On July 13, 1917, Our Lady of the Rosary made, as she had promised, her third visit to the Cova da Iria.
It was in the torrid month of July, the month of the Precious Blood of Jesus, one hundred and three years ago today, that Our Lady of Fatima visited the little shepherds for the third time. The immense importance of this visit cannot be overestimated, for at this time, the Blessed Virgin revealed her Message for the world. We take the following account from “The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume I”, by Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité. This volume is available to download free from www.archive.org.
At the Cova da Iria on July 13, 1917, a crowd estimated at between one and two thousand were gathered. Lúcia, Francisco and Jacinta knelt before the scrubby little holm oak where Our Lady appeared. In her account, Lúcia relates that in answer to her question, “What does Your Grace want of me?”, Our Lady replied,
“I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, and to continue praying the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you.”
When Lúcia asked her to perform a miracle so that all would believe, Our Lady responded,
“Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe.”
Our Lady continued,
“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: ‘O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary’ “.
From Lúcia’s account,
“As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands once more, as She had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me.) The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals.”
Here, in her Third Memoir, Sister Lúcia added: “This vision only lasted a moment, thanks to our good Mother in Heaven who, in the first apparition, had promised to take us to Heaven. Were it not for that, I believe we would have died out of fright and fear.”
Terrified and as if to plead for succour, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly:
“You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.”
“If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end, but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI.
“When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father.
“To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.
“If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.
“In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.
“In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc. [This marks the third part of the secret, not yet not revealed] Do not tell this to anybody. Francisco, yes, you may tell him.
“When you say the Rosary, say after each mystery: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.’ “
While this was going on, Ti Marto relates, the crowd was so silent that you could have heard a pin drop. And, like Maria Carreira and some other witnesses, Mr. Marto, who was very near the seers, perceived an unintelligible murmur: “then I began to hear a sound, a little buzzing rather like a mosquito in an empty bottle. But I couldn’t hear any words!” This mysterious murmur was heard by only a few witnesses.
However, two other unusual phenomena were noticed by a much greater number: The luminosity of the sky noticeably decreased, as during an eclipse, the whole time the ecstasy of the children lasted. At the same time, the temperature, which was very hot, went down noticeably, and the tint of the light was modified. The atmosphere became yellow as gold.
In addition, a whitish cloud, rather pleasant to look at, formed around the seers. Here is the testimony of Mr. Marto:
“I saw what looked like a little greyish cloud resting on the oak tree, and the sun’s heat lessened and there was a delicious fresh breeze. It hardly seemed like the height of summer.”
THE TWOFOLD MESSAGE OF JULY 13
In the cycle of apparitions, this one on July 13 is a watershed moment. The previous apparitions, including the Angel’s visits, prepared for this one and this apparition is essential for understanding the subsequent ones. For it was on this day, as Lúcia relates, that “Our Lady deigned to reveal to us the Secret”.
So true is this that the message of July 13 appears to us very clearly divided into two parts:
- First, there are the words which were divulged immediately,
- Second, the long text of the secret which the seers carefully kept hidden. However, what is important is that the two parts of the message are very closely connected.
The great novelty of this apparition, the decisive word which would attract innumerable crowds to the Cova da Iria for the last three months, is the announcement of a great miracle.
Lúcia requested of Our Lady, ” … tell us who You are, and to work a miracle so that all may believe that You are appearing to us.” Although the request of Lúcia reminds us of Bernadette’s request at Lourdes, the response of Our Lady is very different: At Lourdes, when Bernadette followed the advice of Father Peyramale and asked Her to make the rosebush in the grotto bloom, Our Lady was content to smile. In this case, and here is the decisive, prodigious event, She accedes to the request: “Continue to come each month. In October, I will say who I am and what I want, and I will work a miracle so that all may believe.”
Thus She announced three months in advance the place, day and hour of the promised great miracle. It was a clear promise, without any condition or the least ambiguity. On August 19 and September 13, Our Lady repeated it in the same terms. Never before had Heaven shown such condescension to the demands of men, to guarantee for them with certitude the truth of a message. Already, by this solid link between the prophecy and the miracle, the event of Fatima is unheard of, incomparable.
Our Lady made this announcement of the miracle “so that all will believe”, immediately before revealing to the three seers Her great prophetic secret. This was to make them understand, in all clarity, that the miracle would guarantee the divine origin of the secret, as well as the fulfillment of this prophetic secret. Thus the great miracle of October 13 was closely associated, by the Blessed Virgin Herself, not only with the whole of Her message, but especially with the prophetic secret of July 13.
It was when Our Lady opened Her hands again as in the two previous months, that the children had the vision of hell. This month, no doubt the Blessed Virgin remained in this attitude while She revealed the secret. And the supernatural light which they received then was not limited to the vision of hell. Once again, as on May 13 and June 13, they enjoyed a sort of vision of God as Lúcia reports:
Francisco seemed to be the one on whom the vision of hell made the least impression, though it did indeed have quite a considerable effect on him. What made the most powerful impression on him and what wholly absorbed him was God, the Most Holy Trinity, perceived in that light which penetrated our inmost souls.
Afterwards Francisco said: ‘We were on fire in that light which is God, and yet we were not burnt! What is God?… We could never put it into words. Yes, that is something indeed which we could never express! But what a pity it is that He is so sad! If only I could console Him!’
This great sorrow of Our Lord, which reveals to us His Heart, outraged by our sins, and as it were overwhelmed by the chastisements which these sins justly draw down upon us, profoundly marked the soul of Francisco during the first three apparitions. He never forgot it, and his whole ideal would be to pray and sacrifice himself to ‘console God’.
THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
The apparition of July 13 also marks the high point of the revelation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the center and very heart of the whole message. The three apparitions of the Angel, followed by those of Our Lady on May 13 and June 13, had prepared this revelation which the great secret expresses in all its fullness. But it is a remarkable fact that in the last three apparitions there is no more mention of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This great design of divine mercy for the salvation of the world would not be unveiled until later…
That is why, on July 13, Our Lady solemnly announced that She would come back. She kept Her promise and returned on December 10, 1925 at Pontevedra, to manifest once again Her Heart pierced with thorns, and to request the practice of the communion of reparation on the five First Saturdays of the month. And She came back again, on June 13, 1929, at Tuy, to ask for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.
Russia? On July 13, Lúcia did not yet know what this word meant. Yet she always affirmed having heard the word Russia. Similarly, she is sure of having heard ‘no reinado de Pio XI’. ‘We did not know if it was a Pope or a king’, she confided to Father Jongen in 1946, ‘but the most Holy Virgin spoke of Pius XI.’ As for the announcement of ‘a night illumined by an unknown light’, it was fulfilled to the letter during the night of January 25-26, 1938.
- Let us point out here, since it is important for critical purposes, what perfect harmony there is between the two parts of the message, that which was divulged immediately (Fatima I), and that which remained secret a long time (Fatima II). The convergence of themes, which marks the profound unity of the same message pronounced by the Blessed Virgin the same day, is striking.
‘ONLY SHE CAN HELP YOU.’
Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité :
The secret of the secret is that God wills to give us everything through the mediation of the Blessed Virgin, in response to our devotion to Her Immaculate Heart, not only spiritual goods but even temporal peace, and this for the whole world. Has anyone noticed that one of the words of Our Lady, faithfully reported by Lúcia to her parish priest the next day, has the same vigour, the same exclusivity? ‘Continue to pray the Rosary every day… to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, for only She can help you.’ It is equivalent to saying: there is no salvation for us except from Jesus through the Blessed Virgin; this was already the essential core of the secret of Fatima which was disclosed as early as July, 1917.
Note if you will that Our Lady of the Rosary communicated her message with a brief but penetrating vision. Throughout sacred history, these mental pictures are such important means of teaching.
Pray the Rosary and confound satan and all who serve him!
Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey: First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.