Story of Fatima

The Fatima Message in Lucia’s Own Words

Apparitions at Fatima

(As a source for a complete review of the Fatima Apparitions, we recommend the book, “The Fatima Message in Lucia’s Own Words,” (Volumes I & II) translated by the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary).

Apparition of the Angel

Although I cannot give the exact date, it seems to me that it was 1915 that the first Apparition took place. We were just about to pray the Rosary when I saw, poised in the air above the trees that stretched down to the valley which lay at our feet, what appeared to be a cloud in human form, whiter than snow and almost transparent. This happened in two further occasions, but on different days.

Apparitions of the Angel in Loca do Cobeco, 1916

The First Apparition

But I think it must have been in the spring of 1916 that the Angel appeared to us for the first time in our Loca do Cabeco. After having taken our lunch and said our prayers, we began to see, some distance off, above the trees that stretched away towards the east, a light, whiter than snow, in the form of a young man transparent, and brighter than any crystal, pierced by the rays of the sun. As he drew nearer, we could distinguish his features more and more clearly. We were surprised, absorbed, and struck dumb with amazement. On reaching us, he said: “Do not be afraid. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.”

Kneeling on the ground, he bowed down until his forehead touched the ground, and made us repeat these words three times:

“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.”

Then, rising, he said: “Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.”

The Second Apparition

The second Apparition must have been at the height of summer, Suddenly, we saw the same Angel right beside us. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Pray! Pray very much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the most High.” How are we to make sacrifices?” I asked. “Make everything you do a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country. I am its Angel Guardian, the Angel of Portugal. Above all accept and bare with submission, the suffering which the Lord will send you.”

His words engraved themselves so deeply in our minds. They were like a light which made us understand who God is, how He loves us and desires to be loved, the value of sacrifice, how pleasing it is to Him and how, on account of it, he grants the grace of conversion to sinners.

The Third Apparition

We said our Rosary there and the prayer the Angel had taught us at the first Apparition. While we were there, the Angel appeared to us for the third time, holding a chalice in his hand, with a Host above it from which drops of Blood were falling into the sacred vessel. Leaving the chalice and the Host suspended in the air, the Angel prostrated on the ground and repeated this prayer three times: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.”

Then rising, he once more took the chalice and the Host in his hands. He gave the Host to me, and to Jacinta and Francisco he gave the contents of the chalice to drink, saying as he did so: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Repair their crimes and console your God.” Once again, he prostrated on the ground and repeated with us three times more, the same prayer…”Most Holy Trinity….” and then he disappeared. Impelled by the power of the supernatural that enveloped us, we imitated all that the Angel had done, prostrating ourselves on the ground as he did and repeating the prayers that he said.

The Apparitions of Our Lady

The 13th of May, 1917

Suddenly we saw what seemed to be a flash of lightning. “We’d better go home,” I said to my cousins, “that’s lightning; we may have a thunderstorm.” “Yes, indeed!” they answered. We began to go down the slope, hurrying the sheep along towards the road. We were more or less halfway down the slope, and almost level with a large holm-oak tree that stood there, when we saw another flash of lightning.

We had only gone a few steps further when, there before us on a small holm-oak, we beheld a Lady all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun, and radiated a light more clear and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it. We stopped, astounded, before the Apparition. We were so close, just a few feet from her, that we were bathed in the light which surrounded her, or rather, which radiated from her. Then Our Lady spoke to us: “Do not be afraid. I will do you no harm.” “Where are you from?” “I am from heaven.” “What do you want from me?” “I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the 13th day, at this same hour. Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards, I will return here yet a seventh time.” “Shall I go to heaven too?” “Yes, you will.” “And Jacinta?” “She will go also.” “And Francisco?” “He will go there too, but he must say many Rosaries.”

Then I remembered to ask about two girls who had died recently. They were friends of mine and used to come to my home to learn weaving with my eldest sister. “Is Maria das Neves in heaven?” “Yes, she is.” (I think she was about 16 years old). “And Amelia?” “She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.” (It seems to me that she was between 18 and 20 years of age). “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” “Yes, we are willing.” “Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”

As She pronounced these last words “…the grace of God will be your comfort”, Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God. Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then, moved by an interior impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts: “O most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!”

After a few moments, Our Lady spoke again: “Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.” Then She began to rise serenely, going upwards towards the east, until She disappeared in the immensity of space. The light that surrounded Her seemed to open up a path Her in the sky, and for this reason we sometimes said that we saw Heaven opening.

The 13th of June, 1917

As soon as Jacinta, Francisco and I had finished praying the Rosary, with a number of other people who were present, we saw once more the flash reflecting the light which was approaching (which we called lightning). The next moment, Our Lady was there on the holm-oak, exactly the same as in May. “What do You want of me?” I asked. “I wish you to come here on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. Later I will tell you what I want.”

I asked for the cure of a sick person. “If he is converted, he will be cured during the year.” “I would like to ask You to take us to Heaven.” “Yes. I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. But you are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world, devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” “Am I to stay here alone?” I asked sadly. “No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”

As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands and for the second time, She communicated to us the rays of that same immense light. We saw ourselves in this light, as it were, immersed in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which rose towards Heaven, and I in that which was poured out on the earth. In front of the palm of Our Lady’s right hand was a Heart encircled by thorns which pierced it. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary outraged by the sins of humanity, and that She wanted reparation. You know now, Your Excellency, what we referred to when we said that Our Lady had revealed a secret to us in June. At the time, Our Lady did not tell us to keep it a secret, but we felt moved to do so by God.

The 13th of July, 1917

A few moments after arriving at the Cova da Iria, near the holm-oak, where a large number of people were praying the Rosary, we saw the flash of light once more and a moment later, Our Lady appeared on the holm-oak. “What do You want of me?” I asked. “I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you.”

“I would like to ask You to tell us who You are, and to work a miracle so that everybody will believe that You are appearing to us.” “Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe.” I then made some requests, but I cannot recall now just what they were. What I do remember is that Our Lady said it was necessary for such people to pray the Rosary in order to obtain these graces during the year. And She continued: “Sacrifice yourself for sinners, and say many times especially whenever you make some sacrifice ‘O Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, for the Holy Father, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary’”.

As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands once more, as She had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been the sight that caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals.

Terrified and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us kindly but so sadly: “You have seen hell, where poor sinners go. In order 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, there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Puis XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. “To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are fulfilled, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace, if not she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and 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 a period of peace will be granted to the world.

In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc … [see third part of Secret below] Do not tell this to anybody. Francisco, yes, you may tell him. When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need’” After this, there was a moment of silence, and then I asked: “Is there anything more you want of me?” “No. I do not want anything more of you today.” Then as before Our Lady began to ascend towards the east, until She finally disappeared in the immense distance of the sky.

The Third Part of the Fatima Secret

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’. And we saw in an immense light that is God: something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God. (

[Commentary: Our Lady held her Heart in her right hand and the Rosary in her left. This was what Lucia told Cardinal Bertone in a private interview. The third part of the secret says that the splendor radiating from Our Lady’s right hand put out the fire issuing from the angel’s sword. These flames appeared to be able to set the earth on fire. When we put the two accounts together, we realize that it is the Immaculate Heart of Mary that is putting out the flames.]

[John Paul II, for his part, asked for the envelope containing the third part of the “secret” following the assassination attempt on 13 May 1981… As regards the passage about the Bishop dressed in white, that is, the Holy Father—as the children immediately realized during the “vision”—who is struck dead and falls to the ground, Sister Lucia was in full agreement with the Pope’s claim that “it was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death” (Pope John Paul II, Meditation from the Policlinico Gemelli to the Italian Bishops, 13 May 1994). (]

The 13th of August, 1917

[The children were placed in jail and were prevented from going to the Cova da Iria. However, even though the children were not there, a witness describes what happened at the Cova da Iria that day]:

It was much the same as the last time. Some said the thunder came from the direction of the road and others said it came from the tree. To me it seemed to come from a long way off. But wherever it came from, the thunder was a shock to the people. Some of them began to shout that we would be killed. We all began to spread out, away from the tree, but, of course, no one was hurt in any way. Just after the clap of thunder came a flash of lightning, and then we began to see a little cloud, very delicate, very white, which stopped for a few moments over the tree, and then rose in the air until it disappeared. As we looked around, we began to notice some strange things we had observed before and would see again in the months to follow. Our faces were reflecting all the colors of the rainbow—pink and red and blue and I don’t know what. The trees suddenly seemed to be made not of leaves, but of flowers. The ground reflected these many colors, and so did the clothes we wore. The lanterns that someone had fixed to the arch above us looked as though they had turned to gold. Certainly Our Lady had come, I knew, even though the children were not there.

The 15th of August, 1917

[The children were released from jail].

We were with the sheep in a place called Valinhos, when we felt something supernatural approaching and enveloping us. Suspecting that Our Lady was about to appear to us, and feeling sorry lest Jacinta might miss seeing Her, we asked her brother to go and call her. As he was unwilling to go, I offered him two small coins and off he ran. Meanwhile, Francisco and I saw the flash of light, which we called lightning. Jacinta arrived, and a moment later we saw Our Lady on a holm-oak tree. “What do you want of me?” “I want you to continue going to the Cova da Iria on the 13th, and to continue praying the Rosary every day. In the last month, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.”

“What do You want done with the money that the people leave in the Cova da Iria?” “Have two litters made. One is to be carried by you and Jacinta and two other girls dressed in white, the other one is to be carried by Francisco and three other boys. The money from the litters is for the festa of Our Lady of the Rosary, and what is left over will help towards the construction of a chapel that is to be built here.” “I would like to ask You to cure some sick persons.” “Yes, I will cure some of them during the year.” Then looking very sad, Our Lady said: “Pray, pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because they have nobody to pray and make sacrifices for them.” And She began to ascend as usual towards the east.

The 13th Of September, 1917

At last, we arrived at the Cova da Iria, and on reaching the holm-oak we began to say the Rosary with the people. Shortly afterwards, we saw the flash of light, and then Our Lady appeared on the holm-oak. “Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Doloures and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices. He does not want you to sleep with the rope on, but only to wear it during the daytime.” “I was told to ask you many things, the cure of some sick people, of a deaf-mute…” “Yes, I will cure some, but not others. In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.” Then Our Lady began to rise as usual, and disappeared.

The 13th of October, 1917

A little later, we saw the flash of light, and the Our Lady appeared on the holm-oak. “What do you want of me?” “I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.” “I have many things to ask you: the cure of some sick persons, the conversion of sinners, and other things…” “Some yes, but not others. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.” Looking very sad, Our Lady said: “Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.” Then opening Her hands, She made them reflect on the sun, and as She ascended, the reflection of Her own light began to be projected on the sun itself.

Here, Your Excellency, is the reason why I cried out to the people to look at the sun. My aim was not to call their attention to the sun, because, because I was not even aware of their presence. I was moved to do so under the guidance of an interior impulse. After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the sky, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. When, a little later, the apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolours. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel.

[Lucia understood that Our Lady wants us to wear the Brown Scapular as a sign of our consecration to Her Immaculate Heart.]


The Three Apparitions after Fatima

First Post Fatima Apparition

[Our Lady and the Child Jesus did come again on December 10, 1925 to ask for and explain the First Saturdays.]

On December 10th, 1925, the most holy Virgin appeared to Lucia, and by her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was a child. The most holy Virgin rested her hand on her shoulder, and as she did so, she showed her a heart encircled by thorns, which she was holding in her other hand. At the same time, the Child Jesus said, “have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother covered with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation.”

Then the Most Holy Virgin said, “My daughter, look at My Heart surrounded with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me, and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for salvation all those who on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.

Second Post Fatima Apparition

[The Child Jesus appeared to Sr. Lucia on February 15, 1926 and asked her about the First Saturdays.]

On February 15th, 1926, the Child Jesus appeared to her again. He asked her if she had already spread throughout the world the devotion to His Most Holy Mother. She told Him of the confessor’s difficulties, and said that Mother Superior was prepared to propagate it, but that the confessor had said that she, alone, could do nothing. Jesus replied: “It is true that your Superior alone can do nothing, but with my grace, she can do all.”

She placed before Jesus the difficulty that some people had about confessing on Saturday, and asked that it might be valid to go to confession within eight days. Jesus answered: “Yes, and it could be longer still, provided that, when they receive Me, they are in the state of grace and have the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” She then asked: “My Jesus, what about those who forget to make this intention?” Jesus replied: “They can do so at their next confession, taking advantage of the first opportunity to go to confession.”

Third Post Fatima Apparition

June 13, 1929. I had sought and obtained permission from my superiors and confessor to make a Holy Hour from eleven o’ clock until midnight, every Thursday to Friday. Being alone one night, I knelt near the altar rails in the middle of the chapel and, prostrate, I prayed the prayers of the Angel. Feeling tired, I then stood up and continued to say the prayers with my arms in the form of a Cross.

The only light was that of the Sanctuary lamp. Suddenly the whole chapel was illuminated by a supernatural light, and above the altar appeared a Cross of light, reaching to the ceiling. In a brighter light on the upper part of the Cross, could be seen the face of a man and his body as far as the waist; upon his breast was a dove of light, nailed to the Cross I could see another man. A little below the waist I could see a large host suspended in the air, onto which drops of blood were falling from the face of Jesus Crucified and from the wound in His side.

These drops ran down on to the host and fell into the chalice. Beneath the right arm of the Cross was Our Lady and in Her hand was Her Immaculate Heart (It was Our Lady of Fatima, with Her Immaculate Heart in Her left hand, without a sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames). Under the left arm of the Cross, large letters as if of crystal clear water which ran down upon the altar, formed these words: “Grace And Mercy”.

I understood that it was the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity which was shown to me, and I received lights about this mystery which I am not permitted to reveal. Our Lady then said to me: “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. There are so many souls whom the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I have come to ask reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray:”

Later in an intimate communication, Our Lord complains to me, saying: “They did not wish to heed My request. Like the King of France they will repent and do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church: the Holy Father will have much to suffer.”

Letters and Locutions

February, 1926, letter concerning the First Saturdays, an account of the First Saturday apparitions.

On July 24, 1927, Lucia wrote a letter to her mother introducing her to the First Saturdays as well as urging her to practice the devotion and tell others about it. Lucia already thought that the 15 minute meditation might seem difficult to many people.

It is the fifteen minutes to my mind, that is going to give the most confusion.

But it is very simple. Who is not able to think on the Mysteries of the Rosary? On the Annunciation of the angel and on the humility of our dear Mother, who, on seeing herself so praised, called herself a slave? On the passion of Jesus, Who suffered so much for love of us? And our Most Holy Mother near Jesus on Calvary? Who is not able then, with these holy thoughts, to spend fifteen minutes, near this most tender of Mothers? (p. 277)

December 17, 1927, document concerning the First Saturdays

May 29, 1930, letter and locution concerning the First Saturdays. After the consecration of Russia and when the persecution ceases: “In responses to the end of this persecution, His holiness is to promise to approve and recommend the practice of the already mentioned devotion of reparation.” (p. 281)

June 6, 1930, letter concerning the First Saturdays. Questions such as: Why five First Saturdays?

October 28, 1934, letter concerning the First Saturdays.

May 26, 1935, letter concerning the First Saturdays

1939, letter concerning the First Saturdays:

War or Peace of the world depends upon the practice of this devotion joined with the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Hence I would want it spread, and, above all because it is the desire of our good Lord and our so dear mother in heaven…(p. 367)

June 20, 1939, letter concerning First Saturdays, leaflet on five First Saturdays.

Our Lady promised to retain the scourge of War if this devotion were spread and practiced. We will see her warding off this chastisement in the measure people will take the pain to spread the devotion, although I am afraid we are not doing as much as we could and God, not too happy, might raise his arm of Mercy and let the world be destroyed by this punishment, which as never been before shall be, horrible, horrible. (p. 368)

July 31, 1939, letter concerning the First Saturdays; printing pamphlets on First Saturdays, Bishop spreads devotion.

September 13, 1939, Bishop of Fatima approves five First Saturdays devotion.

December 3, 1939, letter concerning the First Saturdays, Lucia did not want her name used. Sr. Lucia understood Our Lady’s request for the meditation on the mysteries in Our Lady’s company is to be fulfilled separately from the Rosary.

(The text from the letters and locutions quoted above are from Documents on Fatima & the Memoirs of Sister Lucia by Fr. Martins & Fr. Fox, 2002).

Summary of the Fatima Message

  • Repent and believe!
  • Offer prayers (including the daily Rosary) and sacrifices (including our daily duties) in supplication and in reparation to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 
  • Wear the Brown Scapular as a sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 
  • Practice the First Saturdays in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.