Our Lady of Fatima is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Catholics and others who believe that she appeared to three shepherd children at Fátima, Portugal on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917. The title of Our Lady of the Rosary is also used in reference to the same apparition; the children related that the apparition specifically identified herself as "the Lady of the Rosary". It is also common to see a combination of these titles, i.e., Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima
Between May and October of 1917, three shepherd children, Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto reported visions of the Virgin Mary in the Cova da Iria fields outside the hamlet of Aljustrel, very close to Fatima, Portugal. They had this experience on the 13th day of each month at approximately the same hour. Lúcia described seeing Mary as "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun."
A photostatic copy of a page from Ilustração Portugueza, October 29, 1917, showing the crowd looking at the miracle of the sun during the Fatima apparitions (attributed to the Virgin Mary)According to Lúcia's account, Mary confided to the children three secrets, known as the Three Secrets of Fatima. She exhorted the children to do penance and to make sacrifices to save sinners. The children wore tight cords around their waists to cause pain, abstained from drinking water on hot days, and performed other works of penance. Most important, Lúcia said Mary asked them to say the Rosary every day, reiterating many times that the Rosary was the key to personal and world peace. Many young Portuguese men, including relatives of the visionaries, were then fighting in World War I.
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