The Story of Fatima, by Father Joseph Cacella

detail of a stained-glass window showing the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima; date and artist unknown; Saint Lawrence Martyr Church, Linha Imperial, Nova Petropolis, Brazil; photographed on 27 April 2013 by Eugenio Hansen, OFS; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsPlace: Fatima, Portugal

Participants: An Angel, Lucy and her cousins, Francis and Jacinta.

The beginning of the wonderful story of Fatima goes back to the second year of World War I (1914-1918).

And these wondrous events to be related herein occurred in a place adjacent to the village of Fatima in the diocese of Leiria, Portugal, about 60 miles distant from Lisbon. Here lived three little children: Lucy, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta, the Future Seers of Fatima.

It is 1916, and the world is in the throes of World War I. It was a war of devastation, destruction and death. The sins of a modern world had become too great and had provoked Divine Justice. But Mary, Our Mother, moved with pity, interceded with her Divine Son. She deigned to visit this war-stricken world, to admonish and warn it that it must return to God.

Angelic Reparation

Ever solicitous for the welfare of her earthly children, Mary wished to prepare the way for her apparitions by sending an Angel to the scene that she had elected to visit. The intended scene of her visitations was Fatima. Thus, in the second year of the first World War, the future Seers of Fatima were attending to the sheep of their parents on a nearby hill called Cabego. They could neither read nor write, but they knew their prayers through the constant teachings of truly Christian parents.

On this spring day as the noon-day Angelus bell tolled, they knelt, as was their custom, and recited the Rosary. A violent gust of wind caused them to raise their heads, and they beheld a beautiful white cloud approaching. Suddenly it assumed a human form, resembling a statue of snow, which the sun made transparent, like crystal. As the form drew nearer, the children recognized it to be a young man of superhuman beauty. It was the Angel of Peace – the advance guard of Our Blessed Mother’s apparitions with her Message to the world.

The Angel calmed the frightened children, telling them not to be afraid: “I am the Angel of Peace”, he said, “Pray with me.” Then kneeling, he placed his forehead on the ground, repeating the following prayer three times: “MY GOD I BELIEVE, I HOPE, I LOVE THEE. I ASK PARDON FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE, NOR ADORE, NOR HOPE, NOR LOVE THEE.”

Rising the Angel said: “PRAY THUS, THE MOST HOLY HEARTS OF JESUS AND MARY WILL ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BE TOUCHED BY YOUR PRAYERS.” The Angel then disappeared.

Subject to a supernatural impulse, the children imitated the Angel, and repeated the words that they had heard him say. So impressed were they, that they remained prostrated in prayer for many hours. This apparition was kept a strict secret by the children. It remained a secret until it was revealed by Sister Lucy a few years ago.

Second Angelic Apparition

In July or August of 1916, as the three shepherd children were playing near the well in Lucy’s Garden, the Angel suddenly appeared to them saying: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? PRAY, PRAY MUCH! THE HOLY HEARTS OF JESUS AND MARY HAVE DESIGNS OF MERCY ON YOU… CONTINUALLY OFFER UP PRAYERS AND SACRIFICES TO THE LORD.”

Lucy then asked the Angel how they would make sacrifices, to which he replied: “YOU CAN MAKE SACRIFICES OF ALL THINGS. OFFER THEM IN REPARATION FOR ALL THE SINS THAT OFFEND GOD, AND BEG OF HIM THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS. IN THIS WAY, TRY TO DRAW DOWN PEACE UPON YOUR COUNTRY. I AM ITS GUARDIAN ANGEL, THE ANGEL OF PORTUGAL, ABOVE ALL, ACCEPT AND BEAR ALL THE SUFFERINGS WHICH THE LORD WILL WISH TO SEND TO YOU.”

The Angel then disappeared. From that moment, Lucy, Francis and Jacinta undertook to offer to the Lord all that they could suffer for His sake. Their favorite penance was to remain prostrated for hours, repeating the Prayer of the Angel.

Third Angelic Apparition

A few months later, probably about the end of September or the beginning of October, the three shepherds were tending their flock at the foot of the Cabego hill. Having partaken of a modest lunch. They started to say the Rosary, and repeat the Angel’s prayer. Suddenly they found themselves surrounded by a wonderful brightness, and the Angel appeared to them for the third time.

The Angel held in his hand a Chalice, above which was a Host. From the Host drops of blood were flowing. Leaving the Chalice, and Host mysteriously suspended in the air, the Angel knelt beside the children and made them repeat the following prayer three times.” “MOST HOLY TRINITY, FATHER, SON, AND HOLY GHOST, I ADORE YOU PROFOUNDLY! I OFFER YOU THE MOST PRECIOUS BODY AND BLOOD, SOUL AND DIVINITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, PRESENT IN ALL TABERNACLES OF THE WORLD, IN REPARATION FOR ALL THE OUTRAGES WHEREWITH HE HIMSELF IS OFFENDED, THROUGH THE INFINITE MERITS OF HIS SACRED HEART, AND THE INTERCESSION OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY, GRANT ME THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS.”

Rising the Angel gave the Host to Lucy, and the contents of the Chalice he divided between Francis and Jacinta, saying: “RECEIVE THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST, CRUELLY OUTRAGED BY UNGRATEFUL MEN, ATONE FOR THEIR CRIMES AND CONSOLE YOUR GOD.”

Prostrating himself on the ground, the Angel repeated the prayer: “MOST HOLY TRINITY, ETC.” The children remained prostrated, the Angel having disappeared, and continued to repeat over and over again the Angel’s prayer. It was Francis that first recovered from the ecstasy. Realizing that evening was fast approaching, the children decided to return home. And deep in their hearts they kept these events a sacred secret.

It is evident that these angelic apparitions were but an orientation and preparation for the great and wondrous events that were to follow in the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. Assuredly they directed the three children in prayer against future assaults of that impious modernistic movement – communism – which professes “not to believe, nor adore, nor hope, nor love.”

THE APPARITIONS OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA

Place: Fatima, Portugal

Participants: A Beautiful Lady from Heaven, Lucy and her cousins, Francis and Jacinta

The Facts

The events just related occurred during the second year of World War I. As the world struggled through a third year of devastation, destruction and death, His Holiness Pope Benedict XV issued an earnest appeal for a world crusade of prayer to Our Blessed Mother. The appeal was issued on 5 May 1917. Heaven heard and answered this appeal in a truly wonderful manner, just eight days after it was issued.

First Apparition

It is noonday, 13 May 1917. The three shepherd children, Lucy, Francis and Jacinta, were tending their parents flocks at the Cova da Iria, Fatima, and had just completed reciting their Rosary as was their daily custom, learned through the teaching and training of truly Christian parents, when sudden flashes of lightning gave indications of a storm. The children prepared to shelter the sheep in a nearby cave. Suddenly, another flash of lightning, brighter than the first brought them to a standstill, frightened and trembling. On the foliage of an evergreen oak tree there appeared a “Beautiful Lady”, all luminous and more resplendent than the sun. With a gesture of motherly kindness she assured: “FEAR NOT, I COME FROM HEAVEN, COME HERE ON THE 13TH OF EACH MONTH, IN OCTOBER I WILL TELL YOU WHO I AM AND WHAT I WANT. CONTINUE TO SAY YOUR ROSARY DEVOUTLY AS YOU HAVE JUST DONE.”

The “Beautiful Lady” – Our Blessed Mother – Our Lady of Fatima, insisted on the recitation of the Rosary. She even instructed the three shepherd children on how to say the Rosary properly. The Rosary is very dear to the Heart of Mary.

Second Apparition

13 June 1917 – The Beautiful Lady again appeared to the children as she had promised. She asked them to return on July 13, and again insisted on the recitation of the Rosary every day. She revealed that she would soon take Francis and Jacinta, but that Lucy would have to remain longer on earth and God would use her to establish the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary throughout the world.

As before, the Heavenly Lady extended her hands and brilliant rays shone forth from them. In front of her, to the right, the children saw a heart surrounded with thorns, and they understood that the Immaculate Heart of Mary was demanding penance and reparation. The apparition lasted about ten minutes, when the Lady disappeared.

Third Apparition

13 July 1917 – The Heavenly Vision appeared for the third time to the children, at the appointed time and place. Again for the third time she insisted on the recitation of the Rosary every day, saying: “YOU MUST RECITE .. THE ROSARY EVERY.. DAY.”

“CONTINUE TO COME EVERY MONTH, IN OCTOBER I’LL TELL YOU WHO I AM AND WHAT I WANT, AND I SHALL PERFORM A GREAT MIRACLE SO THAT THE WHOLE WORLD MAY BELIEVE YOU.”

Our Lady then confided a secret to them, a part of which Lucy, now a Carmelite Nun has revealed, and which concerns the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Continuing the Beautiful Lady said: “WHEN MAKING SACRIFICES YOU MUST SAY, OH JESUS, IT IS FOR LOVE OF YOU, AND IN REPARATION FOR THE OFFENSES COMMITTED AGAINST THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY.'”

The Lady from Heaven then opened her hands and a great ray of light seemed to pierce the ground. The children beheld a great fire, in which were plunged black and burning demons and souls in human form, resembling live, transparent coals. Lifted up into the air by the flames, the demons and souls fell back on all sides, like sparks in a conflagration, with neither weight nor balance. The children could hear their screams of pain and despair, which made them shudder. The devils were distinguished from human beings by their forms of horrifying and disgusting animals.

The three children were terrified by the vision of hell, and they would have probably died of horror had they not already been assured by the Lady that they were going to heaven. After the vision of hell, the Lady revealed to the children a secret, a part of which is as follows: “YOU HAVE SEEN HELL WHERE SOULS OF POOR SINNERS GO. TO SAVE SINNERS, OUR LORD WISHES TO ESTABLISH IN THE WORLD DEVOTION TO MY IMMACULATE HEART. IF THEY DO WHAT I TELL YOU, MANY SOULS WILL BE SAVED AND THERE WILL BE PEACE.”

Then the Lady from Heaven, continued: “THE WAR IS ALMOST OVER (World War I). BUT IF PEOPLE DO NOT STOP OFFENDING GOD, ANOTHER WAR, FAR WORSE THAN THIS ONE, WILL OCCUR DURING THE NEXT PONTIFICATE.

“WHEN YOU SEE A NIGHT LIGHTED UP BY A BRILLIANT UNKNOWN LIGHT, YOU WILL KNOW THAT THIS IS THE PUNISHMENT OF THE WORLD BY WAR, FAMINE, AND PERSECUTIONS AGAINST THE CHURCH AND THE HOLY FATHER IS AT HAND.

“TO PREVENT THIS, I SHALL COME TO ASK, FIRST, FOR THE CONSECRATION OF RUSSIA TO MY IMMACULATE HEART, AND, SECOND, TO ASK FOR HOLY COMMUNIONS ON THE FIRST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH IN REPARATION FOR SIN….

“IF THE WORLD WILL LISTEN TO MY REQUESTS, RUSSIA WILL BE CONVERTED AND THERE WILL BE PEACE. IF NOT, ERRORS WELL BE DISSEMINATED OVER THE WORLD, CAUSING WARS AND PERSECUTIONS AGAINST THE CHURCH. MANY GOOD PEOPLE WILL BECOME MARTYRS ; THE HOLY FATHER WILL HAVE MUCH TO SUFFER; SEVERAL NATIONS WILL BE WIPED OUT.

“BUT, FINALLY MY IMMACULATE HEART WILL TRIUMPH, RUSSIA WILL BE CONVERTED AND AN ERA OF PEACE WILL BE CONCEDED TO HUMANITY.”

She cautioned the children to keep these matters a secret, and said: “WHEN YOU RECITE THE ROSARY, SAY AT THE END OF EACH DECADE: “O MY JESUS FORGIVE US OUR SINS, PRESERVE US FROM THE FIRE OF HELL, AND BRING ALL SOULS TO HEAVEN, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHICH MOST NEED YOUR HELP.” Then the Heavenly Lady disappeared.

The Frustrated Apparition

The news of these heavenly visits to the children was being spoken of publicly. The Civil Administrator of Ourem definitely anti-clerical, caused the three children to be kidnapped, and kept them imprisoned till after the date set for the next apparition – August 12. Even under the threat of tortures and death in boiling oil, the children refused to reveal the secret confided to them by the Lady from Heaven.

Meanwhile, an assemblage of people, estimated at eighteen thousand, had gathered at Cova da Iria, the scene of the expected apparition. While there, their attention was drawn to a white cloud usually seen at the other apparitions. It waited a little while and then disappeared. The assemblage, hearing of the kidnapping and imprisonment, was indignant. Defeated in his purpose, the Administrator was forced to release the children.

The Fourth Apparition

The little Seers did not expect to see the Lady from Heaven until the following month. They were sad and disappointed not to have been able to keep their appointment. They returned to tending their flock. On Sunday, 18 August 1917, they were caring for the sheep at Valinhos.

Suddenly she appeared to them and complained of the action of the civil authorities, stating that the miracle planned for October 13 would be less spectacular on that account. She exhorted the children to recite the Rosary every day and to keep their appointments for the following months.

Continuing to urge the children to practice prayer and penance, the Blessed Lady said: “PRAY, PRAY VERY MUCH, MAKE SACRIFICES FOR SINNERS, REMEMBER THAT MANY SOULS ARE LOST BECAUSE THERE IS NO ONE TO PRAY AND MAKE SACRIFICES FOR THEM.”

The Fifth Apparition

13 September 1917. Again the Lady from Heaven insisted on the daily recitation of the Rosary. She renewed her promise to work a great miracle on October 13. She said that Saint Joseph and the Infant Jesus would be there too, and that Our Lord would bless the world. The Lady from Heaven added that the Blessed Mother would also appear as Our Lady of the Dolors and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This was the shortest conversation held during the apparitions. The Lady, having completed her mission, departed.

A Vicar General was present incognito at this apparition. He saw the white cloud that heralded the arrival of the Lady from Heaven; also the miracle in the form of a shower of white flowers, which, on coming near the earth, vanished without touching it. A repetition of this miracle at a later date was seen by the Bishop of Leiria.

The Sixth Apparition

As was to be expected, news of the miracle announced for the sixth and final apparition of Our Lady on October 13, 1917, caused a flurry of excitement all over Portugal. For days before, all roads and byways were thronged with people using all modes of conveyance, while crowds of people traveled on foot. Over 70,000 persons were gathered at Fatima on 13 October 1917, to see the fulfillment of the Beautiful Lady’s promise to work a stupendous miracle. The great day dawned disappointingly. It was raining. The day was cold and dismal. Yet, the assembled Crowd was not to be dismayed. The Rosary was continually recited. There was an attitude of sacrifice and piety.

Shortly before noon the children arrived, dressed in their best clothing. Noticing that the crowd was using umbrellas, Lucy cried out: “Put down your umbrellas.” Why she said this, to this day, she does not know. Looking up to the sky she said: “She is coming.”

For the sixth and final time at Fatima, the Beautiful Lady appeared to the three shepherd children.

“I Am the Lady of the Rosary”

As soon as the Beautiful Lady, appeared, Lucy asked her whom she was and what did she want: “I AM THE LADY OF THE ROSARY”, she answered. And again, as in the other apparitions, she insisted on the daily recitation of the Rosary.

Giving the Message of Penance, the “LADY OF THE ROSARY” said: “MEN MUST AMEND THEIR LIVES, AND ASK PARDON FOR THEIR SINS, MEN MUST NO LONGER OFFEND OUR LORD WHO IS ALREADY TOO MUCH OFFENDED.”

The Lady of the Rosary indicated her desire that a Chapel be built in her honor at Fatima.

The Great Miracle – The Solar Prodigy

13 October 1917. As the apparition was about to end Our Lady of the Rosary pointed to the heavens. Lucy cried out: “Look at the sun”. Seventy thousand pilgrims raised their eyes to look at the sky. As if by magic, the rain ceased and the sky became dear and blue. The sun shone forth in all its brilliance, dazzling the perplexed pilgrims. Our Lady of Fatima was about to fulfill her promise. The SOLAR PRODIGY was on. The sun trembles, shakes, makes abrupt movements and then starts to spin giddily on its axis, like a wheel of fire.

As the sun spun on its axis, huge shafts of multi-colored rays of light – blue, red, green, violet – beamed – on the upturned faces of the multitude, and on the rocks and trees, giving a fantastic tint to the surroundings.

The spectacular feat, which lasted four minutes, held the assemblage spellbound. It eased as suddenly as it had begun, as if to give the crowd a rest. Again for a second and third time the sun repeated this extraordinary performance, which was also witnessed by persons located as far as twenty-five miles distant.

This wonderful miracle had disposed the hearts of those who had witnessed it to greater fervor and devotion. Yet, the miracle was far from over – the culminating point of this great spectacle was about to come.

In the midst of this fantastic and spectacular dance of light and color, the sun left its place in the firmament, tumbled from side to side, and plummeted toward the earth and the assembled pilgrims, emitting increasing rays of heat. Finally it stopped short in its fall and climbed back to its place in the sky, zig-zagging, as when it had descended, and resumed its normal brilliance.

Cries of faith and repentance were heard on every side, as the terrified throng thought that the end of the world was nigh. Cries of: “GOD, MV GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME.” were heard, while others on bended knees implored God for forgiveness of their sins.

The Multiple Vision

Meanwhile, as the pilgrims were being entranced by the great miracle of the Solar Prodigy, the three shepherd children, Lucy, Francis and Jacinta were witnessing a multiple vision. This multiple vision took place near the sun, as it was performing its spectacular feat, a feat which was not recorded in any observatory and was not therefore of the natural order.

The first of these visions witnessed by the children of Fatima was a distinct representation of the Holy Family, Our Lady was garbed in white with a mantle of blue; Saint Joseph in white, held the Child Jesus, dressed in bright red, on his arm.

Lucy alone saw the next vision of Our Lady of Sorrows without the sword in her breast, and beside her stood her Divine Son. With a look of pity on His Countenance, He raised His hand to bless the world.

Next, Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, crowned as Queen of Heaven. On her knee was the infant Jesus.

Here we might ask the question: Why did Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Rosary, appear under these aspects in the multiple vision. We may answer that she wished to impress more deeply on the minds of the faithful the mysteries of the Rosary. The scene of the Holy Family recalls the Joyful Mysteries. The scene of Our Lady of Sorrows represents the Sorrowful Mysteries, whereas Our Lady of Mount Carmel reminds us of the Glorious Mysteries.

Recapitulation

The Beautiful Lady – Our Blessed Mother – Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, had fulfilled her promise. She had returned on 13 October 1917; she had told her name – “I AM THE LADY OF THE ROSARY”; she had delivered her Message – “PENANCE, DAILY ROSARY, and DEVOTION TO HER IMMACULATE HEART”; and she had confirmed her message by an outstanding and stupendous miracle before a multitude of 70,000 persons.

Let us recall the various parts of the three fold Message of Our Lady of Fatima: PENANCE: “MEN MUST NO LONGER OFFEND OUR LORD WHO IS ALREADY TOO MUCH OFFENDED . . . MEN MUST AMEND THEIR LIVES AND ASK PARDON FOR THEIR SINS.”

DAILY ROSARY: “I AM THE LADY OF THE ROSARY . . . YOU MUST RECITE THE ROSARY EVERY DAY.”

IMMACULATE HEART DEVOTION: “OUR LORD WISHES THAT THE DEVOTION TO MY IMMACULATE HEART BE ESTABLISHED IN THE WORLD … I SHALL COME TO ASK FOR THE CONSECRATION OF. RUSSIA TO MY IMMACULATE HEART AND OF REPARATION ON THE FIRST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH, IF MY REQUESTS ARE GRANTED RUSSIA WILL BE CONVERTED AND THERE WILL BE PEACE …”

Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Fatima, continued: “OTHERWISE, AN IMPIOUS PROPAGANDA WILL SPREAD ITS ERRORS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, RAISING UP WARS AND PERSECUTIONS AGAINST THE CHURCH, MANY WILL BE MARTYRED, THE HOLY FATHER WILL HAVE TO SUFFER MUCH, SEVERAL NATIONS WILL BE WIPED OUT . . . BUT IN THE END MY IMMACULATE HEART WILL TRIUMPH.”

The Triumph Of The Immaculate Heart Of Mary

WHEN WILL THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY TRIUMPH? Sister Lucy answers that question thus: “WHEN A SUFFICIENT NUMBER IS MAKING SACRIFICES AND COMPLYING WITH THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA.”

WHAT ARE THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS? They are threefold: PENANCE DAILY ROSARY, AND DEVOTION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY.

PENANCE: An amendment of life by way of fidelity to daily duty – offering of sacrifice.

ROSARY: Daily recitation of the Rosary, especially the Family Rosary.

DEVOTION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY: Personal Consecration and Communion of Reparation on the first Saturday of the month.

The Great Promise

Associated with the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the devotion of FIVE FIRST SATURDAYS. To those who will practice this devotion Our Lady has made what is known as the GREAT PROMISE, as follows:

“MY CHILD, BEHOLD MY HEART SURROUNDED WITH THE THORNS WHICH UNGRATEFUL MEN PLACE THEREIN AT EVERY MOMENT, BY THEIR BLASPHEMIES AND INGRATITUDE, YOU, AT LEAST TRY TO CONSOLE ME AND TELL THEM THAT I PROMISE TO HELP AT THE HOUR OF DEATH, WITH THE GRACES NECESSARY FOR SALVATION, WHOEVER, ON THE FIRST SATURDAY OF FIVE CONSECUTIVE MONTHS, SHALL CONFESS AND RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION, RECITE FIVE DECADES OF THE ROSARY AND KEEP ME COMPANY FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES WHILE MEDITATING ON THE MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY, WITH THE INTENTION OF MAKING REPARATION TO ME.”

Conditions For Making The Five First Saturdays

1. CONFESSION. Confession may be made eight days prior to or after the First Saturday, provided that Holy Communion is received in the state of grace.

2. COMMUNION. Holy Communion to be received on the first Saturday of five consecutive months.

3. ROSARY. Recitation of five decades of the Rosary.

4. MEDITATION. Meditation on one, several or all of the Mysteries of the Rosary for a period of at least fifteen minutes’ duration.

5. All these exercises must be offered up with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

– text taken from the book The Story of Fatima, by Father Joseph Cacella, 1949; it is dedicated to and has the Imprimatur of Cardinal Francis Spellman, Archdiocese of New York, New York