by Sister Lucia, in the letter delivered in 1944 to the Bishop of Leiria:
«After the two parts that I have already exposed, we have seen on the left side of Our Lady a little higher, an Angel with a sword of fire in his left hand; sparking it emitted flames that seemed to set the world on fire; but they went out on contact with the splendor that Our Lady emanated from her right hand towards him:
The Angel pointing to the earth with his right hand, in a loud voice said: Penance, Penance, Penance!
And we saw in an immense light, that is God: something similar to how people see themselves in a mirror when they pass by, a Bishop dressed in White. We had the feeling that he was the Holy Father.
Various other bishops, priests, men and women religious climb a steep mountain, on top of which there was a large cross of rough trunks as if it were cork with bark; the Holy Father, before arriving there, went through a large city half in ruins and half trembling with a wavering step, afflicted with pain and suffering, prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; arriving at the top of the mountain, he prostrated on his knees at the foot of the great Cross, he was killed by a group of soldiers who shot him several times with firearms and arrows, and in the same way, the Bishops Priests, men and women religious died and various secular people, men and women of various classes and positions. Under the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels, each with a crystal sprinkler in their hand, in which they collected the blood of the Martyrs and with it watered the souls of those who approached God. “
The third secret, revealed only in 2000, according to the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Joseph Ratzinger, the vision would be concerning the Penance and sacrifices of the martyrs of the Church. Shown on TV by Card. Bertone (see below).
After 1917 and that is after receiving the secret from Our Lady, Sister Lucia had other revelations from heaven. In fact, in the second secret, Our Lady informs Sister Lucia that she would come again to talk to her about the consecration of Russia.
This is what happened on June 13, 1929. In her memoirs of Sister Lucy, she reveals the details:
“Then Our Lady said to me: «The moment has come when God asks that the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the World, consecrate Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. There are many souls whom the justice of God condemns for the sins committed against Me, whom I come to ask for reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray ». I informed the confessor everything regarding the matter, who ordered me to write down what Our Lady asks that should be done. “
Sister Lucia reveals later, without any specified date; and we do not know if this happened days or years later, that Our Lady said to her complaining:
«They didn’t want to satisfy My request! … Like the king of France, they will repent and do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread its errors around the world, causing wars, persecutions of the Church: the Holy Father will have much to suffer ».
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF FATIMA
Mary, Mother of Jesus and of the Church,
we need you.
We desire the light that radiates from your goodness,
the comfort that comes to us from your Immaculate Heart,
the charity and peace of which You are the Queen.
We confidently entrust our needs to you
so that you may help them,
our pains that you may soothe them,
our evils to heal them,
our bodies to make them clean,
our hearts to be full of love and contrition,
and our souls to be saved with your help.
Remember, Mother of kindness,
that Jesus refuses nothing to your prayers.
Grant relief to the souls of the dead,
healing for the sick,
concern for the youth,
faith and harmony for families,
peace for humanity.
Call the wanderers on the right path,
give us many vocations and holy priests,
protect the Pope, the Bishops and the holy Church of God.
Mary, listen to us and have mercy on us.
Turn your merciful eyes upon us.
After this exile, show us Jesus,
the blessed fruit of your womb,
O merciful, O pious,
O sweet Virgin Mary.
Let us renew our consecration on the day of the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
Consecration to Mary Immaculate composed by of St. Maximilian Kolbe
O Immaculate, Queen of heaven and earth,
refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother,
to whom God has entrusted the entire economy of mercy,
I (N.), an unworthy sinner,
prostrate myself at your feet
humbly begging you to accept me wholly and completely
as a possession and property,
and to do with me
and with all the faculties of my soul and my body,
with my life, death and eternity,
whatever pleases you.
If it pleases you,
use my wholeself without reserve
to accomplish what has been said of you:
“She will crush your head” [Gen. 3, 15],
and also, “you alone have destroyed
all heresies on the whole world” [office of the B.V. Mary],
so that in your immaculate and merciful hands
I may become a useful instrument
in promoting and increasing your glory
to the maximum as possible
in so many strayed and indifferent souls
and thus extend,
as much as possible
the blessed Kingdom of the most sacred Heart of Jesus.
For wherever you enter,
you obtain the grace of conversion and sanctification,
since every grace flows through your hands
from the sweetest Heart of Jesus to us.
Allow me to praise you,
O most holy Virgin.
Give me strength against your enemies.