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1 May, 24

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Who is Our Lady of Fatima? History, apparition and where she is

This Marian invocation has been very present in the Catholic Church since 1917. Both in the prayer of the Rosary, as the place of pilgrimage and in the fervor of the faithful and popes. On May 13 we celebrate the Virgin of Fatima, commemorating her first apparition in Cova da Iria, Portugal.

Who is Our Lady of Fatima?

Our Lady of Fatima, also called Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, is an invocation of the Virgin Mary. It arises from the apparitions of Our Lady to three little shepherds in 1917 in Portugal.

These facts and the messages of conversion that Mary gave to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco have survived to the present day.

History and origin of Fatima

The year 1917 was special. Europe was at war. On Sunday, May 13, in a hidden village in the Serra do Aire in central Portugal. Three children, Lucia dos Santos and her siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto, were playing while tending a herd, on a plot of land belonging to Lucia's father.

Towards noon, after attending mass as usual, they saw two luminous phenomena, like two flashes of lightning and then a beautiful Lady more resplendent than the sun.

- "Where are you from, Madam?"
- "I am from Heaven."

Thus began the first conversation between the Virgin and Lucia.
This was the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

virgin of fatima apparition

Statue of the Little Shepherds of Fatima in Valinhos, the monument of an apparition of the Angel of Portugal.

Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima

This was the first of six apparitions that the three shepherds will have until October: always on the 13th, except in August, when from the 13th to the 15th they are retained by the town authorities. Likewise, the Our Lady of Fatima will appear before the three children on the 19th.

In October 1930, the Bishop of Leiria declared the visions worthy of faith, authorizing the cult of Our Lady of Fatima.

In all of her apparitions Our Lady placed special emphasis on the recitation of the Rosaryand asked the children to say after each mystery when they prayed it: O Jesus forgive us for our sins, deliver us from hell fire and take to heaven all souls, especially those most in need of your Divine Mercy''..

Our Lady also requested the construction of a chapel at the place of the events, today the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.

The three little shepherds reported that Our Lady had also told them of the premature death of the two little brothers, adding that Lucia would remain on earth for a long time. And so it was. Francisco and Jacinta died between 1919 and 1920 of influenza. Lucia entered the order of the Sisters of St. Dorothy in 1925 and in 1948 she joined the Carmelites in the convent of Coimbra, where she remained until her death in 2005.

The Miracle in the Sun announced by the Virgin Mary

Thousands of pilgrims began to arrive in Fatima as soon as the rumor of Our Lady's apparitions spread.

On October 13, a crowd of up to 100,000 people, including numerous journalists, witnessed the "miracle of the sun".

This was a sign that had been announced by the Virgin Mary, after a torrential rain that soaked the ground and clothes, the sky opened and they saw the sun change color, size and position for about ten minutes. After what happened, the clothes and the ground suddenly appeared dry.

It was the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

who is virgin of fatima

"Cor Mariæ dulcissimum, iter para tutum! - Most sweet Heart of Mary, prepare the sure way!". To Our Lady of Fatima, Saint Josemaría.

Secrets revealed by Our Lady of Fatima

The message of Fatima contains an aspect of universal Christian demand: it is necessary to make atonement to the Lord for all sins committed, to do penance, to pray the Rosary, to spread devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and to pray much for the Pope.

It also includes some particular revelations that Our Lady made to the shepherd children in the apparition of July 13. The Holy See released all the messages during the pontificate of St. John Paul II.

The first two were written by Lucia in her diary when she took the habit. The third, written on January 3, 1944, she gave it in a sealed envelope to the Bishop of Leiria, an envelope that was later delivered in 1957 to the secret archives of the Holy Office and whose contents were revealed in 2000.

The vision of hell

Our Lady of Fatima showed the three shepherd children what awaits people after death if they do not repent, they had the vision of hell:

"A great sea of fire that seemed to be under the earth. Immersed in that fire, demons and souls..."

The Sacred Heart and the conversion of Russia

The second part contains these words of Our Lady of Fatima:

"I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturdays."

Maria spoke of a war that would begin during the pontificate of Pius XI. And she was right. World War II broke out in 1939.

The Angel and the blood of the martyrs

The third part of the secret is unveiled by Sister Lucia "The good will be martyred and the Holy Father will have much to suffer; several nations will be annihilated.".

Caption: "Fatima is a treasure for the whole Church. It is not a luxury, because everything is done with great dignity and without ostentation. But it is a treasure: here hearts and souls sponge, here the Church is felt, the presence of the Blessed Virgin is felt. It is something that cannot be explained, but here you can see that Our Lady's prayer is very effective. Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, Tertulia at the Shrine, 1985.

The Popes and their devotion to Our Lady of Fatima

On October 1, 1930, Pope Pius XI granted a special plenary indulgence to pilgrims to Fatima. Years later, in 1942, Pius XII consecrated humanity to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In addition, Pope John Paul II personally visited the site of the apparitions on three occasions. One of his most relevant visits was when he gave Our Lady the bullet with which he had been shot in St. Peter's Square. For Wojtyla, it was Our Lady of Fatima who saved his life in the attack of May 13, 1981.

Also, Benedict XVI personally visited the site of the apparitions and consecrated all priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

More recently, Pope Francis consecrated his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima and in May 2017 visited the Shrine to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions.

Our Lady of Fatima: Where is she?

Today, the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima is located on the site of the apparitions. A temple to which every year thousands of people from all over the world come on pilgrimage.

The shrine of Fatima and the story of the apparitions has been a help to many people.

Throughout the 20th century, Catholics in Europe have especially turned to Our Lady of Fatima to pray for peace and reconciliation on the continent.

Upon entering the Precinct of Prayers, at one end you can see the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, with its great tower of 65 meters. In the center is the monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and, on one side, the Chapel of Apparitions, in the same place where Our Lady asked the little shepherds to build a chapel.

Fátima, altar of the world

Fátima, altar of the world, is a common expression in Portugal. In Fatima all the roads of the world converge. There, like St. Josemaría, the first pilgrim to this shrine who ascended to the altars, the minds and hearts of so many Christians also go there today to pray to our Lady.

Bishop Javier Echevarría, during one of his stays in Fatima, encouraged us to place ourselves under the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy in all circumstances of life: "Mother, how good it is to be with you! What serenity one feels in the soul thinking that you know us, that you understand us, that you help us, and that you are going to present our needs to God much better than each one of us can do! We have recourse to you who are the All-Powerful Supplicant".


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