Fatima: The Ninety-Ninth Anniversary of the Miraculous Miracle of the Sun

The Visionaries — Jacinta, 6, Francisco, 8, and Lucia, 9

By Jean M. Heimann

On Sunday in October 13, 1917, at midday, a crowd of approximately 100,000 spectators gathered on a rainy day in a wet, soggy field to witness the miracle that was about to take place. The people had gathered there because three shepherd children had predicted that at high noon Our Lady who had appeared to them several times would perform a great miracle in a field near Fatima, Portugal called Cova da Iria.

“Silence, Silence, Our Lady is coming!” Lucia shouted out, over the din of the crowd, as she saw the bright flash of light in the sky over the holm oak tree. Everyone grew quiet; a holy hush came over the crowd as they instantly fell to their knees. It was as if there was an electrically charged current running through the crowd, as they waited in eager anticipation of the miraculous appearance of the Mother of God.

Suddenly, she appeared. Our Lady was dressed all in white with brilliant beams of bright light emanating from her. She rested her luminous white feet upon the small evergreen tree, adorned with flowers and ribbons.

Lucia asked: “What does Your Grace wish of me?”

Our Lady answered: “I wish to tell you that I want a chapel built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue to pray the rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.”

Lucia: “I have many things to ask you: if you would cure some sick persons, and if you would convert some sinners…”

Our Lady: “Some yes, others no. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.” Growing gloomier, she added, “Let them offend Our Lord no more for He is already much offended.”

Then, as Our Lady opened her hands, they began glowing, and as she stood up, her own radiant rays bonded with the bright blaze of the sun.

At that moment, Lucia cried out, “Look at the sun!”

Once Our Lady had vanished, three visions followed in succession, which symbolized the joyful, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries. Lucia alone viewed all three visions; Francisco and Jacinta saw only the first.

First, Saint Joseph appeared by the sun with the Child Jesus and Our Lady of the Rosary. It was the Holy Family. The Virgin was dressed in white with a blue mantle. Saint Joseph was also dressed in white, and the Child Jesus in light red. Saint Joseph blessed the crowd, making the Sign of the Cross three times. The Child Jesus did the same.

Second, there was a vision of Our Lady of Sorrows and of Our Lord overwhelmed with sorrow on the way to Calvary. Our Lord made the Sign of the Cross to bless the people.

Finally, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, crowned queen of heaven and earth, appeared in a glorious vision holding the Child Jesus near her heart.

While these three visions transpired, the crowd of 70,000 spectators witnessed the miracle of the sun. It had rained throughout the apparition. At the end of the discussion between Our Lady and Lucia –Lucia cried out, “Look at the sun!”

The crowd stood up and looked up at the sky, entranced by an amazing array of visions. The clouds parted, exposing the sun as an enormous silver disc, shining with extreme intensity. Then, the huge disk started to “dance.” The sun spun swiftly like a revolving ball of fire. Then it stopped abruptly for a moment, only to start spinning again. Its outer edges turned scarlet red; spinning, it scattered its fiery flames across the sky. The reflection of the flames changed the colors of everything around them– the trees, the people, the earth, and even the air.  Shimmering shades of yellow, blue, and white colors painted the environment. Finally, the ball of fire trembled, shook, and then plunged in a zigzag pattern toward the terrified crowd.

Fearing that this was the end of the world, the people dropped to their knees and cried out in unison, weeping and praying, begging God to have mercy on them.

All this lasted about ten minutes. Finally, the sun zigzagged back to its original spot in the sky and returned to normal.

Surprisingly, people noticed that their clothes, soaking wet from the rain, had dried.

The miracle of the sun was also seen by several witnesses up to twenty-five miles away from the apparition site.

The Portugal news and other newspapers at that time reported the miraculous event.

On October 13, 1930 at the Cova da Iria, before a crowd of over 100,000 pilgrims, the Bishop of Leiria read his pastoral letter which ended with the following declaration:

“We deem it well: 1. to declare worthy of belief the vision of the shepherds at the Cova da Iria, in the Parish of Fatima, of this Diocese, on the thirteenth day of the months from May to October, 1917; 2. to give official permission for the cult of Our Lady of Fatima.”

What does our Lady ask of us today?  She continues to plead with us to pray the Rosary daily. The Rosary is one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal for spiritual warfare. It is a grace-filled contemplative prayer that aids us in bringing about a more fruitful spiritual life for not only for our own souls, but for the souls of others. It is a powerful way to bring souls to conversion. Some of the most hardened sinners will turn back to God when we pray the Rosary, asking for Our Lady’s intercession. Praying the Rosary is one of the most effective ways of putting an end to the greatest evils of our time.

The True Story of Fatima: A Complete Account of the Fatima Apparitions

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23 Responses to Fatima: The Ninety-Ninth Anniversary of the Miraculous Miracle of the Sun

  1. Roger says:

    Thank you.
    Fatima is unprecedented in History a miracle fortold to occur on a specific date.
    A very hostile crowd and adverse Press in an Anti clerical Republic.
    Fatima a Sign Of Contradiction.

    May 5, 2004 — the Feast of Pope Saint Pius V — the Little Chapel of the Apparitions at Fatima was allowed to be used for a pagan Hindu ceremony. This Little Chapel (also called the Capelinha) is built on the site where Our Blessed Mother appeared to the 3 children of Fatima in 1917.
    News of the Hindu worship service at Fatima was broadcast on May 5 on SIC, a national television station in Portugal. CFN spoke with two people in Portugal, independent from one another, who saw the televised newscast. The May 22 Portugal News also reported on the event.
    According to the broadcast, a busload of Hindus were allowed to commandeer the sanctuary inside the Fatima Capelinha and to use the Catholic altar for their rituals. The SIC newscaster said, “This is an unprecedented unique moment in the history of the shrine. The Hindu priest, or Sha Tri, prays on the altar the Shaniti Pa, the prayer for peace.”
    The outrage occurred with the blessing of Shrine Rector Msgr. Guerra.

  2. Toad says:

    “A very hostile crowd and adverse Press in an Anti clerical Republic.”
    I doubt if the crowd was “very hostile.” Hostile people wouldn’t bother to show up.
    I suspect the vast majority of them came hoping, and indeed eager, to see a miracle, and they went away happy. it seems.
    The press and Government may have been anti-clerical, but clearly no attempt was made to prevent or threaten the proceedings.
    Whether or not the reporting afterwards ( and before) was objective – I don’t know. No doubt Roger does. From the cuttings above, it seems the “adverse press” was decidedly positive about it. all

    “according to the broadcast, a busload of Hindus were allowed to commandeer the sanctuary inside the Fatima Capelinha and to use the Catholic altar for their rituals. … ….The outrage occurred with the blessing of Shrine Rector Msgr. Guerra.”
    In which case, it was not “commandeering” was it?
    What “outrage” did it commit, anyway? None.

  3. JabbaPapa says:

    Hostile people wouldn’t bother to show up

    In fact, Toad, a large number of skeptics eager to try and prove to themselves and others that it was all fake & trickery or “mass hysteria” or whatever turned up on that day among that throng.

    Many of them converted on the spot.

  4. Toad says:

    “Many of them converted on the spot.”
    We will, no doubt, read many accounts from them and similar interested parties, throughout the coming year. I look forward to them.
    Have to wonder, however, how anyone might think it possible to “prove” mass hysteria – anymore than to disprove it..

  5. JabbaPapa says:

    Have to wonder, however, how anyone might think it possible to “prove” mass hysteria

    Well, the obvious method is to organise a group of “hard-headed” anticlerical skeptics to gather at the location of a forthcoming charismatic/spiritual/religious event of extraordinary character, and seek to “debunk” it by “hard-headed” atheist/agnostic testimony — but then if many members of your team spontaneously convert to Catholicism during the event, due to some self-evidently Divine character to it, then it might become a little difficult certainly …🙂

  6. Toad says:

    “Well, the obvious method is to organise a group of “hard-headed” anticlerical skeptics to gather at the location of a forthcoming charismatic/spiritual/religious event of extraordinary character,”
    …And that was done at Fatima, presumably. Who comprised the group – and where can the outcome be read?

  7. Toad says:

    P.S. The fact that it was a “Miraculous Miracle,” almost escaped Toad.
    Well makes all the difference, dunnit?

  8. JabbaPapa says:

    Toad, the editor-in-chief of the atheist & masonic anti-religious newspaper O’Seculo, Avelino de Almeida, who had written a satirical piece mocking the events at Fatima, was one of the men who went there in order to “expose” the “scam”.

    His eye-witness report about October 13th :

    In O Seculo Avelino de Almeida would adopt a very different tone from his earlier satirical article on Fatima:

    “…one could see the immense multitude turn towards the sun, which appeared free from clouds and at its zenith. It looked like a plaque of dull silver and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort. It might have been an eclipse which was taking place. But at that moment a great shout went up and one could hear the spectators nearest at hand shouting: “A miracle! A miracle!” Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was Biblical as they stood bareheaded, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws – the sun “danced” according to the typical expression of the people. …

    “People then began to ask each other what they had seen. The great majority admitted to having seen the trembling and dancing of the sun; others affirmed that they saw the face of the Blessed Virgin; others, again, swore that the sun whirled on itself like a giant Catherine wheel and that it lowered itself to the earth as if to burn it with its rays. Some said they saw it change colours successively. …”

    Other witnesses too, such as Maria Carreira, testified to the terrifying nature of the solar miracle: “It turned everything different colours, yellow, blue, white, and it shook and trembled; it seemed like a wheel of fire which was going to fall on the people. They cried out: ‘We shall all be killed, we shall all be killed!’ … At last the sun stopped moving and we all breathed a sigh of relief. We were still alive and the miracle which the children had foretold had taken place.

    Sespite intense pressure from many atheists who were not there, to change and recant this story, he utterly refused.

    He converted instead to Catholicism.

    There are several such testimonies by men who went to Fatima that day as atheists — you, toad, OTOH have the same access to Google as I do. I’ll give you this one though …

  9. Toad says:

    Many thanks, Jabba. I did look for the likes of that, but was, and am, too thick to find it for myself.
    The account is fascinating, but I’m puzzled that the author doesn’t bother to tell us which of the several considerably varying accounts described, the sun looked to him. It’s as if he didn’t see it at all, but relied on the testimony of others to tell him what they saw. What about the witness of his very own eyes?
    I’m probably too picky. But then, it was my job to ask that sort of question of reporters.

    Indeed(!) JH- I’m surprised that there’s not more general interest in this “thread” (I never know what to call them.) But there will be many more such offerings in the coming year, I prophesy.
    (You read it here first.)

  10. Roger says:

    Thank you Jabba!
    My prayer is that we don’t get swept away with the sensational aspects of Fatima, but instead we respond by renewing with fervour and love the prayers and renewal of Our Faith that Our Lady asked for and indeed what these saintly child seers practised.

  11. kathleen says:

    Toad, like most of the questions you ask on CP&S, these ones on the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima have been repeatedly made before by you and duly responded to. It appears that not all the witnesses saw exactly the same thing – similar phenomena but not identical – yet they all knew they what they had seen that day defied the laws of nature.
    However, knowing that our resident Toad has a poor memory of such chats, here is an explanation made by the Servant of God, Fr. John Hardon S.J., also made once before on our blog in the comment section:

    “In God’s providence the hostility of the skeptics was necessary to give rational grounds for believing what the children said the beautiful Lady was telling them. All the reports of those who witnessed the spectacle of the sun testify to their stupefaction at what they saw. No one, not even the most hardened agnostic, doubted that what he saw was a prodigy. This was necessary to provide the rational foundation for accepting, on faith, the Marian message of Fatima because of the solar event which everybody had to accept, as a fact, perceived by the senses.

    Why, then, was the solar prodigy of Fatima necessary? It was necessary in order to satisfy our spontaneous need for giving rational credence to what Mary was telling Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. The children did not need the solar phenomenon to believe what Our Lady was telling them. But we do.”

    There was no ‘collective expectation’ that day at Fatima. Yes, most of the crowd were hoping to see a miracle, as had been announced…. Yet there were those present hoping not to see one. So the miracle took place to the joy of many, and the chagrin of others. (Also, it was seen not only in the Cova de Iria, but in all the surrounding area in a 70 mile radius!)

  12. Toad says:

    “So the miracle took place to the joy of many, and the chagrin of others. “
    You mean to say, Kathleen, that there were people there who didn’t want to see a miracle – and then were chagrined when they did? You must excise me for doubting that. (For obvious, non-miraculous, reasons.)

    ..”.the solar event which everybody had to accept, as a fact, perceived by the senses.”
    Sadly, the senses are notoriously unreliable. It looks to us as if the Sun rises every morning. It does not.

    (By the way, I have no idea what seemed happened to the Sun that day at Fatima. Something rather odd, it would appear.)

  13. JabbaPapa says:

    toad :

    I’m puzzled that the author doesn’t bother to tell us which of the several considerably varying accounts described, the sun looked to him. It’s as if he didn’t see it at all, but relied on the testimony of others to tell him what they saw. What about the witness of his very own eyes?

    I’ll attribute this one to your current eyesight difficulties.

    His own POV report, already quoted : It looked like a plaque of dull silver and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort.

  14. JabbaPapa says:

    and the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws.

  15. Roger says:

    You are rationalising but outside of the context of Portugal as at and up to 13th October 1917 .

    October is forever linked to Russia BUT this was the month favoured by the Portugese MASONS 5th October 1910 and the (Masonic) Portuguese Republican Party Revolution.

    The French Revolution spawned its siblings and ANTICLERICALISM
    (thats opposing Our Lord and Our Lady)
    Republican leaders adopted a severe and highly controversial policy of anticlericalism. At home, the policy polarised society and lost the republic potential supporters, and abroad it offended American and European states which had their citizens engaged in religious work there, adding substantially to the republic’s bad press. The persecution of the church was so overt and severe that it drove the irreligious and nominally religious to a new religiosity and gained the support of Protestant diplomats such as the British, who, seeing their citizens’ religious institutions in a grave dispute over their rights and property, threatened to deny recognition of the young republic. The revolution and the republic which it spawned were essentially anticlerical and had a “hostile” approach to the issue of church and state separation, like that of the French Revolution, the Spanish Constitution of 1931 and the Mexican Constitution of 1917.

    Secularism began to be discussed in Portugal back in the 19th century, during the Casino Conferences in 1871, promoted by Antero de Quental. The republican movement associated the Catholic Church with the monarchy, and opposed its influence in Portuguese society. The secularisation of the Republic constituted one of the main actions to be taken in the political agenda of the Portuguese Republican Party and the Freemasonry. Monarchists in a last-ditch effort sought to outflank the republicans by enacting anticlerical measures of their own, even enacting a severe restriction on the Jesuits on the day before the revolution.

    Soon after the establishment of the Republic, on 8 October 1910, Minister for Justice Afonso Costa reinstated Marquess of Pombal’s laws against the Jesuits, and Joaquim António de Aguiar’s laws in relation to religious orders. The Church’s property and assets were expropriated by the State. The religious oath and other religious elements found in the statutes of the University of Coimbra were abolished, and matriculations into first year of the Theology Faculty were cancelled, as were places in the Canon law course, suppressing the teaching of Christian doctrine. Religious holidays turned into working days, keeping however the Sunday as a resting day for labour reasons. As well as that, the Armed forces were forbidden from participating in religious solemn events. Divorce and family laws were approved which considered marriage as a “purely civil contract”

    Bishops were persecuted, expelled or suspended from their activities in the course of the secularisation. All but one were driven from their dioceses. the property of clerics was seized by the state, wearing of the cassock was banned, all minor seminaries were closed and all but five major seminaries. A law of 22 February 1918 permitted only two seminaries in the country, but they had not been given their property back. Religious orders were expelled from the country, including 31 orders comprising members in 164 houses (in 1917 some orders were permitted to form again). Religious education was prohibited in both primary and secondary school.

    In response to the several anticlerical decrees, Portuguese bishops launched a collective pastoral defending the Church’s doctrine, but its reading was prohibited by the government. In spite of this, some prelates continued to publicise the text, among which was the bishop of Porto, António Barroso. This resulted in him being called to Lisbon by Afonso Costa, where he was stripped from his ecclesiastic functions.

    The secularisation peaked with the Law of Separation of the State and the Church on 20 April 1911, with a large acceptance by the revolutionaries. The law was only promulgated by the Assembly in 1914, but its implementation was immediate after the publishing of the decree. The Portuguese Church tried to respond, classifying the law as “injustice, oppression, spoliation and mockery”, but without success. Afonso Costa even predicted the eradication of Catholicism in the space of three generations. The application of the law began on 1 July 1911, with the creation of a “Central Commission”. As one commentator put it, “ultimately the Church was to survive the official vendetta against organized religion”.

    On 24 May 1911, Pope Pius X issued the encyclical Iamdudum which condemned the anticlericals for their deprivation of religious civil liberties and the “incredible series of excesses and crimes which has been enacted in Portugal for the oppression of the Church.”

    Now begin to understand the Persecution of the three seers and how the Portugese Church didn’t want to get involved but stayed away and outside of Fatima. That crowd was ugly and more than ready to denounce and decry THE LADY! It had rained for hours! The crowd were soaking wet and guess what Cloudy THERE WAS NO SUN IN SIGHT.
    At midday the clouds parted and the miracle took place!

    Rationally and Marerially its impossible. The Church is Supernatural and the miracle of Fatima is beyond and outside of Science and the Rational.

  16. Toad says:

    Roger, can you give us more comprehensive and detailed information on this topic , please?

    For example: “That crowd was ugly …”
    Doesn’t look very ugly in the pictures, do they?.
    They all seem quite cheerful., considering.

  17. Toad says:

    !“My prayer is that we don’t get swept away with the sensational aspects of Fatima, “
    How miraculous, Robger – that’s my prayer, too!

  18. Roger says:

    Extracts from THE TRUE STORY OF FATIMA — Rather a lot but gives a first hand account!! A Hostile drenched crowd!
    Father John de Marchi, I.M.C,
    Written in 1950’s

    Reaction when the Children were kidnapped up and prevented from going to the Cova August 1917
    It must have been around 11 o’clock when Maria dos Anjos, Lucia’s sister, got there. She had some candles with her that she expected to light when our Lady came to her sister and her cousins. All around the tree, the people were praying and singing hymns, but when the children did not appear, they began to get impatient. Then someone came from Fatima and told us they had been kidnapped by the mayor. Everyone began talking at once; there was great anger, and I don’t know what would have happened if we hadn’t heard the clap of thunder.
    It was much the same as the last time. Some said the thunder came from the direction of the road and others said it came from the tree. To me it seemed to come from a long way off. But wherever it came from, the thunder was a shock to the people. Some of them began to shout that we would be killed. We all began to spread out, away from the tree, but, of course, no one was hurt in any way. Just after the clap of thunder came a flash of lightning, and then we began to see a little cloud, very delicate, very white, which stopped for a few moments over the tree, and then rose in the air until it disappeared. As we looked around, we began to notice some strange things we had observed before and would see again in the months to follow. Our faces were reflecting all the colours of the rainbow—pink and red and blue and I don’t know what. The trees suddenly seemed to be made not of leaves, but of flowers. The ground reflected these many colours, and so did the clothes we wore. The lanterns that someone had fixed to the arch above us looked as though they had turned to gold. Certainly our Lady had come, I knew, even though the children were not there.
    Then when all these signs had disappeared, the people started for Fatima. They were shouting out against the mayor and against Father Ferreira, too. They were against anyone connected with the imprisonment of the children.
    It was not a happy time for the just and temperate Ti Marto. Robbed, at least temporarily, of his children, and already, because of his independence, in disfavour with the powerful mayor, he walked on toward the Cova da Iria, and he has described for us the disturbance he found:
    “Let us go to Ourem and protest!” some of the people were saying. “Let us go and beat them all up! Let us speak to the priest, because it is his fault, too. Let us go now and settle with the mayor!” 20 I thought to myself that in a way they were right, but they had worked themselves into a temper of such violence that I feared what they might do. I began to shout at them: “Be quiet! Take it easy! There is no reason to injure anyone! Whoever has done something evil will be punished. This affair is in the hands of God!” But they wouldn’t take any notice of what I said. They went on in their anger toward Fatima. As for me, I went to my house, and found my wife in tears. Olimpia was not easy to console. Her sobs continued, her fears multiplied. She had rushed with her bad tidings to Maria Rosa, the mother of Lucia, but that strange and difficult-to-fathom lady seemed more pleased than grieved to know a crisis had finally arrived.

    13 October 1917
    IN October I will perform a miracle so that everyone can believe.
    Throughout all Portugal the story prospered. Never before had a miracle been so obligingly pinpointed on the calendar, with the month, the day and the very hour so precisely predicted. The children, if crazy, were certainly courageous. Their calm insistence was enough to shrink the scalp of a sceptic, or to send a pious, easily persuaded citizen running for his beads.
    The forces of the new “enlightenment” found the situation not only amusing, but highly opportune. Here at last the sly, conniving Mother Church had gone too far, and her simple sheep, spoon-fed for centuries on superstition, were about to absorb a fatal overdose.
    Avelino de Almeida, a celebrated Lisbon journalist, published a humorous article in the Seculo, in which he skilfully lampooned the whole affair. Senhor Almeida’s chore for his paper, the most widely circulated in the nation, did much to advertise the scheduled “miracle” and to fatten the ranks of both the scoffers and the faithful, who would journey on October 13 to that rough and humble chalice of earth known as the Cova da Iria.
    We Kept hearing reports that if the miracle was a failure. our house would be bombed. We were terror-stricken, and our neighbours believed it, too. In our fears it seems that we believed everything, and everyone, but Lucia. People advised my mother to take Lucia away, but she did not know what she should do. Certainly at this time she did not believe.
    “If it is really our Lady,” my mother said, “there could have been a miracle already. She could have made a spring come up, or something like that. But, no—even when it rains in that place there is no more than a drop of water. Where will all of it end?”
    It rained through the night and through all the following morning. The hills were drenched. The trees leaned with the weight of wind and rain. Where wagons turned and people marched, the roads were bad, the mud churned ankle-deep.
    The rain fell and fell. The cotton skirts of the women dripped and hung like lead around their ankles. Water poured from the new caps and hats which had been donned in honour of the day. Boots and bare feet splashed through the muddy puddles… and up on the mountain there was what appeared to be a large dark stain—thousands upon thousands of God’s creatures waiting for a miracle, a blessing, and an alleviation in the bitterness of life….
    while. There was a priest whom I did not know, and this priest had spent the whole night here. Just before noon, when I began to notice him, he was saying his Breviary. When the children arrived then, dressed as though for their first Communion, this priest asked them directly what time our Lady would appear.
    “At midday, Father,” Lucia said.
    And then the priest looked at his watch and said to Lucia,
    “Listen, it is midday now. Are you trying to tell us that our Lady is a liar? Well, child? Well?”
    He was aggressive, this priest, and impatient with the children, and very suspicious. In a few minutes he looked at his watch again.
    “It is past noon now,” he said derisively. “Cannot all you people see that this is just a delusion? That it is nonsense? Go home, everyone, go home!”
    He began to push the three little children with his hands, but Lucia would not go. She was very close to tears, yet full of faith.

    Reaction after 13 October 1917
    It may well have been that the faithful, having observed at first hand the undeniable prodigies of October 13, felt some reason to believe that the enemies of religion in Portugal would, for at least a respectable little while, postpone their vicious and scandalous attacks against the Church. But it did not work out that happily.
    The truth is that a kind of fury possessed the wilder of the anti-clericals. Through what magic or witchcraft the children’s promises had been fulfilled, they did not know. Yet it seems certain that if the world had split in half like an apple to splatter seeds on other planets, they would still not have been convinced. Their only reaction was to retaliate with new excesses of disrespect.
    In the general area around Fatima, the focal point of undisciplined prejudice could be found at the Masonic Lodge at Santarem, a town not far away. Here the bigots, at the cost of some pain and planning, made plans for a mock-religious procession which would satirise and by some means, not exactly clear to themselves, expose the alleged wonders of Fatima as a fraudulent imposition on the gullibility of the people. Their plan, well conceived, was carried out with professional skill.
    During the night of October 23, as duly recorded in the newspaper, Diario de Noticias, some gentlemen from Santarem (whose names, incidentally, are listed) joined with some other apostles of enlightenment from Vila Nova de Ourem, then continued on to the Cova da Iria. Here is part of the contemporary newspaper report:
    With an axe they cut the tree28 under which the three shepherd children stood during the famous phenomenon of the 13th of this month. They took away the tree, together with a table on which a modest altar had been arranged, and on which a religious image (of our Lady) had been placed. They also took a wooden arch, two tin lanterns, and two crosses, one made of wood and the other of bamboo-cane wrapped in tissue paper.
    These prize exhibits, including, as a footnote explains, a bogus version of the tree, were placed on exhibit in a house not far from the Seminary at Santarem, and an entrance fee exacted from those who wished to enter and be entertained at the widely advertised religious farce. One disappointment to the sponsors was the fact that not everyone, even among the Church’s active critics, agreed it was amusing. The profits from the exhibit were to be turned over to a local charity, but the beneficiaries said very politely, “Thank you; no.” Later, in the evening, a blasphemous procession was held.

  19. Toad says:

    Fatima just gets better and better, doesn’t it? Tip-top stuff, Rogbert.

    “Later, in the evening, a blasphemous procession was held.”
    What a superb pay-off.!
    Except, I’d love to know more.
    What did the procession do (more or less)?

  20. Roger says:

    Oh Toad?
    Ok more detail this time hopeful setting the immediate contemporary events following 13th October 1917.

    The Book The True Story Of Fatima author Father John de Marchi, I.M.C

    Background to the book
    “..The author is a witness to this truth, having lived at Fatima for many years..

    ..used the Portuguese newspapers of the period, especially the Seculo, the Diario de Noticias, and the Mundo, all at the time important pro-government journals, anticlerical in both policy and tone. They describe the drama of the reported apparitions from a purely secular, non-religious point of view, giving a graphic, if at times a somewhat tongue-in-cheek coloration to those initial pilgrimages to the field called the Cova da Iria, near Fatima ..

    ..based on the writings of the Portuguese priest, Dr. Manuel Formigao, whose first work on the subject, entitled Os Episodios Maravilhosos de Fatima (The Marvellous Events of Fatima), appeared in 1921. It is a faithful, painstaking account of the good priest’s many interviews with the children, and of the impression they made upon him…

    ..The interrogations of the three children by their local pastor, Father Manuel Ferreira, after each of the apparitions from June to October, 1917. These interviews had been carefully recorded by Father Ferreira at the time, and provided a most valuable reference. It should perhaps be mentioned that the puzzled pastor, while performing this chore for posterity, believed in the apparitions no more than he believed in Santa Claus..

    ..the one marked virtue of the book you are about to read is that it has been checked for truth and exact detail by Lucia, the surviving seer of Fatima, who is today (having transferred from the Dorothean Order) a Carmelite nun, arid appears almost certainly destined to be a saint of God. She is the author’s friend, and she has walked with him in that blessed countryside where once, within the lifetime of so many of us now living, she talked with Mary, the Mother of God.

    Continuation of the blasphemous procession
    The parade was headed by two men thumping on drums (a newspaper account reveals), while just behind it came the famous tree on which the Lady is said to have appeared. Next came the wooden arch, with its lanterns alight, then the altar table and other objects which the faithful had placed upon it at the Cova da Iria. To the sound of blasphemous litanies, the procession passed through the principal streets of the city, returning to the Sa da Band Eira Square, at which point it broke up.
    Further research discloses that many of the demonstrators, less than satisfied with the appeal to bigotry they had attained, reorganised on a street not far from Sa da Band Eira Square, and were about to start parading anew when a woman, from a window above them, dropped a pail of water on their heads. She succeeded, less willingly, in drenching a local policeman as well, and the commotion in the street was considerable. A more substantial force of police then came along and dispersed the gathering…
    ..Actually, of course, in their almost satanic desire to discredit Fatima as a shrine of hope and reparation, these fist-shaking and heaven-defying bigots did much to increase the local deposit of faith, to fortify the belief of the people in the miracle of the Cova da Iria, and to nourish that final
    and wonderful rebirth of religion in the Terra de Santa Maria. ..
    .. But we have not yet run out of villains. A resourceful enemy of the Church, and a man devoted to heaving bricks at angels, real or imagined, was Senhor Jose Vale, editor of the Portuguese newspaper, O Mundo. A dedicated atheist and political anarchist, Senhor Vale was also an able and energetic pamphleteer, who set about flooding such places as Torres Novas, Vila Nova de Ourem and other neighbouring districts with some flaming samples of his talent. This gentleman’s freely distributed epistles shrieked with invectives, not only against the supposed apparitions, but with special venom against the Church in general, and those sly agents of Vatican wickedness, the Jesuits, in particular. Finally, at the Senhor’s instigation, all liberal-minded opponents of clerical hocus-pocus were invited on the following Sunday to assemble outside the Fatima church, there and then to unmask this pious comedy of the children and their fantastic Lady-in-the-Sky.
    Senhor Vale, for this adventure in public enlightenment, had gathered many mischievous recruits, and it was a situation very alarming to Father Ferreira, the parish priest at Fatima. Prudently, the worried priest arranged for Mass to be said that Sunday in the Chapel of Our Lady of Ortigo, rather than at Fatima. Fearing as well that Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta might be molested by an unruly mob, he decided that they ought not to remain at Aljustrel in this critical time. Good fortune came to his assistance then, since it happened that a young noble known as Dom Pedro Caupers was staying at an ancient farm-estate, about four miles away. It was here the children were warmly received, along with certain members of their families.
    Naturally then, with no one present in Fatima for himself or his followers to ridicule, the plans of Editor Jose Vale did not go as he had intended. The truth is that he did arrive at the parish church on the appointed hour, accompanied by Senhor Arthur Santos, the mayor, some strong-arm guards and a variety of friends, but the only one his marching and hooting delegates were able to find there was Senhor Francisco da Silver, the parish official. The scuttling of Editor Vale’s clever intentions could not have been more humiliating. But by no means a timid or thin-skinned man, the Senhor rallied his frustrated band for a march on the Cova da Iria, his aim being to stage a mock pilgrimage, and here, at least, he found no lack of audience.

    After that day on which the sun danced (she has told us) there was an endless procession of people to the Cova, especially on Sundays and on the 13th day of each month. The people came from all around—all kinds of people, really. The men came with their sticks and bundles on their shoulders, and the women came carrying children. Even the old and infirm came faithfully, and all of them would kneel near the tree where our Lady had appeared. A remarkable thing, but no one ever seemed weary or tired when he was here. It was, from the beginning, a place that gave strength. Here, at this holy place, mark you, nothing was ever sold, not a cup of wine or of water—nothing! And, oh, what good times those were for true prayer and true penance. Often we would weep with emotion.
    Telling us of this place where her own heart and hopes had found an enduring home, Maria da Capelinha would sometimes have tears of great and remembered joy running down her cheeks.
    Here there were many tears and prayers for our Lady, Father, and when there were plenty of people, we would sing our favourite hymns. All of us, it seems, did so much penance with such joy of heart, that I believe if I had died just then that our Lady would have taken me straight to heaven. Surely those days are long gone, but I cannot help myself from wishing to live them again.
    People went home contented from the Cova because our Lady always heard their prayers. Truly, recalling those times I can think of no one saying that our Lady had not responded to prayer. All who came, it seems, came with faith, or else, if they did not have it at first, they found it here.
    One day a man who had come a long way was standing there soaked with the rain. I went up to him and asked him if there were any ill effects. “No,” he told me, “I am every bit all right and have never passed such a happy night as this. I have come and yet I do not feel at all tired. I am so happy in this place.” I remember this because, apart from the rain, it was winter, and terribly cold, and this man had passed the whole night in the open air, since there was no shelter for him.

    At which point I say again “My prayer is that we don’t get swept away with the sensational aspects of Fatima, “ My own preference?
    After spending a night in the open, cold and rain soaked! “I am every bit all right and have never passed such a happy night as this. I have come and yet I do not feel at all tired. I am so happy in this place.”

  21. Toad says:

    “Here, at this holy place, mark you, nothing was ever sold, not a cup of wine or of water—nothing!”
    Still exactly the same today, no doubt.
    Regbort, we really should start getting out bookings ready for next year – before it’s too late, and the Atheist sceptics from the New York Times, have bagged all the decent rooms.
    I will requite a non-smoking suite, with fully-stocked bar.
    …How ’bout you?

  22. Roger says:

    Sadly Toad as you well realise the prayer and reparation has been replaced with comforts at a price.
    Instead of penitents we have coaches of visitors.
    But I would recommend that you choose to be a penitent and you will find in these places that Peace and Love that this world cannot give you
    Look with prayer and penance and you will find that is a promise that Heaven will always fulfil.

  23. John says:

    I visited Fatima last week, but not on a pilgrimage as such. I was disappointed that images or statues of the three visionary children were absent in Rosary Square, only a big block of a statue to Pope John Paul II who had nothing to do with the visions in 1917…. A bizarre sense of focus

    The tombs of the three visionaries Blessed Francisco, Blessed Jacinta and Sister Lucy are, however, accessible within the Church of the Holy Rosary but the three children have not been given due prominence elsewhere.

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