story of our lady of fatima
By: Brother Ernest, C.S.C.
Most Rev. Leo A. Pursley, D.D.
Bishop of Fort Wayne
On a hot May day in 1917, three little shepherds were watching
their sheep in a hollow in the mountains of Portugal called Cova
da Iria. The sky above them was a clear blue. Not the smallest cloud
could be seen anywhere. The sun beat straight down, for it was noon.
Then a familiar sound was heard. The bell in the village church
was ringing for the Angelus.
Lucia Santos (age 10, pictured in
the middle) and her two cousins: Francisco (age 9) and Jacinta Marto
(age 7) holding their rosaries. Fatima, Portugual 1917 A.D.
The three children: Jacinta, a girl of seven; Francisco, her brother,
a lad of nine; and Lucia, a girl of ten, at once knelt and began
to say the rosary together.
But this was such a beautiful day, and the children did not want
to take the time to say the rosary as they should. So they simply
said: “Our Father, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Glory
be.” Then they were ready for the first decade. It took them
just about two minutes to finish the whole rosary in this new style!
Suddenly, there was a great flash of light, brighter than lightning.
The children looked up and all around them.
“Might be a big storm coming. Let’s get the sheep together
and go home,” said Francisco. The girls agreed, and soon they
and the sheep were scampering down the slope towards home. When
they reached the foot of the hill they saw a second great flash.
It was brighter than the first. They stopped; very much afraid.
“Look!” said Lucia, pointing toward a little oak tree.
There they saw a beautiful young lady. She was dressed in a white
gown, gathered together at the neck by a gold cord. Over her head
draped a fine white veil. The children were about to run when they
heard a sweet voice say: “Be not afraid! I am not going to
Then the shepherds drew near. They noticed the lovely lady had her
hands joined as in prayer, and a pearl rosary fell from her fingers.
“Where did you come from?” Asked Lucia.
“I came from heaven.”
Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary
“And why did you come here?”
“I came to ask you to come here for six successive months,
on the thirteenth of each month, at this same time. In October I
shall tell you who I am and what it is I wish.”
Lucia then asked the lady if they would go to heaven. They were
happy when she told them they would.
“Children, always say the rosary with devotion.” said
the lady, and then she left them.
“We must not tell anyone about the lady. No one will believe
us.” Said Lucia.
To this the others agreed. Then they got their sheep together and
went home, even though it was much too early.
Lady's words to Jacinta Marto shortly before the little seer died:
"More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for
any other reason."
fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much."
But Jacinta thought her mother would punish her for coming home,
so she told about the lady!
“You are lying to me!” Shouted the mother.
Mrs. Marto, Jacinta’s mother, ran at once to Lucia’s
home and reported all the children had told her. Lucia had not said
a word to her mother, who seemed stunned at the story.
“Tell me, Lucia, are my children lying?”
“No, they are not. It’s all true!”
“Don’t you say another word about this, Lucia,”
said her mother as she ran out the door.
Lucia’s mother, Maria, hurried to the pastor and told him
the story. He tried to calm her, but the woman insisted her daughter
was lying to her. She then hurried home and gave Lucia a sound thrashing.
But that did not change Lucia’s mind.
June 13 was a fair day, but the children did not care about that.
It was the day the lady promised to come to see them again, and
so they went to the appointed spot. There were about sixty other
The children knelt down and began to say the rosary. When it was
finished, they stood and brushed the dust from their clothes.”The
lady is coming!” cried Lucia and ran down the hill to the
little oak. The others followed.
Yes, it was the lady. She was dressed just the same, and she seemed
pleased to see them.
“What do you want me to do?” begged Lucia.