Francisco Marto, age 9, and his sister Jacinta, age 7, together with their cousin Lucia dos Santos, 10, were tending sheep in a field called Cova da Iria in the area of Fatima, a village north of Lisbon, Portugal.
May 13, 1917. A bright cloud formed above the foliage of a three-foot evergreen. In the center, a beautiful Lady stood in the radiant light. She wore a white robe. A white veil fell from her head down her sides. A pearl-beaded rosary hung between the fingers of her right hand. The Lady revealed that she had come from heaven. She requested the daily recitation of the Rosary and bade the children return to the Cova at noon on the thirteenth day of the six following months.
June 13, 1917. The children returned. The Lady appeared, her heart surrounded by piercing thorns. Lucy learned the she would live longer than Jacinta and Francis, in order that she might spread devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
July 13, 1917. The Lady appeared in the same place about noon. She asked for the daily Rosary, sacrifices, Communion of reparation on First Saturdays, and Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart. The children saw a vision of hell. The Lady promised to reveal her identity and to work a great miracle on October 13th.
August 13, 1917. The local magistrate kidnapped the children on the thirteenth, thus preventing their going to the Cova. Six days later, the Lady appeared. Again she pleaded for prayers and penance. In addition, she requested a procession in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. The Lady reminded the children to come on the thirteenth of the two succeeding months.
September 13, 1917. About 40,000 people accompanied the children. The Lady appeared as on her previous visits. She asked for the construction of a chapel on the spot. She promised a great sign for October 13, and to appear with the Divine Child and Saint Joseph.
October 13, 1917. Torrential rain drenched the 70,000 people as they saw the dark clouds part, to reveal the sun as a great silver ball. The sun began to whirl like a wheel of fire emitting vari-colored shafts of light. It stopped, then spun a second and third time. Simultaneously, the children heard the Lady declare, “I am the Lady of the Rosary”, and witnessed three tableaux depicting the Mysteries of the Rosary. The sun seemed to break loose from its position and plunge, quivering toward Earth. When this terrifying event ended, everyone’s clothing had dried completely.
No apparition can be considered authentic nor can devotions be held until competent authority approves.
October, 1930. The Bishops of Portugal declared the apparitions worthy of belief and devotion to Our Lady of Fatima was authorized under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary.
October, 1942. Pope Pius XII, on the 25th Anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, consecrated the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.