The Second Miracle of Fatima for the World
by Mary Anne Kreitzer
When people hear the words “the miracle of Fatima” they immediately think of the miracle of the sun which took place October 13, 1917 witnessed by over 70,000 people, some of whom were miles away. Of course, there were other personal miracles of healing and conversion associated with Fatima, but the miracle of the sun was for the entire world. It made headlines across the globe. And it was foretold ahead of time when Our Lady, in July, responded to Lucia’s request for a sign saying, “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.” Mary also showed the three children a terrifying vision of hell and repeated her urgent plea to “pray for sinners.” Showing the children hell and promising a miracle so all might believe in the same apparition were no coincidence. Throughout history Jesus has sent His Mother to warn her children to repent. The October miracle was to be a mass wake up call to her children. She wanted to show us the reality of sin’s consequences. And announcing the miracle ahead of time drew many to Fatima out of piety or curiosity or even to prove the message was a hoax.
As word of the visions spread, the Masonic government and secular press called it a Jesuit conspiracy and tried to stop it. Their debunking and threats actually helped to spread the message more widely and brought many people to the Cova de Iria for the October apparition: the devout, skeptics, scoffers, even atheists. A pouring rain failed to suppress the tens of thousands who gathered to witness the astounding event when the sun, like a wheel of fire, danced and spun in the sky shooting out flashes of varying colors like a heavenly fireworks display. When the sun appeared to plunge toward the earth, most in the crowd feared it was the end of the world and fell to their knees some confessing their most hidden sins out loud and begging for forgiveness. When the apparition concluded, everyone, despite being soaked and muddy minutes before, found themselves clean and dry.
But there is a lesser known miracle of Fatima that also carries a message for the world, a miracle with a back story. It begins with the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninusula from the Moors in the Middle Ages. In the 12th century, a Moorish Princess named Fatima was captured in battle by a Portuguese officer, Goncalo Hermingues. He fell in love with her and asked King Alfonso for permission to marry her which was given provided Fatima convert to Christianity. The couple lived happily for only a short time when Oureana (Fatima’s Christian name) died and Goncalo, in sorrow, entered a Cistercian monastery. Later Goncalo was named superior of a neighboring community where he built a chapel and moved Fatima’s remains. The chapel became the site of the parish church of Fatima, the same parish where the Santos and Marto families would worship eight centuries later.
King Alfonso won independence for Portugal from Spain by making himself a vassal of the pope and offering annual tribute to Rome. But Alfonso was more than an astute politician; he was a man of faith and a friend of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. He built monasteries and placed Portugal under the protection of the Queen of heaven. And, in fact, according to legend, “for a long time the Kings of Portugal wore no crown, deferring their earthly royalty to the heavenly Queenship of Mary.” Several other kings honored Our Lady as well. In the 14th century King John I asked Pope Boniface IX to dedicate all the cathedrals in Portugal to the Blessed Mother, and a decree doing so was read in Lisbon on May 13th, a date coinciding with the first apparition at Fatima. Portugal fell again under Spanish rule, but on December 8, 1646 King John IV declared independence and consecrated Portugal to Mary Immaculate as the nation’s patroness and protector. King John swore under oath to defend with his life Mary’s title of the Immaculate Conception. (Later Portuguese schoolchildren would also recite an oath to defend the Immaculate Conception of Mary.) It would be two centuries before Pope Pius IX officially proclaimed the doctrine, but the Portuguese people were already dedicated to Mary’s perpetual virginity. Is it any wonder that Our Lady appeared in Portugal, a county whose pious people were so totally committed to her and where her message would be so universally welcomed by the simple peasant people.
But the years immediately preceding Mary’s apparitions were anything but easy for Portuguese Catholics. In 1910 freemasons fomented a bloody revolution, took power, and began to persecute the Church with draconian measures. They suppressed the religious orders, expelled the Jesuits, legalized divorce, made marriage no more than a secular contract, forbade religious habits and clerical dress, confiscated monasteries and convents, invited Protestant religions into the country, and made all religious holidays workdays. “Magalhaes Lima, Grand Master of the Portuguese Freemasonry declared that within a few years no one would want to be a priest. Another Freemason, Afonso Costa, declared that the new law of separation of Church and State would end the Catholic Church [in Portugal] in two generations.”
Catholics devoted to Fatima are aware of the period of the apparitions, but how many know what happened after the October miracle? The masons did not take their defeats lying down, but continued to oppose the events of Fatima even blowing up the first small chapel erected on the site. Nothing they did could quell the enthusiasm of the pilgrims thronging to the village. If government officials set up roadblocks, the people walked across the fields. If they threatened the people, the pilgrims simply ignored them. In fact, many of the police officials were pious men who sympathized with the crowds and had no stomach to confront them with violence. Our Lady was facing down the masons.
Keep in mind that the events at Fatima were taking place without the help of the Church. The local bishop forbade his priests to support the events from the very beginning fearing a backlash from the government and uncertain that anything supernatural was taking place there. In 1922, the bishop established a commission to look into the events since the crowds continued to increase. In1927 the privilege of a Votive Mass was conceded and the cult of Our Lady of Fatima was officially allowed.
The beginning of the 20th century was a time of chaos for Portugal. Things did not change overnight after Mary’s apparitions but they had improved enough that in February 1918, less than six months after the miracle of the sun, the Portuguese bishops wrote to Pope Benedict XV that the country’s situation had improved under the military leader Sidonio Pais who annulled much of the worst legislation against Catholics. An apostolic nuncio was named to Lisbon and the Portuguese government sent a diplomat to Rome. When Sidonio Pais, known as the “President-King,” was assassinated in December 1918, the people, strengthened by the apparitions were able to resist a return to draconian government through numerous social apostolates. And in 1926, a military triumvirate drove the freemasons from power and set the stage for the rise of Catholic leader M. Oliveira Salazar who established peace and order/
And so we come to the second miracle of Fatima. As the 20th anniversary of the angel’s first apparition approached, Spring of 1936, Portugal remained in a precarious situation. Spain was on the verge of civil war and Europe was ready to explode with Hitler on the rise remilitarizing Germany. At this dangerous juncture, the bishops of Portugal acted. In May, 1936 while on retreat at the Cova da Iria, the bishops promised Mary to hold a national pilgrimage in May of 1938 to consecrate the country to her Immaculate Heart if she would preserve the “Land of Holy Mary” from the threat of godless Communism.
Two months after this vow, the Spanish Civil War erupted with the Communist rebels massacring tens of thousands of Catholic clergy, religious, and laity -- an attack on God reminiscent of the French Revolution. But in Portugal, peace reigned. The country was spared the devastations of both the Spanish Civil War and World War II and enjoyed instead a “spiritual, moral, and material restoration” all in the space of less than one generation. The bishops fulfilled their promise in 1938 and it’s estimated that one out of every twelve inhabitants of Portugal joined them at Fatima on May 13, 1938.
In 1942 the bishops of Portugal once again engaged in collective action by releasing a joint pastoral to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mary’s apparitions. They implicitly recognized the “miracle” of Portugal’s transformation writing:
And that, in fact, is the second miracle of Fatima. With the whole world engaged in war, Portugal kept the peace. With a raging Communist assault on her very borders, Portugal was untouched. In a “devastated, war-torn Europe…[Portugal was] the only country…where, in the year 1941, food rationing was unknown.” The country was truly under the protection of the Queen of Heaven.
Can other countries hope to receive the blessings of Portugal? Absolutely! Think of the impact if the bishops of the United States, in union, consecrated our country to the Immaculate Conception during this election year begging our lady to protect and defend us from the many moral crises we face and begging that she intercede for the selection of our leaders at all levels of government.
Imagine if the bishops promised a national pilgrimage on May 13th of 2017, the 100th anniversary of Fatima to thank Our Lady for her protection and intercession. Each diocese could select the site for the pilgrimage arranging times so all time zones are praying together. And if the bishops won't al cooperate in such an endeavor, why not sate pilgrimages or diocesan pilgrimages or parish pilgrimages or even families making their own.
The transformation of a country begins with the conversion and repentance of each person and then each family, led by the father. The pious people of Fatima responded enthusiastically to Mary's call. Tens of thousands of simple people walked to Fatima. Can we not imitate their zeal and sacrifice? Begin by consecrating yourself and your family to Mary Immaculate and promising to make a pilgrimage of thanksgiving on the 100th anniversary of her apparitions at Fatima, May 13, 2017. Pope Pius XII wrote a wonderful consecration prayer you can make as a family. (See Action Box.) You can travel to the national basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., to the Shrines of Our Lady of Fatima in Washington, NJ or in Lewiston, NY, or even travel to a parish church of the Immaculate Conception. Mary is a tender mother who loves the sincere intentions of our heart. Think of the power if your family does this together. Perhaps we can bring about a third miracle of Fatima in our own beloved country. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
1 Sr. Lucia, Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, Fourth Memoir, Fatima Center Publication, 1976, p. 165.
2 Mark Fellows, Sister Lucia, Apostle of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, Immaculate Heart Publications, 2007, p. 7.
3 Ibid, p. 8.
4 “The Virgin Mary’s War against Freemasonry,” http://www.freemasonrywatch.org/portugal.html.
5 John De Marchi, Fatima from the Beginning, 14th edition, 2006, p. 227.
6 Chanoine C. Barthas and Pere G. Da Fonseca, S.J., Our Lady of Light, Bruce Publishing Co., Milwaukee, 1947, p. 176-177.
7 Ibid, p. 179.
8 Ibid, p. 177
9 Ibid, p. 180.
10 Ibid, p. 179.