Our Lady of Fátima (Portuguese: formally known as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fátima: is a Roman Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary based on the famed Marian apparitions reported in 1917 by three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria, in Fátima, Portugal. The three children were Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto.
Beginning in the spring of 1917, the children reported apparitions of an Angel, and starting in May of 1917, apparitions of the Virgin Mary, who the children described as the Lady of Fátima. The children reported a prophecy that prayer would lead to an end to the Great War, and that on October 13th of that year that the Lady would reveal her identity and perform a miracle "so that all may believe." Newspapers reported the prophecies, and many pilgrims began visiting the area. The children's accounts were deeply controversial, drawing intense criticism from both local secular and religious authorities. A provincial administrator briefly took the children into custody, believing the prophecies were politically motivated in opposition to the officially secular First Portuguese Republic established in 1910. The events of October 13th became known as the Miracle of the Sun.
On 13 May 1946, Pope Pius XII granted a canonical coronation to the venerated image enshrined at the Chapel of the Apparitions of Fátima via his apostolic legate, Cardinal Benedetto Aloisi Masella. On 11 November 1954, the same Pontiff later raised the Sanctuary of Fátima to the status of Minor Basilica by his Papal brief Luce Superna.
The reported apparitions at Fátima were officially declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church, which commemorates the event on the same date. The published memoirs of Lúcia Santos' in the 1930s revealed two secrets that she claimed came from the Virgin while the third secret was to be revealed by the Catholic Church in 1960. The controversial events at Fátima gained fame due partly to elements of the secrets, prophecy and eschatological revelations allegedly related to the Second World War and possibly more global wars in the future, particularly the Virgin's alleged request for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In the spring and summer of 1916, nine-year-old Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto were herding sheep at the Cova da Iria near their home village of Fátima, Portugal. They later said they were visited three times by an apparition of an angel. They said the angel, who identified himself as "The Angel of Peace", taught them prayers, to make sacrifices, and to spend time in adoration of the Lord.
2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the apparition.
Marian apparitions o the 13th. of May 1917, the children reported seeing a woman "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun." The woman wore a white mantle edged with gold and held a rosary in her hand. She asked them to devote themselves to the Holy Trinity and to pray "the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war". While the children had never told anyone about seeing the angel, Jacinta told her family about seeing the brightly lit woman. Lúcia had earlier said that the three should keep this experience private. Jacinta's disbelieving mother told neighbors about it as a joke, and within a day the whole village knew of the children's vision.
The children said the woman told them to return to the Cova da Iria on 13 June 1917. Lúcia's mother sought counsel from the parish priest, Father Ferreira, who suggested she allow them to go. He asked to have Lúcia brought to him afterward so that he could question her. The second appearance occurred on 13 June, the feast of St. Anthony, patron of the local parish church. On this occasion the lady revealed that Francisco and Jacinta would be taken to Heaven soon, but Lúcia would live longer in order to spread her message and devotion to the Immaculate Heart.
During the June visit, the children said the lady told them to say the Rosary daily in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace and the end of the Great War. (Three weeks earlier, on 21 April, the first contingent of Portuguese soldiers had embarked for the front lines of the war.) The lady also purportedly revealed to the children a vision of hell, and entrusted a secret to them, described as "good for some and bad for others". Fr. Ferreira later stated that Lúcia recounted that the lady told her, "I want you to come back on the thirteenth and to learn to read in order to understand what I want of you. ...I don't want more."
In the following months, thousands of people flocked to Fátima and nearby Aljustrel, drawn by reports of visions and miracles. On 13 August 1917, the provincial administrator Artur Santos (no relation to Lúcia Santos) intervened, as he believed that these events were politically disruptive in the conservative country. He took the children into custody, jailing them before they could reach the Cova da Iria. Santos interrogated and threatened the children to get them to divulge the contents of the secrets. Lúcia's mother hoped the officials could persuade the children to end the affair and admit that they had lied. Lúcia told Santos everything short of the secrets, and offered to ask the woman for permission to tell the official the secrets.
That month, instead of the usual apparition in the Cova da Iria on 13 August, the children reported that they saw the Virgin Mary on 19 August, a Sunday, at nearby Valinhos. She asked them again to pray the rosary daily, spoke about the miracle coming in October, and asked them "to pray a lot, a lot for the sinners and sacrifice a lot, as many souls perish in hell because nobody is praying or making sacrifices for them."
The three children claimed to have seen the Blessed Virgin Mary in a total of six apparitions between 13 May and 13 October 1917.
Miracle of the Sun
After some newspapers reported that the Virgin Mary had promised a miracle for the last of her apparitions on 13 October, a huge crowd, possibly between 30,000 and 100,000, including reporters and photographers, gathered at Cova da Iria. What happened then became known as the "Miracle of the Sun".
Various claims have been made as to what actually happened during the event. The three children who originally claimed to have seen Our Lady of Fátima reported seeing a panorama of visions during the event, including those of Jesus, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and of Saint Joseph blessing the people. Father John De Marchi, an Italian Catholic priest and researcher wrote several books on the subject, which included descriptions by witnesses who believed they had seen a miracle created by Mary, Mother of God. According to accounts, after a period of rain, the dark clouds broke and the sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disc in the sky. It was said to be significantly duller than normal, and to cast multicolored lights across the landscape, the people, and the surrounding clouds. The sun was then reported to have careened towards the earth before zig-zagging back to its normal position. Witnesses reported that their previously wet clothes became "suddenly and completely dry, as well as the wet and muddy ground that had been previously soaked because of the rain that had been falling".
Not all witnesses reported seeing the sun "dance". Some people only saw the radiant colors, and others, including some believers, saw nothing at all. The only known picture of the sun taken during the event does not show anything unusual. No unusual phenomenon of the sun was observed by scientists at the time. A number of theologians, scientists, and skeptics have offered alternative explanations that include psychological suggestibility of the witnesses, temporary retinal distortion caused by staring at the intense light of the Sun, and optical effects caused by natural meteorological phenomena.
Later years of the children
an articles: Sister Lúcia and Jacinta and Francisco Marto
Francisco and Jacinta Marto died in the international flu pandemic that began in 1918 and swept the world. Francisco Marto died at home on 4 April 1919, at the age of ten. Jacinta died at the age of nine in hospital on 20 February 1920. They are buried at the Sanctuary of Fátima. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II on 13 May 2000 and canonized by Pope Francis on 13 May 2017. Their mother Olímpia Marto said that her children predicted their deaths many times to her and to curious pilgrims in the brief period of time after the Marian apparitions.
At the age of fourteen, Lúcia was sent to the school of the Sisters of St. Dorothy (Dorothean) in Vilar, a suburb of Porto, Portugal. In 1928 she became a postulant at the convent of the Sisters of St. Dorothy in Tui, Spain, near the border with Portugal. Lúcia continued to report private visions periodically throughout her life. She reported seeing the Virgin Mary again in 1925 in the convent. This time she said she was asked to convey the message of the First Saturdays Devotion. She said that a subsequent vision of Christ as a child reiterated this request. In 1929, Lúcia reported that Mary returned and repeated her request for the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. She also reported an apparition in Rianxo, Galicia, in 1931, in which she said that Jesus visited her, taught her two prayers, and delivered a message to give to the church's hierarchy.
In 1936 and again in 1941, Sister Lúcia said that the Virgin Mary had predicted the deaths of her two friends during the second apparition on 13 June 1917. According to Lúcia's 1941 account, on 13 June, Lúcia asked the Virgin if the three children would go to heaven when they died. She said that she heard Mary reply, "Yes, I shall take Francisco and Jacinta soon, but you will remain a little longer, since Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on Earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart."
In 1947, Sister Lúcia left the Dorothean order. She joined the Discalced Carmelite Order in a monastery in Coimbra, Portugal. Lúcia died on 13 February 2005, at the age of 97.
The widely reported miracle of the sun contributed to Fátima quickly becoming a major centre of pilgrimage. Two million pilgrims visited the site in the decade following the events of 1917. A small chapel – the Capelinha – was built by local people on the site of the apparitions. The construction was neither encouraged nor hindered by the Catholic Church authorities.
On 13 May 1920, pilgrims defied government troops to install a statue of the Virgin Mary in the chapel. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was first officially celebrated there in January 1924. A hostel for the sick was begun in that year. In 1927 the first rector of the sanctuary was appointed, and a set of Stations of the Cross were erected on the mountain road. The foundation stone for the present basilica was laid the next year.
In 1930 the Catholic Church officially recognised the apparition events as "worthy of belief" and granted a papal indulgence to pilgrims visiting Fátima. In 1935 the bodies of the child visionaries, Jacinta and Francisco, were reinterred in the basilica. Pope Pius XII granted a Canonical Coronation of the statue of Our Lady of Fátima on 13 May 1946. This event drew such large crowds that the entrance to the site had to be barred.
In the 21st century, pilgrimage to the site takes place year round. Additional chapels, hospitals and other facilities have been constructed at the site. The principal pilgrimage festivals take place on the thirteenth day of each month, from May to October, on the anniversaries of the original apparitions. The largest crowds gather on 13 May and 13 October, when up to a million pilgrims have attended to pray and witness processions of the statue of Our Lady of Fátima, both during the day and by the light of tens of thousands of candles at night.
Official position of the Catholic Church
The reported visions at Fátima gathered widespread attention, as numerous pilgrims began to visit the site. After a canonical inquiry, the Bishop of Leiria-Fátima officially declared the visions of Fátima as "worthy of belief" in October 1930, officially permitting the cult of Our Lady of Fátima.
On the second day, Pope Benedict spoke to more than 500,000 pilgrims; he referred to the Fátima prophecy about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and related it to the final "glory of the Most Holy Trinity."
Pius XII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI all voiced their acceptance of the supernatural origin of the Fátima events.
In March 2017 the Holy See announced that Pope Francis will canonize two of the visionaries, Jacinta and Francisco, on 13 May at a Mass in Fatima during a two day visit. The decision followed papal confirmation of a miracle attributed to the intercession of the two visionaries.
The pope solemnly canonized the children on 13 May 2017 during the centennial of the first apparition. They are the Catholic Church's youngest saints who did not die as martyrs, with Jacinta the very youngest as she died at age nine while Francisco died at age ten.
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.
Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit- I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.
Oh my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of Thy mercy.
Fatima and the brown scapular
Sister Lucy and the Brown Scapular
On September 13, 1917, the Virgin of Fatima had announced to the three children the coming of Our Lady of Mount Carmel the next month. On October 13, during the closing of the cycle of apparitions, when the conversation of Lucy with Our Lady of the Rosary was finished, while the crowd contemplated the grandiose cosmic miracle, the three shepherds enjoyed several visions. They were given to admire in the sky three successive pictures, the last of which was Our Lady of Mount Carmel calling to mind the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. That same evening, Lucy would relate her vision to Canon Formigão: "At the end, the Virgin Who appeared to me 'seemed to me to be Our Lady of Mount Carmel'."
At the end of the 1940's, while conversing with three Carmelite priests, Father Donald O'Callaghan, Father Albert Ward and Father Luis Gonzaga de Oliveira, Sister Maria-Lucia of the Immaculate Heart (known as Sister Lucy) recalled that the Blessed Virgin Mary wished that the devotion of the holy Scapular be propagated. If Our Lady, during Her last public apparition, had held it in Her hands, it was to urge us to wear it, quite like in the preceding apparitions, the presence of Her Rosary had clearly manifested the wishes of Her Heart.
The messenger of Heaven also explained it to Father Howard Rafferty when the priest questioned her in the name of the Father General of the Carmelites, on October 15, 1950: "Our Lady, Lucy told him, held the Scapular in Her hands because She wants us all to wear it."
ACT OF CONSECRATION