Queen of Heaven - Catholic Marian Doctrine

Virgin of the Angels
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
to view images full size - click on images and open in a new tab 

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Queen of Heaven is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by the Roman Catholic Church, and also, to some extent, in Anglo-Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy, to whom the title is a consequence of the First Council of Ephesus in the fifth century, in which the Virgin Mary was proclaimed "Θεοτόκος" (Theotokos), a title rendered in Latin as 'Mater Dei', in English as "Mother of God".


Lady Chapel - Westminster Cathedral - London
Anglo-Catholic Marian Shrine - Walsingham
Θεοτόκος is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include "God-bearer", "Birth-Giver of God" and "the one who gives birth to God."
Less literal translations include "Mother of God." The ancient use of this term is emphasised in Churches of the Syriac Tradition who have been using this title in their ancient liturgies for centuries. The Anaphora of Mari and Addai (3rd Century) and the Liturgy of St James the Just (60 AD). Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics use the title "Mother of God" more often than "Theotokos." The Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that Mary is Theotokos because of the Christological doctrine that Jesus is both God and man: one Divine Person with two natures (Divine and human) intimately, hypostatically united. Theotokos specifically excludes the understanding of Mary as Mother of God in the eternal sense - (this is important). Christians believe that God is the cause of all, with neither origin nor source, and is therefore without a mother or father, or any relation except for what is homoousian to Him: only the persons of the Holy Trinity. He is ontologically separate from all other beings, as Creator to creation. 


St. Mary Bourne Street
Martin Travers
The Catholic teaching on this subject is expressed in the papal encyclical 'Ad Caeli Reginam', issued by Pope Pius XII.
It states that Mary is called Queen of Heaven because her son, Jesus Christ, is the heavenly king of the universe.
The title Queen of Heaven has long been a Catholic tradition, included in prayers and devotional literature, and seen in Western art in the subject of the 'Coronation of the Virgin', from the High Middle Ages, long before it was given a formal definition status by the Church.




Theological Basis

Salvador Dali - 'Assumption'
Queen of Heaven (Latin Regina Caeli) is one of many Queen titles used of the Virgin Mary.
The title derived in part from the ancient Catholic teaching that Mary, at the end of her earthly life, was bodily and spiritually assumed into heaven, and that she is there honoured as Queen.

'The Virgin and Chikld'
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Pius XII explained on the theological reasons for her title of Queen in a radio message to Fatima of May 13, 1946, 'Bendito seja':
'He, the Son of God, reflects on His heavenly Mother the glory, the majesty and the dominion of His kingship, for, having been associated to the King of Martyrs in the ... work of human Redemption as Mother and cooperator, she remains forever associated to Him, with a practically unlimited power, in the distribution of the graces which flow from the Redemption. Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice [of the Father'.
According to Catholic doctrine, Mary was assumed into heaven, and is with Jesus Christ, her divine Son, and is represented in the Book of Revelation (chapter 11:19–12:6) as the 'woman clothed with the sun' who gives birth to Christ.


'Madonna of the Lillies'
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
In his 1954 encyclical 'Ad caeli reginam' ("To the Queen of Heaven"), Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is 'Mother of God', because she is closely associated as the 'New Eve' with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her pre-eminent perfection and because of her intercessory power.

'Pieta'
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
'Ad caeli reginam' states that the main principle on which the dignity of Mary rests is her 'Divine Motherhood'. ... So with complete justice St. John Damascene could write: "When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature.".
Other titles have been added to reflect modern scientific understanding.
The Second Vatican Council in 1964 referred to Mary as 'Queen of the Universe'.

'Madonna of the Roses'
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Section 59 of 'Lumen Gentium', the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church from Vatican II, stated: "Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin, on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and the conqueror of sin and death." 

Mary has a precise place in the plan of salvation, and a special place within tradition and devotion.
She is seen as having a singular dignity, and receives a higher level of veneration than all other saints.
Roman Catholic Mariology thus studies not only her life, but also the veneration of her in daily life, prayer, hymns, art, music, and architecture in modern and ancient Christianity throughout the ages.
The four dogmas of 'Perpetual virginity', 'Mother of God' (see above), 'Immaculate Conception' and 'Assumption' form the basis of Mariology.
However, a number of other Catholic doctrines about the Virgin Mary have been developed by reference to sacred scripture, theological reasoning and Church tradition.
The development of Mariology is ongoing, and since the beginnings it has continued to be shaped by theological analyses, writings of saints, and papal statements, e.g. while two Marian dogmas are ancient, the other two were defined in the 19th and 20th centuries; and papal teachings on Mary have continued to appear in recent times.


'Madonna and Christ Child'
William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Dogma
  
Mary of the Roses
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Marian Roman Catholic dogmas present infallible Church teachings about Mary and her relation to Jesus Christ, and reflect the role of Mary in the economy of salvation.

'De Fide Definita' or 'De Fide Credenda' doctrines have the highest degree of dogmatic certainty.
These doctrines come in several forms, namely the sacred scriptures and apostolic tradition and teachings which have been specifically defined as revealed by an extraordinary definition by a Pope or Ecumenical council (extraordinary universal Magisterium), or those teachings infallibly taught to be revealed by the ordinary universal Magisterium.
As in the case of the Immaculate Conception or the Assumption, these doctrines were held by the Church prior to the date of official definition, but open for discussion.
The date of definition must be accepted by all faithful members of the Catholic Church as contained specifically in the Deposit of Faith, and owed supernatural faith in itself (de fide credenda).
There are four Marian dogmas specifically defined by the Magisterium, among a large number of other dogmas and doctrines about the Virgin Mary - for example, the 'Annunciation of Mary' is dogma because it is in the scriptures, but it has not been specifically defined by the Magisterium.


These four Marian dogmas are:

'Mother of God' -

This dogma states that Mary is the mother of God (de fide).

'Assumption of Mary'

This dogma states that Mary was assumed into heaven with body and soul (de fide).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (item 966) states:
"the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things."
Pope Pius XII discussed the Assumption in 'Deiparae Virginis Mariae' (1946) and in declared it a dogma in 'Munificentissimus Deus' (1950).

'Immaculate Conception of Mary'

This dogma states that Mary was conceived without original sin (de fide).
This means that the conception of Mary in her mother's womb was without any stain of original sin and from the first moment of her existence, she was preserved by God from the lack of sanctifying grace that afflicts mankind, and that she was instead filled with divine grace.

'Perpetual Virginity of Mary'

This dogma states that Mary was a virgin before, during and after giving birth (de fide).
This oldest Marian doctrine, (also held by Lutheran, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox, and many other Christians) affirms Mary's "real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made Man."
Thus, by the teaching of this dogma, the faithful believe that Mary was ever-Virgin (ἀειπάρθενος) for the whole of her life, making Jesus her only biological son, whose conception and birth are held to be miraculous.

Other Aspects of the Role of Mary

Co-Redemptrix is a Roman Catholic title of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and theological concept, which refers to Mary's role in the redemption of man.
The term "Co-Redemptrix" refers to a subordinate, but essential participation by the Blessed Virgin Mary in redemption, notably that she gave free consent to give life to the Redeemer, to share his life, to suffer with him under the cross, to offer his sacrifice to God the Father for the sake of the redemption of mankind.
Related to this belief is the concept of 'Mediatrix' which is a separate concept but regularly included with the title of Co-Redemptrix.
In recent times the title has received  support from the Catholic Magisterium, though it is not included in the concluding chapter of the dogmatic constitution 'Lumen gentium' of the Second Vatican Council.
Some, in particular the adherents of the Amsterdam visions, have petitioned for a dogmatic definition, along with Mediatrix.

“The Lady of All Nations” is the name used to describe the series of Marian apparitions to Ida Peerdeman in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Peerdeman allegedly received a total of 207 visions, the first 56 of which involved the Virgin Mary and began on 25 March 1945 and ceased on 31 May 1959. 31 May 31, 2002: Msgr. Punt approved the apparitions by acknowledging their supernatural origin.


Mary - Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Mediatrix of All Graces

The title "Mediatrix" is used in Roman Catholic Mariology to refer to the intercessory role of the Virgin Mary as a mediator in the salvific redemption by her son Jesus Christ, and that he bestows graces through her.
Mediatrix is an ancient title that has been used by a number of saints since at least the 5th century.
Its use grew during the Middle Ages and reached its height in the writings of saints Louis de Montfort and Alphonsus Liguori in the 18th century.
A general role of mediation or intercession is attributed to Mary in Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy, and the term "Mediatrix" was applied to her in the dogmatic constitution 'Lumen gentium' of the Second Vatican Council.
The use of the title Mediatrix, and the doctrine of Mary having a higher level of saintly intercession (owing to her special relationship with her son Jesus) is distinct from the theological issues involved in the establishment of Mediatrix of all graces as a dogma, which is still being debated among Catholic theologians.
Pope Benedict XV allowed the dioceses of Belgium to celebrate the feast of 'Mary Mediatrix of all Graces' on May 31.

Virgin of the Angels
William-Adolphe Bouguereau

MARIAN APPARITIONS

A Marian apparition is a supernatural appearance by the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The figure is often named after the town where it is reported, or on the sobriquet given to Mary on the occasion of the apparition.
They have been interpreted in religious terms as theophanies.
Marian apparitions sometimes are reported to recur at the same site over an extended period of time.
In the majority of Marian apparitions only one person or a few people report having witnessed the apparition.
Exceptions to this include Zeitoun, Fatima and Assiut where thousands claimed to have seen her over a period of time.
In some apparitions, such as Our Lady of Lourdes (see below), an actual vision is reported, resembling that of a person being present. In some of these reports the viewers do not initially report that they saw the Virgin Mary, but that they saw "a Lady" and had conversation with her. 
In these cases the viewers report experiences that resemble the visual and verbal interaction with a person present at the site. In most cases, there are no clear indications as to the auditory nature of the experience, i.e. whether the viewers heard the voices via airwaves or an "interior" or subjective sense of communication.
In some apparitions an image is reported absent any verbal interaction.
An example is the reported apparitions at Our Lady of Assiut in which many people reported a bright image atop a building.
Apparitions should be distinguished from interior locutions, in which no visual contact is claimed.
Interior locutions consist of inner voices. 
Physical contact is hardly ever reported as part of Marian apparitions.
In rare cases a physical artefact is reported in apparitions, such as the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is reported to have been miraculously imprinted on the cloak of Saint Juan Diego.

Catholic Belief

According to the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, the era of public revelation ended with the death of the last living Apostle.
A Marian apparition, if deemed genuine by Church authority, is treated as private revelation that may emphasize some facet of the received public revelation for a specific purpose, but it can never add anything new to the deposit of faith.
The Church may pronounce an apparition as worthy of belief, but belief is never required by divine faith.
The Holy See has officially confirmed the apparitions at Guadalupe, Saint-Étienne-le-Laus, Paris (Rue du Bac, Miraculous Medal), La Salette, Lourdes, Fátima, Pontmain, Beauraing, and Banneux.
Of the 295 reported apparitions studied by the Holy See through the centuries, only 12 have been approved, the latest being the May 2008 approval of the 17th- and 18th-century apparitions of Our Lady of Laus.
Other apparitions continue to be approved at the local level.
An authentic apparition is believed not to be a subjective experience, but a real and objective intervention of divine power.
The purpose of such apparitions is to recall and emphasize some aspect of the Christian message.
The church states that cures and other miraculous events are not the purpose of Marian apparitions, but exist primarily to validate and draw attention to the message.
Apparitions of Mary are held as evidence of her continuing active presence in the life of the church, through which she "cares for the brethren of her son who still journey on earth."
Not all claims of visitations are dealt with favourably by the Roman Catholic Church.
Possibly the best-known apparition sites are Lourdes and Fátima.
The Three Secrets of Fátima received a great deal of attention in the Catholic and secular press.


MARIAN APPARITIONS

Our Lady of Guadalupe

The 1531 apparition of 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' was reported by Saint Juan Diego.
He said he saw an early morning vision of the Virgin Mary in which he was instructed to build an abbey on the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico.
The local prelate did not believe his account and asked for a miraculous sign, which was later provided as an icon of 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' permanently imprinted on the saint’s cloak where he had gathered roses.
Over the years, 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' became a symbol of the Catholic faith in Mexico and the Mexican diaspora.

'Virgin of Guadaloupe'
Slavador Dali - 1959



LA SALETTE

La Salette
La Salette is the first significant apparition of the 19th Century, and one of the most important, although it has been wrongly eclipsed by some later aparitions, particularly Lourdes and Fatima.
The aparition of Notre-Dame de La Salette (Our Lady of La Salette) was reported by two children, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat.

The Vision

On September 19, 1846, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat reported seeing the Virgin Mary on Mount Sous-Les Baisses, weeping bitterly.
Mélanie and Maximin, the two children who reporte seeing Mary in 1846, came from the town of Corps near Grenoble, in a poor part of south-eastern France.

Maximin Giraud and Mélanie Calvat
Our Lady of La Salette
Maximin Giraud was eleven years old at the time and Mélanie Calvat fourteen.
On Saturday 19 September, they were looking after their employer's cattle, high up on the pasture above La Salette, a village near Corps, when they saw an apparition of Mary.
A globe of light travelled across the valley and stopped a short distance from them
The globe opened to reveal a resplendent woman seated on a stone with her head in her hands.
The children later described her as very tall and beautiful, wearing a long, white, pearl studded, sleeved dress, and a white shawl, with some sort of tiara or crown on her head.
Hanging from her neck was a large crucifix adorned with a small hammer and pincers, with a brilliantly shining figure of Christ on it.
The whole effect was as if she was made of light.
According to their account, she continued to weep even as she spoke to them - first in French, then in their own dialect.
Speaking tearfully she told them that, unless people repented, she would be forced to let go the arm of her son because it had become so heavy.
Mary went on to complain that she had to pray ceaselessly to her son for them, but the people still worked on Sundays and blasphemed.
She also spoke of coming punishments for these sins, including crop blights and famine.
She confided a secret to each of the children, which they were not to divulge, although eventually these secrets were made known to Pope Pius IX.
Finally she asked the children to spread her message before disappearing.
After speaking, the apparition vanished.
The following day the children's account of the apparition was put into writing and signed by the visionaries and those who had heard the story.

Controversy

Our Lady of La Salette
When the children returned home they told their story, an account of which was taken down in writing the next day.
They faced much opposition in making known Mary's message, but they maintained their story.
The local Bishop too faced quite a degree of opposition in investigating the apparition, and it was only after four years, and having set up two commissions of enquiry, that Mgr de Bruillard, as bishop of Grenoble, approved of devotion to Our Lady of Salette, in the following terms.
Pope Pius IX
"We declare that the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to two shepherds, on September 19, 1846, on a mountain in the Alps in the parish of La Salette, bears in itself all the marks of truth and that the faithful are justified in believing without question in its truth. And so, to mark our lively gratitude to God and the glorious Virgin Mary, we authorise the cult of Our Lady of La Salette."
The visionaries sent two secrets to Pope Pius IX - one given to each of them, which they never revealed to one another - and which the Pope never made public.
However, sensation again arose when Melanie allegedly published her secret in a pamphlet, which she herself had printed, in Lecce, with the local bishop's approval.
The Church has condemned the published secret.
Melanie, later in life, was known to have been disturbed by reading apocalyptic books and similar materials.

The following is a first hand description of the aparition by Melanie :

'...And as my heart melted away, sweetly gladdened, the beautiful face of my good Lady disappeared little by little. It seemed to me that the light in motion was growing stronger, or rather condensing around the Most Holy Virgin, to prevent me from seeing her any longer.
And thus light took the place of the parts of Her body which were disappearing in front of my eyes, or rather it seemed to me that the body of my Lady was melting into light. Thus the sphere of light rose gently towards the right. I cannot say whether the volume of light decreased as She rose, or whether the growing distance made me see less and less light as She rose. What I do know, is that I was a long time with my head raised up, staring at the light, even after the light, which kept getting further away and decreasing in volume, had finally disappeared. I take my eyes from the firmament, I look around me.'
'The second light shone out a little around the Beautiful Lady and we found ourselves bathed in it. It was motionless (that is to say it wasn't scintillating) but much more brilliant than our poor sun on earth. All this light did not harm nor tire the eyes in any way.
In addition to all these lights, all this splendour, there shone forth concentrations or beams of light and single rays of light from the body of the Holy Virgin, from her clothes and from all over Her.'


LOURDES

The Apparition at Lourdes
The apparition at Lourdes is mainly famous for the 'cures' that have been reported from the shrine.
The theological and doctrinal implications of the apparition relating to the statement "que soy era immaculada concepciouare less stressed, possibly because they are somewhat controversial.
On 11 February 1858, Bernadette Soubirous went with her sisters Toinette and Jeanne Abadie to collect some firewood and bones in order to buy some bread.
After taking off her shoes and stockings to wade through the water near the Grotto of Massabielle, she said she heard the sound of two gusts of wind (coups de vent) but the trees and bushes nearby did not move.
A wild rose in a natural niche in the grotto, however, did move.
From the niche, or rather the dark alcove behind it, "came a dazzling light, and a white figure."
She was dressed all in white, apart from the blue belt fastened around her waist and the golden yellow roses, one on each foot, the colour of her rosary.
Bernadette tried to keep this a secret, but Toinette told her mother.

Bernadette Soubirous
After parental cross-examination, she and her sister received corporal punishment for their story.
Three days later, Bernadette returned to the Grotto.
She had brought holy water as a test that the apparition was not of evil provenance, and demanded that if she were from God, she must stay, but if she were evil, she must go away; however, she said the vision only inclined her head gratefully when the water was cast and she made her demands.
Bernadette's companions are said to have become afraid when they saw her in ecstasy.
She remained ecstatic even as they returned to the village.
On 18 February, she spoke of being told by the Lady to return to the Grotto over a period of two weeks. She quoted the apparition: 'I promise to make you happy, not in this world, but in the next.'
After that the news spread and her parents took interest. Bernadette was ordered by her parents to never go there again.
It was a shock when people heard her story as it was so unlikely she went anyway, and on 24 February, Bernadette related that the apparition asked for prayer and penitence for the conversion of sinners.
The next day, she said the apparition asked her to dig in the ground and drink from the spring she found there.
"que soy era immaculada concepciou"
This made her dishevelled and some of her supporters were dismayed, but this act revealed the stream that soon became a focal point for pilgrimages.
Although it was muddy at first, the stream became increasingly clean.
As word spread, this water was given to medical patients of all kinds, and many reports of miraculous cures followed.
Seven of these cures were confirmed as lacking any medical explanations by Professor Verges in 1860.
The first person with a “certified miracle” was a woman whose right hand had been deformed as a consequence of an accident.
Several miracles turned out to be short-term improvement or even hoaxes, and Church and government officials became increasingly concerned.
The government fenced off the Grotto and issued stiff penalties for anybody trying to get near the off-limits area.
In the process, Lourdes became a national issue in France, resulting in the intervention of emperor Napoleon III with an order to reopen the grotto on 4 October 1858.
The Church had decided to stay away from the controversy altogether.
Bernadette, knowing the local area well, managed to visit the barricaded grotto under cover of darkness. There, on 25 March, she said she was told: "I am the Immaculate Conception" ("que soy era immaculada concepciou").
On Easter Sunday, 7 April, her examining doctor stated that Bernadette, in ecstasy, was observed to have held her hands over a lit candle without sustaining harm.
On 16 July, Bernadette went for the last time to the Grotto.
'I have never seen her so beautiful before', she reported.
The Church, faced with nationwide questions, decided to institute an investigative commission on 17 November 1858.
On 18 January 1860, the local bishop finally declared that: 'The Virgin Mary did appear indeed to Bernadette Soubirous'.
These events established the Marian veneration in Lourdes, which together with Fátima (see below), is one of the most frequented Marian shrines in the world, and to which between 4 and 6 million pilgrims travel annually.
In 1863, Joseph-Hugues Fabisch was charged to create a statue of the Virgin according to Bernadette's description.
The work was placed in the grotto and solemnly dedicated on 4 April 1864 in presence of 20,000 pilgrims.
One of the strangest aspects of this apparition is the fact that the 'lady' identified herself as "the Immaculate Conception" ("que soy era immaculada concepciou").

The 'Immaculate Conception' is a concept, abstraction or dogma, not a person.
The Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the Catholic Church maintaining that from the moment when she was conceived the Virgin Mary was kept free of 'original sin', and was filled with the 'sanctifying grace' normally conferred during baptism. It is one of the four dogmas in Roman Catholic Mariology.


Bernadette Soubirous  joined the Sisters of Charity at their motherhouse at Nevers at the age of 22. She spent the rest of her brief life there.

She later contracted tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee. She eventually died of her long-term illness at the age of 35 on 16 April 1879.

Bernadette Soubirous 
Bernadette Soubirous - 1919
The Church exhumed the body of Bernadette Soubirous on 22 September 1909, in the presence of two doctors and a sister of the community. They claimed that although the crucifix in her hand and her rosary had both oxidized, her body appeared "incorrupt" — preserved from decomposition.
The corpse was exhumed a second time on 3 April 1919. A doctor who examined the body noted, "The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts. ... The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body."
In 1925, the church exhumed the body for a third time. They took relics, which were sent to Rome. A precise imprint of the face was moulded so that the firm of Pierre Imans in Paris could make a wax mask based on the imprints and on some genuine photos to be placed on her body.


PONTMAIN

The Apparition at Pontmain
The Children of Pontmain
'Our Lady of Hope' is the title given to the Virgin Mary on her apparition at Pontmain, France on January 17, 1871.
On 19 July 1870, Emperor Napoleon III of the second Empire declared war against Prussia.
From the first days of the war, defeat followed defeat. 
By January 1871, Paris was under siege, two-thirds of the country was in the power of the Prussians, and they was advancing towards the west of France.
It was snowing. Night and day wagons passed through Laval from east to west.
All day long the wounded were being sent down. In the countryside farmers were hiding their possessions - money, corn, wine and linen.
An outbreak of typhoid had been declared. Smallpox was spreading.
On the 11th of January an Aurora Borealis made a deep impression on many.
Some saw in it the masts of a phantom ship; others, on the steeples of the cathedral.
By the 17th January, 1871, the Prussians were just across the river from Laval, which is the City next to Mayenne.
About half past twelve, there was an earthquake in Pont-Main.

The Apparition

Toward evening on January 17, Pontmain, a small town in the north of Mayenne, lies under a blanket of snow.
Though the roar of cannon could be heard, the Barbedette family was busy with their household chores before supper.
People are anxious, but everybody is going about work as usual.
In a barn in the middle of town two boys, Eugene, 12, and Joseph, 10, Barbedette, are helping their father feed the horses.
Some minutes before six o'clock in the evening, taking advantage of a break from work, Eugene leaves the barn and sees in the sky a "Lady".
She spreads her lowered hands in a gesture of welcome and smiles on him.
Joseph comes along a few moments later and also sees the Lady.
But the father of the boys sees nothing.
Undaunted, they call their mother, who also fails to see anything even after going back to the house for her eyeglasses.
There is nothing to it, declare the parents, and the boys are to get on with work and then come in for supper. After a quick meal, the boys still see the beautiful Lady, so the Sisters of the school are called.
Again, they see nothing. But two little girls with them, Frances Richer, 11, Jeanne Marie Lebosse, 9, do see the beautiful Lady.
Another child by the name of Eugene Friteau, six and half, also saw the Lady.
A neighbour, Madame Boitin, with her two-year old, Augustine, joined the crowd which had now gathered together by the barn.
The baby in her childish way reached out with her little arms towards the Apparition and showed signs of joy.

The Description of the Lady

The Lady as described by Eugene was dressed in a flowing robe of deep radiant blue studded with gold stars.
The sleeves were full, extending up to the hands.
She was wearing blue slippers, tied with golden ribbon in the shape of a rosette.
Her hair was completely covered with black veil thrown over her shoulders reaching down to the level of her elbow.
On her head a gold crown rose slightly to a peak.
It had no ornament in front except a red band circling the centre.
Her hands were extended - "like the Miraculous Medal", but without the rays of light.

The Message

From time to time the Lady would look sad because of some haughty and rowdy people in the crowd, but she would smile back especially with the prayers and hymns, the Rosary and Marian songs of the people led by Father Guerin and the two sisters.
As the congregation was reciting the Rosary, stars gathered two by two, below the Lady's feet as if representing the Hail Marys of the Rosary.
Then a white banner, about a yard wide, unrolled beneath the Lady's feet, thus, forming a perfect rectangle. Here she spelled her message:

"OH ! DO PRAY MY CHILDREN, GOD WILL ANSWER YOU VERY SOON. MY SON ALLOWS HIMSELF TO BE MOVED"
"MAIS PRIEZ MES ENFANTS, DIEU VOUS EXAUCERA EN PEU DE TEMPS. MON FILS SE LAISSE TOUCHER"(in French)

"My Son allows Himself to be moved" is an incorrect translation of the French which read: "Mon fils se laisse ...."This is very significant because only the children could see the letters as they unfolded.
When, all together, they spelled the word "laisse", the nun school teacher, who was present, corrected the children and said: "There has no 'i'. ( 'Se laisse' alone would translated 'My Son allows himself', make no sense "se lasse" : this is translated to: "My Son grows weary" .
But they (who saw the message) said "no", and repeated the word "laisse".
"There is a 'i'" they said.

The End of the Apparition

After some time, she raised her hands to the height of her shoulder, arms out and bent slightly backwards and elbows close to her body.
Then a large red cross appeared in the hands of the Blessed Virgin.
The figure of the crucified Christ was a darker red hue but no blood was flowing from the wounds.
The community prayed their night prayers together.
A large white veil began to cover the figure of the Virgin, slowly rising to her face and then she gave her last smile to the children.
As the night prayers came to a close, the apparition ended.
It was about nine o'clock.
The Apparition ended after lasting about three hours.

The Miracle After the Apparition

In the meantime, late that night of the 17th January, General Von Schmidt of the Prussian Army who was about to run over Laval towards Pont-Main, received orders from his Commander not to take the city.
The invasion of the Catholic West never came off.
On 23 January 1871, the long-hoped for Armistice was signed.
The promise, "God will soon grant your request", of Our Lady of Hope had been fulfilled.
Soon all the thirty-eight conscripted men and boys returned home unscathed.
On the evening of the ever-memorable 17 January 1871, the Commander of the Prussian forces, having taken up his quarters at the archiepiscopal palace of Le Mans, told Msgr. Fillion, Bishop of that diocese: "By this time my troops are at Laval".
On the same evening, the Prussian troops in sight of Laval stopped at half-past five o'clock, about the time when the Apparition first appeared above Pont-Main, a few miles off.
General Schmidt is reported to have said on the morning of the 18th: "We cannot go farther. Yonder, in the direction of Brittany, there is an invisible 'Madonna' barring the way."



FATIMA
Nossa Senhora de Fátima

The Apparition at Fatima
The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, appeared six times to three shepherd children near the town of Fatima, Portugal between May 13 and October 13, 1917.
Appearing to the children, the Blessed Virgin told them that she had been sent by God with a message for every man, woman and child living in our century.
Coming at a time when civilization was torn asunder by war and bloody violence, she promised that Heaven would grant peace to all the world if her requests for prayer, reparation and consecration were heard and obeyed.
In the spring of 1916, three young Portuguese shepherds, Lucy dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, led their sheep to graze on a hill called the Cabeço.
Rain began to fall, so the children found a place on the hillside to serve as a shelter.
Even after the rain had passed and the sun had returned, the little shepherds spent the day at this spot, eating lunch, saying the Rosary and playing games. Lucy was then only nine years old, Francisco was eight, and Jacinta was six.
As they were playing, a strong wind suddenly blew, shaking the trees, and the children saw a figure approaching above the olive trees. Lucy described the figure as having 
"the appearance of a young man of fourteen or fifteen, whiter than snow, which the sun rendered transparent as if it were of crystal, and of great beauty. We were surprised and half absorbed. We did not say a word.

The Fatima Children
"While coming closer to us, the Angel said: ‘Do not fear! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.’ And kneeling on the earth, he bent his forehead to the ground.
Prompted by a supernatural movement, we imitated him and repeated the words which we heard him pronounce: ‘My God, I believe in Thee, I adore Thee, I hope in Thee and I love Thee. I ask pardon for all those who do not believe in Thee, do not adore Thee, do not hope in Thee and do not love Thee.
"Having repeated that prayer three times, he got up again and said to us: ‘Pray in this way. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.’ And he disappeared."
Lucy recalled, "The supernatural atmosphere which enveloped us was so intense that, during a long moment, we barely realized the fact of our own existence. We remained in the position in which the Angel had left us, always repeating the same prayer. The presence of God made itself felt in such an intense and intimate manner, that we did not dare even to speak any longer among ourselves. The next day, we still felt our spirit enveloped in this atmosphere which only disappeared very slowly."

The Angel of Peace
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
The 'Angel of Peace' had come to speak to the children, to infuse them with this extraordinary grace through which they were penetrated with the Divine Presence, and to demonstrate to them the attitude, posture and fervour with which to pray to God.
Interestingly, during the apparition Francisco could not hear the words of the Angel, and had to be told what was said afterwards this would be the case for all of the other apparitions as well.
After some time the three shepherds recovered their physical strength and playfulness.
The second apparition of the Angel took place during the summer of 1916.
While the children were playing around their favorite well, the Angel suddenly appeared.
"What are you doing?" he asked. "Pray, pray a great deal! The Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer unceasingly prayers and sacrifice yourselves to the Most High."
Lucy asked the Angel how they were to make sacrifices.
The Angel replied, "Make of everything you can a sacrifice and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. In this way, you will draw peace upon your country. I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission the sufferings which the Lord will send you."
Lucy comments, "Those words of the Angel engraved themselves in our spirit, as a light which made us understand Who God is, how much He loves us and wants to be loved by us, the value of sacrifice and how pleasing it is to Him, and that out of respect for it, God converts sinners."
The dominant theme in this second apparition of the Angel was the importance of making offerings to God through every possible action and sacrifice, even the smallest, and of making the offerings with special intentions, especially for the conversion of sinners.
In the autumn of the same year, the children took their sheep to the same place where the first apparition took place.
Chalice and Host
There in the Cabeço, they were reciting the prayer the Angel had taught them when above them an unknown light appeared.
Lucy relates, 
"We got up again to see what was happening, and we saw the Angel again, who had in his left hand a Chalice over which was suspended a Host, from which some drops of Blood fell into the Chalice."
Leaving the Chalice and the Host suspended in the air, he prostrated himself down to the earth near the children and repeated three times this prayer:
'Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He, Himself is offended. And I draw upon the infinite merits of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that You might convert poor sinners.'
Then, getting up, the Angel took the Chalice and Host. He gave Lucy the Sacred Host on the tongue. Then while giving the Precious Blood from the Chalice to Francisco and Jacinta, he said:
"Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God." Then, prostrating himself on the ground he repeated with the children three times the same prayer: Most Holy Trinity, etc., and disappeared.
This final apparition of the Angel was clearly the summit of the three, as the children were graced to see the Precious Blood of Our Lord fall from the Sacred Host into the Chalice, and then receive Holy Communion from the hands of the Angel.
Again, the need for converting poor sinners was a theme in this final apparition of the Angel.
The prayer repeated by the Angel demonstrates that through our prayers, united with the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, sinners can be converted.
'Our prayers and sacrifices alone amount to very little; but when they are united to the merits of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, they become infinitely valuable.'
Also emphasized was the need for reparation for the sins committed against God, by which he is constantly hurt and seeking consolation.
In addition, the way the children received Holy Communion is particularly instructive for our time: they received Communion in the kneeling position, and the Sacred Host was given on the tongue.
The apparitions of the Angel prepared them for seeing the Mother of God, through the transforming Divine graces the Angel showered on them, and his instructions about prayer, sacrifice and offerings.
Through his apparitions to Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta, the Angel of Peace came to ready them for the decisive roles they were each to play.

On 13 May 1917 the three children took their flocks out to pasture on the small area known as the Cova da Iria.
After lunch and the rosary they suddenly saw a bright flash of something like lightning, followed quickly by another flash in the clear blue sky.
They looked up to see in Lucia's words,
"a lady, clothed in white, brighter than the sun, radiating a light more clear and intense than a crystal cup filled with sparkling water, lit by burning sunlight."
The children stood there amazed, bathed in the light that surrounded the apparition, as the Lady smiled and said:
"Do not be afraid, I will not harm you."
Lucia as the oldest asked her where she came from.
The Lady pointed to the sky and said: "I come from heaven."
Lucia then asked her what she wanted: "I have come to ask you to come here for six months on the 13th day of the month, at this same hour. Later I shall say who I am and what I desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time."
Lucia then asked if they would go to heaven and she was told yes, she and Jacinta would go to heaven, but Francisco would need to say many rosaries first.
The Lady then said: "Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners ?" Lucia as spokesman for all three readily agreed: "Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort."
Lucia recounted that at the same moment as she said these words the Lady opened her hands and streamed a "light" on the children which allowed them to see themselves in God.
The Lady finished with a request: "Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and the end of the war." With that she began to rise into the air, moving towards the east until she disappeared.
The children got together and tried to think of ways they could make sacrifices, as the Lady had asked, resolving to go without lunch and to pray the full rosary.
Francisco and Jacinta received more support from their parents than Lucia, but the attitude of the local inhabitants was sceptical and even derisory; the children had much to suffer, just as the Lady had told them.

13 June 1917

Apparition at Fatima
About fifty people turned up at the Cova da Iria on June 13, as the three children assembled near the holmoak tree where the Lady had appeared. The children then saw a flash of light followed immediately by the apparition of Mary, as she spoke to Lucia: "I want you to come on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. Later, I will tell you what I want."
Lucia asked Mary to take them to heaven and was reassured in this way:
"I will take Jacinta and Francisco shortly; but you will stay here for some time to come. Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."
This last sentence is found in a letter written in 1927 by Sr. Lucia to her confessor.
Lucia was sad at the first part of this reply, saying:
"Am I to stay here alone?Mary replied: "No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don't lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God."
One of the witnesses to this apparition, Maria Carreira, described how Lucia then cried out and pointed as Mary departed. She herself heard a noise like, "a rocket, a long way off," and looked to see a small cloud a few inches over the tree, rise, and move slowly towards the east until it disappeared.
The crowd of pilgrims then returned to Fatima where they reported the amazing things they had seen, thus ensuring that there were between two and three thousand people present for the July apparition.

13 July 1917

On 13 July the three children assembled at the Cova and again they saw the indescribably beautiful Lady over the holmoak. Lucia asked what she wanted, and Mary replied:
"I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only she can help you."
Lucia then asked her who she was and for a miracle so everyone would believe:
"Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe."
Lucia made some requests for sick people, to which Mary replied that she would cure some but not others, and that all must say the rosary to obtain such graces, before continuing:
"Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary."

The Vision of Hell

Lucia later revealed that as she spoke these words, Mary opened her hands and rays of light from them seemed to penetrate the earth so that they saw a terrifying vision of hell, full of demons and lost souls amidst indescribable horrors.
This vision of hell was the first part of the "secret" of Fatima, and was not revealed until much later.
The children looked up to the sad face of the Blessed Virgin, who spoke to them kindly:


"You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.
"To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world."
At this point the second part of the secret of Fatima ends and the third part begins with the words,
"In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved ... "
The first two parts of the secret only became publicly known in 1942.
The third part of the secret has only recently been publicly divulged, in June 2000.
Mary specifically told Lucia not to tell anyone about the secret at this stage, apart from Francisco, before continuing:
"When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need."
After assuring Lucia that there was nothing more, Mary disappeared off into the distance.

August 1917

As 13 August approached, the story of the apparitions had reached the anti-religious secular press, and while this ensured that the whole country knew about Fatima, it also meant that many biased and negative reports were circulating.
The children were kidnapped on the morning of the 13th by the Mayor of Vila Nova de Ourem, Arturo Santos.
They were interrogated about the secret; but despite his threats and promises of money, they refused to divulge it. In the afternoon they were moved to the local prison and threatened with death but determined that they would die rather than reveal the secret.
On August 19, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta were assembled at a place called Valinhos, near Fatima, late in the afternoon, when they again saw Mary, who spoke to Lucia:
"Go again to the Cova da Iria on the 13th and continue to say the Rosary every day."
Mary also said she would perform a miracle, so all would believe, and that if they had not been kidnapped it would have been even greater.
Looking very sad, Mary then said:
"Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them."
With that she rose into the air and moved towards the east before disappearing.
By now the children had thoroughly absorbed Mary's plea for prayer and penance, and did everything they could to answer it.
They prayed for hours while lying prostrate on the ground and went as long as they could without drinking, in the burning heat of the Portuguese summer.
They also went without food, as a sacrifice for sinners, to save them from hell, the vision of which had so profoundly effected them.
They even knotted some pieces of old rope around their waists as a form of mortification, not removing them day or night.

13 September 1917

The Apparition at the Cova da Iria - Fatima
On September 13 very large crowds began to converge on Fatima from all directions.
Around noon the children then arrived, and after the customary flash of light, they saw Mary on the holmoak tree.
She spoke to Lucia:
"Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolours and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices. He does not want you to sleep with the rope on, but only to wear it during the daytime."
Lucia then began to put forward the petitions for cures, to be told:
"Yes, I will cure some, but not others. In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe."
With that she rose, moved to the east, and disappeared.

13 October 1917

The proclamation of a public miracle caused the most intense speculation throughout Portugal, and the journalist Avelino de Almeida, published a satirical article on the whole business in the anti-religious newspaper O Seculo.
On October 13th 50,000 to 70,000 people gathered at Cova da Iria to observe the alleged miracle.
This included a diverse group of people including city people, Professors, farmers, house wives, atheists and Christians. the population of Portugal was about 72% illiterate at that time.
Many of the witnesses claimed they saw a disc; others said it was the sun.
The object appeared to come down to the crowd well within the Earths atmosphere.
This could also be seen from several surrounding towns in different directions including Alburitel, Minde, Aljustrel, Leira and Torres Novas.
Most of the witnesses from these towns claimed they saw the object in the direction of Cova da Iria. Dr Joao Lopes Pires concluded that if this object moved it couldn't have been the sun since it would have affected the orbits of the planets and it would have been seen all over the world not just in Fatima.
People from other parts of the country descended, in their tens of thousands, on the Cova, despite the terrible storm that lashed the mountain country around Fatima, on the eve of the 13th.
Many pilgrims went barefooted, reciting the rosary as they went, all crowding into the area around the Cova, as by midmorning the weather again turned bad and heavy rain began to fall.
The children reached the holmoak around noon, and then saw the flash of light as Mary appeared before them.
For the last time, Lucia asked what she wanted:
"I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honour. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes."
Again Lucia made her requests, being informed that people must amend their lives, and ask forgiveness of their sins, if they wanted healings or conversions.
She reported too that Mary grew very sad and said:
"Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended."
Then rising into the air and opening her hands towards the sun, growing more brilliant as she did, she disappeared, being replaced by various visions seen only by the children.



The Miracle of the Sun
'The lady came in an 'immense globe, flying westwards, at moderate speed. It irradiated a very bright light.' Some other witnesses saw a white being coming out of the globe, which several minutes later took off, disappearing in the direction of the sun. It was raining hard, and the rain trickled down everyone's clothes. Suddenly, the sun shone through the dense cloud which covered it: everybody looked in its direction. IT LOOKED LIKE A DISC, OF A VERY DEFINITE CONTOUR. It was not dazzling. It possessed a clear, changing brightness, which one could compare to a pearl. It looked like a polished wheel. This clear-shaped disk suddenly began turning. It rotated with increasing speed. Suddenly, the crowd began crying with anguish. The disk, revolving all the time, began falling toward the earth, reddish and bloody, threatening to crush everyone under its fiery weight...'" "...Fatima was a modern event, yet it is already clouded with the distortions of 'belief'. The Photographs of the object had 'disappeared.' The key prophecy has been suppressed. Lucia shut herself away from the world. As the years passed, the object was turned into a 'dancing sun,' the angel hair became 'rose petals,' and the entire phenomena was removed from the field of science and entrusted to the religionists... '
Our Lady of Fatima
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
At the same time the vast crowd saw a true miracle.
The black clouds parted, and the sun became visible, looking like a dull grey disc that could be looked at directly quite easily.
In O Seculo Avelino de Almeida would adopt a very different tone from his earlier satirical article on Fatima:
"...one could see the immense multitude turn towards the sun, which appeared free from clouds and at its zenith. It looked like a plaque of dull silver and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort. It might have been an eclipse which was taking place. But at that moment a great shout went up and one could hear the spectators nearest at hand shouting: "A miracle! A miracle!" Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was Biblical as they stood bareheaded, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws - the sun "danced" according to the typical expression of the people. ...
"People then began to ask each other what they had seen. The great majority admitted to having seen the trembling and dancing of the sun; others affirmed that they saw the face of the Blessed Virgin; others, again, swore that the sun whirled on itself like a giant Catherine wheel and that it lowered itself to the earth as if to burn it with its rays.





O Milagre do Sol - The Miracle of the Sun - Fatima 1917
The Miracle of the Sun - Fatima 1917
Some said they saw it change colours successively. ..."
Other witnesses too, such as Maria Carreira, testified to the terrifying nature of the solar miracle: "It turned everything different colours, yellow, blue, white, and it shook and trembled; it seemed like a wheel of fire which was going to fall on the people. They cried out: 'We shall all be killed, we shall all be killed!' ... At last the sun stopped moving and we all breathed a sigh of relief. We were still alive and the miracle which the children had foretold had taken place."
Other people witnessed the solar miracle from a distance thus ruling out the possibility of any type of collective hallucination.
A final intriguing, and important, point was that the heat of the sun, as it descended on the people, also had the effect of drying their clothes and the ground, so that they went from being completely soaked to being dry in about ten minutes.

Reported Phenomena

Lightning or a flash of light which was first seen by the three little girls on the 13th of May.
They claimed that this wasn't accompanied by any thunder and it was on a sunny day. 
Buzzing of bees or something similar.
Many of the witnesses specifically referred to it as the buzzing of bees. 
Thunder allegedly accompanied some of the events at Fatima. 
Unusual clouds some of which seemed to hide an apparition. 
A sudden cooling reported by several witnesses. 
Unusual odors or perfumes.
Luminous objects including disks orbs or a cross were reported at Fatima.
These were first reported in August when Manuel Marto claimed to see "a type of luminous globe gyrating within the clouds."
Joaquim Xavier Tuna gave this statement: "In august on the 13th day, I saw the sun come down in the sky at the hour of the apparition. It never descended quite as much as it did on that day, not even on the 13th of October. Every object which surrounded me turned yellow."
In September the number of people claiming to see objects in the sky increased the witnesses included Joel de Deus Magno, Dr. Jose Maria Pereira Gens, Monsignor Joao Quaresma, Canon Galamba de Oliveira, Joaquim Xavier Tuna and more.
The highest number of reports came in October when thousands of people claimed the sun was dancing and came down close to Earth. 
Ramps of light were reported to have shined on the Oak tree at Fatima.
Breezes were reported in June and July, in August the thunder and lightning was allegedly accompanied by a "whirlwind" which frightened the crowd and caused them to flee.
A white substance fall from the sky that has often been referred to as 'Angel Hair.'
This usually dissolves quickly so there is rarely anything to examine.
On two occasions a sample was sent for testing once on the 13 of October in 1917 a sample was sent to Lisbon and on October 17 1957 another sample found and examined.
The analysis of this proved to be natural consisting of white flakes.

Postcript

Jacinta Marto
Francisco Marto
Jacinta and Francisco Marto were victims of the great 1918 influenza epidemic that swept through Europe in 1918. Both lingered for many months, insisting on walking to church to make Eucharistic devotions and prostrating themselves to pray for hours, kneeling with their heads on the ground as instructed by the angel who had first appeared to them.
Francisco declined hospital treatment on the 3rd April 1919 and the next day on April 4th died peacefully at home, while Jacinta was dragged from one hospital to another in an attempt to save her life, which she insisted was futile. She developed purulent pleurisy and endured an operation in which two of her ribs were removed. Because of the condition of her heart, she could not be anaesthetized and suffered terrible pain, which she said would help to convert many sinners. On February 19 1920, Jacinta asked the hospital chaplain who heard her confession to bring her Holy Communion and give her the Anointing of the Sick because she was going to die "the next night". He told her that her condition was not that serious and that he would return the next day. The next day Jacinta was dead. She had died, as she had often said she would, alone: not even a nurse was with her.
Jacinta and Francisco are both buried at the Our Lady of Fátima Basilica.


Lucia Santos
Lucia Santos
Lúcia moved to Porto in 1921, and at 14 was admitted as a boarder in the school of the Sisters of St. Dorothy in Vilar, on the city's outskirts.
On October 24, 1925, she entered the Institute of the Sisters of St. Dorothy as a postulant in the convent in Tuy, Spain, just across the northern Portuguese border.
Lúcia made her first vows on October 3, 1928, and her perpetual vows on October 3, 1934, receiving the name Sister Maria das Dores (Mary of the Sorrows).
She returned to Portugal in 1946 and in March 1948 after receiving special papal permission to be relieved of her perpetual vows, entered the Carmelite convent of St. Teresa in Coimbra, where she resided until her death. She made her profession as a Discalced Carmelite on May 31, 1949, taking the name Sister Maria Lúcia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart.
Because of the Constitutions of the community, Lucia was expected to "converse as little as possible with persons from without, even with their nearest relatives, unless their conversation be spiritual, and even then it should be very seldom and as brief as possible" and "have nothing to do with worldly affairs, nor speak of them...". This has led some people to believe in a conspiracy to cover up the Fatima message and silence Lucia.
Lúcia died at the age of 97 on February 13, 2005, of cardio-respiratory failure, due to her advanced age.


 Our Lady of Fátima Basilica


The Three Secrets of Fátima 

The Three Secrets of Fátima consist of a series of apocalyptic visions and prophecies which some people believe were given by an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three young Portuguese shepherds, Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, starting on 13 May 1917. 
According to the official Catholic interpretation, the three secrets involve Hell, World War I and World War II, and the attempted assassination by gunshot of Pope John Paul II.
On 13 July 1917, around noon, the Virgin Mary is said to have entrusted the children with three secrets.
Two of the secrets were revealed in 1941 in a document written by Lúcia, at the request of José Alves Correia da Silva, Bishop of Leiria, to assist with the publication of a new edition of a book on Jacinta.
When asked by the Bishop in 1943 to reveal the third secret, Lúcia struggled for a short period, being "not yet convinced that God had clearly authorized her to act.", however, in October 1943 the Bishop ordered her to put it in writing.
Lúcia then wrote the secret down and sealed it in an envelope not to be opened until 1960, when "it will appear clearer."
The text of the third secret was officially released by Pope John Paul II in 2000, although many claim that it was not the entire secret revealed by Lúcia, despite repeated assertions from the Vatican to the contrary.
According to some, the purported prophecies, and their actual realization were dependent on the personal request by the Blessed Virgin Mary to "consecrate Russia" to the Immaculate Heart.
To this date, the formal consecration of Russia is widely disputed as incomplete.
Some claim the varying consecrations made by recent Popes are insufficient in fulfilling the specific request that the Virgin Mary allegedly made.



First secret

The first secret was a vision of Hell:

'Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.'

Second Secret

The second secret was a statement that World War I would end, along with a prediction of another war during the reign of Pope Pius XI, should men continue offending God and should Russia not convert.
The second half requests that Russia be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart:

You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.'

Third Secret Controversy

The Holy See withheld the Third Secret until 26 June 2000, despite Lúcia's declaration that it should be released to the public after 1960.
Some sources, including Canon Barthas and Cardinal Ottaviani, said that Lúcia insisted to them it must be released by 1960, saying that, "by that time, it will be more clearly understood", and, "because the Blessed Virgin wishes it so."
When 1960 arrived, rather than releasing the Third Secret, the Vatican published an official press release stating that it was "most probable the Secret would remain, forever, under absolute seal."
After this announcement, immense speculation over the content of the secret materialized.
On 2 May 1981, eleven days before the assassination attempt that Cardinal Sodano would imply in 2000 was prophesied in the Third Secret, Laurence James Downey hijacked an airplane and demanded that Pope John Paul II make public the Third Secret of Fatima.
The release of the text sparked immediate criticism, even outrage, from the Catholic Church in Portugal.
Clergy as well as laypeople were offended that the text had been read in Rome and not at the Fátima shrine in Portugal where the reported events took place.
Portuguese Catholics responded to the release of the text with disbelief, saying that if the words did not concern some kind of terrible catastrophe such as war, holocaust or apocalypse, there had been no reason for the Vatican to keep them secret.
Some sources claim that the four-page, handwritten text of the Third Secret released by the Vatican in the year 2000 is not the real secret, or at least not the full secret.
These sources contend that the Third Secret is actually composed of two texts, where one of these texts is the published four-page vision, and the other is a single-page letter containing the words of the Virgin Mary that has been concealed.
Critics have written many articles disputing that the full Third Secret has been released.
Their argument that there's proof of a second part to the secret include the following:
Bishops working with Pope Pius XII, Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI have commented that the text was written on one sheet of paper rather than four sheets;
Lúcia stated that she wrote the message in the form of a signed letter to the Bishop of Leiria;
Lúcia's text is supposed to contain words attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary;
The full secret contains information about the Apocalypse, a great apostasy, and Satanic infiltration of the Catholic Church.


Garabandal


The Garabandal apparitions were apparitions of Saint Michael the Archangel and the Blessed Virgin Mary that are claimed to have occurred from 1961 to 1965 to four young schoolgirls in the rural village of San Sebastián de Garabandal in Northern Spain.
The visitations numbered in the thousands, drew huge crowds, and featured supposed paranormal phenomena, much of it filmed or photographed, with thousands of witnesses.
The girls receiving the visions were Mari Loli Mazón , Jacinta González, Mari Cruz González  and Conchita González.
The Virgin Mary in this series of claimed visitations is often referred to as "Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Garabandal", because her appearance and dress looked like portrayals of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
According to the visionaries, the purpose of the visitations was to call for a "conversion of heart". 
The visionaries reported receiving two 'messages', one directly from the Blessed Virgin Mary and the other from the Virgin Mary by way of Saint Michael the Archangel.

The Virgin of Garandabal
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
The first, revealed on October 18, 1961, states:

'We must make many sacrifices, perform much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. If we do not, a chastisement will befall us. The cup is already filling up, and if we do not change, a very great chastisement will come upon us.'

The June 18, 1965 only Conchita González, regarded by most devotees of Garabandal as the "principal visionary", reported receiving the second "message":

'As my Message of the 18th of October has not been complied with, and as it has not been made known to the world, I am telling you that this is the last one. Previously, the Cup was filling; now, it is brimming over. Many priests are following the road to perdition, and with them they are taking many more souls. Ever less importance is being given to the Holy Eucharist. We should turn the wrath of God away from us by our own efforts. If you ask His forgiveness with a sincere heart. He will pardon you. I, your Mother, through the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel, wish to tell you that you should make amends. You are now being given the last warnings. I love you very much, and I do not want your condemnation. Ask Us sincerely and We shall grant your plea. You must make more sacrifices. Reflect on the Passion of Jesus.'

The second message caused particular controversy when it was revealed that Conchita had actually written "many cardinals, many bishops and many priests are following the road to perdition."
She was asked many times to verify this information.
The young women stated many times that Mary stressed the importance of the priesthood, and focused attention on priests above other witnesses at the apparitions.
What is also interesting about this message and the series of visions is that it directly correlates with the occurrences in the Church at the time with Vatican II.
Besides the two "messages", the visionaries forecast a "warning", a "miracle" and a "punishment" (if people do not correct their ways).
The warning is described as a momentary stopping of time around the world, and people see the spiritual condition of their souls, and how they should amend their ways.
Within a year of the warning, a miracle will take place.
The miracle will leave a permanent sign in Garabandal, which can be seen, televised and photographed, but no one will be able to touch it.
It will be a clear sign of God and not something that could be speculated to be "man-made".
However, as the Lady said in her message to the four girls of Garabandal, "I love you very much, and I do not want your condemnation. Ask Us sincerely and We shall grant your plea. You must make more sacrifices. Reflect on the Passion of Jesus."





No comments:

Post a Comment