Our Lady of Fatima -- Our Lady of the Rosary
The children at Fatima
Portugal was a Catholic country until the 1910 October 5th revolution. King Manuel II was deposed and the liberal First Republic of Portugal was established. While politics changed, families did not and the children were brought up by devout Catholic parents.
Lucia de Jesus dos Santos was the oldest of the Fatima children. She was born on March 22, 1907 to Antonio and Maria Rosa Santos in Aljustrel, a village in the parish of Fátima, Portugal. She was the youngest of seven children, six girls and a boy. At age 6 she received her First Holy Communion.
Blessed Francisco Marto, Lucias cousin, was the sixth of seven children of Manuel and Olimpia Marto. He was born on June 11, 1908.
Francisco's sister, and Lucias cousin Blessed Jacinta Marto was born on March 11, 1910. Jacinta was the seventh of the Marto chidren.
Children were expected to help with household work at a very young age. It was therefore not surprising that the three were herding the families sheep together.
Apparition of the Guardian Angel of Portugal 1916
First: In the spring of 1916 while the children worked together herding their families' sheep, an angel appeared and asked them to pray with him.
"Do not be afraid. I am the angel of peace. Pray with me."
He knelt, bending his forehead to the ground. With a supernatural impulse we did the same, repeating the words we heard him say:
"My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You."
After repeating this prayer three times the angel rose and said to us:
"Pray in this way. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are ready to listen to you."
Second: In the summer, when the children were playing near the well of Lucia's house. The Angel said to them: "What are you doing? Pray! Pray a great deal. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices continually to the Most High." The children asked: "How must we sacrifice ourselves?" The angel said: "Make everything you do a sacrifice, and offer it as an act of reparation for the sins by which God is offended, and as a petition for the conversion of sinners. By this you will bring peace to your country. I'm its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all accept and bear with submission all the suffering the Lord will send you."
Third: In the fall, the Angel appeared for a third time. They were herding at Cabeco when the angel appeared with a bleeding Host suspended over a chalice. The angel with the children and they repeated three times: "Most Holy Trinity-Father, Son, and Holy Spirt-I adore thee profoundly. I offer thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles in the world, in reparation for all 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." Then he rose, took the Host, and gave it to Lucia, while the contents of the chalice he gave to Jacinta and Francisco, and said: " Take the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ horribly outraged by thankless men. Recover their sins and comfort your God."
Apparition of the Virgin Mary 1917.
May 13, the children were herding their sheep at a location known as the Cova da Iria near their home village of Fátima in Portugal. Lúcia described seeing a woman
"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 Blessed Virgin Mary identified herself as the "Lady of the Rosary".
The woman exhorted the children to do penance and Acts of Reparation, and to make sacrifices to save sinners. The children subsequently wore tight cords around their waists to cause pain, performed self-flagellation using stinging nettles, abstained from drinking water on hot days, and performed other works of penance and mortification of the flesh.
Most important, Lúcia said that the lady had asked them to pray the rosary every day, repeating many times that the rosary was the key to personal and world peace.
June 13, the feast of St. Anthony of Padua. The children again went to the apparition site and found a small crowd awaiting them.
After having said the rosary with Jacinta and Francisco and other people who were present, we saw again the reflection of light nearing us, (we used to say it was lightening), and following, Our Lady on the holm oak as in May.
"Please tell me, Madam, what it is that you want of me?"
I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month. I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. And after each one of the mysteries, my children, I want you to pray in this way: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins , save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need. I want you to learn to read and write, and later I will tell you what else I want of you.
"Will you take us to heaven?"
Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco 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.
"Must I remain in the world alone?"
Not alone, my child, and you must not be sad. I will be with you always, and my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God.
July 13. Our Lady of Fatima gave the children the three part secret of Fátima. The first two parts, the vision of hell and the prophecy of the future role of Russia and how to prevent it, would not be revealed until Sr. Lucia wrote them down in her third memoir, at the request of the bishop, in 1941.
See: message of Fatima
August 13. Thousands of people heard reports of the visions and miracles and flocked to Fátima. The provincial administrator Artur Santos, believing that the events were politically disruptive, jailed the children before they could reach the Cova da Iria that day. Prisoners held with them in the provincial jail later testified that the children, while upset, were first consoled by the inmates, and later led them in praying the rosary. The administrator interrogated the children and unsuccessfully attempted to get them to divulge the content of the secrets. In the process, he tried to convince the children that he would boil them one by one in a pot of oil unless they confessed. The children, however, resisted.
That month, instead of the usual apparition in the Cova da Iria on the 13th, the children reported that they saw the Virgin Mary on 19 August at nearby Valinhos
September 13. The children and about 30.000 persons accompanied them to the Cova da Iria and they there recited the Rosary, soon after appeared the Lady on the holmoak. "I Want you to come here on October 13 and that you continue to recite the Rosary to obtain the end of the war. In October the Lord, the sorrowful Lady, the Lady of Mt. Carmel, and St Joseph with the child Jesus, will also come to bless the world. God is glad of your sacrifices, He does not want you to sleep with the chord to the sides, use it only during the day."
October 13. The Virgin Mary had promised a miracle for the last of her apparitions so that all would believe. What transpired became known as "Miracle of the Sun". A crowd of approximately 70,000 including newspaper reporters and photographers, gathered at the Cova da Iria. Lúcia, moved by what she said was an interior impulse, called out to the crowd to look at the sun. Witnesses later spoke of the sun appearing to change colors and rotate like a wheel. Not everyone saw the same things, and witnesses gave widely varying descriptions of the "sun's dance". The phenomenon was claimed to have been seen by most of the people in the crowd as well as people many miles away. While the crowd was staring at the sun, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta said later they were seeing lovely images of the Holy Family, Our Lady of Sorrows with Jesus Christ, and then Our Lady of Mount Carmel. They said they saw Saint Joseph and Jesus bless the people.
Columnist Avelino de Almeida of O Século, Portugal's most influential newspaper, which was pro-government in policy and avowedly anti-clerical, reported the following: "Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was biblical as they stood bare-headed, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws - the sun 'danced' according to the typical expression of the people." Eye specialist Dr. Domingos Pinto Coelho, writing for the newspaper Ordem reported "The sun, at one moment surrounded with scarlet flame, at another aureoled in yellow and deep purple, seemed to be in an exceeding fast and whirling movement, at times appearing to be loosened from the sky and to be approaching the earth, strongly radiating heat". The special reporter for the 17 October 1917 edition of the Lisbon daily, O Dia, reported the following, "...the silver sun, enveloped in the same gauzy purple light was seen to whirl and turn in the circle of broken clouds...The light turned a beautiful blue, as if it had come through the stained-glass windows of a cathedral, and spread itself over the people who knelt with outstretched hands...people wept and prayed with uncovered heads, in the presence of a miracle they had awaited. The seconds seemed like hours, so vivid were they."
No movement or other phenomenon of the sun was registered by scientists at the time. According to contemporary reports from poet Afonso Lopes Vieira and schoolteacher Delfina Lopes with her students and other witnesses in the town of Alburita, the solar phenomenon was visible from up to forty kilometers away. Despite these assertions, not all witnesses reported seeing the sun "dance". Some people only saw the radiant colors, and others, including some believers, saw nothing at all.
World Apotolate of Fatima, USA
the Fatima children