Our Lady of Fatima's message resonates, 105 years on

By Kimberly Bruce

May 13, 2022, marks the 105th anniversary of Our Lady's first apparition at Fatima.

My first exposure to Our Lady of Fatima was as a young girl when I read a book about the Blessed Virgin's apparitions there in 1917 to three shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. Reading that book convinced me that Our Lady had appeared there and solidified to me the reality that future visions of the Virgin Mary could occur, as well, if willed by God.

The realization that God had sent His mother to earth only heightened my awareness of God's great love for His children. Not only did He send His only Divine Son to die for us, but He was continuing to reach out to His people through the loving, motherly presence of the sweet Virgin Mary. Through Our Lady, He was displaying His greatest attribute, mercy, in continuing to seek out the lost, the lonely, the misguided, and by comforting the faithful.


Three secrets

In these Church-approved Marian apparitions, beginning on May 13, 1917, in Portugal, and continuing monthly through Oct. 13, 1917, the Virgin declared herself the "Lady of the Rosary." Through Fatima, I became aware of the significant intercessory power of the Virgin Mary's prayers for us before God, particularly through our saying of the Rosary. Through the Rosary, the Virgin promised peace would come to the world and an end to World War I.

The Virgin proceeded, as well, to give the visionaries, aged 6, 8, and 9, three secrets during these apparitions. The first secret shown to the children was of Hell and the souls languishing there. The second secret was a prediction of a second world war that would begin during the reign of Pope Pius XI.

The third secret revealed that Russia would spread her errors throughout the world unless the Holy Father consecrated that country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. If not, the Virgin stated, "The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated." (Pope John Paul II made the consecration in 1984, and Pope Francis, most recently, made the consecration on March 25, 2022.)

Even if this asked-for consecration would come late, our Lady said, still, "In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph." The Virgin revealed to Lucia that, as the last remaining of the three visionaries to die upon earth (Francisco and Jacinta passed away in 1919 and 1920, respectively), the responsibility for spreading the devotion to Mary's Immaculate Heart in the Church would fall to her.


Reparation for sins

Our Lady also asked at Fatima for reparation for sins, outrages, and blasphemies committed against her Immaculate Heart. This could be accomplished by praying the Rosary and by attending First Saturday devotions. The First Saturday devotions include going to Confession, receiving the Eucharist, praying the Rosary, and meditating for 15 minutes on one or more of the mysteries of the Rosary on the first Saturday of five consecutive months. Later, our Lord declared that Confession could take place on another day, provided one received Holy Communion in a state of grace.

What exactly are sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary? In 1930, our Lord explained these to Sr. Lucia, the same Fatima child visionary who had subsequently become a nun. Sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, he said, involve:

(1) Those who deny the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mother

(2) Those who deny Our Lady's virginity

(3) Those who deny Our Lady's Divine Maternity and role as Mother of all of Mankind

(4) Those who cause children to have indifference, contempt, or hatred towards Our Lady

(5) Those who commit outrages against holy images of Our Lady

Our Lady, too, promised assistance at death to those who would make the Five First Saturday devotions. She urged all, as well, to pray constantly for the conversion of sinners. Before he became Pope Benedict XVI, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said that the central message of Fatima is what the Church has always taught: prayer, penance, and conversion.


First Saturday devotions

The Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception help their Marian Helpers association members in the practice of these First Saturday devotions. On the First Saturday of each month, they livestream the Rosary, prayers, and reflections here on TheDivineMercy.org from the National Shrine of Divine Mercy. They invite all to join in, saying, "Together we will respond wholeheartedly to the requests of Jesus and Mary to repair for the sins of the world with prayer and penance for the conversion of sinners and for peace throughout the world."

If you would like to learn more about the Blessed Mother and/or deepen your devotion to Our Lady, the Marians have a Thirteenth of the Month Club, in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, in which members benefit from the reciprocal prayers of other club members and priests and receive a monthly newsletter. To learn more, visitmarian.org/13th.

May we remember to thank our Lord for the generous gift to us of His mother and for allowing her to come to us at Fatima. Through Fatima, Our Lady continues to invite us to renewed hope, to deeper conversion of our hearts to Christ, and to remind us of her loving intercession before her Son for all our needs and prayers.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Photo by Portuguese Gravity on Unsplash


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