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Our Lady of Fatima

In 1917, on the 13th day of May, June, July, September and October, Our Lady appeared at the Cova da Iria in Portugal, to the visionaries, Lucia Santos (10) and Francisco and Jacinto Marto (9 and 7). As in many of Her apparitions, Our Lady asked the seers to pray the Rosary and also requesting them to pray this prayer after each mystery:

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins,
save us from the fires of hell
lead all souls to heaven
especially those in most need of Thy mercy
Our Lady had other requests to make and these were made known in Her message of 13 July 1917:
"You have seen hell where the souls of sinners go. To save them God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war will end, and if men do not cease to offend God another worse one will begin. When you see a night lit by a strange unknown light, you will know that it is a sign that God gives you that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger and the persecution of the Church and the Holy Father. To prevent it I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the reparatory Communion of the First Saturdays. If My desires are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church; and good will be martyred and the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. But in the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me and she will be converted and the world will enjoy a period of peace. In Portugal, the Dogma of the Faith will always be conserved. You must not tell this to anyone except Francisco."

During the June 1917 apparition, Our Lady confided a secret to the seers. The two first parts were only divulged after the Second World War. The first part of the secret concerned the vision of hell; the second part was of universal value. In it Our Lady predicted the Second World War, which was to be preceded by a sign which Lucia recognized in the aurora borealis on the night of 24/25 January 1938. This sky phenomenon was witnessed in nearly all the nations of Europe and was largely referred to in the press. The third secret was not to be disclosed before 1960, but to date this has not occurred. Pope John XXIII, and each of the Popes since then has decided not to release the "Third Secret" because it does not add anything to what we already know from the Scriptures.

"In October I will perform a miracle so that everyone can believe." This was the assurance the Blessed Virgin gave to Lucia who repeated it to everyone who came to question her. Everywhere in Portugal people talked about the miracle, the day, hour and place. 13 October was to be the decisive day in the history of the Apparitions of Fatima. The enemies of the Church mocked at this prophecy and those who pinned their faith on it. Newspapers published and advertised the event, some jokingly, especially the "Seculo", the newspaper with the largest circulation at that time.

On 13 October 1917, the "Miracle of the Sun" took place. The sun seemed to flicker on and off, first one way and then another. It shot rays in different directions and painted everything in different colours, the trees, the people, the air and the ground. The Sun did not hurt the eyes. Everything was still and quiet, everyone looking upwards. At a certain moment, the sun seemed to stop and then begin to move and to dance until it seemed that it was being detached from the sky and was falling on the people. Thousands of the people present saw this phenomenon and the newspapers wrote about it, even the "Seculo".

Francisco died on 4 April 1919 and Jacinta died on 20 Februr q6355xxxxxxxxzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzqqqqq ary the following year. Lucia entered the Convent of the Sisters of St Dorothy and is still alive today. She is nearing her ninetieth birthday.

On 10 December 1925, Our Lady appeared with the Child Jesus to Lucia and said:

Look, My daughter, at My Heart, encircled with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every instant with their blasphemy and ingratitude. You at least try to console Me with the practice of the First Saturdays.

Lucia immediately began to make this devotion known. It consists of doing the following on the the first Saturday of the month for five consecutive months:

As Our Lady said at the apparition of 13 July 1917, "I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia". She did this on 13 June 1929, when She appeared to Lucia in the Chapel of Dorotheas, in the town of Tuy.

Pope Pius XI did not make the consecration which Our Lady had asked Lucia to make known. Pius XII in his turn, did not consecrate Russia in the original form, he consecrated the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with a particular mention of Russia. Pope Pius XII did something similar in 1942, and later consecrated the Russian people in 1952.

On 13 May 1982, one year after an assassination attempt in St Peter's Square on 13 May 1981 (the anniversary of the first apparition), Pope John Paul II travelled to Fatima, where he met Sr Lucia. He believed he owed his survival to the direct intervention of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He then consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart in collegial union with the Bishops of the Church on this day, 13 May 1982.

Sr Lucia later confirmed that this had fulfilled Our Lady's request. However, the Holy Father later requested that the statue of Our Lady from Fatima's Capelinha be sent to Rome, and then in collegial union with the Bishops of the Church, he specifically consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 25 March 1984 (the feast of the Annunciation).

A careful investigation of the primary events involved in the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union will indicate a surprising number of events occurring on the 13th day of the month!

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