On May 13, 1917, Mary appeared to three children of Fátima, Portugal — cousins Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta – and said she would appear on the 13th of each month for the next five months. This Marian apparition led to the Blessed Mother’s title of Our Lady of Fátima. Pope Francis recently advanced the cause for the sainthood of Sister Lucia on June 22, declaring the late holy woman “venerable.”
My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.Mary to Lucia, the Second Apparition on June 13, 1917
Our Lady of Fátima’s feast is celebrated on May 13 annually, though pilgrims travel to Fátima year-round. An influx of young pilgrims is expected at this holy site in the weeks surrounding World Youth Day, which will take place August 1-6 in Lisbon, Portugal. Pope Francis also plans to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima on August 5 during his World Youth Day journey.
Read more about the apparitions at Fátima and the widely popular prayers given to the children at Fátima, including the “Fátima Prayer” prayed each decade of the Rosary.
Table of Contents
- Apparitions at Fátima
- Five Prayers Given to the Children at Fátima
- Related Reading
Apparitions at Fátima
Before Our Lady of Fátima appeared to Lucia (9), Francisco (8), and Jacinta (6), the Angel of Peace visited the three children in 1916 amidst World War I.
These apparitions [of the Angel] offered a catechesis of grace and sacrifice that disposed Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco to receive the coming of the Holy Virgin and her message with a depth of commitment and maturity that far exceeded their years or education.Fr. John Horgan, Catholic Exchange
Visits from the Angel of Peace
First Visit, Spring 1916
The Angel of Peace visited Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta while tending to their flocks in the field. The Angel said, “Do not be afraid! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me,” and then gave the children the Pardon Prayer (read the prayer below).
Second Visit, Summer 1916
During the Angel of Peace’s second visit, he called himself the “Angel of Portugal. He told the children, “Pray! Pray very much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you.
Third Visit, Fall 1916
The Angel appeared a third time, holding a chalice above which the Host was suspended in the air, dripping blood into the chalice. Giving the host to Lucia and the chalice to Jacinta and Francisco, the Angel asked them to pray for the crimes of the ungrateful and gave them the Angel’s Prayer (see prayer below).
Our Lady of Fátima Apparitions to Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta
A few months after the Angel of Peace’s third visit to Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta, Our Lady first appeared to the three children while they were shepherding at la Cova da Iria.
First Apparition, May 13, 1917
Mary appeared to the three children in the field surrounded by light. She asked them to return on the 13th of each month for her visit and requested that they pray the Rosary daily to end the war. “Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”
Second Apparition, June 13, 1917
Mary appeared for a second time to the children at Fátima and asked Lucia to learn how to read and write. She also told them, “Soon I will take Jacinta and Francisco, but Lucia is to stay a while longer,” and to Lucia, “Don’t be discouraged, I will not abandon you ever. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and through it will conduct you to God.”
Third Apparition, July 13, 1917
At the third apparition, Mary revealed the “three secrets of Fátima” to the children, pertaining to Hell, World War I and II, and Christian persecution. Undisclosed for many years, St. Pope John Paul II revealed the three secrets of Fatima in full after the attempt of his assassination. She also gave them the Fátima Prayer and Sacrifice Prayer during this visit.
Fourth Apparition, August 19, 1917
“The children missed their scheduled meeting with the Lady at the Cova da Iria on Aug. 13 because they were detained by the anti-clerical civil authorities,” writes Robert Fastiggi for Our Sunday Visitor. Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta were released on the Assumption (August 15th). Our Lady appeared to the three children a few days later near one of their homes and encouraged them to continue returning to la Cova da Iria on the 13th of each month.
Fifth Apparition, September 13, 1917
30,000 people accompanied the three children to la Cova da Iria at the fifth apparition. Mary said, “I Want you to come here on October 13 and that you continue to recite the Rosary to obtain the end of the war. In October, the Lord, the sorrowful Lady, the Lady of Mt. Carmel, and St. Joseph with the child Jesus will also come to bless the world.”
Sixth Apparition, October 13, 1917
More than 50,000 people gathered near la Cova da Iria in the rain to see the Blessed Mother. They witnessed what has been called the “Miracle of the Sun.” Many scholars and theologians have pointed to Revelation 12:1 in pertinence to this miracle and other apparitions like Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Revelation 12:1)
View images of the witnesses here.
The sun started spinning and grew larger. It looked like it was going to fall on the earth. People fell to their knees in fear. The people then noticed that their clothes were completely dry even though they had been standing in the rain for some time. Even unbelievers and skeptics witnessed the phenomenon. The secular newspaper, O Século, had a front page story on “How the sun danced at midday in Fátima.”
Robert Fastiggi, Our Sunday Visitor
While the thousands accompanying them saw the miracle of the sun spinning, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta saw just what Our Lady had promised them: St. Joseph with Jesus and Mary as both Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
In 1919, Francisco passed away from influenza, and in 1920, Jacinta passed away from complications related to influenza. Lucia left Fátima to attend the school of the Sisters of Saint Dorothy at Vilar near Porto and eventually took vows as a woman religious. She took the name Sr. Mary of the Sorrowful Mother on October 3, 1934, after Our Lady appeared to her alone twice more.
Lucia and Our Lady
Years after her sixth apparition and the deaths of Jacinta and Francisco, Mary appeared privately to Lucia on June 13, 1929, and asked her to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.”
The Church approved Fátima as an apparition site in 1930, shortly after Our Lady’s eighth appearance to Lucia.
The Five Prayers Given to the Children at Fátima
Over many years, the children at Fátima received five prayers from the Angel of Peace and Our Lady. As Our Lady of Fátima has become very well-known in the last several decades, people worldwide turn to these short prayers to draw near to God.
Fátima Prayer/Decade Prayer/Oh My Jesus Prayer
Also called the “Oh My Jesus” prayer and the “Decade Prayer,” the Fátima prayer is said after the Glory Be for each decade of the Rosary. Mary gave it to the three children at Fátima on her second apparition.
“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.”
The Angel of Peace gave the Pardon Prayer to the children at Fátima on his first visit.
“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee. Amen.”
The Angel of Peace gave the Angel’s Prayer to the children at Fátima with the Body and Blood of Christ on his third visit.
“O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”
The three children received this prayer in their hearts at the first apparition “after a bright line shone all around them.”
“Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
Mary gave this prayer to the children on July 13 at the third apparition.
“O Jesus, it is for the love of Thee, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners.”
Confirmed in this hope, we have gathered here to give thanks for the countless graces bestowed over these past hundred years. All of them passed beneath the mantle of light that Our Lady has spread over the four corners of the earth, beginning with this land of Portugal, so rich in hope. We can take as our examples Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta, whom the Virgin Mary introduced into the immense ocean of God’s light and taught to adore him. That was the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering. God’s presence became constant in their lives, as is evident from their insistent prayers for sinners and their desire to remain ever near “the hidden Jesus” in the tabernacle.Pope Francis
In 2017, Sister Lucia was named a Servant of God, the first step in becoming a saint after death. While Jacinta and Francisco passed away at ages 10 and 12, Sister Lucia lived to be 97, which means her canonization process is still underway.
In 2022, Philip Kosloski for Aleteia reported, “Since then there has been no official announcements on the progress of her case, as it is likely the Vatican is still reviewing all of the material submitted … Furthermore, a miracle through her intercession will eventually be necessary to solidify Sr. Lucia’s status, confirming her presence in Heaven.”
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