Apparition of Fatima - 1917

by Amyobala Key

Our Lady of Fatima   

It is Sunday, May 13, 1917. The three young children were tending their sheep at Cova da Iria near their village of Fatima in Portugal. The youngest child was Jacinta Marto, age 7, born March 11, 1910. She would live less than 3 more years, passing on February 20, 1920. Her brother, Francisco Marto was born June 11, 1908. He was 9 years old. He, too, was destined to die at an early age, April 4, 1919, less than two years later. Lucia Santos (aka Lucia dos Santos and Lucia de Jesus Rosa Santos, was born March 28, 1907, though for convenience due to registration fines, it was registered as March 22, 1907). She was 10, barely three months older than her cousin, Francisco. She would live until February 13, 2005, 6 weeks short of her 98th birthday.

It was the elder Lucia who described seeing a lady "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal ball, filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun." The lady appeared on subsequent occasions, on June 13th and July 13th. The lady entreated the youngsters to do penance and to make sacrifices to save sinners. The children wore tight cords around their waists to cause pain, abstained from drinking water on hot days. The lady asked them to pray the Rosary every day, saying that it was the key to personal and world peace. It was the time of the First World War, then known as the Great War, that was claiming many lives, including the young men of Portugal.

The Virgin Mary had promised a miracle for all to see, and on October 13th, there occurred what came to be known as "The Miracle of the Sun". With almost 70,000 witnesses present, including the media and clergy, a rainfall ceased, the clouds diminished, the sun appearing as a silver disc. Lucia called to the onlookers to look to the sun. Religious figures appeared in the sky, the sun changed colors, rotated in the sky, and for some it appeared to fall from the sky or perform zig zag motions. This was witnessed by those present and others many miles away. A reporter wrote: "... the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws - the sun 'danced' according to the typical expression of the people." A Doctor (eye specialist) recorded: "The sun, at one moment [was] surrounded with scarlet flame, at another aureoled in yellow and deep purple, seemed to be in an exceeding fast and whirling movement, at times appeared to be loosened from the sky and to be approaching the earth, strongly radiating heat". People wept and prayed with uncovered heads. The miraculous vision lasted barely seconds. Some observers, however, saw nothing at all.

Later in their meetings, the lady entrusted the children with three secrets, the most famous communications ever received by witnesses of Marian Apparitions. They are known as the Three Secrets of Fatima. The Apparitions continued for months, drawing thousands of pilgrims who were attracted to the reports of miracles and visions. That August, the local administrator had the children jailed as being disruptive. They were interrogated, but held firm, refusing to divulge the content of the secrets. They were mentally tortured with threats of being boiled in oil, but they would not relent. It was during that same month, that the Apparition resolved into the Blessed Virgin (August 19th, 1917, the event having been delayed by the interference of the authorities, from the customary 13th of each month) at nearby Valinhos.

The Number 13

Most of the visions occurred on the 13th of each month at about noon for six straight months. Only the August Apparition was late due to the interference of local authorities. On the 13th day of February, 2005, Lucia died of old age (cardio-respiratory failure).

Fatima Apparition Fatima Medal

The Secrets of the Fatima

Two secrets were revealed in 1941 in the writings of Lucia, at the request of the Bishop of Leiria. She did not wish to reveal third secret, but in October 1943, she wrote it down, placed it in a sealed envelope, not to be opened until 1960 when it would "appear clearer". In 2000, Pope John Paul the II revealed the alleged secret, though others have claimed this was not the real secret, which has been kept hidden by the church.

The First Secret: (a vision of Hell)

Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.

The Second Secret: (a Prophecy of World War II)

(By the time this secret was revealed, World War I had already ended and World War II had already begun.) It was a prophecy of the end of WWI and the beginning of WWII and included the need for Russia to convert.

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 [WWI]is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one [WWII] 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.

The Third Secret: (Lucia was ill and fearing she would die. She was convinced to write the secret down and have it sealed in 1944. In 1957, it was delivered to Rome. The alleged secret was published on June 26, 2000, by Cardinal Sodano.) The Secret, as released by the Cardinal, has been roundly criticized as being partial or untrue, the true and complete words never having been revealed.

I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine. After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.

Jacinta Marto, Francisco Marto, Lucia Santos Jacinta, Lucia, Francisco

Jacinta, Lucia, Francisco Jacinta, Lucia Lucia Santos in later life


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