Our Lady of Fatima Apparition - 1917
History of Our Lady of Fatima Apparition and Shrine
Before 1917 Fatima was a
small town in Portugal, virtually unknown.
It is named Fatima after
the daughter of Mohammed.
After 1917 Fatima is still
a small town but now a world famous town.
The difference is that
Fatima was visited by Our Lady and the events became
known as the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.
At the end of the last
apparition another occurrence happened that is equally
That event is known at the Miracle of the Sun. The
Miracle of the sun was witnessed by 70,000 to 100,000
people on October 13, 1917.
13, 1917 is exactly 33 years after the dream of Pope Leo
XIII had about the destruction coming in the 20th
Our Lady of Fatima
Portugal is a very special place in the
hearts of Our Dear Lord Jesus and His Mother Mary. It has been
consecrated to Mary for as long as anyone can remember. The History of
Portugal is filled with kings making petitions to Our Lady which were
always answered, and promises which were always kept.
The area in and surrounding Fatima has
been particularly blessed by Our Lord Jesus through our loving Mary. In
Bathala, about 20 miles from Fatima, a promise was made to Mary that a
great Church would be built in her honor if she would help the Portugese
people win a battle against Spain, which took place on the day before
the Feast of the Assumption in 1385. The splendid Basilica rises
majestically towards her in Heaven as a tribute to and in thanksgiving
for, the victory granted. The Church is called appropriately, OUR LADY
OF THE VICTORIES.
In Alcobaca, closely connected
geographically and spiritually with Fatima, a beautiful monastery was
built in honor of and in thanksgiving to Mary for enabling the Portugese
to recapture the important city of Santarem from the Moors in 1152.
Santarem is situated about halfway between Fatima and Lisbon. It is the
site of a great Eucharistic Miracle which took place in the early 13th
Century. The miracle is ongoing in that the Sacred Blood of Our Lord
Jesus is still in liquid form for the faithful to venerate and marvel.
In our research and study about the
various shrines throughout the world, we use the term cluster. In the
sense to which we apply the term, we mean groupings of places, villages,
cities, all in the same geographical area, where the Lord has given
great gifts or special favors to the people. Look at a map of Portugal,
particularly at the area around these small towns we've mentioned. Look
at their proximity to one another. Each of these towns has become very
important to us as Catholics.
Let us go back in time to the Spring of
1916. The world was in turmoil. A World War was devastating Europe.
Bodies were strewn all over the farmlands of France and Germany. The
winter had been hellish, slowing troop movement to a virtual
standstill. Because of the terrible weather, soldiers of both sides
were pinned down in foxholes for months at a time; all in feeble
attempts to control small patches of land. Mustard Gas, the Agent
Orange of the early 20th Century, was ripping out the lungs of those who
breathed it in. Humanity had absolutely no regard for his brother and
In Russia, a monster was being created
which would cast its hideous, godless shadow over the entire world. The
Bolsheviks were not involved in the World War. They were too busy
destroying their own brothers and sisters, in purges that would parallel
the outrages of Adolph Hitler and his gang of perverts some 20 years
The tiny country of Portugal was having
its own problems, mostly financial. They had only established a
republic some 6 years before, which had not quite worked. In the
hundred years prior to the creation of the republic, Portugal had lost
most of its colonies in South America. No one knew how to run the
government wisely, and so the country fell into chaos and disorder. In
a very brave, but very unwise move in 1916, they declared war on
Germany, and sent troops into France to fight the Huns. The effect of
this on the homefront was disastrous.
We mentioned that the history of the
country was filled with tales of kings making pledges and committments
to Our Lord Jesus and Our Lady. The attitude of the new leaders of
Portugal was just the opposite, not unlike those of other newly formed
republics. They equated the Church with the Monarchy. Portugal had
thrown the Monarchy out in 1910, and was now persecuting the church, in
an attempt to throw it out of the country.
The one power they had not taken into
consideration in their harassment of the Church was its head, JESUS
CHRIST, a faithful God to a sometimes unfaithful people. They had
forgotten about the strength of His love, His patience, His adeptness
at changing people's hearts, and His Mother, my Mary. They were so sure
they could succeed without God, they ignored the Source of their
well-being. They were children playing in the adult world, without
knowing what they were doing. Fortunately, Jesus cannot resist caring
for wayward children.
We can't help but wonder why Our
Heavenly Family bothers with us. We continue to make the same mistakes,
commit the same outrages that began with the murder of Abel by Cain.
Thank Jesus for His Mother Mary. She is so touchable. It's that one
teardrop she sees falling from the eyes of a mother whose baby has been
killed, whose husband has been dragged off, screaming into the night,
never to be seen again. It must be these outrages against humanity,
which have gone on since the dawn of creation, that propels her into
action. We had great need of Our Lady's help in 1916. There were no
kings left in Portugal to plead the cause of the people. So, it was up
to the mothers to pray to Our Lady for peace. She heard these prayers,
and answered them, as only she could.
A great plan was conceived in Heaven.
It began to make itself known in a very small way to three little
shepherds in the remote little farming village of Aljustrel, in the
Springof 1916. It was still early in the season, the rainy time, before
the weather warmed up. That morning, Lucia dos Santos, and her cousins
Jacinta and Francisco Marto, had led the sheep to the Cabeco to graze.
The ground and the grass were wet from the morning rain. They could
feel the moisture on their feet, through their little sandals. Drizzle
began to fall gently from the sky. The children ran up a hill to a
cave where they could shelter themselves and their sheep until the rain
stopped. They ate their lunch in the cave; and although the rain
stopped, and the skies cleared, they stayed there, playing a game with
The early afternoon was very calm, very
still. The children became mesmerized by the game they were playing.
Suddenly, a powerful blast of wind ripped through the trees, bending the
branches as it whipped around the little cabeco, breaking the still of
the day. The children snapped out of their lethargy. They jumped up
like a shot, looking around frantically to find out what was causing the
abrupt change in weather. All at once, their eyes zeroed in on a bright
light off in the distance, approaching them. It drew closer to their
little cave. As it moved closer, it became larger. They could make out
the transparent figure of a person. Their hearts pounded. They were
too frightened to speak. Closer and closer the vision came, until it
was almost on top of them.
It was a beautiful young man. His long
mane of blonde hair blew in the breeze. There was a sensitivity about
him, almost contradicted by a forceful strength. His eyes were cobalt
blue. When he looked at the children, they could feel his stare to the
depths of their souls. While they were frightened of this majestic
figure before them, they couldn't take their eyes off him. He spoke to
"Do not be afraid. I am the Angel of
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