One hundred years have passed since Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherd children in the small town of Fatima, Portugal. During a time of great persecution, Our Lady appeared to three young children: Francisco Marto, his sister Jacinta and their cousin Lucia Santos six times from May 13 to October 13, 1917.
Both Francisco and Jacinta (center and right), who died within two years after the apparitions, will be canonized by Pope Francis on his visit to Fatima on May 13. The Vatican is in the process of the beatification of Lucia, who died in 2005 at the age of 97.
The Three Secrets
The first secret was an apocalyptic vision of hell. The second secret spoke of the end of World War I and warned of another war if Russia did not convert to Christianity and people did not repent of their sins. To prevent this and save sinners, she asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart as well as a “Communion of Reparation: on five consecutive first Saturdays of the month.”
The third secret, and perhaps the most well-known for it was left unrevealed until the year 2000, 83 years after the Blessed Mother’s first apparition in Fatima, foretold the persecution of Christians. In particular, the persecution of a pope was most vividly depicted by the children.
The ultimate message of the visions was that all must come to repentance.
Below is an excerpt of Lucia’s letter describing the vision.
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world”. (7)
Our Lady instructed Lucia: “Tell them that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, in order to make reparation to me, on the First Saturday of five successive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.”
Our Lady also promised the children that they would go to heaven.
The secrets foretold the end of World War I, World War II and the failed attempt to assassinate St. Pope John Paul II (which took place on the 64th anniversary of the apparitions). The bullet that was removed from St. Pope John Paul II was placed in the crown of the statue of Our Lady in Fatima.
It was also predicted that Russia would do great harm to humanity. This could be avoided through consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and through the devotions of the first five Saturdays as mentioned above.
The Miracle of the Sun
Our Lady appeared to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta six times. She promised the children a miracle in order that the people might believe that the Blessed Mother had appeared to them and revealed the prophetic messages. During the rainy day of October 13, 1917, over the course of approximately 20 minutes, the Sun appeared to “dance” in the sky. The miracle was witness by 70,000 people and converted even non-believers. The Sun rotated, emitting colors in the sky and then reversed its course. When the miracle was over, the ground and everything around those gathered was completely dry. The miracle was documented the next day in the local newspaper and later confirmed by the Catholic Church in October of 1930.
Prayers and Resources listed below
Vatican document on the three secrets:
100 Years of Fatima website gives details about the children, apparitions and messages. https://www.ewtn.com/fatima/index.asp
Catholic News Agency article:
Articles about the canonization of Francisco and Jacinta Marto
Fatima, The Day the Sun Danced: The True Fatima Story (animated), The 13th Day, The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, Fatima: Altar of the World (History and Message)
Fatima Prayer given by St. Pope John Paul II in 1981
“Mother of all individuals and peoples, you know all their sufferings and hopes. In your motherly heart you feel all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, that convulse the world: accept the plea which we make in the Holy Spirit directly to your heart, and embrace with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord those who most await this embrace, and also those whose act of entrustment you too await in a particular way. Take under your motherly protection the whole human family, which with affectionate love we entrust to you, O Mother. May there dawn for everyone the time of peace and freedom, the time of truth, of justice and of hope”.(3)
Fatima Prayer given by St. Pope John Paul II in 1982
“O Mother of all men and women, and of all peoples, you who know all their sufferings and their hopes, you who have a mother’s awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, which afflict the modern world, accept the cry which we, moved by the Holy Spirit, address directly to your Heart. Embrace with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord, this human world of ours, which we entrust and consecrate to you, for we are full of concern for the earthly and eternal destiny of individuals and peoples.
In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated.
‘We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God!’ Despise not our petitions in our necessities”.
“Behold, as we stand before you, Mother of Christ, before your Immaculate Heart, we desire, together with the whole Church, to unite ourselves with the consecration which, for love of us, your Son made of himself to the Father: ‘For their sake’, he said, ‘I consecrate myself that they also may be consecrated in the truth’ (Jn 17:19). We wish to unite ourselves with our Redeemer in this his consecration for the world and for the human race, which, in his divine Heart, has the power to obtain pardon and to secure reparation.
The power of this consecration lasts for all time and embraces all individuals, peoples and nations. It overcomes every evil that the spirit of darkness is able to awaken, and has in fact awakened in our times, in the heart of man and in his history.
How deeply we feel the need for the consecration of humanity and the world—our modern world—in union with Christ himself! For the redeeming work of Christ must be shared in by the world through the Church.
The present Year of the Redemption shows this: the special Jubilee of the whole Church.
Above all creatures, may you be blessed, you, the Handmaid of the Lord, who in the fullest way obeyed the divine call!
Hail to you, who are wholly united to the redeeming consecration of your Son!
Mother of the Church! Enlighten the People of God along the paths of faith, hope, and love! Enlighten especially the peoples whose consecration and entrustment by us you are awaiting. Help us to live in the truth of the consecration of Christ for the entire human family of the modern world.
In entrusting to you, O Mother, the world, all individuals and peoples, we also entrust to you this very consecration of the world, placing it in your motherly Heart.
Immaculate Heart! Help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths towards the future!
From famine and war, deliver us.
From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.
From sins against the life of man from its very beginning, deliver us.
From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.
From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.
From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.
From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us.
From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.
From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us.
Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.
Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer all sin: individual sin and the ‘sin of the world’, sin in all its manifestations.
Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the Redemption: the power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope!”.(4)