The Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima

May 12, 2013 / Written by: America Needs Fatima

On this page:

1st Apparition | 2nd Apparition | 3rd Apparition
4th Apparition | 5th Apparition | 6th Apparition
The Consecration of Russia
| The Chastisement
Papal Consecrations
| The Third Secret


The three Shepherd Children
Lucia dos Santos and Francisco & Jacinta Marto

On May 13, 1917, Lucia dos Santos, Francisco, and Jacinta Marto were, respectively, ten, nine, and seven years old. The three children lived in Aljustrel, a hamlet of the township of Fatima.

After three apparitions of the Angel of Portugal in 1916, the children began to receive visits from a luminous Lady who later identified herself as “The Lady of the Rosary.” In Catholic language, “Our Lady of the Rosary” is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God made man.

The apparitions took place on a small property belonging to Lucia's parents called Cova da Iria, about a mile and a half from Fatima.


First Apparition of Our Lady

May 13, 1917

The three children were playing at Cova da Iria on May 13, 1917 when they saw two flashes like lightning, after which they saw the Mother of God above a holm oak. She was, according to the description of Lucia, "a Lady dressed in white, more brilliant than the sun…" Her face, indescribably beautiful, was "neither sad nor happy, but serious," with an air of mild reproach. Her hands, joined together as if she were praying, were resting at her breast and pointing upward. A rosary hung from her right hand.

"Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war."

The seers were so close to Our Lady – about a yard and a half away – that they stood within the light that radiated from her.

The conversation developed in the following manner:

Our Lady: Do not be afraid; I will not harm you.

Our Lady of Fatima

Lucia: Where is Your Grace from?

Our Lady: I am from heaven–pointing to the sky.

Lucia: And what does Your Grace wish of me?

Our Lady: I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession on the thirteenth day of each month at this same hour. Later I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterward, I will return here a seventh time.

Lucia: And will I go to heaven, too?

Our Lady: Yes, you will.

Lucia: And Jacinta?

Our Lady: Also.

Lucia: And Francisco?

Our Lady: Also, but he must say many rosaries.

Lucia: Is Maria das Neves already in heaven?

Our Lady: Yes, she is.

Lucia: And Amélia?

Our Lady: She will be in purgatory until the end of the world. Do you wish to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may be pleased to send you, as both an act of reparation for the sins with which He is offended and an act of supplication for the conversion of sinners?

Lucia: Yes, we do.

Our Lady: Well then, you will have much to suffer. But the grace of God will be your comfort.

"It was upon saying these last words, 'the grace of God...' that for the first time she opened her hands, which emitted a most intense light that penetrated our breasts, reaching the innermost part of our souls and making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we can see ourselves in the best of mirrors.

Then, driven by a deep inspiration, we knelt down and repeated inwardly: 'O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.'”

"A moment later, Our Lady added, 'Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.'

She immediately began to rise serenely toward the east until she disappeared far into the distance.

The light that surrounded her was, so to speak, opening her way through the starry firmament."


Second Apparition of Our Lady

June 13, 1917

Preceding the second apparition, the seers, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, once again saw a great brilliance, which they called lightning. Some people in the group of fifty spectators noticed that the light of the sunlight dimmed during the first few minutes of the conversation. Others said that the top of the budding holm oak bent down, as if under the weight of something. During Our Lady's conversation with the seers, some of the bystanders heard a whispering, like the humming of a bee.

Lucia: What does Your Grace wish of me?

Our Lady: I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month, to pray the rosary every day, and to learn to read. I shall later say what I want.

(Lucia asked for the healing of a sick person.)

Our Lady: If he converts, he will be healed within the year.

Lucia: I would like to ask you to take us to heaven.

Our Lady: Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you will remain here for some time yet. Jesus wishes to use you in order to make me known and loved. He wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it; and these souls will be beloved of God like flowers arranged by me to adorn His throne.

Lucia: Will I stay here alone?

Immaculate Heart of Mary
Attribution: A.F.Phillips

Our Lady: No, daughter. Does that make you suffer much? Do not be dismayed. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart shall be your refuge and the road that shall lead you to God.

Lucia writes, ”Upon saying these last words, she opened her hands, and for the second time she communicated to us the reflection of that intense light. We could see ourselves in it, as if immersed in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in the part of this light that went up toward heaven, and I in the part that was cast toward the ground. In front of Our Lady's right hand there was a heart encircled by thorns that seemed to pierce it. We understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, insulted by the sins of humanity and which desires reparation."

When this vision ceased, the Lady, still surrounded by the light that she radiated, rose from the little tree and glided toward the east until she disappeared completely. Several persons who were closer noticed that the buds at the top of the holm oak were bent in the same direction, as if they had been drawn by the Lady's clothes. They returned to their usual position only some hours later.


Third Apparition of Our Lady

July 13, 1917

Mr. Marto, father of Jacinta and Francisco, noticed that when the third apparition began, a small grayish cloud hovered over the holm oak, the sunlight diminished, and a cool breeze blew over the mountain range, despite it being the height of summer. He also heard something like flies inside an empty jug. The seers saw the customary glare, and then Our Lady over the holm oak.

Lucia: What does Your Grace wish of me?

Our Lady: I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month and to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, for she alone can be of any avail.

Lucia: I would like to ask you to tell us who you are and to perform a miracle so everyone will believe that Your Grace appears to us.

Our Lady: Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I wish, and I will perform a miracle that everyone shall see so as to believe.

Lucia then made a number of requests for conversions, cures, and other graces. Our Lady recommended the constant recitation of the rosary; thus they would obtain those graces during the year.

Then Our Lady went on: "Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say many times, especially when you make a sacrifice, 'O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'"


The first part—The vision of hell

Our Lady of Fatima and the vision of hell

Lucia writes, “Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear.

The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.”

Three Fatima Children
This photo was taken shortly after the Third Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. The children's stunned and sober faces speak volumes about what they witnessed in the vision of Hell.

The second part—The warning of the chastisement and how to avoid it

The children then looked up at Our Lady, who said to them so kindly and so sadly:

“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war [World War I] is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI [World War II]. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this [World War II], I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world [Communism], causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc.”

Then, Our Lady again spoke:

“Do not tell this to anyone. But you may tell Francisco about it.

“When you say the Rosary, after each mystery, pray: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.' "

An instant of silence followed, and I asked, “Is there nothing else you wish of me?”

“No. Today I want nothing else of you.”

And, as usual, she began to rise toward the east until she disappeared in the vast distance of the firmament.

[Words in brackets are ours]

For information related to the Third Secret of Fatima, see below.


Thoughts on the Third Apparition

It is painfully obvious that Our Lady's requests were not heeded in time. World War II broke out, and the errors of Russia spread throughout the world, not only with the implementation of communist regimes in many countries of Europe, Asia and the Americas, but equally through the spread of doctrines and customs that are consistently leading the world to abandon natural and Divine law. Drives for homosexual “marriage,” abortion and euthanasia are but a few of these manifestations.

According to a private revelation to Sister Lucia on June 13, 1929, Our Lady, appearing with the Infant Jesus, asserted that the hour for the consecration of Russia had come. Later, this request having not been heeded, Our Lady said to Lucia: “They did not want to pay attention to my request. Like the king of France, they will be sorry, but it will be too late. Russia will already have spread its errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer!”

In a letter to Father Gonçalves in 1936, Lucia mentions another communication from Our Lord: “…Pray very much for the Holy Father. He will do the consecration of Russia, but it will be too late. Nevertheless, the Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia. It has been entrusted to Her.”

The consecrations carried out afterwards were certainly pleasing to God but, as the historical events clearly show, they no longer had the power to forestall the chastisement.

Communism — "The Errors of Russia"

Communism is an atheistic ideology that ultimately denies God’s natural order and natural law, which God inscribed on the hearts of men. Denying God, Communism attaches divinity status to the Party and to the State. As such, Communism transfers all personal responsibility to the Party and totalitarian state. Denying natural law, Communism rejects the basic rights to private property, and monogamous, indissoluble marriage two indispensable pillars of a free society. Dictatorship is not a chance fact in Communism, but the logical and necessary consequence of its ideology. For strategic reasons, Communism may take on different political forms, including apparently democratic ones, and hide behind varied labels. Already in the 1930’s, the Communist Party launched the so-called policy of the extended hand, in which it showed to the outside world a smiling, friendly face while, Stalin’s iron hand imposed a ferocious, despotic dictatorship in Russia.

This deception has been used time and again throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.


Fourth Apparition of Our Lady

August 19, 1917

On August 13, the day the fourth apparition was to take place, the seers were not at Cova da Iria.

They had been abducted by the mayor of Vila Nova de Ourém, who attempted to force from them the secret revealed in the apparition of July 13. The children held fast despite the mayor imprisoning them, and threatening to plunge them in boiling oil.

Three Fatima Seers in Jail
Attribution: A.F.Phillips

At Cova da Iria, thunder, followed by lightning, was heard at the usual time.

The spectators noticed a small white cloud that hovered over the holm oak for a few minutes. Phenomena of coloration were observed on the faces of the people, the clothing, the trees, and the ground.

Our Lady had certainly come, but she had not found the seers.

On August 19, at about four o'clock in the afternoon, Lucia was with Francisco and another cousin at Valinhos, a property belonging to one of her uncles, when the atmospheric changes that preceded the apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria began to occur: a sudden cooling of the temperature and a waning of the sun.

Feeling that something supernatural was approaching and enveloping them, Lucia sent for Jacinta, who arrived in time to see Our Lady appear – heralded as before by a bright light – over a holm oak slightly larger than the one at Cova da Iria.

Lucia: What does Your Grace wish of me?

Our Lady: I want you to continue to go to Cova da Iria on the thirteenth of each month and to continue to pray the Rosary every day. On the last month, I will perform the miracle for all to believe.

The place near the village of Aljustrel where Our Lady appeared on August 19, 1917
The place near the village of Aljustrel where Our Lady appeared on August 19, 1917

Then Our Lady’s face became more serious, and even upset.

Our Lady: If they had not taken you to Ourém, the miracle would have been even greater.

Lucia: What does Your Grace want done with the money that the people leave at Cova da Iria?

Our Lady: Have two portable stands made. You and Jacinta with two other girls dressed in white carry one of them, and let Francisco carry the other one with three other boys. The portable stands are for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The money that is left over should be contributed to the chapel that they shall build.

Lucia: I would like to ask you for the healing of some sick persons.

Our Lady: Yes, I will cure some during the year.

Becoming sadder, she recommended anew the practice of mortification, saying lastly, 'Pray, pray much, and sacrifice for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to sacrifice and pray for them.'

As usual, she then began to rise toward the east. The seers cut boughs off the tree over which Our Lady had appeared to them and took them home. The boughs gave off a uniquely sweet fragrance.


Fifth Apparition of Our Lady

September 13, 1917

A crowd estimated at 20,000 observed atmospheric phenomena similar to those of the previous apparitions: the sudden cooling of the air, a dimming of the sun to the point where the stars could be seen, and a rain resembling iridescent petals or snowflakes that disappeared before touching the ground.

Jacinta being carried away from Cova da Iria after one of the apparitions
Jacinta being carried away from Cova da Iria after one of the apparitions

This time, a luminous globe was noticed which moved slowly and majestically through the sky from east to west and, at the end of the apparition, in the opposite direction. The seers saw a light, and, immediately following this, they saw Our Lady over the holm oak.

Our Lady: Continue to pray the Rosary to obtain the end of the war. In October, Our Lord will also come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus, to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices, but He does not want you to sleep with the ropes; wear them only during the day. (The children were wearing ropes around their waists as a sacrifice for sinners.)

Lucia: They have requested me to ask you for many things, for the cure of some sick persons, of a deaf-mute.

Our Lady: Yes, I will cure some, others not. In October, I will perform a miracle for all to believe.

And rising, she disappeared in the same manner as before.


Sixth & Last Apparition of Our Lady

October 13, 1917

As on the other occasions, the seers, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, first saw a bright light, and then they saw Our Lady over the holm oak.

Lucia: What does Your Grace wish of me?

Our Lady: I wish to tell you that I want a chapel built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue to pray the rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.

Lucia: I have many things to ask you: if you would cure some sick persons, and if you would convert some sinners...

Our Lady: Some yes, others no. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.

Becoming sadder, she added, “Let them offend Our Lord no more for He is already much offended.”

Newpaper article about the Miracle of the Sun
Newpaper article about the Miracle of the Sun

Then, opening her hands, Our Lady shone the light issuing from them onto the sun, and as she rose, her own radiance continued to be cast onto the sun.

At that moment, Lucia cried, "Look at the sun!"

Once Our Lady had disappeared in the expanse of the firmament, three scenes followed in succession, symbolizing first the joyful mysteries of the rosary, then the sorrowful mysteries, and, finally, the glorious mysteries. Lucia alone saw the three scenes; Francisco and Jacinta saw only the first.

The first scene:

Saint Joseph appeared beside the sun with the Child Jesus and Our Lady of the Rosary. It was the Holy Family. The Virgin was dressed in white with a blue mantle. Saint Joseph was also dressed in white, and the Child Jesus in light red. Saint Joseph blessed the crowd, making the Sign of the Cross three times. The Child Jesus did the same.

The second scene:

A vision of Our Lady of Sorrows, without the sword in her breast, and of Our Lord overwhelmed with sorrow on the way to Calvary.

Our Lord made the Sign of the Cross to bless the people.

Lucia could only see the upper part of Our Lord's body.

The third scene:

Finally, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, crowned queen of heaven and earth, appeared in a glorious vision holding the Child Jesus near her heart.

While these scenes took place, the great throng of 70,000 spectators witnessed the miracle of the sun.

Photos of the witnesses of the Miracle of the Sun
Photos of the witnesses of the Miracle of the Sun

It had rained all during the apparition. At the end of the conversation between Our Lady and Lucia – when the Blessed Virgin rose and Lucia shouted, "Look at the sun!" – the clouds parted, revealing the sun as an immense silver disk shining with an intensity never before seen – though not blinding.

This lasted only an instant. Then the immense disk began to "dance."

The sun spun rapidly like a gigantic circle of fire. Then it stopped momentarily, only to begin spinning vertiginously again. Its rim became scarlet; whirling, it scattered red flames across the sky.

Their light was reflected on the ground, on the trees, on the bushes, and on the faces and clothing of the people, which took on brilliant hues and changing colors.

After performing this bizarre pattern three times, the globe of fire seemed to tremble, shake, and then plunge in a zigzag toward the terrified crowd.

All this lasted about ten minutes. Finally, the sun zigzagged back to its original place and once again became still and brilliant, shining with its normal brightness. The cycle of the apparitions had ended.

Many people noticed that their clothes, soaking wet from the rain, had suddenly dried.

The miracle of the sun was also seen by numerous witnesses up to twenty-five miles away from the place of the apparition.

The Fatima apparitions were:
"without doubt, the most prophetic of all modern apparitions."
— Pope Benedict XVI


The Consecration of Russia

In order to forestall the damnation of many souls and God’s chastisement, during the third apparition on July 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima while speaking to Lucia dos Santos offered as a solution the devotion to her Immaculate Heart, the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays for five consecutive months, and Russia’s consecration to her Immaculate Heart.

The Blessed Virgin warned that, if her requests went unheeded, World War II would break out and Communism would spread its errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. Finally, she promised divine forgiveness and the triumph of her Immaculate Heart, which would be followed by Russia’s consecration and conversion.

Sister Lucia writes:

“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war [World War I] is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI [World War II]. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this [World War II], I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world [Communism], causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc. ...” (Words in brackets are ours)


The Chastisement

It is painfully obvious that Our Lady's requests were not heeded in time. World War II broke out, and the errors of Russia spread throughout the world, not only with the implementation of communist regimes in many countries of Europe, Asia and the Americas, but equally through the spread of doctrines and customs that are consistently leading the world to abandon natural and Divine law. Drives for homosexual “marriage,” abortion and euthanasia are but a few of these manifestations.

According to a private revelation to Sister Lucia on June 13, 1929, Our Lady, appearing with the Infant Jesus, asserted that the hour for the consecration of Russia had come. Later, this request having not been heeded, Our Lady said to Lucia:

“They did not want to pay attention to my request. Like the king of France, they will be sorry, but it will be too late. Russia will already have spread its errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer!”

In a letter to Father Gonçalves in 1936, Lucia mentions another communication from Our Lord: “…Pray very much for the Holy Father. He will do the consecration of Russia, but it will be too late. Nevertheless, the Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia. It has been entrusted to Her.”

The consecrations carried out afterwards were certainly pleasing to God but, as the historical events clearly show, they no longer had the power to forestall the chastisement.


Papal Consecrations

  • Pope Pius XII: On October 31, 1942, he consecrated the Church and the human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and on July 7, 1952, consecrated the Russians to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
  • Pope Paul VI: On November 21, 1964, he confided the human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
  • Pope John Paul II made two consecrations of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: in Fatima on May 13, 1982; and in Rome on March 25, 1984.
  • Pope Benedict XVI on May 13, 2007 invoking Our Lady of Fatima on the ninetieth anniversary of the apparitions, stated, “In a special way we entrust to Mary those peoples and nations that are in particular need, confident that she will not fail to heed the prayers we make to her with filial devotion.”

The Third Secret

The first part of the secret of Fatima is the vision of Hell shown by Our Lady to the three children in the July apparition. The second part is Our Lady’s warning of a chastisement to come if her requests are not fulfilled. However, over the decades popular usage has been to refer to the first part (the vision of Hell) as the First secret, and Our Lady’s admonishing as the Second secret. Both parts or secrets were revealed by Sister Lucia in 1941. In addition to the first and second parts of the secret of Fatima, there is a third one, commonly called the Third secret, which the seer omitted in her Memoirs.

She only wrote this third part or Third secret, in January 1944, at the request of the Bishop of Leiria, Dom José Alves Correia da Silva. On June 26, 2000, in accordance with specific instructions from His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released the text of the Third Secret.

This is the Vatican’s official English translation of the text of the Third Secret as published on the Vatican website:

J.M.J.

The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fátima, on 13 July 1917.

I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.

Tuy, 3-1-1944