Reading time: 5 minutes
Read the story of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima
May 13, 1917
On May 13, 1917, three children grazed a small flock in the Cova da Iria, a hamlet of Fatima, in the municipality of Villa Nova de Ourém, today the Diocese of Leiria-Fatima. Their names were Lucia de Jesus, aged 10, and her cousins Francesco and Jacinta Marto, aged 9 and 7 (beatified by Saint John Paul II on May 13, 2000).
Around noon, after having recited the rosary, as they usually did, they built a small house with stones collected on the site where the Basilica stands today.
Lady brighter than the sun
Suddenly they saw a great light; thinking it was a flash, they decided to leave, but another flash came which illuminated the place and they saw above a small holm oak (where the Chapel of the Apparitions now stands) a“Lady Brighter Than the Sun”from whose hands hung a white rosary.
The Lady told the three little shepherds that it was necessary to pray a lot and invited them to return to the Cova da Iria :
"…I have come to ask you to come here for six months in a row, on the 13th, at this same time. Later, I will tell you who I am and what I want. After her I will come back here again a seventh time… Recite the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and an end to the war…"
The children did so over the days13June:
"…Gesù vuole servirsi di te per farmi conoscere e amare. Egli vuole stabilire nel mondo la devozione al mio Cuore immacolato. A tutti coloro che aderiranno a questa devozione, io prometto la salvezza; le loro anime saranno gradite a Dio come fiori deposti da me sul Suo trono…»;
July 13 :
«… Se si darà ascolto alle mie richieste, la Russia si convertirà e si avrà la pace… Il santo Padre mi consacrerà la Russia che si convertirà, e verrà concesso al mondo un periodo di pace. Quando reciterete il Rosario, dopo ogni decina dite: “O Gesù mio! Perdonateci, liberateci dal fuoco dell’inferno, portate in Cielo tutte le anime, specialmente quelle che più ne hanno bisogno… »;
Aug. 19(the apparition took place in the locality“dos Valinhos”about 500 meters from Aljustrel, because on the 13th the children were kidnapped by the mayor and taken to Villa Nova de Ourém) :
«…I want you to continue to go to the Cova da Iria on the 13th, and to continue to recite the rosary every day… »;
13September :«…Keep saying the rosary to bring about an end to the war… ».
In the last appearance, theOct. 13, in the presence of about 70,000 people, the Lady said «…I want to tell you that a chapel be built here in my honor. I am Our Lady of the Rosary. May we always continue to recite the rosary every day. The war is about to end and the soldiers will soon be returning home…»
After the apparition, all those present witnessed thepromised miracleto the three children in the months of July and September: the sun, similar to a silver disc, which could be fixed without difficulty, turned on itself like a wheel of fire and seemed to want to fall to earth. The news of the event appeared on the front page of the newspaperO Seculo, of Lisbon, on October 15, 1917.
Later, when Lucia was already a religious of St. Dorothea, Our Lady appeared to her again, in Spain (on December 10, 1925 and February 15, 1926, in the Pontevedra Convent and again on the night between June 13 and 14, 1929 in the Tuy Convent) asking for devotion on the first five Saturdays of the month (recite the rosary meditating on its mysteries, confessing and receiving Holy Communion, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary) and the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. Our Lady had already announced this request on July 13, 1917.
A few years later, Lucia revealed again that, between the months of April and October 1916, an Angel appeared to the three Seers three times: twice a“Loca do Cabeço”and once at the well in the garden of Lucia's house. In these Apparitions the Angel had invited them to prayer and penance.
Since 1917, thousands and thousands of pilgrims from all over the world have never stopped going to the Cova da Iria; initially mainly on the 13th of each month, then during the summer and winter holiday periods and now increasingly on weekends and weekdays, for an annual total of around four million pilgrims.
Saint John Paul II
The Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, took place in St. Peter's Square, in the Vatican, on March 25, 1984. For that occasion,Saint John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyła, 1978-2005), asked for the presence of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, venerated in the Chapel of the Apparitions.
Act of Entrustment and Consecration
In front of the statue, the Pope repeated theAct of Entrustment and Consecrationwhich he had done in Fatima on May 13, 1982 of which the last words, addressed to Our Lady, were:
«Accogli, o Madre di Cristo, questo grido carico della sofferenza di tutti gli uomini! Carico della sofferenza di intere società! Aiutaci con la forza dello Spirito Santo a vincere tutti i peccati: il peccato dell’uomo e il “peccato del mondo”, infine il peccato in tutte le sue manifestazioni. Che si riveli, ancora una volta, nella storia del mondo l’infinita potenza salvifica della Redenzione: la forza infinita dell’Amore misericordioso! Che esso fermi il male! Che esso trasformi le coscienze! Che si manifesti per tutti, nel Tuo Cuore Immacolato, la luce della Speranza! »