A Short History of Fatima

The history of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917 actually began the preceding year. In 1916, the three shepherd children Lucia (9), Francisco (8), and Jacinta (6), were privileged by four apparitions of an ange, who called himself the Angel of Peace.

At the first apparition, he taught them the prayer we are all now familiar with:

My God, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love Thee. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee.

In the summer of 1916, he appeared a second and third time insisting on prayers, “Pray, pray incessantly,” and sacrifice, “Above all, accept and endure with submission the suffering which God will send you.”

The fourth visit was at the end of the summer. And it had as its message communions of reparation. Holding a chalice with a bleeding host, he taught them this prayer:

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 our Lord 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 His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.

The Angel then gave them Holy Communion. All this was to prepare them to receive the Queen of Heaven, who appeared to them on 13 May 1917. Her apparition was preceded by lightning. The children fled into a cave called Cova de Iria, thinking a storm would come. This cave was the property of Lucia’s parents and it is where Our Lady would meet them on the thirteenth day of each of the following months, except in August which will be explained. After the vision they were inspired to pray:

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

In each of the six apparitions, Our Lady requested simple prayer, especially the Rosary, and penance for the conversion of sinners. On 13 June, she showed her heart pierced with thorns, which represented the sins of men against her Immaculate Heart. In the third apparition, she showed the three children the fires of hell and told them about the dangers of communist Russia, asking for its consecration and promising that in the end her Immaculate Heart will triumph. And she told them a secret which is yet to be revealed. She also wanted to add after each decade of the Rosary the prayer:

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.

As the apparitions became more popular (15,000 were present on 13 August), the Freemasonic government started to worry. The mayor kidnapped the children and tried threatening them in order that they might tell the secret that had been confided to them. They courageously resisted. They were released on 15 August, but Our Lady still appeared to them at Valinhos in their little village of Adjustrel, on 19 August.

With the apparition on 13 September, she promised a miracle which she performed: the miracle of the sun on 13 October, which was witnessed by over 70,000 people.

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