One hundred years ago Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three children—Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto—on the 13th of each month from May to October in 1917. Many details of this miraculous story are not widely known. Here are 15 amazing things about Our Lady of Fatima you should know.
1. Before Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the three children, the Angel of Peace visited them three times.
The angel prepared the children to receive the Blessed Virgin Mary. He showed the children the importance of prayer and sacrifice, stressing that as much as possible should be offered as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
2. In every apparition Our Lady asked the children to pray the rosary.
Our Lady asked the children to pray the rosary every day for peace. Before Our Lady appeared each time, the children began by praying the rosary.
3. Our Lady of Fatima continues to work miracles through the Fatima water in Portugal.
Water sprang up in Fatima at the spot the bishop told people to dig, near where Our Lady appeared at the Cova. The water has been known to cure people with illnesses.
4. Lucia spoke for Francisco and Jacinta during all of Our Lady’s apparitions.
Our Lady told the children not to be afraid, and Lucia later stated that Our Lady’s presence gave her gladness and confidence.
5. During the second apparition, Our Lady told Lucia that Jacinta and Francisco would be taken from this world sooner than she would.
Lucia was concerned about being alone, to which Our Lady responded that she would never be alone and that she could always turn to Mary’s Immaculate Heart for comfort.
6. The children saw Mary’s Immaculate Heart during the second apparition.
As Our Lady was leaving, the children saw in front of the palm of Our Lady’s right hand a heart encircled with thorns. This was the Immaculate Heart of Mary offended by the sins of mankind, seeking reparation.
7. Before the third apparition Lucia almost did not go, fearing it was the devil.
Lucia’s pastor cautioned her that the devil may be behind the apparitions. She then told Jacinta that she intended not to go. However, when the day finally came, all her fears disappeared and she found herself at the Cova at noon with Jacinta and Francisco.
8. The children were shown a terrifying glimpse of hell.
Our Lady opened the earth for the children to see a plunging fire filled with demons and souls in human form all looking transparent, yet burning with blackened skin. The beings were floating about and screaming in pain—a sight that made the children tremble with fear. Mary explained that, to save souls from hell, we must pray using the devotion to the Immaculate Heart. This was the first “secret” that Lucia later writes about.
9. Mary asked for Russia to be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart.
Our Lady explained to Lucia that war is a punishment for sin and that we should say the rosary every day for peace and specifically for the conversion of Russia.
10. Lucia wrote three “secrets” from her apparitions with Our Lady.
In 1941 Sister Lucia wrote the first and second secrets. The first was that there is indeed a hell in which many people suffer, and the second was that war is a punishment for sin. The third part was kept secret for many years, to be only read by popes. After the assassination attempt on John Paul II, he made the third secret public. In short, the third secret alludes to an attack on the pope and the Church.
11. The secular press and many adults made fun of the children, not believing their apparitions from Our Lady.
Despite the ridiculing, over 30,000 people gathered in the Cova for the September apparition.
12. During Our Lady’s last apparition to the children, the crowd saw the miracle of the sun while the three children saw that and something else.
The crowd saw the sun grow and dance, which caused the people to drop to their knees and beg for forgiveness. In addition, the three children said they saw St. Joseph holding the Child Jesus blessing the world and also Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle beside the sun. Once the apparition disappeared, the children saw Our Lord and Our Lady of Sorrows.
13. During the third apparition, Lucia saw Our Lady once more, resembling Our Lady of Carmel.
Lucia was the only one who saw this apparition. This foreshadowed her entrance into the order of the Carmelite nuns some years later.
14. Our Lady appeared to Jacinta many times between December 1919 and February 1920.
Our Lady told her many things including “Pray, pray a great deal and make many sacrifices, for many souls go to hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and to pray for them.”
15. Our Lady warned Jacinta that certain fashions offend God.
Our Lady told Jacinta: “Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much. . . . Woe to women lacking in modesty.”
How many of those facts were new to you? With the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima soon approaching, now is the perfect time to continue learning about Mary’s miraculous visits.