Fatima is a small town in central Portugal. It was a tiny village in 1917, when the Virgin Mary appeared on six occasions to three young shepherd children—Lucia, Francesco, and Jacinta. She had important messages for the Church and for the world, which She gave to the children, and She told them that God would work a miracle on October 13, 1917 to confirm her appearances to the children and the importance of her messages.
The Virgin Mary’s six appearances were on the thirteenth of each of the months of May, June, July, September, and October, and on the eighteenth of August. She would come to be known as Our Lady of Fatima, among Her many titles.
Although the Virgin Mary appeared at Fatima in 1917, an angel, identified as the Angel of Peace, prepared the way for Her by appearing to the three shepherd children on three occasions in 1916 and in 1917.
The overall theme of the events of Fatima is the prediction and warning of an imminent and climatic battle between the forces of evil and good, considered in other terms as the war of the Red Dragon against the Woman Clothed with the Sun.
The salient events associated with these celestial visitations at Fatima include the following:
1. The appearance of the Angel of Peace and the prayers he taught the young shepherd children.
2. The appearances, instructions, messages, and prayers taught by the Virgin Mary to those children.
3. The Three Secrets of Fatima given by the Virgin Mary on July 13, 1917.
a. The First Secret—A vision of Hell:
Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to Heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.
b. The Second Secret stated that World War I would soon end and then goes on to predict another war, World War II, during the reign of Pope Pius XI, should men continue offending God and should Russia not convert. The second half requests that Russia be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing 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 Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
c. Lucia wrote the Third Secret on January 3, 1944, following the command of her bishop. She asked that it be published in 1960. It was delivered to the Vatican in 1957 but was not published in 1960. The following is the version of the Third Secret which the Vatican released on June 24, 2000.
I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine. After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
Note: The above version is reported to have been written originally in handwriting by Sr. Lucia on four small sheets of paper. There is another version that Sr. Lucia wrote by hand on one sheet of paper, which is responsibly believed not to have been made public. Therefore, uncertainty and mystery still exist concerning the third secret (as of 2012).
4. The great Miracle of the Sun at Fatima on October 13, 1917, and predicted by the Virgin Mary, was witnessed by 70,000 people.
5. The early deaths of Francisco and Jacinta due to influenza.
6. The life of Lucia as a cloistered nun, which included subsequent apparitions to her by the Virgin Mary. Our Lady requested that the pope consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with the Catholic bishops of the world.
7. The rise of Communism and its manifold evils as predicted by the Virgin Mary.
8. World War II as predicted by the Virgin Mary
9. Although there is controversy, pro and con, as to whether or not the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has been made according to the criteria requested by Heaven through Lucia of Fatima, the evidence weighs heavily on the side that the Consecration has not been made according to the instructions from Heaven by any Pope to date (2012). Russia has not been converted, and will soon lead a great Tribulation of Communism throughout the world as has been revealed by Our Lady at San Sebastian de Garabandal (1961-1965).
Note: The Consecration of Russia according to Heaven’s instructions will take place in the future after much tribulation, death and destruction in the world. See the section under the button “Garabandal.” Then Russia and many other nations will be converted. (This entry is being made in 2012)