The Story of Fatima begins to unfold with the first apparition of the Angel of Peace in the Spring or 1916 and concludes with the last vision granted to Sister Lucia on June 13,1929.
The following account is based on the booklet, “Lucia Speaks – The Message of Fatima,” – a condensed version of Sister Lucia’s Memoirs – published by The World Apostolate of Fatima-USA.
During World War I Pope Benedict XV made repeated but forlorn pleas for peace, and finally in May 1917, made a direct appeal to Mary to intercede for peace in the world. The response was Mary’s first appearance at Fatima just over a week later. At this time Fatima was just a small village about seventy miles north of Lisbon. The three children to whom she appeared were Lucia dos Santos, age 10, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, brother and sister, ages eight and seven respectively.
The Angel of Portugal
However, it was in the spring of the previous year, 1916, that the children had their first joint supernatural encounter as a means of preparing them for their meetings with Mary. As they were looking after the sheep one day they saw a dazzlingly beautiful young man, seemingly made of light, who told them he was the Angel of Peace. He invited them to pray with him.
Later on in the summer, the Angel again appeared to the children and encouraged them to pray and make sacrifices as a way of drawing down peace on their country.
In the autumn the children again saw the Angel as they were out looking after the sheep. He appeared before them holding a chalice in his hands above which was suspended a host from which drops of blood were falling into the chalice. The Angel left the chalice suspended in the air and prostrated himself before it in prayer.
He then gave the host to Lucia to eat, and let Francisco and Jacinta drink from the chalice while saying: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Repair their crimes and console your God.” Then he prostrated himself again in prayer before disappearing. The children did not tell anyone about these visits of the Angel, feeling an interior necessity to keep quiet about these events.
May 13, 1917
On May 13, 1917 the three children took their flocks out to pasture in the small area known as the Cova da Iria. After lunch and the rosary they suddenly saw a bright flash of something like lightning, followed quickly by another flash in the clear blue sky.
They looked up to see, in Lucia’s words, “a lady, clothed in white, brighter than the sun, radiating a light more clear and intense than a crystal cup filled with sparkling water lit by burning sunlight.” The children stood there amazed, bathed in the light that surrounded the apparition as the Lady smiled and said: “Do not be afraid, I will not harm you.” Lucia, as the oldest, asked her where she came from.
The Lady pointed to the sky and said: “I come from heaven.” Lucia then asked her what she wanted. “I have come to ask you to come here for six months on the 13th day of the month at this same hour. Later I shall say who I am and what I desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time.”
Lucia then asked if they would go to heaven and was told yes, she and Jacinta would go to heaven, but Francisco would need to say many rosaries first. The Lady then said: “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners?” Lucia, as spokesman for all three, readily agreed. “Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”
Lucia recounted that at the same moment as she said these words the Lady opened her hands and streamed a “light” on the children which allowed them to see themselves in God. The Lady finished with a request: “Say the Rosary every day to bring peace to the world and the end of the war.” With that she began to rise into the air, moving towards the east until she disappeared.
The children got together and tried to think of ways they could make sacrifices as the Lady had asked, resolving to go without lunch and to pray the full rosary. Francisco and Jacinta received more support from their parents than Lucia, but the attitudes of the local inhabitants ranged from skepticism to utter contempt, and the children thereby suffered many insults. They would have much to suffer, just as the Lady had told them.
June 13, 1917
About fifty people turned up at the Cova da Iria on June 13 as the three children assembled near the Holm oak tree where the Lady had appeared. The children then saw a flash of light followed immediately by the apparition of Mary as she spoke to Lucia: “I want you to come on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. Later, I will tell you what I want.”
Lucia asked Mary to take them to heaven and was reassured in this way: “I will take Jacinta and Francisco shortly, but you will stay here for some time to come. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it. These souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by me to adorn his throne.” This last sentence is found in a letter written in 1927 by Sr. Lucia to her confessor.
Lucia was sad at the first part of this reply and asked: “Am I to stay here alone?” Mary replied: “No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
One of the witnesses to this apparition, Maria Carreira, described how Lucia then cried out and pointed as Mary departed. She herself heard a noise like “a rocket a long way off,” and looked to see a small cloud a few inches over the tree rise and move slowly towards the east until it disappeared. The crowd of pilgrims then returned to Fatima where they reported the amazing things they had seen, thus ensuring that there were between two and three thousand people present for the July apparition.
July 13, 1917
On July 13 the three children assembled at the Cova and again saw the indescribably beautiful Lady over the Holm oak tree. Lucia asked what she wanted, and Mary replied: “I want you to come here on the 13th of next month and to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor 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.”
Lucia then asked her who she was and for a miracle so everyone would believe: “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.”
Lucia made some requests for sick people, to which Mary replied that she would cure some but not others, and that all must say the rosary to obtain such graces. And she 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.”
The vision of hell
As she spoke these words, Mary opened her hands and rays of light from them seemed to penetrate the earth revealing to the children a terrifying vision of hell full of demons and lost souls amid indescribable horrors. This vision of hell was the first part of the 3-part secret of Fatima which was unknown until the writing of Sister Lucia’s Third Memoir dated August 31, 1941.
The children looked up to the sad face of the Blessed Virgin, who spoke to them kindly:
“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 pontificate 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 of the Church and of 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 of 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 period of peace will be granted to the world.”
This concludes the second part of the secret. The third part was not made public until the year 2000 at the beatification ceremonies of Jacinta and Francisco Marto.
Mary specifically told Lucia not to tell anyone about the secret at this stage, apart from Francisco, before continuing: “When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus! Forgive us, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.” After assuring Lucia that there was nothing more, Mary disappeared off into the distance.
As August 13th approached, the story of the apparitions had reached the anti-religious secular press, and while this ensured that the whole country knew about Fatima, it also meant that many biased and negative reports were circulating. The children were kidnapped on the morning of the 13th by the Mayor of Vila Nova de Ourem, Arturo Santos. They were interrogated about the secret; but despite his threats and promises of money, they refused to divulge it. In the afternoon they were moved to the local prison and threatened with death but determined that they would die rather than reveal the secret.
On August 19, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta were together at a place called Valinhos, near Fatima, late in the afternoon, when they again saw Mary, who spoke to Lucia: “Go again to the Cova da Iria on the 13th and continue to say the Rosary every day.” Mary also said she would perform a miracle, so all would believe, and that if they had not been kidnapped it would have been even greater.
Looking very sad, Mary then said: “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.” With that she rose into the air and moved towards the east before disappearing.
By now the children had thoroughly absorbed Mary’s plea for prayer and penance, and did everything they could to answer it. They prayed for hours while lying prostrate on the ground and went as long as they could without drinking in the burning heat of the Portuguese summer. They also went without food as a sacrifice for sinners to save them from hell, the vision of which had so profoundly effected them. They even knotted some pieces of old rope around their waists as a form of mortification, not removing them day or night.
September 13, 1917
On September 13 very large crowds began to converge on Fatima from all directions. Around noon the children arrived. After the customary flash of light they saw Mary on the Holm oak tree. She spoke to Lucia: “Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolours and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices. He does not want you to sleep with the rope on, but only to wear it during the daytime.”
Lucia then began to put forward the petitions for cures, to be told: “Yes, I will cure some, but not others. In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.” Then Our Lady began to rise as usual, and disappeared.
October 13, 1917
The prediction of a public miracle caused intense speculation throughout Portugal, and the journalist, Avelino de Almeida, published a satirical article on the whole business in the anti-religious newspaper O Seculo. People from other parts of the country descended by the tens of thousands on the cova despite the terrible storm that lashed the mountain country around Fatima on the eve of the 13th. Many pilgrims walked barefooted, reciting the rosary as they went, all crowding into the area around the cova. By mid-morning the weather again turned bad and heavy rain began to fall.
The children reached the Holm oak around noon and then saw the flash of light as Mary appeared before them. For the last time, Lucia asked what she wanted: “I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.”
Again Lucia made requests for cures, conversions and other things. Our Lady’s response was: “Some yes, but not others. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.”
Sister Lucia tells us that at this point Mary grew very sad and said: “Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.” Then, opening her hands, she made them reflect on the sun and, as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself. After she disappeared, as the people witnessed the great miracle which had been predicted, the children saw the visions foretold during the September apparition.
The Great Miracle Our Lady Had Predicted
The greatest miracle to occur since the Resurrection is also the only miracle ever precisely predicted as to date, time of day and location. Although it is popularly known as “The Miracle of the Sun” and October 13, 1917 has come to be known as “The Day the Sun Danced,” a great deal more took place. The solar phenomena included the dancing of the sun, its fluctuations in color, its swirling and its descending toward the earth. There were also the stillness in the leaves of the trees in spite of howling winds, the complete drying of the rain soaked ground, and the restoration of clothes all wet and covered with mud so that, as eye-witness Dominic Reis put it, “they looked as tho they had just come back from the cleaners.” Physical cures of the blind and the lame were reported. The countless unreserved public confessions of sin and commitments to conversion of life attest to the authenticity of what they saw.
The miracle is reported to have been seen from as far as 15-25 miles away, thus ruling out the possibility of any type of collective hallucination or mass hypnotism. Doubters and skeptics had become believers. Even O Seculo’s chief editor, Avelino de Almeida, who had written satirically before, now reported affirmatively, and stood by his story later on in spite of harsh criticism.
The deaths of Francisco and Jacinta
An influenza epidemic swept Europe in autumn of 1918 just as the war was finishing, and both Jacinta and Francisco fell ill. Francisco recovered somewhat and there were hopes that he might become well, but he realized that he was destined to die young as Our Lady had foretold, and his condition worsened again. He offered up all his sufferings as a way of consoling God for the sinfulness and ingratitude of mankind and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. He became so weak that eventually he could not even pray. He received his first Holy Communion and on the next day, April 4, 1919, he died.
Jacinta too was confined to her bed during the long winter months, and although she recovered was struck down with bronchial pneumonia, while also developing a painful abscess in her chest. She was moved to the hospital in Ourem in July 1919 where she underwent the painful treatment prescribed for her but without much effect. She returned home in August with an open wound in her side. It was decided that another attempt should be made to treat her, and so in January 1920 she was taken to Lisbon, where she was diagnosed as having purulent pleurisy and diseased ribs.
Eventually in February she was admitted into the hospital, where she underwent another painful operation to remove two ribs. This left her with a large wound in her side that had to dressed daily causing her great agony. On the evening of February 20, 1920 the local priest was called and heard her Confession, but he insisted on waiting till the next day to bring her Holy Communion despite her protests that she felt worse. As Mary had foretold she died that night alone and far from her family. Her body was returned to Fatima and buried with that of Francisco until both were later moved to the Basilica built at the Cova da Iria.
Later apparitions to Sr. Lucia
The new bishop of the restored diocese of Leiria decided that it was best if Lucia was removed from Fatima, both to spare her from the continual questionings she had to endure, and to see what effect her absence would have on the numbers coming as pilgrims. Her mother agreed to her being sent away to school, and she left in May 1921 in great secrecy for Porto, where a school run by the sisters of St. Dorothy was situated. Later she became a sister in this congregation before joining the Carmelites.
On December 10, 1925, while at the Dorothean Convent in Pontevedra, Spain, Lucia had another apparition of the Blessed Mother, this time with the Child Jesus. She had returned to ask for the Communions of Reparation we now call 1st Saturday Devotion, as she said she would during her July 13 apparition at Fatima. Mary told Lucia to announce that she promised to provide, at the hour of death, the graces necessary for salvation to those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, confessed, received Holy Communion, recited five decades of the rosary, and kept her company while meditating on the mysteries of the rosary for fifteen minutes, all with the intention of making reparation to her.
On June 13, 1929, Our Lady returned again as Sr. Lucia was at prayer in the convent chapel at Tuy, Spain. This time she appeared alongside a representation of the Holy Trinity. Mary spoke to her saying: “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia, promising to save it by this means…”
On January 25, 1938, a strange light filled the skies of northern Europe. It was described as a particularly brilliant display of the Aurora Borealis, but Sr. Lucia realized it was the “unknown light,” spoken of by Mary during the July 13, 1917 apparition. It meant punishment for the world was close, principally through the Second World War, because it had not turned back to God.
Pope John Paul II kneels in prayer at the foot of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 13, 1982, a year to the day after an assailant shot and seriously wounded him. The pope consecrated the world to Mary at the Fatima shrine in 1982. (CNS file photo) (Aug. 29, 2003)
Pope Pius XII consecrated the whole world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart in 1942 and carried out a similar consecration of Russia in 1952, but neither of these fulfilled Mary’s request at Fatima. This collegial consecration, in union with a “moral totality” of the world’s bishops, was finally carried out by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1984. Fatima received further Papal support when on May 13, 1979, the Pope declared Jacinta and Francisco “venerable,” the first stage in the process of their possible canonization.
Saint Pope John Paul II further emphasized the importance of Fatima by beatifying Jacinta and Francisco on May 13,2000 during the Jubilee Year. It was during these beatification ceremonies that all the details of the third part of the Fatima secret were revealed, the third millennium was entrusted to Our Lady of Fatima.
The Bishop approves of Fatima
The Church, meanwhile, had maintained silence about the apparitions during the years from 1917. It wasn’t until May 1922 that Bishop Correia issued a pastoral letter on the subject indicating that he would set up a commission of inquiry. In 1930 he issued another pastoral letter on the apparitions, which after recounting the events at Fatima, contained the following brief but important statement:
“In virtue of considerations made known, and others which for reasons of brevity we omit; humbly invoking the Divine Spirit and placing ourselves under the protection of the most Holy Virgin, and after hearing the opinions of our Rev. Advisers in this diocese, we hereby: 1. Declare worthy of belief, the visions of the shepherd children in the Cova da Iria, parish of Fatima, in this diocese, from the 13th May to 13th October, 1917. 2. Permit officially the cult of Our Lady of Fatima.”
Our Lady came to Fatima to save the souls of her children from hell in the eternal order, and to bring peace to their world in the temporal.
The core of her message can be expressed in three simple sentences:
1. Addressing the eternal order, she told us that hell exists and that souls are being lost to it because there is no one to make reparation for their sins.
2. Speaking of the temporal, she said that war is a consequence of sin.
3. The salvation of souls and the attainment of world peace require the conversion of sinners. “People must stop offending God because He is already so much offended.” [10-13-1917]
Almost everything else she said, the things she asked us to do, and her prophecies predicated on the nature of our response relate, either directly or indirectly, to these three fundamental elements.
A few examples:
She asks for the daily offering of prayer, penance and sacrifice in reparation for sin and for the conversion of sinners.
Her request that we pray the rosary every day is aimed at both reparation for sin and world peace.
Wearing the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and living the consecration it signifies effectively disposes us toward the honoring of her requests.
Practicing the 1st Saturday Communions of Reparation devotion makes available the graces necessary for the salvation souls at the moment of their death.
The conversion of Russia will lead to the salvation of many souls and make an enormous contribution toward the attainment of world peace.
Our Lady’s Fatima Requests
1. Daily offer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the sacrifices demanded by the duties required of your state in life, as well as whatever hardships and difficulties God permits to touch your life, in reparation for your own sins, for the sins of others, and for the conversion of all sinners. In other words, “offer it up.” This expression which so many of us were taught by our parents isn’t heard much these days. Sister Lucia considered the living out of this disposition the most fundamental and important practical, everyday response to Fatima.
2. Pray part of the Rosary daily while meditating on the Mysteries in reparation for sin, for the conversion of sinners, and for world peace.
3. Wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel as both a sign and a reminder of your consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and as a protection against the snares of Satan.
4. Practice the devotion of the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturday of each month which has come to be popularly known as the 1st Saturday Devotion .
5. Contribute to the establishment of devotion to The Immaculate Heart of Mary in the world by spreading the Message of Fatima to others.
The honoring of all of these requests taken collectively and derivatives thereof constitutes the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which Our Lady told Lucia God desired.
An Important Observation
While Our Lady’s call for the conversion of sinners is directed toward all of her children, her devotional requests are uniquely and specifically directed at the Catholics of the world. This is so because it is Catholics whose Church teaching supports the belief that we can merit grace for ourselves and for others, who wear scapulars and consecrate their lives to Mary, who pray the rosary, and who have at their disposal the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion. This means that primary responsibility for the fulfillment of heaven’s desire where Fatima Devotions are concerned rests upon the shoulders of the Catholics of the world. This is a burden not to be taken lightly.
The devotional requests of Our Lady of Fatima provide the precise weapons of spiritual warfare so desperately needed today. Unless the Catholics of the world take them up and use them often and well, the world will continue to lose battle after battle and the consequences for themselves, their children and their children’s children for generations to come will be grave.
Learn the Message of Fatima. Live the Message of Fatima. Spread the Message of Fatima to others.
O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary (here kiss your Brown scapular as a sign of your consecration – this carries a partial indulgence). I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining with it the offering of my every thought, word and action of this day.
O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can, and I offer them together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, that She may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament!
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.
O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.
Our Lady expressed the need for reparation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “which is already much offended,” and of her Immaculate Heart. In the apparition of July 13, 1917, Our Lady said, “I shall come to ask for…the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturdays.” She came expressly to request this devotion when she appeared to Sister Lucia on December 10, 1925, in Pontevedra, Spain, where she was preparing to start her religious life.
The Motives for the Devotion
While Sister Lucia was in the chapel with Our Lord during part of the night of May 29-30, 1930, He explained the motivation for the devotion. This explanation answered the question posed by her confessor about why the number should be 5 Saturdays and not 9 to correspond to the 9 First Fridays, or 7 to correspond with Our Lady’s 7 sorrows.
There are 5 ways in which people offend and blaspheme against The Immaculate Heart of Mary:
1. Offences or blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception – its denial and/or ridicule.
2. Against Her perpetual virginity – that She had relations with Joseph and had other children.
3. Against Her Divine Maternity, refusing at the same time to accept Her as Mother of all Mankind – denying that She is the Mother of God and our Mother.
4. The implantation into children’s hearts of indifference, contempt and even hate against our Immaculate Mother.
5. Insults directed against Her sacred images –displays of indifference or ridicule, and the infliction of damage to them.
The essential elements of the practice of the devotion of the 1st Saturday Communions of Reparation
With the intention of making reparation for offenses committed against The Immaculate Heart of Mary:
Go to Confession.
Receive Holy Communion worthily.
Pray five decades of the Rosary.
Keep Our Lady company for 15 minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary.
The Great Promise
Our Lady promised to assist all those who would practice the devotion on the first Saturday of five consecutive months with the graces necessary for salvation at the hour of their death.
Promise not a guarantee of heavenIt would be a serious mistake to think that those who practice the devotion on five consecutive First Saturdays are guaranteed passage through the pearly gates when the moment of their death arrives. Our cooperation with grace is always required.
A Life-Long Devotion, not merely five First Saturdays – a requirement of Christian CharityThe promise associated with the practice of the devotion on five consecutive First Saturdays has been mistakenly construed by many to mean that, once one has completed a series of five in succession, they have accomplished the practice of the devotion – that they are finished. This was not Our Lady’s intention in making the promise, and has resulted in a far fewer people practicing the devotion’s than are necessary to fulfill her request. This is one reason why wars, famines and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father have increased rather than abated.
The essence of genuine Christian Charity Genuine Christian Charity involves placing the good of others before ourselves. If we practice the devotion only to the extent necessary to merit the promise for ourselves, our Christian Charity is seriously lacking.
We ought to look at it this way: For how many others can I merit the promise during the remainder of my life? Each time we complete a series of five successive First Saturdays we can ask Our Lady to apply the promise merited to a soul in need. Just think of how many souls would become beneficiaries of our life-long practice. This is Christian Charity in action. And as for ourselves, can there be any doubt that, if we gift our merited promises to so many others, Our Lady will provide one for us?
There are 5 things Our Lady asked of each of us during her apparitions at Fatima. They are:
1. Daily Reparation; 2. Daily Rosary; 3. Brown Scapular; and 4. 1st Saturday Communions of Reparation and 5. Spread the Message of Fatima to others.
Daily Reparation is related to the July 13 apparition during which Our Lady requested it in saying: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially whenever you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
You may recognize “O Jesus,…” as the words of The Sacrifice Prayer.
The shepherd children, and all of us by extension, were taught how to honor this request of Our Lady during the 2nd apparition of the Angel in 1916 when he said: “Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country. … Above all, accept and bear with submission, the suffering which the Lord will send you.”
So, as we pray our Morning Offering at the beginning of each day, we include an expression a disposition of mind and heart which offers up all of the aches and pains, trials and tribulations and sufferings of any kind which God permits to touch our lives in reparation for sin and for the conversion of sinners.
Daily praying of the Rosary was asked for during each of Our Lady’s six apparitions in 1917. The wearing of the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as one of Our Lady’s Fatima requests is based upon her last appearance on October 13, 1917. During what has come to be known as The Miracle of the Sun, while the crowd was witnessing the solar phenomena, there were three apparitions only the children saw. During the 3rd Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Brown Scapular is, in fact, a miniature version of the Carmelite habit.
We are not. however, simply asked to wear the scapular. We are called to embrace and live the consecration to Our Lady it signifies. We wear the scapular 1st as a sign of our consecration; 2nd as a reminder of that consecration; and finally as a protection against the snares of the Devil.
The 1st Saturday Communions of Reparation were not actually requested until December 10, 1925, when Our Lady appeared with the Child Jesus to Sister Lucia at the Dorothean convent in Pontevedra, Spain. Its connection with Fatima as one of Our Lady’s requests is based upon the fact that during the July 13, 1917 apparition Our Lady told the children she would come back to ask for it. “To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communions of Reparation on the First Saturdays.” While Our Lady used the words “Communions of Reparation,” because she specified that it was to be done on the first Saturday of each month, it has come to be known as The 1st Saturday Devotion.
It is critically important that we not overlook the close connection between the consecration of Russia which was asked of the Pope and Bishops throughout the world, and the practice of the 1st Saturday Devotion which is asked of everyone. The conversion of Russia and world peace are conditioned on the honoring of both of these requests. While the consecration of Russia Our Lady asked for was finally accomplished on March 25, 1984, there are not yet sufficient numbers of people faithfully practicing the 1st Saturday Devotion. Until there are sufficient numbers, the pace of the conversion of Russia underway will continue to be slow and world peace will remain an elusive dream.