Today is the 96th anniversary of the first time that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three peasant children named Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia in Fatima, Portugal. On that day, the Virgin Mary asked the children to return to the same place on the 13th day of every month for the next six months and to say the rosary every day “to bring peace to the world and an end to war.”
This was the first in a series of apparitions that came at a time of great tumult in the world – many of the world’s nations were engaged in the Great War, which would later be named World War I, and in Moscow, Vladimir Lenin was in preparations to set in place the Russian revolution, preparations that would have a very particular impact on the remainder of the 20th century. In the subsequent apparitions, Our Lady asked the children to establish devotion to her Immaculate Heart, make sacrifices for sinners, and to continue to pray the rosary every day for peace in the world.
The apparitions to the three children concluded in October 1917, when the Miracle of the Sun occurred. Up to 300,000 had gathered near Fatima and according to many of the witnesses, the sun appeared to spin in the sky (click the link for testimonies from eyewitnesses to the event).
This day also marks the 32nd anniversary of the assassination attempt on the life of Blessed Pope John Paul II. John Paul was greeting crowds in St. Peter’s Square when he was shot at close range by Mehmet Ali Agca. The Holy Father was hit four times and one of the bullets missed a major artery in his heart by a fraction of an inch. John Paul credited the Virgin Mary with saving his life, saying, “It was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path.” Later, John Paul presented the bishop of Fatima with the bullet, which to this day remains in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
For more information on the assassination attempt on John Paul II and its connection to Our Lady of Fatima, RomeReports.com has put together a helpful video:
Why not take a moment today to thank Our Lady for her intercession in protecting our Holy Father those many years ago?