Many fascinating Fatima-related facts are part of the 100-year-old Marian devotion. Recently, the Register looked at 12. Here are another nine facts:
1. Servant of God Lucia dos Santos transferred from the Dorothean Sisters to become a Carmelite nun. She entered the Carmel in Coimbra, not far from Fatima, on March 25, 1948. The date would normally be the Solemnity of the Annunciation, but that year it was Holy Thursday. This was quite fitting, as Lucia was born in 1907 on March 28 — also Holy Thursday. Sister Lucia would live at this Carmel for the rest of her life, until Feb. 13, 2005.
2. In his book Fatima for Today, Father Andrew Apostoli of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal recounts that the Lord revealed to Lucia in 1936 why he would not convert Russia without the consecration Mary told the seers about. Christ told her: “Because I want my whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in order to later extend its cult and to place devotion to this Immaculate Heart alongside devotion to my Sacred Heart.”
3. Little seer St. Jacinta Marto, canonized with her brother Francisco May 13, also spoke about the importance of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Sister Lucia recalled a conversation with Jacinta before her very ill cousin was sent to the hospital. Jacinta told her she would be going to heaven soon, but Lucia “will remain here to make known that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. ... If I could only put into the hearts of all the fire that is burning within my own heart and that makes me love the Hearts of Jesus and Mary so very much!”
4. The book A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary describes 92-year-old Sister Lucia going to Fatima to be part of the beatification ceremony for her cousins Jacinta and Francisco. Because St. John Paul II had decided to reveal the Third Secret of Fatima, he wanted Sister Lucia to testify that she wrote the text on Jan. 3, 1944. She affirmed, “Yes, this is my letter; this text is mine.”
5. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima in the Chapel of Apparitions in Fatima has been venerated since June 13, 1920. It was solemnly crowned on May 13, 1946, and, later, St. John Paul II placed in the crown the bullet that was meant to assassinate him on May 13, 1981, thanking Our Lady for saving his life.
6. St. Francisco loved solitude and prayer. He spoke little and often kept the sacrifices he made to himself. He liked to slip away, pray and meditate, to “think and console Our Lord, who is so sad!” according to Lucia. He added, “I would like to console Our Lord, and after that convert sinners so that they won’t offend him anymore.” He loved to stay “in the church, close to the Hidden Jesus.”
7. Francisco also had a fondness for birds. As Lucia observed, he “could not bear to see anyone robbing their nests.” He would save some of the bread he had for lunch and put the crumbs on top of rocks so the birds could come and have their fill.
Lucia described how he would talk with them: “Poor wee things! You are hungry. … Come and eat!” And they would flock around him.
8. Did Jacinta bilocate? One day, Lucia’s aunt wanted to ask her to pray for her prodigal son. He had left home, and no one knew where he was. Lucia said, “Not finding me, she asked Jacinta instead, who promised to pray for him. A few days later, he suddenly returned home, asked his parents’ forgiveness, and then went to Aljustrel [their hamlet] to relate his sorry story.” He said he stole from his parents and wandered around like a vagrant until he ended up in jail. He then escaped, fleeing to remote hills. At that point, completely lost, he knelt down and prayed.
He firmly declared to his family upon returning home that Jacinta appeared to him — he insisted he recognized her perfectly — took his hand, led him to the main road, and pointed the direction he needed to take. The following morning, he took that path home.
When Lucia asked Jacinta if she helped him, Jacinta said, “I only prayed and pleaded very much with Our Lady for him, because I felt so sorry for Aunt Vitoria.”
Wrote Lucia, “Only God knows” how the vision happened.
9. At Fatima on May 13, 1982, St. John Paul II honored our Blessed Mother: “In the light of a mother’s love, we understand the whole message of the Lady of Fatima. … And so, while the message of Our Lady of Fatima is a motherly one, it is also strong and decisive. … She calls us to accept her motherly help to return to the Source of redemption.”
Joseph Pronechen is a
Register staff writer.