The chilling events of the apocalyptic visions which were witnessed by the three children of Fatima have gained a lot of fame, especially after the Roman Catholic Church officially declared these events as ‘worthy of belief’. Even though the three prophecies have been revealed, some believe that there is still more to come as the third prophecy hasn’t come in light completely.
On 13th May 2001, a frail, tired Pope John Paul II finished the final leg of his own personal pilgrimage. He had travelled to the little town of Adjustrel, near Fatima in Portugal. His aim was to beautify the life of two children who had died over 80 years previously. They were two of the three ‘Children of Fatima’, who had been repeatedly visited by the spirit of the Virgin Mary in 1917.
The holy vision had told them three prophecies, which the children kept secret, only ever revealing them to subsequent Popes.
Over the years, the Roman Catholic Church explained that all but the final prediction had come to pass. But, as the Pope paid homage to the children, he finally revealed the details of the third secret – it was a warning that saved his life.
On 13th May 1917, three children were tending their sheep at the Cova da Iria, near the town of Fatima. The two youngest children, nine-year-old Francisco and seven-year-old Jacinto Marto were brother and sister. They were helping their cousin, ten- year-old Lucia de Jesus, with her flock. All were good children, coming from strong Catholic families. They would recite the Rosary each midday without fail, and then continue with their work or play. The following is an image of the Roman Catholic pilgrims at Fatima in Portugal, where it is said Our Lady appeared to three peasant children in 1917.
On this occasion, a flash interrupted their afternoon activities. They thought it was lightning, so they turned to leave for home, but were stopped by a beautiful lady dressed in a white robe that shone brighter than the sun. The lady had a Rosary hanging from her palm, and she instructed the children to come back and visit the site on the 13th day of each of the next five months. The children returned as they were told.
..the huge glowing orb seemed to burst into a magnificent array of colours, dancing around the skies, and the heavens rained flowers.
Over the following months, the lady told them three secrets about future events and promised them a miracle by their last meeting. The story of the vision spread and a crowd of 70,000 spectators came to the site to the see the final vision on 13th October, although the lady only appeared to the children. She told them she was ‘Our Lady of the Rosary’ and asked them to build a chapel on the site of the visions.
She then performed her miracle, which was experienced by the entire crowd. They called it the ‘Miracle of the Sun’ because the huge glowing orb seemed to burst into a magnificent array of colours, dancing around the skies, and the heavens rained flowers. The children had also received visions of their own deaths. For Francisco and Jacinta, they did not have to wait long. They both died of pneumonia, Francisco in April 1919 and his sister in February 1920.
Although they were both initially buried at the Fatima parish cemetery, their remains were removed and placed in the Chapel of the Apparitions, built on the Cova de Iria site. Lucia de Jesus took holy orders after seeing the visions and became a nun. In the 1940s she sent a letter to Pope Pius XII, written in Portuguese, describing the visions.
The first secret was a vision of Hell and salvation, which the Vatican understood to be a prediction of the Second World War. The second prophecy was the rise and fall of Communism. The third secret was kept from the public. It was also decided by the church that it would never be revealed to the public. This gave rise to a lot of curiosity, pot boilers and speculation among people and media ranging from worldwide nuclear devastation to many other types of apocalyptic disasters.
The Pontiff believes the Virgin Mary steered the bullets away from causing mortal death..
Many theories suggested it revealed the end of the world, but during the Pope’s visit to Fatima in 2001, his officials revealed it was actually a vision of a white-robed priest falling to the ground. The Pope interpreted this as a forewarning of the assassination attempt on him in St Peter’s Square, Rome on, amazingly, 13th May 1981.
The Pontiff believes the Virgin Mary steered the bullets away from causing mortal death and helped him survive. He is so convinced of the role of the Fatima visions in his recovery that one of the bullets fired during the attack has been placed in the crown of the statue of the Virgin Mary at the Chapel of the Apparitions.
This episode brought to end one of this century’s most mysterious tales of the Roman Catholic Church. It seems strange that the mystery was really caused by the Vatican’s secrecy, whereas the supernatural miracles involved are openly known and accepted.
More so often happens in religion, the actions of men in response are often more confusing than the original inexplicable event.