By Mel Mantanona
One of the most prominent titles for the Blessed Virgin Mary is one awarded to her just within the last century. It all came to fruition through three Portuguese children, then ages six through nine, Lucia, and cousins Francisco and Jacinta, his sister.
The story begins in Fatima, Portugal in 1916, a year before a Communist revolution and at a time when the First World War had percolated throughout Europe. A figure appeared to the three shepherd children in a field and said to them, “I am the Angel of Peace.” This figured appeared two more times that year, encouraging them to pray for the conversion of sinners and to embrace the sufferings they underwent as a form of reparation for the sins that have offended God.
A year later, on May 13, “a woman all in white, more brilliant than the sun,” presented herself to the three young children saying, “Please don’t be afraid of me, I’m not going to harm you.” This woman told the children she came from heaven and asked them to pray and dedicate themselves to the Holy Trinity and to “say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.”
The apparitions of this woman lasted like clockwork until Oct. 13 of the same year. On the last apparition, the woman said to the children, “I am the Lady of the Rosary.” She told the children that she would prove to the people that the apparitions were true. Later that day, the people watched as the sun made three circles and moved around the sky in a zigzag manner, an event known as the “Miracle of the Sun.”
Throughout her apparitions to the three children, Our Lady spoke of the sufferings that were to come if the world did not repent for sins. She urged the church to pray and offer penances. Three prophetic “secrets” were told to the kids, one of which was not revealed until 83 years after it was given. The secrets were in regards to the vision of hell, the rise of Communist Russia, and the shooting of a “bishop dressed in white.”
On the centennial anniversary of the first Fatima apparition, Pope Francis canonized Francisco and Jacinta. Lucia holds the title of “Servant of God,” the first major step to canonization.
This coming Monday, May 13, let us take some time out of our day to praise God and to thank Him for the gift of his mother, the mother of all intercessors, and for her guidance and protection of the world.
Information and photo from Catholic News Agency and Franciscan Media