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The miracle at Fatima

February 19, 2021.

The miracle at Fatima

Over the centuries, there have been many Marian apparitions and miracles, some of which have gone unnoticed and others that completely altered the fabric of society. Of the many apparitions miracles, there was a handful in which the Blessed Virgin Mary carried with her a Rosary. These apparitions were always accompanied by instructions, one of them was to pray the Rosary and pray it for peace and the conversion of sinners. According to tradition, the first significant Marian apparition took place in the church of Prouille, France in 1214. There, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Dominic and bestowed upon him the concept of the Rosary. A more recent apparition took place in Fatima, Portugal. It would prove to be an event so monumental that it would transform the country and its people forever.

It happened to three shepherd children in a small village near central Portugal, where the Blessed Virgin appeared for the first time. Described by her radiance and sun-like aura, the children often referred to the vision as a luminous lady, always clutching the Rosary. The visitations began in 1917 on the 13th of each month for six months. During each visit the Blessed Virgin Mary would speak about the importance of the Rosary, to pray it for the conversion of sinners, to pray it for world peace and an end to the war, and emphasized the importance of penance and sacrifice.

With political change and the overthrow of the monarchy in 1910, Portugal experienced major instability and internal conflict during its "First Republic". It was a tumultuous period for its citizens, in particular the religious citizens, which were the majority. This shift of power was highly unclerical and attempted to instill atheistic communism throughout the country, which was done with brutality and short-sighted ignorance. It was unfortunate that Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta experienced these apparitions during this oppressive political regime. The First Republic lasted 16 years before the faithful woke up and revolted, with armies of Catholics carrying images of the Virgin Mary in the streets. This revolt ultimately led to the military coup in 1926, completely overthrowing the secular republic.

Francisco de Jesus Marto was born in 1908 and was one of the children to see the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sister Lucia describes Francisco as tranquil and musically inclined. He enjoyed being alone with his thoughts and often prayed alone. Sadly, Francisco would not see his 11th birthday due to the influenza epidemic that was spreading throughout Europe. His sister Jacinta de Jesus Marto born in 1910, was very much the same as her brother, as she would pray alone in silence. Jacinta would often sing, and had a gift for dancing, described by Sister Lucia as having a sweet singing voice. Sadly, she died from influenza in 1920, she was only 9 years old. Two years before her death, Jacinta told Sister Lucia that The Blessed Virgin Mary had appeared to her and promised to take them to heaven soon. Both siblings prayed diligently until the end, despite the severity of their illness they frequently walked to church and prayed on their knees for hours at a time. The dedication and piety of these children is inspiring. They had so little on this earth, yet will receive so much in heaven.

Lucia de Jesus Rosa dos Santos, known as Sister Lucia, was born in 1907 and was a cousin to Fransisco and Jacinta. She was a hard-working young girl, often tending to the family sheep in the pastures. She enjoyed poetry and music, after composing catchy songs with her cousins. It was her First Communion that opened her heart to Jesus which she says "I lost the taste and attraction for the things of the world and only felt at home in some solitary place where, all alone, I could recall the delights of my First Communion." She was only 6 years old at the time. At 14 years old Sister Lucia moved to a convent to prepare to become a nun. Eventually, she took her vows in 1934 at the age of 27. Upon receiving papal permission to be relieved of her perpetual vows, Sister Lucia entered the Carmelite convent of Santa Teresa in Coimbra, Portugal. She became part of the "Order of the Discalced Carmelites of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel". Founded in 1562, the Discalced Carmelites are a mendicant order with roots in the eremitic tradition of the Desert Fathers. They do not associate with the outside world and are dedicated to prayer and contemplation. Sister Lucia died in 2005 at the age of 97.

It was on October 13th, 1917 when the Miracle of the Sun happened. Reports suggest close to one hundred thousand people experienced the miracle, and from great distances. Reporters, writers, the faithful, and the non-believers. All of them with corroborating detailed accounts, that the Sun zig-zagged in the sky. Reports say it lasted roughly 10 minutes. People fell to their knees, not only did they just witness a sign and miracle, it also validated Sister Lucia's claim, that The Blessed Virgin Mary would send a sign for all to believe on this day. This event was monumental, not only in Portugal but around the Catholic world. In Portugal, this was the catalyst needed, a sign to protest and resist the secular authoritarian regime that gripped the country.

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