In central Portugal, you find the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima. Fátima is a small parish of Ourém. The story of this Sanctuary consists about an apparition of the Virgen Mary in 1917 and 3 young shepherd children. It is one of the most famous and largest Sanctuary in Portugal. This post tells you more about this Sanctuary. If you are a believer or not, it is a wonderful place to discover.
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The history of this Sanctuary dates from 1917. The legend tells us that on 13 May 1917 the Virgin Mary appeared in front of 3 young shepherd children. She appeared 6 times, every 13th of the month. These 3 children where Lúcia and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta. The Virgin Mary appeared every 13th of the moth till October 1917. Brother and sister Francisco and Jacinta already died short after these apparitions. Lúcia was declared insane and and banished to a closed monastry in Coimbra. She died over there in 2005.
The apparition of the Virgin Mary is known as “a Lady completely in white, more brilliant than the sun and indescribably beautiful” who appeared in front of the 3 young children of 7, 9 and 10 years old. It was possible to look at the sun without blinking the eyes. The Lady of Fátima, the Virgin Mary also known as the mother of Jesus, told the children that she was sent by God and she had a message for them and anyone on the world.
She promised that God would bring peace to the whole world if Her requests were heard and obeyed. These 3 requests where to pray, rehabilitation and consecration. Many people believed the 3 children that they saw the Virgin Mary and Her message. For many it was a reason the ridiculate the apparitions and declared the children insane. In 1930 recognized the Roman Catholic Church the visions of Fátima as worthy of belief. The core of the messages became known as “The Secret” and can be divided in 3 parts.
The first part was a terrifying vision of the hell. The souls of poor sinners go there. This part of “The Secret” consists of an urgent plea to pray the rosary every day and sacrifications to save souls.
The second part of “The Secret” predicted the end of the World War I, explicitly the outbreak of World War II. She told the children that she came to ask of the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. If the people responded to the requests of Our Lady of Fátima, Russia would be converted and the whole world will have peace. Otherwise, Russia will spread his errors over the world, leading to wars and persecutions of the Church. In this case, the good will be martyred and many nations will be destroyed. In the end, the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary will triumph and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.
Finally the third part of “The Secret” was a vision about a Bishop in white clothes praying for everyone. In the vision, the man went towards the Cross amid martyred corpses. Also this man, dressed in white clothes, falls to the ground and appeared dead, under a hail of gunfire. Perhaps, this vision predicted the attack on Pope John Paul II in 1981. This happened on 13 May 1981, the same day as the first apparition of the Virgin Mary in Fátima. The Pope always credited the Virgin Mary for his survival. Lúcia, the surviving member of the 3 shepherd children of Fátima, confirmed this 3th secret message. Pope John Paul II and Lúcia both died in 2005.
The 6th and last apparition of the Virgin Lady occurred on 13 October 1917. She already told the 3 youngsters that at that moment she would reveal her identity and convince the people of the world of here secret message with a miracle. A lot of people wanted to see this event to believe it. It rained very hard during 3 days in the whole region of Fátima. But around 70 000 people traveled through the heavy rain to see this miracle with their own eyes. They also went to the place where the previous apparitions took place to witness the miracle. Many of them where unbelievers and their only intent was to discredit the stories of the 3 young shepherd children. But at a moment, the clouds separated and the sun appeared in a completely clear blue sky. The sun was like a disk of white fire. Normally you can’t look directly at such a sun, but know the 70 000 people could look directly at the sun without blinking the eyes. The huge fireball danced in the sky with a dizzy and sickening speed. Many brilliant colors reflected on the faces of the many people at this place. The fireball turned 3 times around this way. Afterwards it seemed to tremble a lot to finally plunge in a zigzag toward the earth. This moment appeared as the end of the world. The sun reversed his way to return in a zigzag movement again to his place in the sky. It all happened in around 10 minutes. The people realized themselves that they were not doomed, but they began laughing, crying and shouting. Many of them discovered that their wet and drenched clothes were now completely dry. This event is known as “The Miracle of the Sun”. The 3 shepherd children were asked many times about what they had seen and been told to them. But their stories never changed, which is now known as “The Secret”.
And you, do you believe that this all happened in front of the 3 shepherd children? Are you a believer or a non believer of this miracle? I can’t give you the truth. But personally, I believe there will be something true of this whole story about Fátima. Because it doesn’t just come falling all out of the air. Or maybe…
After “The Miracle of the Sun” and the Catholic Church recognized the story as worthy of belief, Fátima became a huge pilgrimage. They built a large Sanctuary on this place. These days it is the largest pilgrimage of Portugal. When you enter this Sanctuary, you mostly first enter aside of the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity. This is a round basilica and also has a large cross. The largest end of this cross stands in a direct line to the main Basilica of Our Lady of Fátima at the other side. Every day you can attend a lot of masses in open air at the left side in the Chapel of Apparitions. There are masses in different languages. All the pilgrims walk around this chapel to finally offer a candle in the open fire. Diehards don’t walk, they do the last part on the Sanctuary itself on their knees.
Scattered on this Sanctuary stands a lot of statues. Statues of many Popes and of the Bishop who recognized the apparitions as truth. According the predictions and what happened in the past, a statue of Pope John Paul II can’t missing. You also can discover a fragment of the Berlin Wall.
While this is a huge place for peace, to relax, come to yourself, you also can visit the Sanctuary of Fátima in the evening. In that case, you will to get a whole different experience. Cause every evening, you can join the Procession of Candles. This is a huge procession with blessed candles, singing people and Our Lady will travel the whole Sanctuary to arrive in the Basilica of Our Lady of Fátima. To join this event, you can buy a guided tour.
Travel to and visit the Sanctuary of Fátima. Visit this wonderful place of peace and relax at the place where Our Lady appeared in front of 3 young shepherd children. You can stay in Fátima or the large region. But it also is possible to visit Fátima in a daytrip from Lisboa, the silver Coast, Leiria, Tomar or others. Are you a believer or not, Fátima is a wonderful place to discover in central Portugal. Find now your perfect stay to be ready for your visit.
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