The story of our Lady of Fatima as told by the children.
- First Apparition
- Second Apparition – Our Lady predicts the children’s deaths
- Third Apparition – the vision of hell, the consecration of Russia and the third secret
- Forth Apparition – the children are kidnapped and the construction of the Basilica
- Fifth Apparition
- Last Apparition – Miracle of the Sun
On Sunday May 13th, 1917, the children were pasturing their flock as usual at the Cova da Iria, which was about a mile from their homes. They were playing when suddenly a bright shaft of light pierced the air. They described it as a flash of lightning. It was not really lightning, but rather the reflection of a light that approached little by little. Frightened by the flash, the children looked around at the sky that was clear and bright without the least spot of a cloud. No breeze stirred, the sun was strong, and there was no hint anywhere of a storm that might be responsible for a flash of lightning. The children, however, thought that they had better head home in case it might start raining. As they descended the hill. Another flash of lightning took them by surprise. Panicky with fear, they took a few steps and looked towards the right. There, standing over the foliage of a small holm-oak tree (Lucy narrates):
“A lady dressed all in white, more brilliant then the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun.”
The lady spoke to them and said: “Fear not! I will not harm you.“ “Where are you from?” the children asked. “I am from Heaven,” the beautiful lady replied, gently raising her hand towards the distant horizon.
“What do you want of me?”, Lucia asked. “I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and what I want. And I shall return here again a seventh time.”
Lucia said : “Do you come from heaven…and will I go to heaven ?”
” Yes, you’ll go.“
“And Jacinta?” “As well.”
” And Francisco?”
“Him too , but he will have to say many rosaries“.
In the end Our Lady asked : “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the suffering that He may please to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?“
“Yes, we do.” said the children.
“You will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort. “
“Then she opened her hands with a loving gesture of a mother who offers her heart. From it an intense light departed that seemed to go through them.
The vision vanished telling them : “Recite the rosary every day to obtain the peace for the world and the end of the war.”
And She disappeared.
On June 13 1917, accompanied by about 50 people, the children were reciting the rosary, when there was again the lightning, and immediately after the Lady on the holm-oak appeared like in May.
“What do you want from me?“ asked Lucy.
“I wish you to come here the 13th of next month; that you say the Rosary every day, and that you learn to read. In succeeding months I will tell you what else I want.“
I asked for the cure of a sick person: “If he is converted, he will be cured within the year.”
“I would like to ask you to bring us to Heaven“, said Lucy.
“Yes, Jacinta and Francisco will be among the few, but you must stay here for a long time. Jesus wants to help Himself of you to make Me known and loved. God wishes you to remain in the world for some time because He wants to use you to establish in the world a devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself to adorn His throne.”
Lucy asked: “Will I stay here alone?”
“No, My daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Do not lose heart, I will never forsake you! My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
Lucy later testified: “It was at the moment when She pronounced those last words that She opened Her hands and communicated to us, for the second time, the reflection of that immense light. In it we saw ourselves as submerged in God. Jacinta and Francisco appeared to be in the part of that light which elevated itself to Heaven, and I in the part which spread itself on the earth. In the palm of the right hand of Our Lady there was a Heart, surrounded by thorns which seemed to pierce it. We understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity, which demanded reparation.”
Then, as Our Lady left them, the crowd heard a sound like a firecracker in the distance. Lucy rose quickly and pointing, cried, “See, She is going, She is going!” The crowd did not see Her, but did note a small cloud that rose from above the tree and, moving toward the east, gradually disappeared. The holm oak tree, on which Our Lady had stood, had its branches bent slightly toward the east.
“I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, [August] to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only she can help you.”
“Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe.”
Lucia made some requests for sick people, to which Mary replied that she would cure some but not others, and that all must say the rosary to obtain such graces, before continuing: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
As she spoke these words, Our lady stretched out her hands, and bright rays came forth which seemed to penetrate into the earth. All at once the ground vanished, and the children saw Hell, frightened they lifted their eyes to the Lady who told them: “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 will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
Mary specifically told Lucia not to tell anyone about the secret at this stage, apart from Francisco, before continuing: “When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.’ “
Lucia asked if there was anything more, and after assuring her that there was nothing more, Mary disappeared off into the distance.
On August 13, between 10,000 and 20,000 people gathered at the Cova da Iria to await the arrival of Our Lady. The three little seers, however, were not present, having been kidnapped and imprisoned by the administrator of the district, Artur de Oliveira Santos, a prominent Freemason. While the seers were being held on August 13, Our Lady still came to the Cova da Iria and manifested Her presence to the large crowd. One faithful woman described the scene:
The clap of thunder was more or less similar to that of the preceding time. Some say that it came from the road, others from the holm-oak . It seemed to me that it came from very far. Everyone kept quiet, frightened …. At the clap of thunder there followed lightning, and at once we began to notice a small cloud, very pretty, white in color, very light, which hovered some moments over the holm-oak, then rose towards the sky, and disappeared in the atmosphere. While looking around us, we observed a strange thing, which we had already seen the previous time, and which we were going to see again in the future. The faces of the people had all the colors of the rainbow: pink, red, blue … The trees did not appear to have branches and leaves but only flowers; everything seemed laden with flowers, and every leaf appeared to be a flower. The ground was covered with squares of different colors. Clothes were also of every color of the rainbow.
On the afternoon of August 19, Lucy and Francisco, accompanied by Francisco’s older brother John, went to put their sheep to pasture. This is the account that Sister Lucy gave of what occurred:
I felt that something supernatural was approaching and enveloping us. Suspecting that Our Lady was going to appear to us, and feeling sorry that Jacinta would not be there to see Her, we asked her brother John to go and get her.
However John wished to stay and see Our Lady. Lucy, therefore, gave John one coin to fetch Jacinta and promised him another when he brought her back. While he ran to get her, Lucy and Francisco saw the characteristic flash of light, and just as Jacinta arrived, Our Lady appeared above a holm-oak tree. Lucy’s account continues:
Lucy asked: “What does Your Grace want from me?”
“I want you to continue going to the Cova da Iria on the 13th, that you continue praying the Rosary every day. On the last month, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe. If they had not taken you to the town, the miracle would have been greater. Saint Joseph will come with the Child Jesus, to give peace to the world. Our Lord will come to bless the people. Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows will come also.”
“What do You want them to do with the money the people leave at the Cova da Iria?”
“Have two litters made. You will carry one with Jacinta and two other girls dressed in white; the other one Francisco is to carry, with three boys, like him, dressed in white. It will be for the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. What is left over will help towards the construction of a chapel that is to be built.”
“I should like to ask You to cure some sick persons.”
“Yes, I will cure some of them during the year.”
Then looking more sad, Our Lady said: “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and pray for them.”
As usual, Our Lady began to ascend towards the east.
After the apparition of August 19, the three children looked for ways to make more sacrifices to offer to Jesus, for His love, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Lucy told of one example of them wearing rope around their waists.
On September 13 as many as thirty thousand people gathered at the Cova da Iria. While waiting for noon to arrive, Lucy led the Rosary for the crowd. At noon, a certain phenomenon announced the arrival of Our Lady to many in the crowd. As one witness relates:
“The sky was blue, without any clouds. I also looked up, and began to scrutinize the immensity of the firmament, to see what other eyes, more fortunate than mine, had already contemplated. To my great astonishment, I then saw, clearly and distinctly, a luminous globe, traveling from the east to the west, and gliding slowly and majestically in space Suddenly the globe, with its extraordinary light, disappeared from our eyes.”
The light of the sun then dimmed, and the atmosphere became a yellow-gold color, like it had during the former apparitions. Some reported that they could see the stars, the sky had darkened to such an extent. Lucy then spoke to Our Lady, asking, “What does Your Grace want of me?”
“Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October, Our Lord will come as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus in order to bless the world. God is satisfied with your sacrifices, but He does not want you to sleep with the rope. Wear it only during the day.”
“There is a little girl here who is a deaf-mute. Would not Your Grace wish to cure her?” Our Lady replied that a year from now, the girl would be better.
“I have many other requests, some for conversion, others for a cure.”
“I shall cure some, but others no, because Our Lord does not trust them.”
“The people would indeed like to have a chapel here.”
“With half of the money received so far, they should make litters and carry them on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary; the other half can be used to build the chapel.”
Lucy then offered her two letters and a small flask of water with a fragrance, which had been given her by a man of the parish of Olival. In offering them to Our Lady, she said to her: “They gave me that. Does Your Grace want it?”
“That is not suitable for Heaven,” Our Lady replied. “In October I will perform the miracle so that all may believe.”
Our Lady then ascended toward the east and disappeared as usual. The crowd once again saw the luminous globe, which had accompanied Her upon Her arrival, rise up toward the east and disappear.
There were about 70,000 people present at the Cova da Iria for the October 13 apparition and Miracle of the Sun. Beginning the night before and persisting throughout the morning of the 13th, a cold rain fell on the crowd. The ground was muddy and the rain soaked everything. At the time when Our Lady was due to arrive, Lucy begged the people to close their umbrellas, which they did at once.
“What does Your Grace want of me?” Lucy asked.
“I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in My honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.”
“I had many things to ask You: to cure some sick people, to convert some sinners, etc.”
“Some yes, others no. They must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins.”
Then taking on a more sorrowful air, Our Lady said: “Do not offend the Lord Our God any more, for He is already too much offended!”
“You want nothing more from me?” Lucy asked.
“No, I want nothing more from you.”
“Then I do not ask anything more of You either.”
As Our Lady ascended into Heaven, Lucy shouted: “She is going! She is going! Look at the sun!”
The miracle announced by Our Lady then took place: the sky abruptly cleared and the sun “danced”. The people were able to look at the bright sun directly, without it bothering their eyes at all. As reported by the secular newspaper: “And then we witnessed a unique spectacle, an incredible spectacle, unbelievable if you did not witness it. From above the road We see the immense crowd turn towards the sun, which appeared at its zenith, clear of the clouds. It looked like a plate of dull silver, and it was possible to stare at it without the least discomfort. It did not burn the eyes. It did not blind. One might say that an eclipse had occurred.”
The most terrifying aspect of the Miracle of the Sun then took place. Witnesses stated:
“We suddenly heard a clamor, like a cry of anguish of that entire crowd. The sun, in fact, keeping its rapid movement of rotation, seemed to free itself from the firmament and, blood-red, to plunge towards the earth, threatening to crush us with its fiery mass. Those were some terrifying seconds.” …”The sun began to dance and, at a certain moment, it appeared to detach itself from the firmament and to rush forward on us, like a fire wheel.”
Yet another astonishing aspect of the Miracle was that all of the thousands of people, most of whom were soaked to the bone and dirty from the mud, suddenly found that their clothes were dry and clean.
Finally, many miracles of conversion, the greatest miracle God can bestow, also occurred.
During the Miracle of the Sun, the three children were witnessing something else: the beautiful spectacle promised by Our Lady. Lucy writes:
“Our Lady having disappeared in the immensity of the firmament, we saw, beside the sun, Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady clothed in white with a blue mantle. Saint Joseph and the Child Jesus seemed to bless the world with gestures which they made with their hands in the form of a cross. Soon after, that apparition having ceased, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady, Who gave me the impression of being Our Lady of Sorrows. Our Lord seemed to bless the world in the same manner as Saint Joseph. That apparition disappeared and it seemed to me that I saw Our Lady again, this time as Our Lady of Mount Carmel.”
These three successive visions are connected to one of the dominant messages of Fatima: the Rosary. In each of Her six apparitions, Our Lady asked that the Rosary be prayed and here, in these visions granted to the three children, the mysteries of the Holy Rosary were represented. With the vision of the Holy Family we find the Joyful mysteries; the Sorrowful mysteries are represented by the vision of Our Lord and Our Lady of Sorrows; and the Glorious mysteries are represented in the vision of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Thus the Miracle of the Sun, witnessed by 70,000 people, concluded the cycle of the apparitions at Fatima. Yet the Message of Fatima, with its great depth and scope, was to continue to be unfolded to the eldest of the three seers, Lucy. In the years to come Heaven’s Messenger would be visited and, as promised by Our Lady in the July 13 apparition, would be instructed to reveal Heaven’s plan for peace for a turbulent world: the Reparatory devotion of the Five First Saturdays and the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.