Miracle of the Sun
October 13, 1917: Three children and 70,000-100,000 onlookers are visited by an apparition at the Cova da Iria. Lúcia de Jesus Rosa Santos (10) and her cousins, Francisco (9) and Jacinta (7) Marto were three shepherds working in Fatima, Portugal. On May 13, Lúcia said she saw “a Lady more brilliant than the sun” and in her hands she held a white rosary. The Lady promised to return to the children and told them to pray and do penance.
The Lady returned to the Cova da Iria on the 13th of June, July, September, and October. However, on August 13, the children had been taken away by local authorities to Vila Nova De Ourém. So the Lady visited the children on August 19 at Valinhos. In July and again in September, the Lady promised the children a miracle would happen in October. The children were staunch Catholics and did as the apparition requested. Already devoted, they increased their recitation of the Rosary, a prayer chain used by Catholics. They wore tight ropes around their waists to cause pain and refused water on hot days as a form of penance.
The secular newspapers ridiculed the claims and many non-believers were in attendance for the promised miracle. As the appointed time arrived, a massive crowd was drenched by pouring rain. Suddenly, the clouds parted and the sun shone as a spinning disk in the sky. The sun then zigzagged and danced through the sky for about ten minutes, according to witnesses. Many present claimed their clothing was immediately dried. The apparition was named Our Lady of Fatima. She is said to have been the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. Also called The Lady of the Rosary, she asked for a chapel to be built on the site. It was done and the shrine continues to be a place of worship for believers.
The Lady also told Lúcia “Three Secrets.” The first secret was a vision of Hell with fire surrounding demons and “souls in human form.” The second secret foretold of the end of the Great War but also of the coming of the next World War. It also told of the anti-religion ideology of the Soviet Union. It was not made public until 1941. Lúcia revealed the third secret in writing to the Bishop of Leiria in 1944 but it was not publically published until 2000. It was rather disappointing as a secret. She told of devastating destruction and an urgent message from the Lady to pray and repent.
“If My requests are granted … there will be peace.”
“If My requests are not granted, Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martryed, the Holy Father will suffer much and various nations will be annihilated.”
“Only I can help you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
“On the last month, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.” – all from Our Lady of Fatima, attributed
This article first appeared at examiner.com in 2009. Editor’s update: Francisco Marto died in the Great Spanish Flu Epidemic in 1919 and his sister died the next year from the same cause. Lúcia Santos moved to Porto at the age of 14 and she was admitted to the school of the Sisters of St. Dorothy in Vilar. Four years later she was made a postulant in the convent. She made her first vows on October 3, 1928 and her perpetual vows six years later. She took the name Sister Maria Lúcia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart. The order was not completely silent, but the nuns were expected to speak as little as possible, even with members of their families. Sister Lúcia continued to have visions of the Blessed Mother. During her lifetime she wrote six memoirs, the first four between 1935 and 1941. The others were written in 1989 and 1993. She died on February 13, 2005 from natural causes. She was 97 years old.