This story is part 2 of a 2-part series about the “Miracle of the Sun” in Fátima, Portugal. In the first part, we looked at reports of what thousands of people described seeing. In this part, we’ll examine what the Fátima apparition told three children tending to sheep in a field over the course of six months.
Twenty four years passed before Sister Lucia, then living as a nun in Tuy, Spain, would decide the time was right to reveal the first two secrets from the apparition of the Virgin Mary she saw in Fátima, Portugal. Sixty years later the third secret was finally revealed, though it remains to be known for certain if there is more to be told.
Santos wrote her memoirs in 1941 and revealed the first vision: A gruesome vision of souls burning in hell. Some see it as a Biblical message about hell, while others see it as a message about the brutality taking place at the time in World War I.
This was her warning:
“The war is going to end very soon but if people do not cease offending God, a worse war will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI.”
— Deneen Borelli (@deneenborelli) October 13, 2017
A year after the apparition in Fátima, World War I ended, but the Pope was then Benedict XV in 1917.
The second prophecy gave two warnings.
The first warning was of a mysterious light in the night sky.
“When you see a night illuminated 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.”
On January 25, 1938, the Aurora Borealis illuminated the night skies throughout Europe. At the time, Hitler was preparing for war. A month later, Hitler moved soldiers into Austria during the pontificate of Pius XI, which had indeed come to pass.
These warnings had already played out in real life by the time Sister Lucia wrote about them in 1941, but another message she wrote down would unfold in later years.
The second warning was about Russia and the spread of communism throughout the world.
The Virgin Mary called for the Consecration of Russia.
“I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart. 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…various nations will be annihilated.”
The apparition appeared to Lucia Santos again on June 13, 1929, telling her that the moment had come for the Pope and all the bishops of the world to consecrate Russia. The Pope failed to carry out the order, which Lucia believed allowed communism to spread across the globe. World War II raged in 1941, and the next Pope, Pius XII decided to carry out the consecration of Russia. However, Lucia said it was not as the Virgin Mary had wanted. The bishops around the world did not take part in the ceremony.
There were two more failed consecration attempts in 1952 and 1964. Sister Lucia said that God remained displeased. Communism spread to China in 1949 and in Cuba in 1961. A third of the world was communist by the 80s.
Sister Lucia withheld the third secret until 1943 when she fell ill and the Bishop asked her to write it down. She sealed it in an envelope but asked that it remain unseen until the year 1960 or upon her death. The envelope was delivered to the Pope in 1944, who refused to reveal the secret in 1960, the height of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union.
Some suspected the final secret of Fátima told of the ruin of the Catholic Church or possibly of nuclear war.
On May 13th, 2000 on the 83rd anniversary of the apparition at Fátima, Pope John Paul II published the third secret, although some said the entire text was not yet fully released.
“We saw an angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; Flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor radiated towards him from Her right hand.”
Some believe this may be a reference to averting nuclear war. Since Sister Lucia asked that the secret be revealed in 1960, the timing would place it shortly before the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, a critical moment when the world narrowly avoided nuclear war between the US and Russia.
Pope John Paul II believed that another part of the third secret in the sealed envelope was about him personally. Sister Lucia warned of “a vision of a bishop in white falling to the ground under a hail of gunfire,” and that vision turned out to be true. The Pope faced two assassination attempts, one of which took place in Fatima, Portugal, a bizarre coincidence. Pope John Paul II believed that the Virgin Mary’s warnings saved his life.
John Paul II and Sister Lucia pic.twitter.com/s4P8n0tSYh
— Pope news (@Pope_news) May 12, 2017
Following his narrow escapes from death, the Pope decided to join with the bishops of the world to lead the Consecration of Russia after all. He also took the first steps to canonize the young children who had died, Jacinta, and Francisco Marto. Recently, Pope Francis followed through at a mass in Fátima.
The Consecration of Russia took place on March 25, 1984, over fifty years after Sister Lucia conveyed the message of the apparition. Sister Lucia happily acknowledged that this attempt was successful. Nevertheless, some in the church today believe the ceremony was not done properly and must be done again.
Interestingly, Mikhail Gorbachev later met with the Pope in 1989, a significant change that had been unthinkable.
On February 13, 2005, Sister Lucia passed away at the age of 97 of natural causes followed by Pope John Paul II two months later at age 84. The process to canonize Sister Lucia is underway. Over 102 years have passed since the Miracle of the Sun.
— Catholic News Service Rome (@CatholicNewsSvc) May 13, 2017
The town of Fátima was named after a princess who was named after Muhammad’s beloved daughter, the founder of Islam. Since the Virgin Mary is mentioned in the Quran, some believe the apparition appeared in the town as a significant sign of respect for those who follow Islam.
See more in part 1 of this story.
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Featured image: Screenshots via YouTube