In Fatima, Portugal, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared seven times to three shepherd children, Francisco, Lucia and Jacinta, between May 13 and October 13, 1917.
On September 13, before a crowd of about 25 to 30,000 people, the Mother of God told the children to continue saying the Rosary “to obtain the end of the war. In October, Our Lord will also come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus, to bless the world.” Then, in answer to many requests to be healed and in order that the reality of the apparitions might be made known to all, the Blessed Virgin announced that the next month she would work a great miracle. Before returning to Heaven, she declared: “In October, I will perform a miracle for all to believe.”
The last apparition of Our Lady in Fatima thus took place on October 13, 1917. An immense crowd of over 50,000 people had come. Many unbelievers, Freemasons and Socialists mingled with the crowd of pilgrims and curious spectators.
The weather was foul, it was raining and the ground of the Cova da Iria, trampled like never before, was muddy. The Rosary was recited before the Blessed Virgin appeared to the children. As usual, a change in the light, announcing the apparition, was seen by the witnesses. Above the holm-oak, the Immaculate Virgin began to dictate her desires, faithfully recounted by Lucia: “I wish to tell you that I want a chapel built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue to pray the rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.”
The children then told her of several requests to be healed confided to them by the faithful. “Some will be healed, others no. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins. Let them offend Our Lord no more for He is already much offended,” said Our Lady. This was the essence of the message of Fatima, with the remedy: devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Then Our Lady rose and shone the light issuing from her hands onto the sun, and all turned to it.
The Dance of the Sun
The rain stopped instantaneously, the clouds disappeared, and the sky became clear. Unexpectedly and inexplicably, everyone in the crowd was able to look directly at the sun without burning their eyes or feeling any discomfort whatsoever. At this great miracle that defied all the laws of nature, there was a great silence. But suddenly the sun began to tremble with jerky movements. Then it spun at a dizzying speed, casting flames of light of every color of the rainbow. It seemed to come towards the earth in a rapid rotating movement, zigzagging, and the crowd began to cry out. All fell to their knees, imploring Heaven. Some fainted. At last, it all stopped, and the sun resumed its normal and natural course. In a few moments’ time, the clothes soaked by the rain had completely dried.
Over 50,000 people, believers and non-believers, witnessed this prodigy. However, no astronomical observatory recorded it, which proves that it was preternatural. The journalists who were present saw and told the story. Even people several miles from Fatima saw it, which destroys the hypothesis of an optical illusion or a collective hallucination.
Avelino de Almeida published his testimony on October 15, 1917, in the newspaper O Século. Editor-in-chief of this liberal and anticlerical newspaper, he was honest enough to write down loyally exactly what he had seen:
Suddenly there arose an immense clamor, and those closest to the crowd heard them shout: ‘Miracle! Miracle! Wonder! Wonder!’… Before the amazed eyes of these people, the sun trembled, the sun made unusual and jerky movements that defied all the cosmic laws, ‘the sun danced’, in the typical expression of the peasants. Miracle, as the people cried out? Natural phenomenon, as the scholars say? For now, I do not care, I am only saying what I saw.
As for the three children, they were able to admire three grandiose visions during the few minutes this cosmic miracle lasted.
Next to sun appeared first the Holy Family: St. Joseph with Our Lady and the Child Jesus, who blessed the world, raising His hand in the form of a cross. Then the children saw Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows with Our Lord Jesus Christ, who again blessed the world. Lastly, Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared alone.
Such was the last of Our Lady’s apparitions in Fatima, over a hundred years ago, on October 13, 1917.