This year marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal. The Blessed Mother appeared once each month to the children from May 13 until Oct. 13, 1917.
August 13, 1917
The fourth apparition:
The children are kidnapped
As Aug. 13 approached, the story of the apparitions had reached the anti-religious secular press. While this ensured that the whole country knew about Fatima, it also meant that many biased and negative reports were circulating. The children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, 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 Aug. 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 of each month 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 toward 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 affected them. They even knotted some pieces of old rope around their waists as a form of mortification, not removing them day or night.
The story of Fatima has been provided by the World Apostolate of Fatima, U.S.A., Our Lady’s Blue Army.
Look for more coverage of the message of Fatima
and local and international anniversary celebrations now through October. Visit www.diocesefwsb.org/fatima
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