May 13th of this year will mark the 100th anniversary of our Lady’s first appearance to the shepherd children in Fatima.
Many are expecting something momentous to occur on that day.
What Happened in Fatima in 1917?
The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on 1917 to three Portuguese children: Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. From May 13th to October 13th she appeared six times in the little village of Fatima, Portugal.
World War I or The Great War as it was known at the time, was ongoing, leaving devastation across Europe. Our Lady of Fatima came at this pivotal time telling the children that peace was possible if people would heed her warnings.
Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta were reared in faithful Catholic homes, in a town that remained faithful to the Church amidst persecution from the government. Lucia de Jesus Santos was the youngest of seven children. Her first cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, likewise were devout children from a large family. Through the apparitions of our Lady, the children grew in holiness and wisdom that belied their young age.
Francisco and Jacinta both died a few years later, as our Lady had informed them, while Lucia lived to be 97 years old. Pope Francis will canonize Jacinta and Francisco on May 13th, 2017, in Fatima on the 100th anniversary of the apparitions.
The Miracle of the Sun occurred on October 13th, 1917, witnessed by 70,000 people. Our Lady of Fatima had told the children of the date and place it would occur.
All could look directly at the sun without any injury to their eyes. The sun grew in size, shrunk, rotated and spun, looking as if it were dancing. Even non-Catholics and unbelievers witnessed their miracles, and many immediately were converted to God and asked for forgiveness for their sins.
The Church through the local bishop declared the apparitions worthy of belief in October of 1930.
Fatima at 100 Years
Our Lady called for the consecration of Russia, with the hope that Russia would not spread her errors around the world. Note that the (Communist) Russian Revolution occurred also in 1917 around the same time period as the Marian apparitions.
The decades after 1917 in the twentieth century witnessed unspeakable evils: atheistic Communism, World War I, Nazism, World War II, nuclear bombs, the Cold War, the sexual revolution, and along with it the widespread loss of faith to secularism and the weakening of the Church.
Now, the one hundred year period is ending. Could this also mean, at long last, a renewal and restoration in the Church, and through her, in the world at large?
We see signs of such life here and there, but from a human, natural perspective we don’t seem on the precipice of such a pivot. It will take a supernatural event or movement.
What Can We Do?
Fortunately, our Lord had made it simple for us: we are called to pray.
In particular, we can pray the Novena to Our Lady of Fatima beginning May 4. This novena is even more powerful on this anniversary as millions will be praying it together.
Join your heart with theirs, lifted up to God for the great need the world is in of conversion and salvation in Christ.
Will we see a miraculous event? I can’t say. Our Lord alone knows. But I will pray that His will be done!