Our Lady of Fatima

Fatima, Portugal (1917)


While tending sheep in a field called the Cova de Iria, Lucia de Santos (10) and her two cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, reported six apparitions of Mary, who identified herself as "Our Lady of the Rosary." Mary urged prayer of the rosary, penance for the conversion of sinners and consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.


March 22, 1907

Lucia dos Santos was born on to Antonio and Maria Rosa dos Santos.


Portugal's monarchy is overthrown

June 11, 1908

Francisco Marto was born on to Manuel and Olimpia de Jesus Marto. He was the older brother of Jacinta and the first cousin of Lucia dos Santos.

March 11, 1910

Jacinta Marto was born.


1,700 priests, nuns, and monks were killed by anti-Christian groups and public religious ceremonies were forbidden.

May 5, 1917

Pope Benedict XV sends out pastoral letter to the world asking the faithful to petition Mary "that her most tender and benign solitude may be moved and the peace we ask for be obtained for our agitated world"

May 13, 1917

Date of Eugenio Pacelli's (Pope Pius XII) Episcopal consecration.

May 13, 1917

Three shepherd children, Lucia, Jacinta, & Francisco, see a ball of light near an oak tree and when they approach make out the light to be a beautiful lady. She says she is from Heaven and that she wishes the children to come to the Cova on the 13th of the month for 6 months.

June 13, 1917

Our Lady appears for the second time to the children who came despite their parents' wishes for them to attend the St. Anthony Festival.

July 13, 1917

The parish priest and Lucia's mother think the apparitions are diabolical but she decides to join the others at the Cova with 3,000 onlookers.They are told that a devotion to her Immaculate Heart would bring more souls to salvation. They are given three secrets: a vision of Hell, the consecration of Russia, and a papal assassination.

Aug 13, 1917

The fourth apparition does not occur as planned due to the kidnapping of the children by an anti-Church civil administrator

Aug 19, 1917

The children see Our Lady for the fourth time and she speaks of the need for penance for one's sins and those of the world.

Sept 13, 1917

A crowd of thirty thousand witnesses the sun dim at noon and then a globe of light descending on the oak tree. White roses are seen falling from the sky and the visionaries are reminded of the importance of praying the rosary to end the war. They are told that St. Joseph and the child Jesus will accompany her at the October apparition.

Oct 13, 1917

Our Lady appears to the children for the sixth time. She identified herself as "Our Lady of the Rosary" and the famous dance of the sun took place, witnessed by a crowd of 70,000 people.

Oct 1918

Francisco and Jacinta became seriously ill with the Spanish flu. Our Lady appeared to them and said she would to take them to heaven soon.

April 4, 1919

Bed-ridden, Francisco requested his first Communion. The following day, Francisco died, April 14, 1919.


Dom Jose Alves Correia da Silva, the Bishop of the Diocese of Leiria-Fatima, appointed a commission to study the case and began the official canonical inquiry.

Feb 20, 1920

Jacinta Marto dies after suffering a long illness. She had been transferred to a Lisbon hospital and operated for an abscess in her chest, but her health did not improve.


At age 18 Lucia became a postulant at the convent of the Dorothean Sisters at Pontevedra, Spain.

Dec 10, 1925

At Pontevedra, Our Lady gave the young postulant nun the promise of the Five First Saturdays.

Oct 3, 1928

Lucia pronounces her first vows.

Oct 13, 1928

The foundation stone for the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary was laid.

June 13, 1929

At Tuy, where, in the presence of the Holy Trinity, Mary further revealed to Lucia the spirit of this great devotion of reparation. "The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means."

Oct 1, 1930

The Sacred Penitentiary under Pius XI granted a partial indulgence to those who individually visited the Shrine and prayed for the intentions of the Holy Father, and a plenary indulgence once a month to those who went there in a group.

Oct 13, 1930

Announcement of Dom Jose Alves Correia da Silva, Bishop of the Diocese of Leiria-Fatima on the results of the Investigative Commission, declaring the apparitions "worthy of belief".

May 13, 1931

The Portuguese bishops consecrated their nation to the Immaculate Heart

Aug 1931

Sister Lucia was staying with a friend at Rianjo, Spain to rest and recover while ill. In the chapel there, Our Lord complained to Sister Lucy of the tardiness of the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Feb 6, 1938

Seven months before the declaration of war, Sister Lucy wrote to her bishop, Msgr. da Silva to tell him that war was imminent, but then spoke of a miraculous promise: "in this horrible war, Portugal would be spared because of the national consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary made by the bishops."

May 13, 1938

The Portuguese bishops had vowed in 1936 that if Our Lady protected Portugal from the Communists, they would express their gratitude by renewing the National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. True to their word, they renewed the Consecration of Portugal to the Immaculate Heart in thanksgiving for Our Lady’s protection. Cardinal Cerejeira acknowledged publicly: "one cannot fail to recognize that the invisible hand of God has protected Portugal, sparing it the scourge of war and the leprosy of atheistic communism."


Pope Pius XII spoke of Fatima for the first time in an official Papal text, his encyclical Saeculo exeunte, which was written to encourage the Church in Portugal to further its foreign missionary activity. In the text he stated: "Let the faithful not forget, especially when they recite the Rosary, so recommended by the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima, to ask the Virgin Mother of God to obtain missionary vocations, with abundant fruits for the greatest possible number of souls. ..."


The Holy Father granted the new diocese of Nampula, in Mozambique, Our Lady of Fatima as its Patroness.

Aug 31, 1941

Lucia reveals first two secrets in her writings in the “Third Memoir” for the Bishop of Leira-Fatima.

Oct 31, 1942

In honor of the 25th Anniversary of the apparitions, Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) solemnly consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.


Sister Lucia explained that the Lord told her that He would accept this Act of Consecration to help speed the end of the World War II, but that it will not obtain worldwide peace. As predicted, this act obtained the end of the war, but did not usher in the reign of peace Our Lady promised, as it was not a consecration of specifically Russia, and the world’s bishops did not participate in it.


Lucia entered the convent of the Carmelite Sisters of Coimbra under the name of Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart.

May 13, 1946

Cardinal Masella, Papal Legate, crowned the statue of Our Lady of Fatima on the 300th Anniversary of the consecration of the nation of Portugal to Mary Immaculate.

Sept 1944

Bishop da Silva suggested that Sister Lucy write down the text of the Third Secret and issues a formal order the following month at her request.

Jan 2, 1944

Sr. Lucia finally writes down the Third Secret after previosuly having claimed to have physically been unable to obey the command due to paralysis of a preternatural cause.

Jan 9, 1944

Sr Lucia wrote to Bishop da Silva to tell him that the Third Secret had been written down and placed in a sealed envelope.

May 4, 1944

The Holy See instituted the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

June 17, 1944

The envelope was delivered to Bishop da Silva, by Sr Lucia's bishop confessor in Tuy. (The five month delay had resulted from Sister Lucia's unwillingness to entrust the envelope to anyone but a bishop.)

May 13, 1946

Cardinal Masella, Papal Legate, crowned Our Lady of Fatima "Queen of the World" on the 300th Anniversary of the consecration of the nation of Portugal to Mary Immaculate. The entire Portuguese episcopate and over 600,000 pilgrims gathered at Fatima for the event.

Oct 13, 1951

Pope’s Legate, Cardinal Tedeschini, was sent to Fatima for the closing of the Holy Year. He told the crowd that Pope Pius XII had himself seen, repeated in Rome, the Miracle of the Sun that had occurred at the last Fatima apparition. The Holy Father had, in fact, been graced to see the Miracle of the Sun on four separate occasions the previous year: October 30 and 31, November 1 , and November 8 .

July 7,1952

Pope Pius XII consecrated Russia and her people to the Immaculate Heart. But he did the Consecration in a private ceremony, without inviting the world’s bishops to join him, as Our Lady requested.

Oct 6, 1953

The Basilica was solemnly consecrated by Cardinal Cerejeira, the Patriarch of Lisbon.

Oct 11, 1954

Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical on the Queenship of Mary, and in it he referred to Her miraculous appearance at Fatima.


The church on the apparition site was elevated to the rank of Basilica.


At the closing ceremonies at the end of the third session of the Second Vatican Council, before all the Catholic bishops of the world, Pope Paul VI renewed Pius XII’s consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He also announced that a special envoy was to be sent to Fatima. In the Pope’s name the Papal Legate would carry, as a symbolic gift, a Golden Rose to the Fatima Shrine. The inscription on it would say that Pope Paul was entrusting the entire Church to the care of Our Lady of Fatima.

May 13, 1965

Pope Paul through his Papal Legate presented the Golden Rose at Fatima, commending the whole Church to Our Lady of Fatima’s care.

May 13, 1967

50th Anniversary of the apparitions, on May 13, 1967, Pope Paul VI went to Fatima on a pilgrimage of prayer and peace. On that occasion, he published an Apostolic Exhortation, Signum Magnum, in which he invited "all members of the Church to consecrate themselves to Mary Immaculate and to put this pious act into concrete action in their daily lives."

May 13, 1981

A young Turk, Mehmet Alì Agca, shoots the Pope John Paul II in the abdomen and hand while he circles St. Peter's Square. The pope later attributes being saved from the point blank assasination attempt to the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima: "It was a motherly hand that guided the bullet's path."

May 13, 1982

Pope John Paul II offered Mass in Fatima to give thanks for Mary's intercession in saving his life a year earlier. He reminded the faithful that "the message of Fatima is a call to conversion and repentance, the nucleus of the message of the Gospel." He re-consecrated the world to Mary's Immaculate Heart and called all to prayer, especially the Rosary.

May 13, 2000

Pope John Paul II beatified the two deceased seers, Jacinta and Francisco. He has also made the Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima universal by ordering it to be included in the Roman Missal. Francisco, 11, and Jacinta, 10, are the youngest non-martyrs to be beatified in the history of the Church.

June 26, 2000

The third secret of Fatima is revealed by Pope John Paul II with Sr. Lucia in attendance. Commentary by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Nov. 17, 2001

Sr. Lucia makes a statement to the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone that the Fatima secret has been totally revealed by the Vatican, and Russia has already been consecrated as Mary requested.

Feb 21, 2005

Lucia dos Santos dies at age 97.


Pope Benedict XVI lifted the normal five-year waiting period to begin her canonization process.

Description of the Virgin

"It was a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun."

Church Approval

On October 13, 1930, Dom Jose Alves Correia da Silva, Bishop of the Diocese of Leiria-Fatima announced the results of the Investigative Commission, declaring the apparitions "worthy of belief". Every Pope since the apparitions has expressed approval of the supernatural character and stressed the importance of the messages of Fatima.

The Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is May 13.


In these apparitions, Mary asked the children to pray the Rosary daily for the conversion of sinners and asked for devotion to her Immaculate Heart. She asked for prayer, penance and that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. She also spoke of observing the first Saturdays of each month by going to confession and receiving Holy Communion to make reparation to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

The Secrets of Fatima

The Virgin Mary revealed "three secrets" in her apparitions at Fatima. The first two - a vision of Hell and the conversion of Russia - were presented by Sr. Lucia in her “Third Memoir ”to the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima on August 31, 1941. The third secret was recorded by Lucia on January 2, 1944 and was rumored to be released before 1960. The delay in the release of the secret, which eventually was made public by Pope John Paul II on June 26, 2000 resulted in rampant speculation that it contained information on the end of the world or apostacy within the Church. The actual secret was a description of a "bishop in white" being attacked and has been linked by some to the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981.

In a interview at Fatima, Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) spoke about visions and apparitions: "To all curious people, I would say I am certain that the Virgin does not engage in sensationalism; she does not act in order to instigate fear. She does not present apocalyptic visions, but guides people to her Son. And this is what is essential."

Third secret of Fatima is not, he said, "sensational or apocalyptic." He continued, "Preoccupation with the message and its presumed predictions of catastrophe are not part of a healthy Marian devotion. The Madonna did not appear to children, to the small, to the simple, to those unknown in the world in order to create a sensation." Mary's purpose "is, through these simple ones, to call the world back to simplicity, that is, to the essentials: conversion, prayer, and the sacraments."


The Statue venerated in Little Chapel of Apparitions, heart of the Shrine of Fatima, was donated to the Shrine in 1920 by Mr. Gilberto Fernandes dos Santos. It was made by sculptor José Ferreira Thedim, of cedar from Brazil and it is 1.10m high.

It was blessed at the Parish Church of Fatima (4km distant from the Shrine and where the Little Shepherds of Fatima were baptized) on May 13, 1920, enthroned in Little Chapel of Apparitions on June 13, 1920, and crowned by Pontifical Legate Cardinal Masela on May 13, 1946.

The crown worn by the statue during the great celebrations is a single copy executed in Lisbon, free of charge, by 12 artists, who worked on it for three months. It weighs 1200 grams and it is decorated with 313 pearls and 2679 precious stones. It was donated to the Shrine by a group of Portuguese women on October 13, 1942, in thanksgiving to God for the fact that Portugal didn’t take part in World War II. The bullet donated by John Paul II is encrusted in it.

The former Supreme Pontiff donated the bullet that pierced his body during the attempt on his life in Rome, on May 13, 1981, as a sign of gratitude to the Virgin Mary for having saved his life.


Begun in 1928 and consecrated on October 7, 1953, its 15 altars are dedicated to the 15 mysteries of the Rosary.

The painting above the high altar depicts the Message of Our Lady to the little shepherds, prepared by the Angel of Portugal, through their encounter with Christ in the Eucharist. The Bishop of the diocese is shown kneeling on the left side, and the figures of Pope Pius XII (who consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942, and whose Legate crowned the Statue of Our Lady in 1946), of Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI.

Scenes of the apparitions are represented in stained glass, as well as invocations from the Litany of Our Lady.

In the four corners of the Basilica interior are placed the statues of the great apostles of the Rosary and of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: St. Anthony Claret, St. Dominic of Gusman, St. John Eudes and St. Stephen, King of Hungary.

The tombs of Francisco and Jacinta are in the Basilica, and, in the chancel, are the mortal remains of D. José Alves Correia da Silva, first Bishop of Leiria after its restoration in 1920.

The monumental organ, mounted in 1952, has about 12 thousand pipes.


Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima

Dearest Mother, Queen of the Holy Rosary, who came to Fatima to reveal to all mankind the Divine plan for true Christian peace, of prayer, penance, and consecration, grant an abundance of grace, strength, and guidance to the members of Thy Fatima Crusade, here present and throughout the world. Inspire us to great zeal, oh great Mediatrix of All Graces, that we may be effective instruments in spreading devotion to Thy Rosary; that we may be faithful in wearing Thy scapular; that we may inspire our brothers in Christ to a life of sacrifice, penance, and modesty, and finally, that we may help to bring about that wonderful day when all men, through consecration to Thy Immaculate Heart, shall be one in Christ. Amen.

Hymn to Our Lady of Fatima

Dear Lady of Fatima,
We come on bended knee,
To beg Your intercession,
For peace and unity.

Dear Mary, won't You show us,
The right and shining way,
We pledge our love and offer You,
A Rosary each day.

You promised at Fatima,
Each time that You appeared,
To help us if we pray to You,
To banish war and fear.

Dear Lady, on First Saturdays,
We ask Your guiding hand,
For grace and guidance here on earth,
And protection for our land.

Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima

O Most Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of the most holy Rosary, you were pleased to appear to the children of Fatima and reveal a glorious message. We implore you, inspire in our hearts a fervent love for the recitation of the Rosary. By meditating on the mysteries of the redemption that are recalled therein may we obtain the graces and virtues that we ask, through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer.

Prayer of the Holy Father to Our Lady of Fatima
By Pope Benedict XVI (Visit to Portugal 2010)

Our Lady,
Mother of all men and women,
I come before you as a son
visiting his Mother,
and I do so in company
with a multitude of brothers and sisters.
As the Successor of Peter,
to whom was entrusted the mission
of presiding in the service
of charity in the Church of Christ
and of confirming all in faith and in hope,
I wish to present to your
Immaculate Heart
the joys and hopes
as well as the problems and sufferings
of each one of these sons and daughters of yours
who are gathered in the Cova di Iria
or who are praying with us from afar.

Mother most gentle,
you know each one by name,
you know each one’s face and personal history,
and you love them all
with maternal benevolence
that wells up from the very heart of Divine Love.
I entrust and consecrate them all to you,
Mary Most Holy,
Mother of God and our Mother.


In September 1939 Lucia's bishop issued a Pastoral Letter urging the devotion of the 'First Saturdays'. In itself this was of little significance as the Church had promoted the devotion since June 13th 1912. But when he laid down the form that it should take, he said that Mary had revealed the devotion.

'This devotion was revealed to Sister Lucia of Jesus by the most holy Virgin in these words:

"See my daughter, how my Heart is encircled by thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you, at least, strive to console Me; and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death with graces necessary for salvation all those who, in order to make reparation to Me, on the first Saturday of five successive months, go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary, and keep Me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary."

Imprimatur: Santuario da Fatima,
21 of September, 1939.
+Jose, Bishop of Leiria.
((FR 188-189)).