Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  On May 13, 1917, during World War I,  three shepherd children, Lucia Santos, and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto said they saw a woman brighter than the sun.  The woman was dressed in white and held a rosary in her hand. She asked them to pray the Rosary every day. She said it would bring peace and an end to the war. The children didn’t say they saw an angel. Lucia had said they should keep it a secret. Jacinta told her family about seeing a brightly lit woman.  Her mother told the neighbors it was a joke. The next day everyone in the village knew of the children’s story.

The child said the woman told them to return next month. Lucia’s mother asked the parish priest what to do. The priest suggested she let them go. The woman appeared again on June 13 the feast of Saint Anthony, their local parish. This time when they saw the lady she said Francisco and Jacinta would be taken to heaven soon, but Lucia would live longer to tell of the Immaculate Heart. She also told the children to say the Rosary daily to end the Great War. She showed the children other visions. Lucia later remembered the lady told her to come back on the 13th and learn to read, so you can understand.

On August 13, 1917, a government official arrested and jailed the children because he believed they were going against the government. That month instead of the vision arriving on the 13th, she arrived nearby on Sunday, August 19. The children said they saw the Blessed Virgin Mary six times between May 13, and October 13, 1917.

By June 1917, people claimed the Virgin Mary had promised a miracle. A crowd of 70,000 people, including news reporters and photographers. It had been raining and was gloomy for days. Lucia saw a light rise from the lady’s hands.  It appeared to be a silver disk and called out “Look at the sun.” The sun seemed to change colors and rotate like a wheel.  It could be seen for 40 kilometers away.  However, it was not seen anywhere else in the world, and scientists who studied it said there was no scientific reason for it.

Francisco and Jacinta Marto died of the flu epidemic the next year. Francisco was 10 and Jacinta was 9. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2000. At 14, in 1922,  Lucia went to school at the Sisters of St. Dorothy. She joined the convent soon after. She continued to have visions of the Virgin Mary. In 1947, she left the Dorothean order and joined the Discalced Carmelite Order. Lucia died February 13, 2005, at the age of 97.

Two million people visited the site of the site between 1917 and 1927. In May 1920 a statue of the Virgin Mary was installed in the chapel built at the site. Mass was first celebrated there in January 1924. Later a basilica was built.

Most festivals take place there on the 13th of each month, and most people visit on the 13th of May to October.

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