May 13th – Anniversary
of the first Apparition of
Our Lady of Fátima
Our Lady of Fátima (Portuguese: Nossa Senhora de Fátima)is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary
with respect to reported apparitions of her to three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal on the 13th day of
six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13. The three children were Lúcia Santos and her cousins, siblings
Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The title of Our Lady of the Rosary is also sometimes used in reference to the same
apparition (although it was first used in 1208 for the reported apparition in the church of Prouille), because the
children related that the apparition specifically identified herself as the "Lady of the Rosary". It is also
common to see a combination of these titles, i.e. Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima (Portuguese: Nossa Senhora do
Rosário de Fátima). The events at Fatima gained particular fame due to their elements of prophecy and eschatology,
particularly with regard to possible world war and the conversion of Russia. The reported apparitions at Fatima were
officially declared "worthy of belief" by the Catholic Church.
Of all the messages that were given, one in particular is the most known: "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph." Reflecting on this message, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote the following:
"The heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Savior into the world – because, thanks to her Yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time.
The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually. He has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God. But since God, Himself, took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word.
From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world (Jn 16:33). The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise."