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Our Lady of Fátima is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary with respect to her apparitions to three shepherd childrenat Fátima in Portugal on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13.
On Sunday, May 13, 1917, ten year old Lúcia Santos and her younger cousins, siblings Jacinta and Francisco Marto, were tending sheep at a location known as the Cova da Iria near their home village of Fátima in Portugal when they saw a Woman "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal ball filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun."
Further appearances took place on the thirteenth day of the month in June and July. In these, the Woman exhorted the children to do penance and to make sacrifices to save sinners. Most importantly,Lúcia said that the “lady” who was later on determined to have been the Blessed Virgin Mary had asked them to pray the rosary every day, repeating many times that the rosary was the key to personal and world peace. In thecourse of her appearances, the Blessed Virgin confided to the children three secrets, now known as the “Three Secrets of Fátima”.
As early as July 1917, the Virgin Mary had promised a miracle for the last of her apparitions on 13 October, so that all would believe.
Miracle of the Sun
A crowd of approximately 70,000 people, including newspaper reporters and photographers, gathered at the Cova da Iria on October 13, 1917, the day of the promised Miracle.
The incessant rain had just ceased and a thin layer of clouds cloaked the silver disc of the sun such that it could be looked upon without hurting the eyes. Suddenly, Lucia called out to the crowd to look at the sun which appeared to change colors and to rotate like a firewheel. For some the sun appeared to fall from the sky before retreating, for others it zig-zagged. The phenomenon was witnessed by most people in the crowd as well as people many miles away. Immediately after this miracle, the rain soaked clothes and the grounds in the area became suddenly dry.
The apparitions at Fatima have been officially declared "worthy of belief" by the Catholic Church.