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Our Lady of Fatima

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The three visionaries: Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta

Short & Long Versions

This apparition story is presented in two ways: 

  • Summarized version

  • Full story that reveals what occurred each day at Fatima and includes dialogue written by Lucia with the messages spoken by the Lady. This is lengthy and may be easier to read on a computer screen. The source for this account is: The True Story of Fatima: A complete account of the Fatima Apparitions. It was written by Fr. John de Marchi in 1947 after spending more than three years in Fatima and interviewing many who witnessed the apparition, including Ti Marto, the father of Jacinta and Francisco. 


In the early 20th century, against the backdrop of World War I and a world in upheaval, the small village of Fatima in Portugal became the site of the most extraordinary and widely known Marian apparitions in modern times.


The story, unfolding from May to October 1917, revolves around three shepherd children—Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto — who claimed to witness apparitions of the Virgin Mary, imparting messages of prayer, penance, and a prophetic vision of the future. The events at Fatima would go on to captivate the hearts of millions, making it one of the most significant Marian apparitions.

The story begins on May 13, 1917, when the three shepherd children claimed to have witnessed the Virgin Mary in the Cova da Iria fields near the village of Fatima. The Lady promised to appear on the 13th day of each month for six consecutive months.

Word of the apparitions spread quickly, and by June, a growing crowd assembled to witness the event. During subsequent encounters, the Lady imparted messages that included calls for prayer, penance, and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She also revealed three secrets to the children, with the third secret remaining undisclosed until much later.

The July apparition was marked by the revelation of what came to be known as the Three Secrets of Fatima. The first secret was a vision of hell, a powerful and harrowing scene that emphasized the importance of prayer for the salvation of souls. The second secret predicted the end of World War I, but also forewarned of a more devastating conflict if humanity did not repent and turn to God. The third secret, initially kept confidential, was eventually revealed in 2000 and described a vision of a bishop in white who faced persecution.

The August apparition, however, did not occur on the 13th due to the children's temporary detention by local authorities. Instead, it took place on August 19, and during this encounter, the Lady asked for the construction of a chapel in her honor. She identified herself as the "Lady of the Rosary" and urged the faithful to pray the Rosary for peace in the world.

The climactic final apparition occurred on October 13, 1917, and is famously known as the Miracle of the Sun. An estimated 70,000 to 100,000 people gathered in the Cova da Iria and witnessed the sun dancing and emitting colorful rays. This extraordinary phenomenon, widely reported in the press, left a lasting impact and contributed to the credibility of the Fatima apparitions.

The messages of Fatima underscored themes of repentance, conversion, and the transformative power of prayer. The Virgin Mary called for devotion to her Immaculate Heart.

In the years following the apparitions, devotion to Our Lady of Fatima grew rapidly. Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942, and subsequent popes continued to emphasize the importance of the Fatima message. Pope John Paul II credited the Virgin Mary with saving his life during an assassination attempt on May 13, 1981, the anniversary of the first apparition.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, established to honor the Virgin Mary, has become a major pilgrimage site, attracting millions of visitors each year. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Chapel of the Apparitions, and the Holy Trinity Basilica stand as testament to the enduring spiritual legacy of the Fatima apparitions.

The messages of Fatima continue to resonate, and the Virgin Mary's apparitions in Fatima remain a powerful and enduring chapter in the history of Marian devotion and Catholic spirituality.


The Year 1915

On a day in 1915 unnamed in any of the records, four young girls had been playing in the fields. Lucia de Jesús dos Santos, age eight, was among them. When the sun told them that it was mid-day, they sat down to their lunch, and having finished, began the Rosary as was their custom. During the recitation they noticed the appearance of a cloud in a form like that of a man, hovering above the treetops of the valley. “Like a cloud, whiter than snow, slightly transparent, with a human outline,” was Lucia’s description. The girls were filled with wonder. They were surprised even more, when the strange white figure appeared twice again to them. Although the impression remained with them for a long while, it diminished with time. 

Spring 1916

Lucia as usual was out in the fields with the sheep. This time, her little cousins, Jacinta and Francisco, were her companions and playmates. “We had gone with the sheep to the section of my father’s land that lies at the foot of the Cabeço,” Lucia recalled, giving us from memory the exact details. “It is called the Casa Velha. About mid-morning, a drizzle began to fall. Seeking shelter, we climbed the slope, followed by our sheep. It was then that we first entered the Cave that was to become so sacred... The rain stopped,” Lucia went on, “and the sun shone brightly, but we spent the day in the cave. We had our lunch and after the Rosary we started to play jacks.


“We played only a short while, when a strong wind shook the trees, and made us raise our eyes to see what was happening, for the day was serene. There above the trees toward the East, we began to see a light, whiter than snow. It was the form of a young man, transparent, more brilliant than a crystal pierced by the rays of the sun...”


Lucia tried to describe each detail of his appearance. “As he approached, we began to distinguish his features. We were so surprised and half absorbed, and we could not utter one word. He came near us and said: ‘Fear not! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me!’” The Angel knelt on the ground and bowed very low. By some inspiration, they imitated him and repeated the words they heard him pronounce: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee. I ask pardon for all those who do not believe in Thee, do not adore Thee, do not hope in Thee, do not love Thee.”

He repeated this prayer three times. Then he arose and said: “Pray this way. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.” The Angel disappeared and the awareness of the supernatural was so intense that for a long space of time they remained there in the same position in which he left them, unaware of their very existence, repeating that same prayer over and over again. “We felt the presence of God so intensely, so intimately, that we dared not speak even to each other. The next day we felt ourselves still enveloped by that atmosphere. Only very gradually did its intensity diminish within us. None of us thought of speaking of this apparition or of recommending that it be kept a secret. It imposed secrecy of itself. It was so intimate that it was not easy to utter even a single word about it. Perhaps it made a deeper impression upon us because it was the Angel’s first clear manifestation.”

When the summer months came, bringing with them the scorching heat of the sun, the children were awakened each dawn to take their sheep out to the fields while the grass was still covered with the morning’s dew. When the heat burned off the dew, and the sheep’s hunger was dulled, the children led them back again to the barn to stay there until evening when they would again be led out to the fields. Meanwhile, the three cousins spent their days playing their games under the inviting shade of the fig trees. When they were tired, they relaxed at the well, under the lacy foliage of the olive and almond trees. It was while resting there, during one early afternoon, that the Angel visited them again.


Lucia tells us what happened: “What are you doing?” The Angel suddenly appeared at their side. “Pray! Pray a great deal! The hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy for you! Offer prayers and sacrifices unceasingly to the Most High!”


“But how are we to sacrifice ourselves?” Lucia said.


“Offer up everything within your power as a sacrifice to the Lord in an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended; and of supplication for the conversion of sinners. Thus invoke peace upon your country. I am her Guardian Angel; the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission the sufferings that the Lord may send you.”


Only Lucia and Jacinta heard the Angel’s words. Francisco only saw the Angel and knew that he was speaking to the girls. Burning with curiosity, he wanted to learn what was said. “Jacinta, tell me what the Angel said!” But Jacinta had to wait until the next day to answer him. The experience was simply overwhelming. 

“Every time we spoke of the Angel,” says Lucia, “I did not know what came over us. Jacinta used to say, ‘I don’t know what happens to me, but I cannot speak, play or sing; I don’t have the strength for the smallest thing,’ and Francisco would remark, ‘Neither can I. What does it matter? The Angel is more important. Let us think about him.’”


In later years, Lucia revealed: “The words of the Angel were like a light that made us realize who God was, how He loved us and wanted to be loved; the value of sacrifice, to what degree it pleased Him, and how it was rewarded with the conversion of sinners. From that moment, we began to offer to the Lord everything that mortified us, without trying to find any other ways of mortification or penance than passing hour after hour, bowed to the ground, repeating the prayer that the Angel had taught us.”


Autumn 1916

As Autumn drew near, the children set out with the sheep to the hills for the whole day. They were due for another surprise visit. “We wandered from Pregueira to Lapa, going around the hill by the side of Aljustrel and Casa Velha,” Lucia continued her report. “We said the Rosary there and the prayer that the Angel had taught us in the first apparition.


Then the Angel appeared to us for the third time. He was holding a chalice in his hand. A Host was over it, from which fell some drops of Blood into the chalice. Leaving the chalice and Host suspended in mid-air, he prostrated himself on the ground, repeating this prayer three times: “‘Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly, and I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the same Son Jesus Christ, present in the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the sacrileges, outrages and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.’”


The Angel then arose, and holding the chalice and the Host again, he gave the Host to Lucia, and the contents of the chalice to Jacinta and Francisco, while he said:

“Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” He prostrated himself again on the ground and again repeated with the children three times the prayer: “Most Holy Trinity...” Then he disappeared.


The full meaning of this vision unfolded slowly to their young minds. Their whole being became absorbed by a new, strange, yet happy feeling of the inward presence of God. They kept silent for some time. Francisco was the first to break it. He had not heard the Angel speak and was anxious to learn everything.


“Lucia,” he said, “I know that the Angel gave you Holy Communion. But what did he give to me and Jacinta?”


“The same; it was Holy Communion,” Jacinta replied at once, overflowing with joy, “did you not see that it was the Blood that dropped from the Host?”


“I felt that God was within me,” he agreed, “but I did not know how.”


The three of them remained kneeling on the ground for a long while, repeating over and over again the inspired, heart-stirring prayer of the Angel.

Sunday, May 13, 1917

The first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima occurred near the small village of Fatima in Portugal. The three shepherd children — Lucia dos Santos, and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto — were tending to their flock of sheep when they experienced a sudden and extraordinary event.

While they were taking a break after lunch to play, a sudden bright shaft of light pierced the air. Frightened, they thought this flash of lightning was the forerunner of a storm. The children decided that they had better start for home before it rained. Quickly they gathered the sheep and started down the hill. Half way down, just as they were passing a tall oak tree, another shaft of light split the air. They took a few steps, turned towards the right, and there, standing over the foliage of a three-foot-tall holm oak they saw a most beautiful Lady.

“It was a Lady dressed all in white,” Lucia later wrote, “more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun.”


“Fear not!” the Lady said, “I will not harm you.”


“Where are You from?” Lucia asked.


“I am from Heaven,” the beautiful Lady replied. 


“What do You want of me?” Lucia asked.


“I come to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and what I want. And I shall return here again a seventh time.”


“And I, am I, too, going to go to Heaven?” Lucia asked.


“Yes, you shall,” the Lady assured her.


“And Jacinta?”




“And Francisco?”


“He too shall go, but he must say many Rosaries,” the Lady responded. Lucia asked some more questions of the Lady. Two girls who used to come to her house to learn sewing from her sisters had recently died. Lucia wanted to find out about them, too.


“And Maria do Rosario, daughter of José das Neves, is she in Heaven?”


“Yes,” the Lady replied.


“And Amelia?”


“She is still in Purgatory.”


Lucia’s eyes filled with tears. How sad, that her friend Amelia was suffering in Purgatory.


Then the Lady said to the children: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may

choose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and as a supplication for the conversion of sinners?”


Promptly Lucia responded for all three, “Yes, we want to.”


“Then you are going to suffer a great deal,” the Lady promised, “but the grace of God will be your comfort.”

As She pronounced these words, the Lady opened Her hands and shed upon the children an intensely bright light, that penetrated the innermost depths of their souls.


“This light penetrated us to the heart,” Lucia reported, “even in its deepest recesses, and allowed us to see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in a mirror. Then we were moved by an inward impulse, also communicated to us, to fall on our knees, while we repeated to ourselves:


“‘O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee; my God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed



Again the Lady spoke to them, “Say the Rosary every day to bring peace to the world and the end of the war.”


“She began then to elevate Herself serenely,” Lucia said, “going in the direction of the East until She disappeared in the immensity of space, still surrounded by a most brilliant light that seemed to open a path for Her through the myriad galaxies of stars.”

At this and subsequent apparitions, Lucia was the only one of the three seers who could see, hear and converse with Our Lady. At first Francisco could not see or hear her, but felt her presence. Then he could see her, but could not hear her. Jacinta could see and hear her, but never spoke.  

Wednesday, June 13

The three shepherd children returned to the site as instructed by the Lady during the first apparition one month earlier. They arrived at 11 a.m. to a small crowd of people hoping to witness the apparition. 


Lucia walked over to a large holm oak and sat down against the trunk to get in the shade. The day was very hot. Francisco and Jacinta sat at her side. While eating lupini they talked and amused themselves with the other children. As time went by, Lucia became more and more serious and apprehensive. Soon she said

to Jacinta, who was still playing, “Quiet. Our Lady is coming.”


It was near noon. Lucia stood up and shouted, “Jacinta, Jacinta, here comes Our Lady. I just saw the flash.” The three of them ran over to the smaller holm oak. Everyone followed and knelt upon the ground.


Lucia raised her eyes towards the skies, as if in prayer, and was heard to say, “You told me to come here today. What do You want me to do?” The others heard something that sounded like a very gentle voice but did not understand what was said.

Lucia in later years tells us as follows: “I want you to come here on the thirteenth of the next month. Say the Rosary, inserting between the mysteries the following — ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need.’ I want you to learn to read and write and later I

will tell you what else I want.”

Then Lucia asked Our Lady to cure a sick person who was recommended to her. Our Lady answered. “If he is converted, he will be cured within the year.”

“I would like to ask You also to take us to Heaven!”


“Yes,” Our Lady answered, “I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. You, however, are to stay here a longer time. Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wants to establish the Devotion to My Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by

Myself to adorn His throne.”


“Am I going to stay here alone?” Lucia asked, full of sadness at the thought of losing her beloved cousins.

“No, My daughter.”

Lucia’s eyes filled with tears.

“Does this cause you to suffer a great deal? I will never leave you, My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”


"As She said these last words,” Lucia tells, “the Blessed Virgin opened Her hands and communicated to us for the second time the reflection of the immense light that enveloped Her. We saw ourselves in it, as if submerged in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be on the side that was ascending to Heaven, and I was on the side that was spreading over the earth. There was a Heart before the palm of the right hand of Our Lady, with thorns piercing It. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so offended by the sins of mankind, desiring reparation.”


The crowd now saw Lucia rise quickly to her feet. Stretching out her arm she cried, “Look, there She goes; there She goes!” Witnesses say when Our Lady left the tree, it was like the hissing of a distant rocket. And, just a few inches above the tree, they could see a cloud rising slowly towards the East.

The children remained silent, their eyes fastened in that direction, until a few minutes later Lucia cried out, “There now! It’s all over. She has entered Heaven. The doors have closed.”

Friday, July 13

The third apparition of Our Lady of Fatima proved to be a significant and momentous event in the series of celestial encounters witnessed by the three shepherd children.

As the three of them left home, an estimated two to three thousand people had jammed the roads to the Cova. The three children could not hurry, because many people stopped them, asking them to speak to Our Lady and ask special favors for them. Seeing all the people going towards the Cova, Jacinta and Francisco's mother, Olimpia was afraid. She went to Lucia’s mother and the two agreed to go to the Cova for the first time despite them believing that the Lady was a trick of the devil as the local priest had surmised. They left for the Cova carrying blessed candles to ward against the devil. 

Ti Marto, Jacinta and Francisco's father, was thoroughly convinced of the truth of the apparitions. “I took to the road. How crowded it was! ...when I got to the Cova da Iria, I could not keep myself back anymore. I wanted to be the closest one to the children. But how? I could not break through for the great crush of people. At a certain point, two men, one from Ramila and the other from our village, made a circle around the children. When they happened to see me, they pulled my arm and shouted, ‘Here is their father! Come right in here!’ and so I was able to stand very close to my Jacinta."

He continued, "Lucia knelt a little ahead and was leading the Rosary, which we all answered aloud. When the Rosary was over, Lucia stood up, looked towards the East and cried out. ‘Close the umbrellas, close the umbrellas. Our Lady is coming!’ Looking closely, I saw something like a small greyish cloud hovering over the holm oak. The sun turned hazy and a refreshing breeze began to blow. It did not seem that we were then at the height of summer. The silence of the crowd was impressive. Then I began to hear a hum as of a gadfly within an empty jug, but did not hear a word."

Many years later, Lucia gave the details of this extraordinary apparition. The beautiful Lady engulfed the three in Her immense light and rested Her loving eyes on Lucia. The girl could not speak for joy. Jacinta prodded her, “Lucia, go ahead, speak to Her. She is already speaking to you.”


So Lucia, looking up towards Our Lady, asked,“What do You want of me?”


“I want you to return here on the thirteenth of next month,” the Lady said. “Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war; for only She can help you.”


Lucia, thinking of her mother and the words of the Pastor who doubted the apparition, spoke again, “Will You please tell us who You are and perform a miracle so that everyone will believe that You really appear to us?”

“Continue to come here every month. In October, I will say who I am and what I desire and I will perform a miracle all shall see, so that they believe.” Then Lucia spoke of the petitions of the people. Our Lady answered, “Some I will cure and others not. As to the crippled boy, I will not cure him or take him out of his poverty, but he must say the Rosary every day with his family.” Lucia told Her of the case of a sick person who wished to be taken soon to Heaven. “He should not try to hurry things. I know well when I shall come for him.”

Lucia asked for the conversion of some people. The answer of the Lady was, as with the crippled boy, the recitation of the Rosary. Then, to remind the children of their special vocation and to inspire them to greater fervor and courage for the future, the Lady said:


“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners; and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice: ‘O my Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary I offer this sacrifice to Thee.’”


“As Our Lady said these words,” Lucia later described the scenes, “She opened Her hands again as She had done the two previous months. The light reflecting from them seemed to penetrate into the earth, and we saw as if into a sea of fire, and immersed in that fire were devils and souls with human form, as if they were transparent black or bronze embers floating in the fire and swayed by the flames that issued from within themselves along with great clouds of smoke, falling upon every side just like the falling of sparks in great fires, without weight or equilibrium, amidst wailing and cries of pain and despair that horrified and shook us with terror. We could distinguish the devils by their horrible and repulsive figures of frightful and unknown animals, but transparent as the black coals in a fire.”


Frightened, deathly pale, the children raised their eyes to Our Lady for help as Lucia cried out. “Oh... Our Lady!”


Our Lady explained: “You have seen Hell — where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wills to establish throughout the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart. “If people will do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. The war is going to end.


“But if they do not stop offending God, another and worse war will break out in the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you, that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.

“To forestall this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.

“If they heed My requests, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she shall spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church; the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated; in the end, My Immaculate Heart shall triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and some time of peace will be given to the world.


At this point something like thunder was heard. Lucia rose, turning around so fast that her skirt flared. “There She goes,” she shouted, pointing up to Heaven. “There She goes.” Then a few moments later, “She’s gone!

Monday, August 13

After this apparition, all of Portugal became aware of the apparitions through the newspapers and word of mouth. For the new government that had come into power in 1910 after ousting the monarchy, Fatima was a problem. The government was anti-religious and threatened by the rise in Catholic belief due to the Fatima apparitions. 

The magistrate of Ourem, who had Fatima in his jurisdiction, arrived in town on the 13th saying that he had a religious conversion and wanted to take the three visionaries in his coach to the Cova for that day's apparition. When departing from the church, he rushed the children into his coach before the parents could object. Initially, the rode toward the Cova, but then took the road to Ourem. 

The children were distraught at missing their promised appointment with the Mother of God. The three were convinced that they were going to be murdered. The kidnapped children were locked in his home, but they were fed and allowed to play with the magistrate's children. They were locked into a bedroom together that night. 

Meanwhile that day, the crowds at the Cova da Iria were even larger than in July. About eleven o’clock, Lucia’s sister, Maria dos Anjos, came with some candles to light to Our Lady. The people prayed and sang religious hymns around the holm oak.


According to Maria da Capelinha who had been coming to the Cova seeking healing for herself and her handicapped son, said when it became known that the magistrate had kidnapped them after meeting with the church pastor, "a terrible resentment went through the crowd. There is no telling what it might have turned into, had it not thundered just then. Some thought the thunder came from the road; others thought that it came from the holm

oak; but it seemed to me that it came from a distance. It frightened us all and many began to cry, fearing they were going to be killed. Of course, no one was killed.

“Right after the thunder came a flash, and immediately, we all noticed a little cloud, very white, beautiful and bright, that came and stayed over the holm oak. It stayed a few minutes, then rose towards the heavens where it disappeared. Looking about, we noticed a strange sight that we had already seen and would see again. Everyone’s face glowed, rose, red, blue, all the colors of the rainbow. The trees seemed to have no branches or leaves but were all covered with flowers; every leaf was a flower. The ground was in little squares, each one a different color. Our clothes seemed to be transformed also into the colors of the rainbow. The two vigil lanterns hanging from the arch over the holy spot appeared to be of gold.

“When the signs disappeared, the people seemed to realize that Our Lady had come and, not finding the children, had returned to Heaven. They felt that Our Lady was disappointed and hence they were exceedingly upset,” Maria da Capelinha said.

Tuesday, August 14

The magistrate moved the children to the county offices to be interrogated all day. The children refused all bribes,  gifts and threats. They did not reveal the secret. After lunch, the magistrate brought them to jail and said they would be boiled alive if they did not cooperate.


Despite spending hours in the jail, returned to the county building, and threatened with the boiling oil, the children spoke not a word about the secret. Defeated, the magistrate returned the children to Fatima. 

Ironically, this incident had the opposite effect than what the government sought. Now, everyone knew about a secret shared by the Virgin Mary and how the children refused to give it up. If anyone in Portugal had not known about Fatima or had questioned its veracity, they sure knew about it now and were impressed by the willingness of the children to die for their belief. 

Sunday, August 19

After attending Mass, Lucia, Francisco and his elder brother John, left for a place called Valinhos, not far away, where they intended to spend the afternoon. Towards four o’clock, Lucia became aware of the signs that always immediately preceded the apparitions of Our Lady: the sudden cooling of the air, the paling of the sun, and the typical flash. She was alarmed because Jacinta was not with them. Lucia urged John to run home and return with Jacinta. 

Just as John and Jacinta reached the field, a second flash rent the air and the Lady appeared over a holm oak. 

“What do You want of me?” Lucia asked.


“I want you to continue to come to the Cova da Iria on the thirteenth and to continue to say the Rosary every day.”

Lucia then told Our Lady of her anguish that so many disbelieved in the reality of Her presence. She asked Our Lady if She would be willing to perform a miracle so that all might see and believe.

“Yes,” Our Lady answered, “In the last month, in October, I shall perform a miracle so that all may believe in My apparitions. If they had not taken you to the village, the miracle would have been greater. Saint Joseph will come with the Baby Jesus to give peace to the world. “Our Lord also will come to bless the people. Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows will also come.”


Lucia remembered a request from Senhora da Capelinha and said: “What do you wish us to do with the money and the offerings that the people leave at the Cova da Iria?”


“Have two litters made. One is to be carried by you and Jacinta and two other girls dressed in white; the other one is to be carried by Francisco and three other boys. The litters are to be used for the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the money that is left over will help towards the construction of a chapel that is to be built.”


Lucia then spoke to Our Lady of the sick who had been recommended to her. 


“Yes, I shall cure some of them within the year.” But She went on teaching them to pray rather for the health of souls than of bodies, “Pray! Pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them.”

The Lady took leave and began to rise towards the East, as before. Her final words awakened in the children an even stronger desire for mortification, prayer and suffering. Their one longing was to close that terrifying

furnace of Hell so that no more souls could go there.


Monday, September 13

As the day broke, crowds stormed the homes of the children and everyone wanted to speak to them to ask a special remembrance to Our Lady.


“When it came time to leave for the Cova da Iria,” Lucia wrote, “I left with Jacinta and Francisco, but there were so many people that we could hardly move a step. The roads overflowed with people. Everyone wanted to see and speak to us. There was no human respect in that crowd. Ordinary people, even noble ladies and gentlemen, succeeding in breaking their way through the crowd surrounding us, fell on their knees before us, asking that we bring their needs before Our Lady. Many others, unable to get near us, shouted, ‘For the love of God, ask Our Lady to cure my lame child... Ask Her to make my child see... to make my child hear... Ask Her to bring my husband and son back from the war... to convert a sinner... to make me, sick with tuberculosis, whole again.’ There could be seen all the miseries and afflictions of mankind. Some shouted even from the trees and walls which they had climbed in order to see us.


“To some we said, ‘Yes.’ To others we lent a hand to help them rise from the dust on the ground. Thanks to a few gentlemen who opened a way for us through the crowds, we were able to move along. When I read now in the New Testament of the enchanting scenes that accompanied the passage of Our Lord through Palestine, I remember these scenes that Our Lady made me, who was so young, witness on the roads and lanes from Aljustrel to Fatima and the Cova da Iria. I thank Our Lord as I offer Him the faith of our good Portuguese people; and I think that if these people humbled themselves so much before three poor children, only because there was given to them, in all mercy, the grace of speaking with the Mother of God, what would they not have done if they were to see Jesus Christ Himself?”

When they finally arrived at the holm oak, Lucia as usual started the Rosary, with the people responding. They were almost finished when the children arose to scan the horizon. They had seen the flash. Our Lady would soon come. A few moments passed. A globe of light appeared before the crowd, and the all holy Queen of Angels was standing over the holm oak.

“What do You want of me?” Lucia spoke humbly.

“Let the people continue to say the Rosary every day to obtain the end of the war,” Our Lady responded, at the same time renewing the promises She made during Her last apparition. “In the last month, in October, I shall perform a miracle so that all may believe in My apparitions. If they had not taken you to the village, the miracle would have been greater. Saint Joseph will come with the Baby Jesus to give peace to the world. Our Lord also will come to bless the people. Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows will also come.

“God is pleased with your sacrifices but does not wish that you wear the rope (the children had started to wear a rough rope around their bare skin as a painful atonement for sinners) when you go to sleep. Wear it only during the day.”


“They have requested that I ask You many things,” Lucia then said. “This girl is a deaf mute. Don’t You want to cure her?”

“In the course of the year she will be improved.”

“Will You help these other people?”

“Some I will cure; but the others, no. Our Lord does not have confidence in them.”

“The people would like very much to have a chapel built here,” Lucia suggested.


“Use half of the money received so far for the litters. On one of them, place the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary. The other half should be set aside to help with the building of the chapel.”


“Many people say that I am a swindler who should be hanged or burned. Please perform a miracle for all to believe.”


“Yes, in October, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.”


“Some people gave me these two letters for you and a bottle of cologne.” Lucia did not want to forget any requests.


“None of that is needed in Heaven.”


Our Lady then began to leave. Lucia, pointing towards the East, shouted to the people, “If you want to see Our Lady, look that way!” They looked eagerly towards the East and many saw the luminous globe now ascending towards Heaven. As soon as it disappeared, the whole crowd swarmed upon the children asking them a thousand questions."

Saturday, October 13, 1917

During the last three apparitions, Our Lady promised the children that the last time She would appear, in October, She would effect a miracle that everyone would see and thereby believe. Lucia had repeated this promise to others and the news of it had spread like wildfire throughout the whole country.


“My family was extremely worried,” Maria dos Anjos, Lucia’s oldest sister, stated. “The closer the day came, the more we insisted with Lucia that she give up this dream of hers. We would all have to suffer because of her imaginings... We did not speak of it in front of Lucia, but we were frightened and we wondered what was going to happen to us. Some others suggested we take Lucia away some place where no one could find her. We didn’t know what to do.

“Mother wanted to do what was right, but she didn’t understand. ‘If it were Our Lady,’ mother lamented, ‘She could have performed a miracle already, start a spring or something else. Oh, how will all this end?’ But the children showed no fear at all. I went to the children one day as they were speaking together at the well. ‘Have you decided yet that you saw nothing? They are warning us that they will throw bombs at our homes,’ I said. ‘Tell it only to me and I’ll tell the Pastor. Do you want me to tell him? Do you?’ Lucia frowned but did not speak. Jacinta, with tears in her eyes, said very softly, ‘Yes, you may do as you wish, but we have seen!’”

Lucia’s mother was so panic-stricken by the thought of impending disaster that on the morning of the twelfth, she jumped out of bed, ran into Lucia’s room and begged her to go to Confession. “People say we’re going to die tomorrow; they’ll kill us if the miracle doesn’t happen.”

“If you want to go to Confession, mother, I’ll go with you,” she answered very calmly, “but I’m not afraid. I am positive that the Lady will do what She promised to do tomorrow.” After this, nothing more was said about confession.


Things were different in the Marto home. Nothing could shake the belief of Senhor Marto. He tells how the Pastor of Porto de Mós came with one of his parishioners, a few days before the thirteenth. He wanted to make the children contradict themselves. He questioned the children and got nowhere.

On the morning of October 13, 1917, rain was pouring from the heavens, a sad beginning for the glorious day promised by Our Lady and the children. The rain, however, did not dampen the spirits of the many thousands of people who came from every section of Portugal to witness the miracle promised. It was estimated the crowd at the Cova da Iria this day to be between 70,000 to more than 100,000 persons.

Away at Lucia’s home, everyone was disturbed. Senhora dos Santos was as sad as she ever had been before. She feared that this was Lucia’s last day on earth. Tears running down her face, she looked at her daughter who tried to cheer her.


“Don’t fear, mãnezinha, little mother,” Lucia said with a caress, “for nothing will happen to us. Our Lady shall do what She promised.”


Ti Marto recalled, “It rained hard and the road was a mire; it was all thick slime. My wife was worried... The children were as much at ease as they could be. Francisco and Jacinta hadn’t a care in the world. ‘Look’ said Jacinta, ‘if they hurt us, we’ll go to Heaven, but pity them, for they shall go to Hell.’

“A lady from Pombalinho, no less than the Baroness of Almeirim, had brought two dresses for the girls, a blue one for Lucia and a white one for Jacinta. She dressed them herself and placed garlands of artificial flowers on their heads. It made them look like little angels. We left the house under torrents of rain. After many struggles and interruptions, we came at last to the Cova da Iria."

“There was a priest close by,” Senhora da Capelinha tells, “who had spent the night near the holm oak and he was saying his breviary. When the children arrived, dressed as if for First Communion, he asked them about the time of the apparition. ‘At noon,’ Lucia responded. The priest took out his watch and said, ‘Look, it is already noon.’ ‘Our

Lady never lies. Let us wait.’ A few minutes went by. He looked at his watch again. ‘Noon is gone. Everyone out of here! The whole thing is an illusion!’


“Lucia did not want to leave so the priest began pushing the three children away. Lucia, almost in tears, said, ‘Whoever wants to may go away, I’m not going. I’m on my own property. Our Lady said She was coming. She always came before and so She must be coming again.’ Just then, she glanced towards the east and said to Jacinta, ‘Jacinta, kneel down; Our Lady is coming. I’ve seen the flash.’ The priest was silenced. I never

saw him again.”


The hour of the apparition had arrived; the miracle that was promised had begun to take place.

Our Lady came. Her snow-white feet rested upon the beautiful flowers and ribbons with which Senhora da Capelinha had adorned the tree. The faces of the three children assumed an unworldly expression, their features becoming more delicate, their color mellow, their eyes intent upon the Lady. Lucia inquired of the Queen of Heaven:

“What does Your Grace want of me?”

“I want a chapel to be built here in My honor. I am Our Lady of the Rosary. Continue to say the Rosary every day. The war will end soon and the soldiers will return to their homes.”


“I have many things to ask of You: to heal some sick people and to convert some sinners, etc.”


“Some, yes; others, no. People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins.” Then growing sadder: “They must not offend Our Lord any more for He is already too much offended.”


“Do you want anything more?”


“Nothing more.”


“Then neither will I ask anything more of You.”


As Our Lady took leave of the children, She opened Her hands which emitted a flood of light. While She was rising, She pointed towards the sun, and the light gleaming from Her hands brightened the sun itself.


“There She goes; there She goes!” shouted Lucia, without for a moment taking her eyes from the beautiful Queen of Heaven. Lucia said later that she had no recollection of speaking. “I was not even aware of the presence of the people. My purpose was not to call the attention of the people to it; I did it, carried away by an interior movement which impelled me to it.”

The echo of Lucia’s shout came back in a huge, immense cry of wonder and astonishment from the multitude. It was at this precise moment that the clouds were quickly dispersed and the sky was clear. The sun was now pale as the moon. To the left of the sun, Saint Joseph appeared holding in his left arm the Child Jesus. Saint Joseph emerged from the bright clouds only to his chest, sufficient to allow him to raise his right hand and make, together with the Child Jesus, the Sign of the Cross three times over the world. As Saint Joseph did this, Our Lady stood in all Her brilliancy to the right of the sun, dressed in the blue and white robes of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Meanwhile, Francisco and Jacinta were bathed in the marvelous colors and signs of the sun, and Lucia was privileged to gaze upon Our Lord dressed in red as the Divine Redeemer, blessing the world, as Our Lady had foretold. Like Saint Joseph, He was seen only from His chest up. Beside Him stood Our Lady, dressed now in the purple robes of Our Lady of Sorrows, but without the sword. Finally, the Blessed Virgin appeared again to Lucia in all Her ethereal brightness, clothed in the simple brown robes of Mount Carmel.

As the children stared enraptured by these most beautiful heavenly visions, the countless thousands of people were amazed and overpowered by other miracles in the skies. The sun had taken on an extraordinary color. The words of eyewitnesses best describe these stupendous signs.


“We could look at the sun with ease,” Ti Marto testified; “it did not bother at all. It seemed to be continually fading and glowing in one fashion, then another. It threw shafts of light one way and another, painting everything in different

colors, the people, the trees, the earth, even the air. But the greatest proof of the miracle was the fact that the sun did not bother the eyes.


“Everybody stood still and quiet, gazing at the sun,” he went on. “At a certain point, the sun stopped its play of light and then started dancing. It stopped once more and again started dancing until it seemed to loosen itself from the skies and fall upon the people. It was a moment of terrible suspense.”

As the miracle, which lasted about eight to 10 minutes, came to its end and the people arose from the muddy ground, another surprise awaited them. A few minutes before, they had been standing in the pouring rain, soaked to the skin. Now they noticed that their clothes were perfectly dry.


The Fatima story has also been marked by the revelations of the "Three Secrets" that Our Lady gave to the children. Lucia wrote in her memoirs that truly there was only one "secret proper."  After the first apparition of Our Lady, the children pledged one another to secrecy for fear of being ridiculed. 


“When we said (after the June 13th apparition) that Our Lady had revealed a secret to us, we referred to this (reparation to the Immaculate Heart). Our Lady did not tell us at this time to keep (this revelation) secret, but we felt that God moved us to it.”


This inclination of the children to silence was confirmed by Our Lady when, on July 13th, She told them what Lucia calls, and what is known as, the Secret proper. It was only after many years that any of the substance of this secret revelation was made known by Lucia. 


In her memoirs, though, Lucia wrote about the three secrets:

  • The first secret was a vision of hell that Mary showed the children, full of fire and demons. It was meant to emphasize the reality of hell and conversion from sin.

  • The second secret foretold that World War I would end, but if people did not stop offending God, an even worse war would break out during the reign of Pope Pius XI. Lucia interpreted this as referring to World War II, which began in 1939 during Pius XI's papacy.

  • The third secret was finally written down by Lucia in 1944, sealed in an envelope, and given to the Bishop of Leiria with instructions that it only be revealed in 1960 or later at the Bishop's discretion. When publicly revealed in 2000, it described a vision of a man in white (interpreted as the Pope) being killed by soldiers with arrows and bullets together with clergy and laypeople as they ascended a mountain. This fueled speculation that it predicted the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.


The ongoing relevance of Fatima is reflected in the numerous popes who have acknowledged and embraced its significance. Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942, and Pope Paul VI visited Fatima in 1967 to mark the 50th anniversary of the apparitions.


Pope John Paul II, who attributed his survival of an assassination attempt to the intervention of Our Lady of Fatima, visited the shrine three times during his pontificate and beatified Francisco and Jacinta in 2000.


Although the public apparitions ended with that of October 13th, Our Lady by no means abandoned the three chosen ones after that. We have it on Jacinta’s testimony to her pastor that three times in the following year Our Lady appeared to the little girl. Our Lady continued to appear to Lucia, long after her childhood.


Towards the end of October, 1918, the whole Marto family came down with influenza, except the father. Francisco's condition was particularly poor. Our Lady appeared to Francisco and Jacinta, telling them that She would come for Francisco very soon and that Jacinta would follow him not long after.


They were so happy at this good news that Jacinta confided in her cousin, “Look, Lucia, Our Lady came to see us and said that She was coming soon for Francisco. She asked me if I still wanted to convert more sinners. I said yes. Our Lady wants me to go to two hospitals but it is not to cure me. It is to suffer more for the love of God, the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She told me that you would not go with me. My mother will take me there and afterwards I am to be left there alone.”

Shortly before her death, Jacinta told then 12-year-old Lúcia dos Santos: "Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God entrusted it to her."

Francisco and Jacinta succumbed to the Spanish flu pandemic in April 1919 and February 1920, respectively. Lucia, the sole surviving seer, became a nun and lived until 2005, witnessing the beatification of her cousins in 2000 and contributing to the dissemination of the Fatima message throughout her life.

Lúcia dos Santos was a Carmelite nun and lived as Sister María Lúcia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart. She reported receiving later apparitions of Mary in 1921 and 1936, urging prayer and conversion. She lived to age 97. Sister Lúcia's beatification cause was opened in 2008 after her death.

Jacinta and Francisco were beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 13, 2000, during his visit to Fatima. Pope Francis canonized Jacinta and Francisco on May 13, 2017, on the centenary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

​Saint Franciso Marto is the patron saint of bodily ills and the sick, captives and prisoners, and people ridiculed for their piety. Saint Jacinta Marto is the patron saint of sick children, captives, people ridiculed for their piety, and those who suffer bodily ills. The life of Saint Jacinta Marto is celebrated as a testament to childlike faith, humility, and a willingness to offer personal sufferings for the well-being of others. 

Francisco and Jacinta are the two youngest non-martyr saints.


Here are the 5 prayers given to the children at Fatima in 1916 by the "Angel of Peace" who preceded Our Lady's visits or by Mary herself during her apparitions. 

The Decade Prayer

At the end of each Rosary decade, Our Lady instructed the following prayer be added.


“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.”


The Pardon Prayer

The angel who preceded Mary's apparitions, told the children this prayer.


“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I beg pardon for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.”

The Angel’s Prayer

The angel asked the three children to kneel in front of an appearance of a Eucharistic host and chalice that were suspended in the air and recite this prayer. 


“O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”

The Eucharistic Prayer

Mary offered this prayer at the first Fatima apparition.


“Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”

The Sacrifice Prayer

Mary gave this prayer to the children at the June apparition and is meant to be used when offering your personal suffering to the Lord.


“O Jesus, it is for the love of Thee, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners [that I do this].”


In 1930, the Catholic Church allowed veneration of Our Lady of Fátima after analysis ruled that it promoted good faith and morals. Work had already begun in 1918 to build the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima at the apparition site, with the great Basilica completed there by 1953.


However, full Church approval came in two later declarations. In 1967, the 100th anniversary of the Virgin Mary's most famous modern apparition in Lourdes, France, Pope Paul VI published an apostolic letter officially designating the Fátima sanctuary as a Catholic pilgrimage location.

Then in 2002 Pope John Paul II approved the beatification of two of the visionary children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, as the final phase of the Church's recognition. The Fátima event became one of only eight Marian apparitions to receive a local bishop’s approval, which was granted in the Portuguese diocese of Leiria-Fátima in 1930.


With the beatification and subsequent 2017 canonization of the Marto children, the Church firmly validated belief in Our Lady of Fátima - the Virgin Mary under this Portuguese title - as a heavenly miraculous visitation conveying an urgent call for mankind to repent.


The Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is observed on May 13.


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