Fatima is a village in the very centre of Portugal, about 70 miles north of Lisbon. It consists of numerous little hamlets hidden away in the elevation known as Serra de Aire. One such hamlet, Ajustral is where the three seers (picyured next) of the Fatima apparitions lived and played.
The first signs of Heavenly intervention at fatimaoccured in 1915, involving four younggirls, oneof whomwas Lucia deJesus dos Santos, a chlid of eight. One day, after finishing their lunch, they commenced to say the Rosary, which was their custom even at that age. Whilst saying the Rosary, they all noticed the sudden appearance of a cloud, inte form like a man, hoverig abovethe foliage of the valley. In Lucia's own words: "Like a cloud, whiter than snow, slightly transparent, with a human outline." As you can imagine, this made quite an impression on the children, but what was even more surprising, was the appearance twice more of the same apparition. Not a word was spoken by the Heavenly visitor. As time went by, the impression made on them slowly diminished, and would have been forgotten but for the events that followed.

An uneventful year passed by. Then one day, in 1916, Lucia was out attending the sheep in pasture in the surrounding fields of Ajustral, this time with her cousns Jacinta and Francisco Marto, who had become her regular companiona and playmates. We will let Lucia describe next what happened next: "About mid morning a drizzle began to fall. Seeking shelter, we climbed the slope ... to the cave ... in the olive orchard. The rain stopped but we stayed inthe cave ... had lunch and prayed the Rosary. A wind shool the trees ... but the day was serene. There above the trees towards the east, we began to see a light, whiter than snow. It was the form of a man, transparent, more brilliant than a crystal pierced by the rays of the sun."

He came near us and said: "Fear not, I am the angel of peace. Pray with me." The angel knelt on the ground and bowed very low, saying: "My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I beg pardon of you for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You."     He repeated this prayer three times, then said to the children: "Pray this way. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications."


The impression was so intense that: "We felt the presence of God so intensely, so intimately, that we dared not speak even to each other. The next day we felt ourselves still enveloped by that atmosphere. Only very gradually did it's intensity diminish within us. None of us thought of speaking of this apparition or of recommending that it be kept a secret. It imposed secrecy of itself."     But, children being children, the effect did wear off, and over time they had resumed their lives of tending sheep and playing, singing and dancing.
Then, on a summers day, the children were resting under the fig trees near the well when the angel suddenly appeared at their side: "What are you doing? Pray, Pray a great deal! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of Mercy for you! Offer unceasingly to the most  high, prayers and sacrifices."   
  "But how are we to sacrifice ourselves?" Lucia asked. "Offer up everything within your power as a sacrifice to the Lord in an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended; and of supplication for the conversion of sinners. Thus invoke peace upon our country. I am her guardian angel; the angel of Portugal. Above all. accept and bear with submission the sacrifices that the Lord may send you."
It was as the following autumn was drawing near, that Lucia,  Jacinta and Francisco were tending the sheep in the hills near Aljustral, that the Angel once again appeared to them. He was holding a chalice in his hand. A Host was over it, from which fell some drops of Blood into the chalice. Leaving the chalice and Host suspended in mid-air, he prostrated himself on the ground, repeating three times: "Most Holy Trinity, father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore you profoundly and I offer you the most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the earth, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He Himself is much offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners."      The Angel then arose and gave the Host to Lucia and the contents of the chalice to Jacinta and Francisco, saying: "Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God."  With that, the Angel disappeared, leaving the three children kneeling on the ground, repeating over and over again the inspired, heart-stirring prayer of the Angel.
The First apparition occurred on Sunday, May 13th, 1917.
After returning from early Mass, the children collected their lunches and headed off to tend the sheep at the Cova da Iria. The Church bells in the distance told the children it was lunch time, so they ate their lunches, said their Rosary then proceeded to play. It was then that they saw what looked like a flash of lightening. Frightened, they looked at each other, then at the sky which was perfectly clear. Seeing nothing, they decided to start for home. Gathering their sheep, they headed down the slope, when they saw another shaft of light, and there before them was a most beautiful Lady. "It was a Lady dressed all in white" Lucia records, "more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun." "Fear not!" the lady said, " I will not harm you. I am from Heaven and I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and what I want. And I shall return again a seventh time." Up to this point Francisco was unable to see the Blessed Virgin and said so to Lucia, who then asked the Lady why. Our Lady responded: "Let him say the Rosary, and in that way he too will see Me." On being told, Francisco immediately started to say the Rosary and , before he had finished the first decade, he could see the Lady.
Then the Lady said to the children: "Do you want to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may choose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and as a supplication for the conversion of sinners?" Lucia promptly responded: "Yes we want to!" "Then you are going to suffer a great deal" the Lady promised, "but the Grace of God will be your comfort. Say the Rosary every day to earn peace for the world and the end of the war."      With that, the Lady began to elevate Herself serenely, as Lucia said:  "...going in the direction of the East until she disappeared in the immensity of space, still surrounded by a most brilliant light that seemed to open a path for Her through the galaxies of stars."

The Second Apparition, the 13th June.    With a small crowd of believers and some, just simply curious, the three children waited at the Cova for the approach of the Lady from Heaven. It was around noon that lucia cried out: "Jacinta, Jacinta, here comes Our Lady. I just saw the flash."
The three children ran over to the small holmoak, and Lucia looking towards the skies, was heard to say: "You told me to come here today. What do you want me to do?" Our Lady responded: "I want you to come here on the thirteenth of the next month. Say the Rosary, inserting between the mysteries the following ejaculation- 'O My Jesus, forgive us. Save us from the fires of Hell. Bring all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need.' I want you to learn to read and write and later I will tell you what else I want."
Then Lucia asked our Lady to cure a sick person who was recommended to her. Our Lady answered: "If he is converted, he will be cured within the year."
"I would also like to ask you to take us to Heaven!" "Yes" Our Lady answered, "I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. You, however, are to stay here a longer time. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish the Devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the World. I promise salvation to those who embrace it and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself to adore His throne."
"Am I going to stay here alone?" asked Lucia. "No my daughter. Does this cause you to  suffer a great deal? I will never leave you, my Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that leads to God."
"As She said these last words", Lucia tells "the Blessed Virgin opened Her hands and communicated to us for the second time the reflex of the immense light that enveloped Her. We saw ourselves in it, as if submerged in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be on the side that was ascending to Heaven, and I was on the side that was spreading over the earth. There was a Heart before the palm of the right hand of Our Lady, with thorns piercing it. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so offended by the sins of mankind, desiring reparation." The crowd now saw Lucia rise quickly to her feet. Stretching out her arm she cried: "Look, there She goes, there She goes!" Maria de Capelina, a witness right from the beginning, who was to be of great support to the children, reports that when Our Lady left the tree, it was like the hissing of a distant rocket. She continues: "As for us, we saw nothing but a  slight cloud, just a few inches away from the foliage, rising slowly towards the East."
The Third Apparition, 13th July.     It was approaching noon at the Cova and the three children were leading the Rosary, with the responses being answered by the crowd that had also come to the Cova, a crowd that was even larger than the one on the previous month. Being a hot sunny summers day, most in the crowd had their umbrellas so as to keep out of the sun.
All of a sudden, Lucia stood and exclaimed: "Close the umbrellas, close the umbrellas, Our Lady is coming."  Then asking the  Lady: "What do you want of me?" " I want you to return here on the thirteenth of next month," the  Lady said. "Continue to say the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war; for She alone can save it."
"Will you please tell us who you are and perform a miracle so that everyone will believe that you really appear to us?" asked Lucia. "Continue to come here every month. In October, I will say who I am and what I desire and I will perform a miracle all shall see so that they believe." Then, after giving some instructions concerning petitions made by Lucia, the Lady continued: "Sacrifice yourselves for sinners; and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice: 'My jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.' "  While saying these words, the Blessed Virgin, with light streaming from Her hands which seemed to penetrate into the earth, revealed to the children a vision of Hell, which is described here by Lucia:
"We saw, as if into a sea of fire, and immersed in that fire were devils and souls with human form, as if they were transparent black or bronze embers floating in the fire and swayed by the flames that issued from them along with clouds of smoke, falling upon every side just like the falling of sparks in great fires, without weight or equilibrium, amidst wailing or cries of pain and despair that horrified and shook us with terror. We could tell the devils by their horrible and nauseous figures of baleful and unknown animals, but transparent as the black coals in a fire." 
           Our lady explained: "You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people will do what I will tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. The war is going to end. But if they do not stop offending God, another and worse war will break out in the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you, that He is going to punish the world for it's crimes by means of war, hunger, persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.      To forestall this, I shall come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If they heed my request, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she shall spread Her errors throughout the world, promoting 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 shall triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted, and some time of peace will be given to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will be kept always. Do not tell this to anyone. To Francisco, yes, you may tell it."
Then Lucia asked: "Don't you want anything else from me?" Our Lady answered:  "No; today I desire nothing else from you."

The Fourth Apparition, 19th August     The village of Fatima belongs to the County of Ourem and the Chief Magistrate for the county was Arthur Oliveira Santos, a man of tremendous political power. All administrative, political and sometimes Judicial power was centred in his hands. A baptised Catholic, he abandoned the Church at 20 to join the Masonic Lodge of Leiria, and later founded a Lodge at Ourem.  When he heard about the apparitions, he realised that if he allowed the Church to rise to new life in his county, he would be laughed to scorn by his Masonic brethren., and so plotted to destroy this new religous fad.     So, to put his plan into effect, the Magistrate summoned Lucia and her Father Antonio, and Ti Marto, the Father of her two cousins, to appear at the County  House. After some brief questioning he let them return home.  But this wasn't the end of it. On the morning of the 13th, the Magistrate arrived at Lucia's house, pretending to show signs of interest in the Apparitions, offering to take the children to the Cova in his carriage. They declined. Later in the day, the Priest at Fatima questioned the children again, in front of the magistrate. After the questioning, the Magistrate succeeded in decoying the children into his carriage with the promise that he would take them to the Cova in his carriage, then moved them to his own residence, locking them in a spare room.     Meanwhile, back at the Cova, Maria de Capelinha, an eyewitness of the events at the Cova on the 13th August, stated later that there was a very loud peal of thunder, then a flash of light. The people noticed a little cloud, very white, beautiful and bright, that came and stayed over the holmoak for only a few minutes, then rose towards the heavens where it disappeared. In her own words she describes what happened next: "Looking about, we noticed a strange sight that we had already seen and would see again. Everyones face glowed, rose, red, blue, all the colours of the rainbow. The trees seemed to have no branches or leaves but were all covered with flowers; every leaf was a flower. The ground was in little squares, each one a different colour. Our clothes seemed to be transformed also into the colours of the rainbow. the two vigil lanterns hanging from the arch over the holy spot appeared to be  of Gold." On Sunday 19th August, Lucia, together with Francisco and his brother John, were at Valinhos, where they intended to spend the afternoon. It was towards four O'clock when Lucia noticed the conditions that always immediately preceded the apparitions: the sudden cooling of the air, the paling of the sun, and the typical flash. Lucia, realising Our lady was about to appear and Jacinta was not there, called out to John: "Go quickly and get Jacinta, Our Lady is coming!" Just as Jacinta arrived, there was a second flash and Our Lady appeared over a holmoak, a slightly taller one than at the Cova. "What do you want of me?" Lucia asked.  "I want you to continue to come to the Cova da Iria on the thirteenth and to continue to say the Rosary every day."
Then Lucia, worried by the number of people who doubted the authenticity of the apparitions, asked Our Lady if She would be willing to perform a miracle that all might see and believe. "Yes, in the last month, in October, I shall perform a miracle so that all may believe in my apparitions. If they had not taken you to  the village, the miracle would have been greater. Saint Joseph will come with the baby Jesus to give peace to the world. Our Lord also will come to bless the people. Besides Our lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of the Sorrows will come."
"What do you wish us to do with the money and the offerings that the people leave at the Cova da iria?" "Two litters should be made; you and Jacinta are to carry one with two other girls dressed in white; Francisco is to carry the other with three boys also dressed in white robes. The money placed on the litters is for the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary." Lucia then spoke to Our Lady about the sick who had been recommended to her. "Yes, I shall cure some of them within the year. Pray! Pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell for not having someone to pray and make sacrifices for them."
The fifth Apparition, 13th September
The crowds were now getting so large, that the children were having a difficult time getting to the Cova da Iria for the fifth Apparition. With so many wanting to put before the children their own petitions, it was only through the fact that some gentlemen opened a way through the crowd, that the children managed to proceed to the Cova. When they finally arrived at the holmoak, Lucia, as usual, started the Rosary. just as the Rosary was finishing, they saw a flash of light, then a globe of light appeared before the crowd, and the all Holy Queen of Angels was standing over the holmoak.
"What do you want of me?" Lucia spoke very humbly. "Let the people continue to say the Rosary every day to obtain the end of the war. In the last month, in October, I shall perform a miracle so that all may believe in  my Apparitions. If they had not taken you to  the village, the miracle would have been greater. Saint Joseph will come with the baby Jesus to give peace to the world. Our Lord also will come to bless the people. Besides Our lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows will come. God is pleased with your sacrifices but does not wish that you should sleep with the rope. Wear it only during the day."
"They have requested me to ask you many things," Lucia then said. "This girl is a mute. Don't you want to cure her?" "In the course of the year she will be improved."     "Will you help these other people?" "Some I will cure: but the others, no. Our Lord does not have confidence in them."
"The people would like very much to have a chapel built here" Lucia suggested. "Use half of the money received so far for the litters. On one of them, place the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary. The other half should be set aside to help the building of the chapel."      "Many people say that I am a swindler who should be hanged or burned. Please perform a miracle for all to believe." "Yes, in October, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe."      "Some people gave me these two letters for you and a bottle of cologne."  Lucia did not want to forget any requests. "None of that is necessary in Heaven." With that, Our Lady began to leave, and many saw the luminous globe ascending towards Heaven. The sixth Apparition, 13th October.
The sixth and final Apparition was attended by a crowd of 70.000 people, despite the continual rain and cold. "Nearby communities, towns and villages emptied of people," said the O Dia, a Lisbon newspaper. "For days prior to the thirteenth, groups of pilgrims travelled towards Fatima. They came on foot, buskins on their brawny legs, food bags on their heads, across the pine groves, where the crowberries seem like drops of dew upon the verdure, along the sands, where the windmills rotate.......Workers from Marinha, farmers from Monte Real, Cortes and Marrazes, women from distant hills, the hills of Soubio, Minde and Lourical, people from everywhere whom the voice of the miracle had reached, left their homes and fields and came on foot, by horse or by carriage........All night long and into the morning, a light persistent rain fell. It soaked the field, saddened the air, and chilled to the bone the men, women and children." It was nearly noon when Lucia, glancing towards the east, said to Jacinta: "Jacinta, kneel down; Our Lady is coming. I've seen the flash."  Our lady came. Her snow white feet rested upon the beautiful flowers and ribbons which Senhora Capelinha had adorned the tree. "What do you want of me?" Lucia inquired of the Queen of Heaven. "I want to tell you that they must build a chapel here in my honor; that I am the Lady of the Rosary; that they continue to say the Rosary every day. The war will end and the soldiers will return to their homes soon."
"I have many favours to ask. Do you wish to grant them or not?" Lucia asked.
"Some I will, others I will not! They must mend their lives, ask forgiveness for their sins. Offend not Our Lord any more For He is already much offended."       "Do you want anything else from me?" Lucia inquired. "I desire nothing else."
As Our Lady took leave of the children She opened her hands which emitted a flood of light. While She was rising, She pointed towards the sun and the light gleaming from Her hands brightened the sun itself. Then the sun became as pale as the moon. To the left of the sun, Saint Joseph appeared holding in his left arm the child Jesus, and emerged from the bright clouds only to his chest, sufficient to allow him to raise his right hand and make, together with the Child Jesus, the sign of the cross three times over the world.  As Saint Joseph did this, Our Lady stood in all Her brilliancy to the right of the sun, dressed in the blue and white robes of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Lucia was privileged to gaze upon Our Lord dressed in red as the Divine Redeemer, blessing the world as Our Lady had foretold. Like Saint Joseph, He was seen only from His chest up. Beside Him stood Our Lady of Sorrows, but without the sword. Finally the Blessed Virgin appeared again to Lucia in all her ethereal brightness, clothed in the simple brown robe of Mount Carmel.
As the children stared enraptured by these most beautiful Heavenly visions, the countless thousands of people were amazed and overpowered by other miracles in the skies. The sun had taken on an extraordinary colour and character, as Ti Marto testified: "It did not bother at all. it seemed to be continually fading and glowing in one fashion, then another. It threw shafts of light one way then another, painting everything in different colours, the people, the trees, the earth, even the air. But the greatest proof of the miracle was the fact that the sun did not bother the eyes."   Maria  de Capelinha  explains in her own words what the display of colour was like: "The sun cast different colours, yellow, blue, and white. It trembled constantly. It looked like a revolving ball of fire falling upon the people. As the sun hurled itself at the earth in a mighty zigzag motion, the multitude cried out in terror. At last, the sun swerved back to it's orbit and rested in the sky."
O Seculo, a left wing newspaper of Lisbon carried a more detailed account of the miracle. "From the height of the road where the people parked their carriages and where many hundreds stood, afraid to brave the muddy soil, we saw the immense multitude turn towards the sun at it's highest, free of all clouds. The sun called to mind a plate of dull silver. It could be stared at without the least effort. It did not burn or blind.  It seemed that an eclipse was taking place. Before the astonished eyes of the people, the sun trembled and made some brusque unheard-of movements beyond all cosmic laws; the sun danced, in the typical expression of the peasants."
The reporter from the Ordem, a newspaper from Oporto, wrote: " The sun was sometimes surrounded by blood red flames, at other times it was aureoled with yellow and soft purple; again it seemed to be possessor of the swiftest rotation and then seemed to detach itself from the heavens, come near the earth and give forth a tremendous heat."
The testimony of another witness, Dr Almeida Garret, Professor at the University of Coimbra: "It was almost noon and the sun had broken jubilantly through the thick clouds, just a few moments before. It was shining clearly and intensely. I turned to this magnet  that was drawing all eyes. It looked to me as a luminous and brilliant disc, with a bright well-defined rim. It did not hurt the eyes. The comparison (which I heard while still at Fatima) with a disc of dull silver, did not seem right to me. The colour was brighter, far more active and richer than dull silver , with the tinted luster of the orient pearl." "Nor did it resemble the moon on a clear night. Everyone saw and felt that it was a body with life. It was not spheric like the moon, neither did it have an equal tonality of colour. It looked like a small brightly polished wheel of iridescent mother-of-pearl. It could not be taken for the sun as though seen through fog. There was no fog at the time. (The rain and fog had stopped) The sun was not opaque, veiled or diffused. It gave light and heat and was brightly outlined by a beveled rim. The sky was banked with light clouds, patched with blue here and there. Sometimes the sun stood out alone in rifts of clear sky. The clouds scuttled along from west to east without dimming the sun. They gave the impression of passing behind it, while the white puffs gliding in front of the sun seemed to take on the colour of rose or a delicate blue." "It was a wonder that all this time it was possible for us to look at the sun, a blaze of light and burning heat, without any pain to the eyes or blinding of the retina. This phenomenon must have lasted about ten minutes, except for two interruptions when the sun darted forth it's more refulgent, lightning-like rays, that forced us to look away." "The sun had an eccentricity of movement. It was not the scintillation of a celestial body at it's highest power. It was rotating upon itself with exceedingly great speed. Suddenly, the people broke out with a cry of extreme anguish. The sun, still rotating, had unloosened itself from the skies and came hurtling towards the earth. This huge, fiery millstone threatened to crush us with it's weight. It was a dreadful sensation." "During this solar occurrence, the air took on successively different colours. While looking at the sun, I noticed that everything around me darkened. I looked at what was nearby and cast my eyes away towards the horizon. Everything had the colour of an amethyst; the sky, the air, everything and everbody. A little oak nearby was casting a purple shadow on the ground." "Fearing impairment of the retina, which was improbable, because then I would not have seen everything in purple, I turned about, closed my eyes, cupping my hands over them, to cut off all the light. With my back turned, I opened my eyes and realised that the landscape and the air retained the purple hue." "This did not give the impression of being an eclipse. While still looking at the sun, I noticed that the air had cleared and I heard a peasant nearby say, "This lady looks yellow." As a matter of fact, everything far and near had changed now. People seemed to have jaundice. I smiled when I saw everybody looking disfigured and ugly. My hand had the same colour."  The CHILDREN after the APPARITIONS
Francisco:     After the last apparition on October 13th, the children tried to return to their ordinary routine of life. However, they were marked children. People flocked to see and speak with them, the poor, the rich, even priests came, some even trying to pry the secrets out of them. The innocence, seriousness and simplicity of the three were solid proof to both learned and unlearned alike of their truthfulness.
Our Lady had instructed Francisco, through Lucia, that She would take him to Heaven soon, but that he must say many Rosaries. He never forgot these words. One day, two fine ladies came to his house and asked him what he would like to be when he grew up: "Do you want to be a carpenter?" "No, ma'am." "A soldier?" "No." "A doctor, wouldn't you like to be a good doctor?" "No." "I know what you would like to be, a priest. You would like to say Mass, hear confessions, and give sermons. Is that it?" "No ma'am, I don't want to be a Priest either." "Then what do you want to be?" "I don't want to be anything. I just want to die and go to Heaven."
Towards the end of October, 1918, the whole Marto family was struck down by influenza. The father was the only one to escape. Francisco was in a very serious condition, and Our Lady  appeared to Jacinta and Francisco, telling them that She would come for Francisco very soon and that Jacinta would follow him not long after. Then Francisco seemed to improve for a while, enough to even go to the Cova da Iria, but the improvement wasn't for long.  Francisco knew well that he would not recover. "I feel sick," he confided to Lucia, "but I'll be in Heaven soon." In his last days, he wasn't even able to recite his prayers. "Mother, I can't say the Rosary, I can't even say the Hail Mary without being distracted."  "If you can't pray with your lips," replied his mother, "do it with your heart. It will make Our Lord happy just the same."      As Francisco's fever rose and his appetite failed, he realised the end was near. "Father," he said to his dad, "before I die, I want to receive Our Lord."  And so, this was arranged with the Priest, with Francisco making his first confession on the 2nd April, 1919 and the following day making his first communion. After having suffered much and made a full committment to living the Fatima message right up to his death, Francisco passed away the following morning on the 3rd April.
  Jacinta:      Francisco's death left Lucia and Jacinta heartbroken. Their three hearts were as one and in losing him, they felt they lost part of their heart. Jacinta would sit up in bed, still suffering from influenza, sitting motionless for hours and her mother would ask: "What are you thinking about Jacinta?" and she would answer: "I'm thinking about Francisco. How much I would love to see him."      The influenza from which  Jacinta suffered grew worse daily and an abscess formed on her chest, causing her much pain. Her mother felt so sad to see her little daughter suffer so much, yet Jacinta always came back with a consoling word. "Don't worry mother, for I'm going to Heaven. I'll pray a lot for you there. Don't cry. I'm alright."      A Doctor came to the house and advised her parents to take her to the hospital at Ourem, where she could get professional treatment. Jacinta was courageous in going, yet even so, the hardest thing of all would be to say goodbye to Lucia. How could she live without her!      Jacinta stayed in the hospital for two months, without any improvement whatsoever, and was then allowed to return home. Her progress was slowly down hill. Always running a fever, first there was pneumonia, then  tuberculosis and pleurisy eating away at her strength, although none of the illness weakened her resolve to offer up all her sufferings for the conversion of sinners.       Lucia tells another story about Jacinta. One day Jacinta's mother brought her a glass of milk to drink, but Jacinta refused the tasty milk as a sacrifice to offer up to Our Lady. When Senhora Marto had gone , Lucia remonstrated with Jacinta. "How does it happen that you disobey your mother! Aren't you going to offer that sacrifice to Our Lord?"       Hearing this, Jacinta's eyes filled with tears of sorrow. She called her mother and asked to be forgiven. "I'll take anything you want me to take, mother." After she had drank the milk, Jacinta confessed to Lucia: "If you only knew how hard it was for me to drink it!"       We have it on Jacinta's testimony to her pastor that Our Lady appeared to her three times after the apparitions at the Cova. On one of those times Our Lady told Jacinta She wanted her to go to another hospital in Lisbon. Jacinta couldn't wait to tell Lucia: "Lucia, Our Lady told me that I'm going to go to another hospital in Lisbon and that I'll never see you again or my parents and that after suffering a great deal, I shall die alone. She said that I should not be afraid since She will come to take me with Her to Heaven." She reached out her tiny arms to embrace Lucia, saying between sobs, "I will never see you again. Pray a lot for me for I am going to die alone." Lucia's heart welled up with sorrow at the thought of losing Jacinta so soon. On the day of their parting, Lucia recalls: "She kept her arms around me for along time, she was crying and saying to me, 'Never again shall we see each other.'"       Some few days after Jacinta announced that she was going to die in a hospital in Lisbon, Father Formigao arrived at the house with a Doctor Eurico Lisboa and his wife. After offering his services to save the child, the family said it was of no use since Our Lady was to come soon to take their child to Heaven. But Doctor Lisboa stated that the Will of Our Lady was above human resources and that to make sure that Our Lady really wanted to take her, they should go to all lengths to save her. Father Formigao confirmed the doctors advice, and so Jacinta arrived in Lisbon on the 2nd February, 1920, under the care of the leading specialist on children's diseases. The diagnosis was purulent pleurisy of the large left cavity, fistulous osteitis of the seventh and eighth ribs of the same side.     Jacinta's mother accompanied Jacinta to Lisbon and after failing to find accommodation because of Jacinta's illness they eventually were taken in by the Superior, Mother Maria da Purificacao Godinho of the Orphanage of Our Lady of the Miracles. We have it on Jacinta's testimony to her pastor that Our Lady appeared to her three times after the apparitions at the Cova. Because of this, Jacinta had much to say to Mother Godinho, some of which follows: "My dear Mother, the sins that bring most souls to Hell are the sins of the flesh. Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much. Those who serve God should not follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions; Our Lord is always the same. The sins of the world are too great. If only people knew what eternity is they would do everything to change their lives. People lose their souls because they do not think about the death of Our Lord and do not do penence. Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God. Pray a great deal for governments. Pity those governments which persecute the religion of Our Lord. If governments left the Church in peace and gave liberty to the Holy Religion, they would be blessed by God." "My good Mother, do not give yourself to immodest clothes. Run away from riches. Love holy poverty and silence very much. Be very charitable even with those who are unkind. Never criticise others and avoid those who do. Be very patient, for patience brings us to Heaven. Mortifications and sacrifices please Our Lord  a great deal. Confession is a sacrament of mercy. That is why people should approach the confessional with confidence and joy. Without confession, there is no salvation. The Mother of God wants a large number of virgin souls to bind themselves to Her by the vow of chastity. I would enter a convent with great joy but my joy is greater because I am going to Heaven. To be a religious one has to be very pure in soul and body."      "And do you know what it means to be pure?" the Superior asked. "I do, yes, I do. To be pure in body means to preserve chastity. To be pure in soul means to avoid sin, not to look at what would be sinful, not to steal, never lie and always tell the truth even when it is hard. Whoever does not fulfill promises made to Our Lady will not be blessed in life."   
  The time came for Jacinta to be moved to the Lisbon Hospital (pictured). This was a difficult parting for Jacinta for she loved Mother Godinho very much and the chapel at the orphanage allowed her to visit and receive Jesus very often, but the hospital had no such chapel. Many Doctors came to examine Jacinta, but their only thought was of science and medicine. They discounted God's influence. As Jacinta said: "Pity doctors. They have no idea what awaits them. Doctors do not know how to treat patients with success because they have no love for God." One great joy that awaited Jacinta was the visit by her father, even though he could only stay a few hours. After, as he left, he was fully convinced that Our Lady was looking after his Jacinta.      The Doctors performed an operation to remove two ribs, although only using local anesthetic, since she could not take the gas because of her weakened condition. She suffered so much, yet she never complained, accepting it with happiness, for she realised it would help many souls to escape the terrible fires of Hell.      Our Lady appeared again to Jacinta and said She would come soon to take her to Heaven: said Jacinta "I am not complaining anymore. Our lady has appeared again and said She was coming for me soon. She took all my pains away."      February 20th came, and about six o'clock in the evening she said she was feeling well and she wanted to receive the last rites of the Church. A Priest called, heard her confession and promised to bring her communion in the morning. Jacinta asked him to bring it immediately but he could see no reason for alarm. She insisted that she was to die shortly. At ten thirty, she died peacefully without having her wish fulfilled. Jacinta's incorrupt body:      Fifteen years later, on September 12, 1935, the Bishop of Leiria commanded that Jacinta's body be transferred to the cemetery of Fatima where the bodies of Jacinta and Francisco were to be placed in the same tomb, built especially for the two children. When Jacinta's casket was opened on this occasion, her little body was still whole and incorrupt. The casket was then closed, and placed in the tomb beside Francisco.

Lucia and the later Apparitions of Our Lord and Our Lady: On the 13 June, 1921, Lucia had her first meeting with her Bishop, Rev Joseph Correia da Silva, Bishop of the Diocese of Leiria. He told her he was carefully discerning the events of fatima and asked her to not tell ANYONE about the Apparitions, and also asked if she would like to go to the convent in Oporto, under an assumed name. The Bishop's intention was to see if the  interest in Fatima would die out with Lucia removed. Lucia agreed.      After Lucia had finished her course of studies, she asked if she might be admitted into the order of the good sisters, the Sisters of St Dorothy. The sisters were only too happy to welcome this sweet and Holy girl into their midst.
In the convent, Our lady did not leave Lucia alone. She came to visit her many times. On the 10 December, 1925, Our Lady appeared to Lucia while she was in her room at the  convent. The Child Jesus was at Our Lady's side, elevated upon a cloud of light. Our Lady, resting one hand upon Lucia's shoulder, held in Her other hand a heart surrounded with sharp thorns. The Child Jesus spoke first to Lucia: "Have pity on the Heart of your most Holy Mother. It is covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation." Then Our lady said to Lucia: "My Daughter, look ay my Heart encircled with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you at least try to console me and announce in my name that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the Graces necessary for salvation all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to me." The Child Jesus again appeared to Lucia in February 1926 to encourage her to propagate this devotion, and additionally on the night of 29-30 May 1930; as she was praying before the Blessed Sacrament, she received an interior locution explaining why it was necessary to have a communion of reparation on five Saturdays. Lucia told Our Lord how her confessor pointed out to her so many difficulties, and though the Mother Superior ardently desired to propogate the devotion, her confessor also warned her that she could do nothing by herself.  "It is true that your superior alone can do nothing, but with My Grace she can do all," our Lord answered.
    It was in 1927, while she was praying in the convent chapel at Tuy, Spain, where she was then stationed, that lucia received permission from Heaven to reveal the first two parts of the secret, the vision of Hell, and the urgent need for devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Lucia informed her confessors, her mother Provincial, the Bishop of Leiria and the Reverand Joseph Galamba. The third part of the secret was released in 2004.
Two years later, in 1929, Our lady again appeared to Lucia while she was praying in the chapel at Tuy. "Suddenly the whole chapel was illumined by a supernatural light, and above the altar appeared a Cross of light, reaching to the ceiling. In a brighter light on the upper part of the Cross, could be seen the face of a man and his body as far as the waist; upon his breast was a dove of light; nailed to the Cross was the body of another man. A little below the waist, I could see a chalice and a large Host suspended in the air, onto which drops of blood were falling from the Face of Jesus Crucified and from the wound in His side."
    These drops ran down onto the Host and fell into the chalice. Beneath the right arm of the Cross was Our Lady and in her hand was her Immaculate Heart. (It was Our Lady of Fatima, with her Immaculate Heart in her left hand, without sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames). Under the left arm of the Cross, large letters, as if of crystal clear water which ran down upon the altar, formed these words: 'Grace and Mercy.'
At this point Lucia explained that she understood the apparition was a representation of the Holy Trinity, as she heard Mary speak to her: "The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops in the world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. There are so many souls whom the Justice of God condemns for sins committed against me, that I have come to ask reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray."
   Lucia told all this to her confessor who ordered her to write it down, and she also said that later on Jesus had spoken as follows to her: "They did not wish to heed My request. Like the king of France, they will repent and do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church; the Holy Father will have much to suffer.
The Holy See requested this document from Bishop Luna on the Blue Army (World Apostolate of Fatima). His Excellency, working with theologians, prepared it and submitted it to the representative of the Holy see and to the members of the International Council.    1. The apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in Fatima, given the actuality and importance of their message which..."seems to have read with special insight the signs of our times", has given rise in various parts of the world to initiatives and associations which have aroused great enthusiasm among the faithful and the approval of many local Churches.       Among these initiatives there is one which deserves special mention, by reason of it's international character as well as the number of it's members: The World Apostolate of Fatima (known in the USA as The Blue Army.)     2. The World Apostolate of Fatima (WAF) is an association of the faithful who, accepting the manifestation of maternal charity on the part of the Blessed Virgin (for "She cares for the brethren of Her son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers  and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home." ) are committed to conforming their lives to the message of Fatima in a manner recognised by the Church (because it is in accord with Divine Revelation)  and proposes to spread it by every means in their power.     3. The commitment spoken of in paragraph 2  is personal and private.  This means, that it is assumed according to one's conscience as an expression of devotion to the Blessed Virgin, without implications of any kind of moral fault. On the other hand, it is strictly confined to the content of the message, that is, to what the Blessed Virgin requested, or suggested in the Cova da Iria.     4.  The ultimate objective of the WAF is to live the message of Fatima and consequently to obtain the Graces announced by the Blessed Virgin, namely: -Conversion and perseverance in the life of Grace ("do not offend the Lord our God any more because He is already so much iffended") so that all men may be made partakers in redemption and salvation. -Peace in the world by means of the Christian order in the whole universe. -The triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in order to bring about the "triumph and expansion of the reign of Christ to the glory of God the Father.     5. These objectives should be understood in the light of Divine Revelation, of which Fatima is a particularly faithful echo. They have, therefore, no connection whatever with projects, agreements, cultural, social or political contracts, nor do they promote the victory or supremacy of any groups or nations over their potential adversaries. They are of a strictly supernatural character and seek only to promote the kingdom of Christ and harmony between men and with God.     6. The means which the WAF proposes in order to obtain the objectives set forth above are those the Blessed Virgin expressly requested at Fatima, namely: -Frequent prayer, concretised in a special manner in the daily recitation of the Rosary and of the prayers taught by the Angel, as well as those taught by the mother of God; -Penance, expressed above all in the submissive acceptance of the "sufferings which the Lord will send" and in the fulfillment of ones duties each day, in order to promote a more intimate unity between the faith of the members and their everyday life, as recommended by vatican II; -Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as understood and lived in the light of the Apostolic Exhortation Signum Magnum by Paul VI (13/5/1967) and of the texts of the consecration used by Pius XII (31/10/1942; 7/7/1952) and by John Paul II (13/5/1982 in Fatima and 24/3/1984 in Rome).     7. Toward knowledge and explanation of the objectives and of the means set out above, together with it's own proper nature and of the history and message of Fatima, the WAF will promote as periodically as possible seminars, courses, recollection and retreats. It will also publish books, magazines, radio and television  programs, destined especially for members. In all these activities, the WAF will seek to situate the reading of the message of Fatima within biblical revelation, of other messages of the Blessed Virgin recognised by the Church, and of the teachings of the Ecclesiastical Magisterium, namely, of the great Marian dogma's (Divine Maternity, Perpetual Virginity, Immaculate Conception and Assumption), as well as the principal truths solemnly proposed by Vatican II: "Mary, Mother of the Church," "Mary, type and model of the Church," "Mary, singular and eminent member of the Church."     8. In order to carry out these activities, the WAF will promote, as much as possible, the formation of members specialised in the knowledge of Catholic Mariology and of the (ed.note: approved) Marian apparitions of our time, particularly in the history and message of Fatima, and further in the use of modern means of social communication.    9. The active members of the WAF are all those faithful who, committing themselves to the fulfillment of the Message of Fatima, in accordance with what is stipulated above, sign the respective enrollment form  and send it to any of the official centres of the movement.     10. The WAF does not impede it's members from being enrolled in  any other approved association,  or those recognised by Ecclesiastical Authority. It requires, however, that they submit always with docility to their legitimate Pastors (the Holy Father, Bishops, Parish Priests, Spiritual Directors etc.) that they be disposed to collaborate generously with Holy Church, of which Mary is the Mother, type, and most perfect model.     11. The WAF will furnish all collaboration possible to the other movements of the Catholic Church and in a special manner to those which are inspired by the message of Fatima, or which are orientated toward the propagation of the knowledge of or devotion to the Blessed Virgin.      12. For the application and practical concretisation of the present Theological Principles of the WAF each national council will prepare, in accord with these norms, it's own statutes which, after examination by the international council, will be submitted for temporary or definitive approval to the respective local churches.

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Origins of the World Apostolate of Fatima

Monsignor Harold Colgan (pictuted right), founder of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima, admits: "Like many priests as well as most Catholics, I did not begin to hear about the message of Fatima until after the war." "Two years later, facing a blank hospital wall and waiting for death, I began to consider the importance of all Our Lady told us. The war She foretold was over, but Her prophecy of the continued spread of Communism with further war and annihilation of nations remained our alternative to hearing Her requests." "I promised," he said "to do all I could to make known the conditions of Our Lady of Fatima for the conversion of Russia."
    Monsignor Colgan (then Fr Colgan) was cured, and a few weeks later in one of his sermons, he said: "Atheists have developed a Red Army....In this parish let us be a Blue Army of Our Lady to fulfill her conditions for their conversion."     And that is how it began, with a Marian priest, snatched from the jaws of death, and a promise. Today the Blue Army is the official Fatima Apostolate of the world, with  divisions in 70 dioceses in the USA, and in 120 countries around the world. 
This includes Australia, where we have active committees in five separate states. The Apostolate was established in Australia in the late 1950's and has been faithfully promoting Our Lady's message of Fatima through Holy hours, vigils, Marian processions and Masses and encouraging parish visits by the national Pilgrim Virgin Statue.      The Blue Army International Committee changed the name Blue Army to World Apostolate of Fatima [WAF] in the mid 1980's, although the name Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima is still retained in the USA.

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