Fatima offers hope for saving our families

“A time will come when the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family,” Sr. Lucia wrote. “And those who will work for the good of the family will experience persecution and tribulation. But do not be afraid."

By Maria V. Gallagher

The photograph (above) seems to pierce my very soul, every time I view it. It depicts the three children of Fatima — Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta — looking somberly at the camera. Lucia’s hands are demurely folded before her; Francisco’s arms are positioned boyishly at his side. Jacinta’s hand is on her hip, in a pose which seems to say, “I mean business!” But I am most intrigued by the children’s eyes, which seem to carry so much sorrow and pain.

It was not to the powerful and prestigious of the world, but to these humble children that the Blessed Mother appeared on May 13, 1917, in the Portuguese town of Fatima. She came bearing some key requests: that the children would offer their sufferings for poor sinners, and that they would recite a daily Rosary. “Say the Rosary every day,” Our Lady of Fatima told the children, “to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.”

Our Lady also asked the children to come back to the apparition site at the same hour on the 13th day of the month for a period of months. And so began a series of apparitions which would rock the world, culminating with the “miracle of the sun” on Oct. 13, 1917. On that incredible day, a crowd of about 70,000 people looked on as the sun seemed as if it was spinning and dancing before them. 

Faith and family 
But the message of Fatima goes far beyond amazing visual effects and miraculous visions. It is a call for peace that resonates beyond Our Lady’s 1917 appearances to our own time, when we face new, heightened threats to the peaceful existence of the family.

In an interview with the religious news website Aleteia a century after the Fatima apparitions, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra spoke of Lucia’s prescient message to him, delivered in a note written in the early 1980s. 

“Father, a time will come when the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family,” the letter said. “And those who will work for the good of the family will experience persecution and tribulation. But do not be afraid, because Our Lady has already crushed his head.”

As a lay person working full-time in the pro-life movement, I can attest to the tremendous attacks that are being waged on the family. While we praise God for the overturn of the tragic 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade last year, fresh assaults on human life have been launched. 

Some states, including Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Minnesota, have enacted laws that permit abortion during all nine months of pregnancy; meanwhile, California, Michigan, and Vermont have passed Constitutional Amendments that have the same tragic effect.  

Campaigns continue to legalize “assisted suicide,” a desperate practice where doctors prescribe drugs to people to end their lives. Mass shootings and youth violence demonstrate a profound and deeply troubling lack of respect for human life.

The Immaculate Heart 
But we are not powerless in the face of such darkness. In the midst of our grief, we can turn to Our Lady for support, solace, and hope. A strong antidote to the culture of death is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Joyful encounters with the Blessed Mother can definitely deepen our charitable tendencies. We look to her for inspiration and as a model of tireless self-giving. When we consider the sacrifice that Mary made in order to assist her cousin Elizabeth, we are more likely to give of ourselves to other people.

When we reach out in love to pregnant mothers, the frail elderly, and people with disabilities, we help to mend the safety net of the family, renewing the culture of life in the process. Our prayers, coupled with practical actions, can lead to the triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart and to a civilization of peace, where Our Lady’s message is heeded and the prayers of the visionaries of Fatima are answered in a spectacular way.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us! 


You might also like...

On Dec. 8, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (a Holy Day of Obligation), God’s greatest act of mercy for any human being — God preserved Mary, His mother, from inheriting any stain of original sin.

"In a fit of madness, I started running," Br. Josh, MIC, recalls. But when his brother seminarians suggest training for a marathon, thoughts of horrible suffering and misery blazed through his mind...

Brother Josh, MIC, sat down quietly on his bed and prayed, “If you want, Beloved, I would run an ultramarathon for you.” Then, he forgot about his off-the-cuff prayer.