The Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima is celebrated on May 13.
In 1917, an angel and Our Lady appeared six times to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. Jacinta (7 years old) and Francisco (9 years old) were brother and sister. Lucy Dos Santos (14 years old) was their cousin. Jacinta and Francisco both died several years after the apparitions.
Francisco was born on June 11, 1908. During the apparitions Francisco could see but not hear what was being said. He had a great love of praying before the Blessed Sacrament. He also had a great devotion to praying the Rosary. He received his first communion on the day of his death, April 4, 1919.
Jacinta was born on March 11, 1910. Jacinta could both hear and see what was said during the apparitions. She was profoundly affected when Our Lady told her that Jesus was very offended by sin. After seeing a vision of hell, she decided to offer herself completely to the salvation of souls. She offered her suffering to free souls from the fires of hell. A year after the apparitions she came down with bronchial pneumonia, an abscessed lung and then was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She offered all of her suffering to Jesus. She was rushed to a hospital in Lisbon. The Blessed Virgin visited her their three times. She died without the presence of her parents or Lucy on Feb.20, 1920.
Lucy was born on March 22, 1907. After the apparitions Our Lady told her that her cousins would soon be in heaven and that Lucy should spread the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady said “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which will lead you to God.” It was Lucy who requested a miracle so people would believe in the apparitions. During the investigations surrounding the apparitions, Lucy was harassed. She entered the Sisters of St. Dorothy as Sister Mary of the Sorrowful Mother. Later she became a Carmelite Sister taking the name Sister Maria Lucia. She had several more visions of Our Lady. Lucy died on Feb. 3, 2005 at the age of 97.
The children saw a brilliant flash of lightning. A beautiful Lady appeared clothed in white and she asked the children to return on the thirteenth of each month. She asked the children to pray the Rosary daily and for devotion to her Immaculate Heart. She also requested prayer for Russia. Our Lady of Fatima spoke of observing the first Saturdays of each month by going to confession and receiving Holy Communion as a devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
On the final visit, a dramatic “dance of the sun” took place. It was witnessed by thousands of people. The sun seemed to tumble from the sky.
During the apparitions in Fatima three secrets were revealed to the children.
- After being promised they would go to heaven the children saw a vision of hell which was filled with fire and demons.
- Mary instructed the children how to save souls from Hell and convert the world to Christianity. She asked them to spread the devotion to the Immaculate Heart and to pray the Rosary. She asked them to pray for Russia.
- The children had a vision of the assassination of the Holy Father.
Many believe the third secret was a prophecy of the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II. Pope John Paul II canonized Francisco and Jacinta Marto on May 13, 2000.
Several chapels have been built at the site.
Pope John Paul II gave thanks to Our Lady of Fatima for her intercession after he survived an attempted assassination. He reminded the faithful that “the message of Fatima is a call to conversion and repentance, the nucleus of the message of the Gospel”.
There is no queen like humility to make the King surrender. Humility drew the King from heaven to the womb of the Virgin, and with it, by one hair, we will draw Him to our souls.
Quote of St. Teresa of Avila; Feast day October 15
Our Lady of Fatima in Art
May is the Month of Our Lady.