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  • Fatima 2017 – 100 Year Anniversary

    Fatima 2017 – 100 Year Anniversary image

    Fatima ChildrenFatima 2017 will see the 100 year anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children.  Many people will have heard of Fatima but do you know the actual story?

    The story of Fatima actually starts in 1916, when three children where visited by the Angle of Portugal.  The three children Lucia, and her two cousins, who were brother and sister, Francisco and Jacinta were visited three times by the Angel.  This was in preparation for the visitation the following year of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. 

    The 1st Apparition of Fatima

    The first apparition was on the 13th May 1917 when the children were out with their sheep near Cova da Iria.  Seeing a bright light in the sky despite the clear weather the children thought a storm must be approaching and so began to make their way home with the sheep.  When they were near a holm oak tree they again saw the bright light and this time also a lady dressed in white who was enshrined in the bright light.  The lady told them that she came from heaven and would reappear to them on the 13th of each month for the next 6 months at the same time.  They were also told to say the Rosary every day to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.  The First World War was in full flight at this time in Europe.

    Initially promising each other to not tell anyone else of what they saw that day, Jacinta the youngest, couldn’t contain her excitement and joy and told the rest of her family.  Word soon spread of what the children saw around their hometown of Aljustrel and Fatima.  As they waited for the next visit the children found they had many detractors and few believers.  None the less when the 13th June came around and the children went to the site of the apparition there was a small crown present.

    The 2nd Apparition of Fatima

    Fatima Apparition

    During this the second apparition the children were told by Our Lady that she wanted them to learn to read and write.  She also informed them that they would all go to heaven and that she would take Jacinta and Francisco soon but Lucia would have to remain a little longer.  Despite the crowd that was present confirming something had occurred, although they themselves did not see Our Lady, the children’s mothers did not share their belief.  In fact they began to fear after a warning from the Parish priest that it might be a demonic apparition.

    The 3rd and 4th Apparition of Fatima

    The third apparition on the 13th July is regarded by many as the most controversial as it was in this apparition that the children received the secret in three parts which they zealously guarded.  It was only in 1941 when Sister Lucia wrote her third memories that it was revealed.  On that day the children were shown a vision of Hell and told the prophecy of the future of Russia that if it was not consecrated there would be new wars and persecution of the Church, the good would be martyred and certain nations would be annihilated.  Many including the clergy and civil government tried to get the children to reveal the secret.

    The children however did not break their promise.  Even when they were effectively kidnapped by the Mayor of Fatima and threatened with death it was to no avail.  Due to the Mayor taking the children they were not able to go to the Cova on the 13th August.  The crowd that waited there for the apparition, which was the largest to date, witnessed the external signs of the Apparition.   It was therefore not until the 19th August that the children had their fourth visit from Our Lady.  On this visit they were told that Our Lady would perform a miracle on the last month so that all would believe.

    The 5th Apparition of Fatima

    By the 13th September word had spread so widely of the apparitions that more than 30,000 people were at the Cova to bear witness.  This time the children were told that on the final visit they would also be visited by Our Lord, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Mt Carmel and Saint Joseph with the child Jesus.  It was also reaffirmed to them that Our Lady would perform a miracle.

    The 6th Apparition of Fatima

    Fatima The Miracle of the SunThe night before the final apparition there was torrential rain and the ground was soaked through.  Despite this over 70,000 people turned up to bear witness.  It was only on this final apparition that the children found out that the lady was Our Lady of the Rosary.  She requested that a chapel be built in her honour, that they should continue to say the Rosary every day and the war would end soon. 

    Although the rain had stopped the sky was overcast with dark clouds but as Our Lady rose and moved to the east she turned her palms to the sky and suddenly the sun burst through and a soft spinning silver disc could be seen.  This was witnessed by all those that were present and has become known as the Miracle of the Sun.  The children as promised saw Saint Joseph and the child Jesus, Our Lord and Our Lady of Sorrows.  Lucia also saw Our Lady as Our Lady of Carmel, signifying her entering the Carmelites some years later.

    After the Apparitions of Fatima

    Fatima St Lucia and Pope John Paul IIOur Lady had informed the children during the second apparition that they would go to heaven.  Francisco and Jacinta would go before Lucia.  The summer following the apparitions both Francisco and Jacinta contracted influenza.  The following April after receiving Holy Communion for the first time Francisco died the following day on the 4th April.  Jacinta who was two years younger than Francisco was removed from her family home when she became ill.  After two months she returned home only to develop tuberculosis and was then sent to Lisbon where she died alone in hospital.  Both Jacinta and Francisco’s bodies were eventually laid to rest at the Sanctuary at the Cova da Iria.  In 2000 Francisco and Jacinta were beatified by Pope John Paul II.

    Lucia, as predicted by Our Lady, continued alone to carry on the message of devotion to Our Lady.  Having requested that she learn to read and write Lucia was admitted at the age of 14 to the Sisters of St. Dorothy boarding school in Villar.  In 1925 she became a postulant in the convent of the Sisters of St. Dorothy in Tuy, across the border in Spain.  Lucia made her perpetual vows in October 1934 and received the name Sister Mary of the Sorrowful Mother.  Looking a more contemplative life, in 1946 she joined the Carmelites at the convent of St Teresa in Coimbra.  Here she took the name Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart.

    Sister Lucia wrote two books about her experience.  Memoirs provided details on the events of Fatima in her own words.  Calls from the Message of Fatima gave answers to the many questions about living with the message of Fatima.  In 2005 on the 13th February at the age of 97 she passed away.  Today she lies in rest at the convent in Coimbra until a place is prepared at the Basilica in Fatima.

    2017 - 100 Year Anniversay

    2017 will see the 100 year anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady. So why not take the opportunity if you are walking the Camino Portuguese to take a detour to Fatima or make time when you are in Coimbra to visit the Museum at the Carmelita.  

    It has also been confirmed that the Pope will visit Portugal in 2017.  Currently his schedule has him in Fatima on the 13th May, in Lisbon the day before and Braga the day after.  So if you are looking to go on the Camino Portuguese in May keep this in mind.

    Contact us HERE to book your pilgrimage to Fatima today. 

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