History of Miracle Sites Fatima Portugal Part 1
About Fatima, Portugal the site of the miraculous appearances of the Virgin Mary.
The Site: The obscure Portuguese hamlet of Fatima, some 70 mi. northeast of Lisbon.
Original Miracle: Around midday of Sunday, May 13, 1917, Lucia dos Santos, aged 10, and her cousins Francisco Marto, eight, and Jacinta Marto, seven, who were tending their families' joint flocks of sheep, had said their Rosary, finished their meager lunch, and begun to play. Before the day was over, the first of six startling events witnessed only by these young shepherd children would occur; events which ultimately would make this impoverished farming village known throughout the world as the site of a miracle.
As the three children played that afternoon over 60 years ago, they saw a flash of light, like lightning. Fearing a storm, Lucia urged her cousins to seek shelter. Then there was another flash of light more brilliant than the first--yet there were no clouds in the sky. A vision had suddenly materialized above the branches of a small holm oak tree ahead of them, and in awe they saw "the most beautiful lady we had ever seen." She appeared to be about 16 and her hands, folded before her breast, held a white rosary.
According to the account later recorded by Lucia, she had two requests: one, that the three of them "come here for six successive months, on the 13th day at the same hour"; two, "Say the Rosary every day in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war [W.W.I]." With that, she slowly vanished toward the east.
During the second apparition, on June 13, Lucia asked the Lady to take her and her cousins to heaven. The Lady said she would take Jacinta and Francisco "soon," but Lucia must remain "some time longer to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart."
On July 13, "a large number of people" were saying the Rosary and awaiting the children's arrival at the Cova da Iria (Hollow of St. Irene), the small barren dip of land where the children grazed the sheep. Jacinta had broken her pledge to Lucia and Francisco, after the first apparition in May, not to tell anyone about the Lady. Most people did not believe the children and called them liars and rascals.
The Lady once again appeared and promised the children a miracle in October so that all people might believe and know who she was.
The young trio was purposely held up for several days in August by local authorities, who feared their official jurisdiction was being undermined by the excitement caused by the apparitions. The children were threatened with dire punishment if they didn't reveal "the secrets" the Lady had told them, but strengthened by their prayers they said nothing, and in desperation the authorities returned them home. The Lady appeared to them Aug. 19 and spoke earnestly of the need for prayer and penance.
On Sept. 13, an estimated 30,000 people came to the Cova da Iria for the scheduled vision, in which Mary stressed the necessity of reciting the Rosary to bring the war to an end.
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