Our Lady of Fatima (Portugal 1917)
The Three Children
In May 1917 in Fatima, a small town in Portugal, three shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos, 9 years old and her cousins Francisco Marto, (eight years old) and Jacinta Marto (six years old) claimed to have seen an apparition of luminous lady who stood on a cloud in an evergreen tree in a pasture called the Cova de Iria, near the village of Aljustrel about a mile from Fatima.
Although all three children saw the vision, only Lucia and Jacinta heard the woman speak. She asked the children to return to the site on the thirteenth of each month until October.
The local authorities and some Church leaders made every effort to bring the children's story into disrepute. Despite this, on the 13th of October thousands of people came to Cova de Iria, hoping to share the vision.
They experience a dramatic solar phenomenon however, the woman was visible only to the children. She appeared on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on 13 May, the Fatima holiday.
She called herself "Our Lady of the Rosary" and requested that the children pray the rosary everyday erect a chapel at the site of the visions and proclaim the need for a moral life.
In 1930 the church approved devotion to our Lady of the Fatima and the visitors seen by the children were judged to be authentic. Twice during the 1930s and 1940s, Lucia spoke further about the apparitions. She described what is now known as the "threefold message of Fatima" that had been given to the children.
The message called for the praying of the Rosary, the practice of penance and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II visited Fatima as a pilgrims.
Fatima, Portugal more than 80 miles north of Lisbon in west central Portugal, a small town, is one of the most visited Marian shrines in the world today. Each year thousands of pilgrims visit this place every May 13, commemorating the day of the first apparition, and on October 13, the day of the final apparition, thousands of pilgrims will crowd into the great square in front of the basilica.
How to pray the rosary
- How To Pray The Rosary
For Catholics, the rosary is a special way of praying to God that honors the Mother Of Jesus, Mary. The rosary is about certain stories in the life of Jesus and Mary.