To Catholics all over the world, it is a unique day indeed to remark in the history of the world. The 13th day of May is commemorated yearly by faithfuls as the day the Blessed Virgin Mother of God visited the three seers (shepherds) of Fatima in Portugal.
It was on Sunday, May 13, 1917 Our Lady of Fatima first appeared to the 3 children. Coincidentally, on May 13, 1981 Blessed Pope John Paul II was shot 4 times at St Peter's Square in Rome.
The Three Seers of Fatima Lúcia Santos and her younger cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto
It could be recalled from the book authored by late Sis. Lucia that the ten year old Lúcia Santos and her younger cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, were taking care of their family sheep at a location called the Cova da Iria near their home village of Fátima in Portugal.
Sis. Lucia described seeing 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."
This she observed after they allowed their sheep to graze as they played in the pasture land sprinkled with the occasional oak tree and after having had their lunch about noon they decided to pray a rosary, although in a somewhat truncated fashion, saying only the first words of each prayer.
Shortly, they were startled by what they later described as "lightening in a clear sky." Thinking that a storm might be approaching they debated whether they should take the sheep and go home. Preparing to do so they were again surprised by a strange light. What could this be? They three children wondered.
As they began to go down the slope driving the sheep towards the road and at half-way down, near a holm oak there the large tree which today is encircled with an iron fence, they saw another flash of lightening, and after a few steps they saw on a holm oak a small one lower on the hillside a lady dressed in white, shining brighter than the sun, giving out rays of clear and intense light, just like a crystal goblet full of pure water when the fiery sun passes through it.
Lucia continued; we stopped astounded by the Apparition. We were so near that we were in the light that encircled her, or which she radiated, perhaps a meter and a half away about 4-5 feet.
According to Sis. Lucia, the strange lady has this to say: “Please don't be afraid of me, I'm not going to harm you.”
Lucia replied on behalf of them, as she would throughout the apparitions. "Where are you from?"
“I come from heaven”. The Lady replied.
Lucia: "The Lady wore a pure white mantle, edged with gold and which fell to her feet. In her hands the beads of a rosary shone like stars, with its crucifix the most radiant gem of all. Still, Lucia felt no fear. The Lady's presence produced in her only gladness and confident joy."
"And what do you want of me?" Lucia asked.
“I want you to return here on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months, and at the very same hour. Later I shall tell you who I am, and what it is that I most desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time.” The Lady replied.
"And shall I go to heaven?" Lucia asked.
“Yes, you will.” The lady replied.
"And Jacinta?" Lucia further asked
“She will go too.” The lady replied.
"And Francisco?" Lucia added.
“Francisco, too, my dear, but he will first have many Rosaries to say.” The lady answered.
Lucia recalled, for a few moments the Lady looked at Francisco with compassion, tinged with a little sadness. Lucia then remembered some friends who had died.
"Is Maria Neves in heaven?" Lucia asked.
“Yes, she is.” The lady replied.
"And Amelia?" She further asked.
“She is in purgatory.” The lady replied.
The lady asked the three children; “Will you offer yourselves to God, and bear all the sufferings He sends you? In atonement for all the sins that offend Him? And for the conversion of sinners?”
"Oh, we will, we will!" The three replied.
She continued; “then you will have a great deal to suffer, but the grace of God will be with you and will strengthen you.”
Lucia disclosed this: "As the Lady spoke these words, she opened her hands, and
we were bathed in a heavenly light that appeared to come directly from her hands. The light's reality cut into our hearts and our souls, and we knew somehow that this light was God, and we could see ourselves embraced in it. By an interior impulse of grace we fell to our knees, repeating in our hearts: "Oh, Holy Trinity, we adore You. My God, my God, I love You in the Blessed Sacrament." ..."
Lucia recalled that they remained kneeling in the flood of this wondrous light, until the Lady spoke again, mentioning the war in Europe, of which they had little or no knowledge. She said to them: "Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war."
Lucia further stated: "After her last word she began to rise slowly in the direction of the east, until she disappeared in the immense distance. The light that encircles Her seemed to make a way amidst the stars, and that is why we sometimes said we had seen the heavens open."