Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Apparition of Our Lady in Fatima

The Fatima Visionaries, Jacinta and Franciso Marto and Lucia Santos

The Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is around the corner and this year marks the 90th anniversary of the final apparition on the 13th of October 1917. My parish will be celebrating with rosary before Mass and procession and Benediction after.

To honour the event, here's the first part of an article on the Marian apparition at Fatima from the 13th of May through to the final apparition on the 13th of October which also witnessed the Miracle of the Sun, seen by crowds estimated from between 40,000 to 100,000 people comprising believers, skeptics, atheists, communists and the like. The article is written in an easy and readable style. For a more scholarly description, please click here.

The 2nd part, recounting the Miracle of the Sun will be posted tomorrow.



Brother Ernest, C.S.C.

Most Rev. Leo A. Pursley, D.D.
Bishop of Fort Wayne

On a hot May day in 1917, three little shepherds were watching their sheep in a hollow in the mountains of Portugal called Cova da Iria. The sky above them was a clear blue. Not the smallest cloud could be seen anywhere. The sun beat straight down, for it was noon. Then a familiar sound was heard. The bell in the village church was ringing for the Angelus.

Location (map of) Fatima, Portugal
Location of Fatima
Children (Seers) of Fatima Lucia Santos, Jacinta Marto, Francisco Marto holding their rosaries. (1917 A.D.)
Lucia Santos (age 10, pictured in the middle) and her two cousins: Francisco (age 9) and Jacinta Marto (age 7) holding their rosaries. Fatima, Portugal 1917 A.D.

The three children: Jacinta, a girl of seven; Francisco, her brother, a lad of nine; and Lucia, a girl of ten, at once knelt and began to say the rosary together.

But this was such a beautiful day, and the children did not want to take the time to say the rosary as they should. So they simply said: “Our Father, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Glory be.” Then they were ready for the first decade. It took them just about two minutes to finish the whole rosary in this new style!

Suddenly, there was a great flash of light, brighter than lightning. The children looked up and all around them.

“Might be a big storm coming. Let’s get the sheep together and go home,” said Francisco. The girls agreed, and soon they and the sheep were scampering down the slope towards home. When they reached the foot of the hill they saw a second great flash. It was brighter than the first. They stopped; very much afraid.

“Look!” said Lucia, pointing toward a little oak tree.

There they saw a beautiful young lady. She was dressed in a white gown, gathered together at the neck by a gold cord. Over her head draped a fine white veil. The children were about to run when they heard a sweet voice say: “Be not afraid! I am not going to hurt you.”

Then the shepherds drew near. They noticed the lovely lady had her hands joined as in prayer, and a pearl rosary fell from her fingers.

“Where did you come from?” Asked Lucia.

“I came from heaven.”

Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary
Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary
“And why did you come here?”

“I came to ask you to come here for six successive months, on the thirteenth of each month, at this same time. In October I shall tell you who I am and what it is I wish.”

Lucia then asked the lady if they would go to heaven. They were happy when she told them they would.

“Children, always say the rosary with devotion.” said the lady, and then she left them.

“We must not tell anyone about the lady. No one will believe us.” Said Lucia.

To this the others agreed. Then they got their sheep together and went home, even though it was much too early.

Jacinta Marto Our Lady's words to Jacinta Marto shortly before the little seer died:

"More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason."


"Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Divine Lord very much."

But Jacinta thought her mother would punish her for coming home, so she told about the lady!

“You are lying to me!” Shouted the mother.

Mrs. Marto, Jacinta’s mother, ran at once to Lucia’s home and reported all the children had told her. Lucia had not said a word to her mother, who seemed stunned at the story.

“Tell me, Lucia, are my children lying?”

“No, they are not. It’s all true!”

“Don’t you say another word about this, Lucia,” said her mother as she ran out the door.

Lucia’s mother, Maria, hurried to the pastor and told him the story. He tried to calm her, but the woman insisted her daughter was lying to her. She then hurried home and gave Lucia a sound thrashing. But that did not change Lucia’s mind.

The Three Children Practiced Heroic Virtue
The Three Children made Heroic Sacrifices and
Penances to Help Save Poor Souls from going to Hell.

June 13 was a fair day, but the children did not care about that. It was the day the lady promised to come to see them again, and so they went to the appointed spot. There were about sixty other people waiting.

The children knelt down and began to say the rosary. When it was finished, they stood and brushed the dust from their clothes.”The lady is coming!” cried Lucia and ran down the hill to the little oak. The others followed.

Yes, it was the lady. She was dressed just the same, and she seemed pleased to see them.

“What do you want me to do?” begged Lucia.

Picture of Sister Lucy of Fatima Lucia Santos became a Carmelite nun and devoted her entire life to spreading Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as Our Lady of Fatima requested.

“I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month; to recite the rosary every day.” Then she added something the children had never heard before. “After the Gloria Patri of each decade, you will say, ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins! Deliver us from the fires of hell! Have pity on the souls in purgatory, especially the most abandoned’.”

“I want to ask you to take us to heaven,” said Lucia pleadingly.

“Francisco and Jacinta I will soon take. You must remain. Jesus wants you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart.”

Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at the Cova da Iria
Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at the Cova da Iria
On July 13, the children were again waiting for the lady. This time there were about five thousand others waiting too. The lady told the children that she would work a great miracle in October so that all would believe she had appeared there. She also showed them a vision of hell, and it was so terrible that the children said they would have died of fear if the lady had not told them they were to go to heaven.

The Terrifying Vision of Hell

Our Lady told the Children, "Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: `O Jesus, it is for Thy love, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary."

Lucia Santos then narrates what happened next:

“She opened Her hands once more, as She had done the two previous months. The rays [of light] appeared to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a vast sea of fire. Plunged in this fire, we saw the demons and the souls [of the damned]. The latter were like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, having human forms. They were floating about in that conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke. Now they fell back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fright (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons were distinguished [from the souls of the damned] by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. That vision only lasted for a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, Who at the first apparition had promised to take us to Heaven. Without that, I think that we would have died of terror and fear."

Our Lady then gravely spoke these words:

"You see Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If they do what I will tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace... But if they do not stop offending God... He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, of hunger, and of persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father."

Our Lady showed the three children a Vision of Hell where the souls of sinners go.

Our Lady of Fatima showed the Children a Horrific Vision of the Souls of the Damned in Hell being Tormented by Frightful Demons

The three children of Fatima, immediately after seeing the vision of Hell.
Picture of the three children of Fatima,
immediately after seeing the vision of Hell.

Our Lady [right after the vision] said to the Children:

"... if [people] do not stop offending God... He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, of hunger, and of persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father."

Sister Lucy in 1957 said the punishment for rejection of God's Way is immanent.
Sister Lucia tells Fr. Fuentes in an 1957
interview, that we are in the last times:

Sister Lucia to Fr. Fuentes, December 1957:

"... she [The Blessed Virgin] told me that the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Virgin. And a decisive battle is the final battle where one side will be victorious and the other side will suffer defeat. Hence from now on we must choose sides. Either we are for God or we are for the devil. There is no other possibility."

“If people do what I tell you, many will be saved, and peace will come. I promise to help at the hour of death with the graces for their salvation, those who on the first Saturday of five consecutive months shall confess and receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the rosary and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on one or more mysteries of the rosary with the intention of making reparation to me,” said the beautiful lady as she began to glide away toward the east.

Now the administrator of the town began to turn against the children. He was not a good man. He had no use for religion or the Church. He made the parents of Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco bring them to court. There he tried his best to make them tell him a secret the lady had told each of them when she appeared to them in July.

When they would not tell him, he got very angry and sent them away!

But on the morning of August 13, Arturo, the Administrator, came to the Marto cottage in a fine carriage.

“I want you to ride with me to the miracle,” Arturo said, trying to be pleasant.

“We can very easily walk,” Lucia told him.

Francisco Marto 1908-1919 (pictured in the middle) said: "How beautiful God is, how beautiful!

But He is sad because of the sins of men. I want to console Him, I want to suffer for love of Him."

Francisco prayed many rosaries.

“You must stop at the priest’s house first, and you will be late for the lady unless you ride with me,” Arturo insisted.

The children finally accepted the ride, and they all set out for the priest’s house.

When they were finished there and were back in the carriage, the Administrator drove off with them to his home instead of to the Cova!

Once the ugly man had the children in his own house he told them he would have them boiled in a vat of oil. He called the jailer to take Jacinta first. And after a few minutes he came back and asked who would be next. It was then Francisco’s turn. That left Lucia alone.

“I’ll never tell you,” said Lucia.

“Away with her!” shouted Arturo.

Lucia was shoved into an empty room. But there, kneeling in prayer, were little Jacinta and Francisco! They had not been boiled as the jailer said they had!

On August 15, the children were back home, safe and sound. They had been kept away over the thirteenth so they could not see the lady on that day. But they still believed in her. After Mass on the Sunday following, Lucia, Francisco and his brother John took the sheep out to the pasture. Suddenly Lucia felt the lady was coming. She sent John in haste to get Jacinta. Scarcely had she arrived then the lady appeared.

“Go to the Cova da Iria on the thirteenth of next month. Pray very hard. Make many sacrifices for sinners.” Then the lady was gone.

September 13, 1917 A.D. (Fatima, Portugal)
On September 13, 1917 A.D. 30,000 people came to the Cova to see what would occur. One month later,
on October 13th, more than twice as many (70,000) would assemble to view a promised miracle.

On September 13, more than 30,000 people were crowded into the Cova to see what would happen. Suddenly a white globe was seen moving through the sky toward them. Then a thin white vapor began to form above the little oak, and white flowers began to fall from the clear blue sky. The lady appeared to the children. All saw Lucia’s lips move, but no one heard a word she said!

Tomorrow, the story continues with the miracle of the Sun, witnessed by an estimated crowd of 40,000 to 100,000 people. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. Unfortunately, some of the words cut off on the right side of the page.

Anonymous said...

hi andrew! i am interested in bringing the International Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of fatima in Singapore. You may want to help me if you have local contacts. I am Patrick, traveling with Our Lady of Fatima. I happen to get a glimpse of your blgo and it is interesting.
visit our humble blogsite www.pilgrimfatima.blogspot.com and our official website www.pilgrimvirginstatue.com

Andrew said...

Hello, I'm from Malaysia, but I can give you a Singaporean contact. Do email me at andrew4jc(at)gmail.com

Cosmile said...

Hey Andrew, it was really great of you, to contribute such a true story beautifully and thoroughly. Can you mail me any of the information, through which I can understand, from where was the Rosary derived and and on what basis the classification are made e.g 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Mary Holy Mary and 5 Mysteries.

It will be really helpful, so that I can do it more meaningfully or for other you can post on your blog, so even others could benefit from it.