Fatima is a village in the center of Portugal about 70
miles north of Lisbon. It was there in 1915 that three humble
peasant children began having a series of apparitions of angels
and, later, the "Virgin Mary." The children were: Lucia
Santos and her two cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. At the
time, the Portuguese government was secular and antagonistic
towards religion, which led them to treat the children very harshly
-- even placing them in prison with the threat of boiling them
in oil unless they confessed to having made up their story. In
spite of this, the children never wavered.
The first apparition occurred on an unnamed day in 1915
when Lucia, together with her friends, sat down in the fields
close to their hamlet of Aljustrel at midday to eat their lunch.
They were interrupted by the sudden appearance of a cloud in
the form of a man above some foliage. Lucia later described it
as like a cloud, whiter than snow, slightly transparent, with
a human outline.
According to Lucia, it was the form of a young man, transparent,
and more brilliant than a crystal pierced by the rays of the
sun. The apparition approached them and said, "Fear not!
I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me!" The angel knelt
on the ground and bowed very low. The children imitated the angel
and repeated the words of his prayer. The same angel appeared
to them several more times, each time giving them a message of
the need for sacrifice and preparing them for the prophecies
that were to follow.
On Sunday, May 13, 1917, in a world immersed in the First
World War, the children of Fatima were to receive their first
apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As usual, Lucia and her
two cousins went to the cave, and it was almost noon when they
reached it. They opened their bags to eat lunch, said the rosary
and started tending to the sheep. Suddenly a bright shaft of
light pierced the air. They described it as a flash of lightning.
Lucia later said, however, that "it was not really lightning,
but rather the reflection of a light that approached little by
little. In this light, we could see Our Lady only when she was
above the oak."
The lady spoke to them and said, "Fear not! I will
not harm you."
"Where are you from?" the children asked.
"I am from heaven," the beautiful lady replied, gently
raising her hand towards the distant horizon.
"What do you want of me?," Lucia asked.
"I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive
months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. I will tell
you later who I am and what I want. And I shall return here again
a seventh time."
Mary allegedly appeared on the thirteenth of each month,
and the children were there each time except for one apparition
when they were locked away by government officials. Each time
the children reported similar phenomena, and many messages and
secrets were revealed to them.
The Miracle of the Sun
At each successive apparition, word of the events at Fatima
spread farther and wider, along with the story that the October
apparition would be particularly dramatic. The October miracle
was predicted to be one that everyone would see. The crowd that
day was estimated at 70,000. Although the sun rose that day,
soon dark clouds overshadowed it and threatened a severe storm.
At around 10:00 a.m., the rains came. The pilgrims and the interested
skeptics kept coming, however.
Noon came, and Lucia saw the flash that always preceded
the vision of Mary. As she arrived, the rains ceased and the
sun began to come out. The apparition of Mary settled over the
tree as usual. Lucia inquired, "What do you want of me?"
Mary said, "I want to tell you that they must build a chapel
here in my honor; that I am the Lady of the Rosary; that they
continue to say the rosary every day. The war will end and the
soldiers will return to their homes soon."
Lucia asked Mary if she would grant some petitions, to
which she replied, "Some I will, others I will not. They
must mend their lives, ask forgiveness for their sins. Offend
not Our Lord any more, for He is already much offended."
As Mary left, she opened her hands, which emitted a flood of
light. While she was rising, she pointed towards the sun and
the light gleaming from her hands brightened the sun itself.
Suddenly a cry of awe and wonderment came from the large crowd.
The sun became pale as the moon.
As the children were watching this, the crowd was enraptured
by other signs in the sky. As one witness said, "We could
look at the sun with ease. It did not bother [the eyes] at all.
It seemed to be continually fading and glowing in one fashion,
then another. It threw shafts of light one way and another, painting
everything in different colors, the people, the trees, the earth,
even the air." Everyone stood still and quiet, gazing at
the sun. At a certain point, the sun stopped its play of light
and then started "dancing." It stopped again and then
again started dancing until it seemed to loosen itself from the
skies and fall upon the people. It was a moment of terrible suspense.
Dr. Almeida Garrett, professor of Coimbra, said, "The
sun had broken through the thick layer of clouds. It seemed to
be drawing all eyes and I saw it as a disc with a clean cut rim,
luminous and shining, but which did not hurt the eyes;. The clouds
did not obscure the light of the sun; one could fix one's eyes
on this brazier of heat and light without pain in the eyes or
blinding of the retina. The sun's disc spun around on itself
in a mad whirl -- then, whirling wildly, seemed to loosen itself
from the firmament and advance threateningly upon the earth as
if to crush us with its huge fiery weight. There were changes
of color in the atmosphere. Looking at the sun I noticed everything
around was becoming darkened. All the phenomena which I have
described were observed by me. It is for others to interpret
and explain them."
As the sun appeared to hurl itself upon the crowd in a
zigzag fashion, the people in the crowd cried out in terror,
believing they were going to die. Some begged for mercy; others
said the act of contrition. One lady confessed her sins aloud.
Eventually the sun stopped its sudden dive and returned to its
place in the sky. As the multitude sighed in relief they realized
that the miracle predicted by the children had come to pass.
Then they noticed that everything had suddenly dried from the
heavy rains earlier -- their clothes, the ground, everything!
Not only did the immediate crowd witness the miracle, but so
did those in adjoining villages. Although there were some variations
in what they saw, they all reported having seen something miraculous.
Incio Lourenco reported, "Near us was an unbeliever
without religion, who had spent the morning mocking the blockheads
who had made all that journey to Fatima to go and stare at a
girl. I looked at him. He stood as if paralyzed, thunderstruck,
his eyes fixed on the sun. Then I saw him tremble from head to
foot, and raising his hands to heaven, he fell on his knees in
the mire shouting "Nossa Senhora! Nossa Senhora!" (Our
Lady! Our Lady!)
For those who might think that mass hallucination at the
site produced the spectacle, it should be noted that the miracle
was seen by many throughout the region, even as far away as 25
miles from Fatima, where the poet Afonso Lopes Vieira also saw
the miracle of the sun from his house.
Fatima is a very apocalyptic message. It says that no matter
what happens there are going to be terrible wars, there are going
to be diseases, whole nations are going to be wiped out, there
are going to be 3 days of darkness, there are going to be epidemics
that will wipe out whole nations overnight, parts of the earth
will be washed away at sea and violent tornadoes and storms.
A night illuminated by an unknown light will be the sign
of coming hunger, war and persecution. (Apparently happened on
January 25th 1938).
A worse war will break out in the time of Pius X1 ( WWII).
Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, promoting
wars. Various nations will be annihilated.
The good will be martyred. The Holy Father will have much
In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father
will consecrate Russia to me. Russia will be converted, and some
time of peace will be given to the world.
"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 reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined
by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given to
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."
"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. 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 [of each month].
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."
Lucia would keep the Third Secret until 1941, when
she received an inner "locution" from the Virgin giving
her leave to publish all but the last of its three parts. As
for the final part, which has come to be known as the Third
Secret Sister Lucy's nearly fatal bout of pleurisy in 1943
moved the Bishop of Fatima to ask her to write it down and seal
it up in an envelope, so that it might be read if she died. After
much agonizing and another visitation by the Lady, she complied
with the Bishop's request in January 1944, and forwarded the
envelope to him with the instructions that it was to be opened
by the Pope and read to the world in 1960, "because the
Virgin wishes it so."
But the Vatican refused to disclose the Third Secret in
1960 and continues to suppress it to this day. All the popes
since John XXIII, as well as a few Curia cardinals, have read
the contents of Lucy's envelope, as John Paul II is reported
to have done shortly after his inauguration in October 1978.
While conversing with a small group of pilgrims in the
cathedral square of Fulda, West Germany, in November 1980, the
Holy Father was asked to explain why the Third Secret had not
been published in 1960, as the Lady of Fatima had directed. John
Paul responded that "the gravity of its contents" was
such as to possibly provoke a hostile response to its release
on the part of the "world power of Communism" and hence
the Vatican had seen fit to defer its publication "out of
diplomacy." He alluded to a portion of the message "where
it is said that the oceans will entirely flood certain parts
of the earth, and that from moment to moment millions of men
will perish." A question was then posed concerning the fate
of the Church in Fatima's apocalyptic scenario.
John Paul: "We have to be prepared to suffer, before
long, great trials which will require of us the disposition to
sacrifice even our life for Christ. Through your prayers and
mine, it is still possible to diminish this trial, but it is
no longer possible to avert it, because only in this manner can
the Church be effectively renewed. How many times has the renewal
of the Church been brought about in blood! It will not be different
Evidently, from John Paul's remarks at Fulda quoted above,
the Third Secret of Fatima addresses this unprecedented crisis
of faith and in fact predicts its onset in the latter decades
of this century. This would explain the Lady's desire to have
the message revealed in 1960, when a veritable epidemic of universal
apostasy began to sweep across the globe. Another strong inference
here is that the Church "renewal" which will resolve
this great crisis may involve the martyrdom of one or more popes.
It also seems clear that, even before the attempt on his life
in St. Peter's Square, Karol Wojtyla believed "himself"
to be destined for such martyrdom.
Thus when John Paul II first read Sister Lucy's handwritten
note sometime late in 1978, he would not have been able to toss
it aside with the dismissive remark, "This does not pertain
to the years of my papacy," as John XXIII reportedly did
in 1960 in defense of his decision not to release the message.
A tangible "marker" was left behind by Jacinta
Marto, the younger seeress of Fatima. Shortly after the children
received Our Lady's Secret in July 1917, Jacinta had two visions
which she recounted to Lucia, who recorded them in her memoirs
with the remark that they comprise "part of the [third]
secret." Both visions concern the Holy Pope or Angelic Pastor:
"I don't know how it was, but I saw the Holy Pope
in a very large house. He was kneeling by a table with his face
in his hands and he was crying. Outside the house were many people.
Some of them were throwing stones at him, others were cursing
him and using bad language."
"Can't you see all those highways and roads and fields
full of people, who are crying with hunger and have nothing to
eat? And the Holy Pope in a church praying before the Immaculate
Heart of Mary? And so many people praying with him?"
The mysterious Third Secret of Fatima remains under
lock and key in a Vatican archive, while Vatican bureaucrats
attempt to silence a Canadian priest leading a movement for its
disclosure. On February 8, 1960 Catholics around the world were
stunned when the Vatican announced in an unsigned press release
that the famous Third Secret would not be disclosed that
year, as expected, and would probably remain a secret forever.
Thus began a controversy in the Catholic Church which shows no
signs of dying out, more than 35 years later.
What is the Third Secret, and why is a Canadian
priest, Father Nicholas Gruner, under fire by the Vatican bureaucracy
for probing into it?
Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II
all read the Secret in private, as has John Paul II's right hand
man, Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith. The suppression of the Third Secret
has naturally led to speculation among Catholics that its contents
must be nothing short of explosive. Yet the official Vatican
line is that the Secret contains nothing that has not already
been revealed in Scripture. If that is so, then why is it being
suppressed? In November 1984 Ratzinger gave a tantalizing hint
of what the Third Secret contains when he admitted that it refers
to "dangers which threaten the Faith and the life of the
Christian, and therefore of the world."
Father Nicholas Gruner has widely publicized the work of
several Fatima experts who believe they have deduced what the
Third Secret contains: a warning that the Catholic Church will
undergo a catastrophic loss of faith and discipline beginning
around 1960 - the great apostasy predicted in Scripture
as a harbinger of the end times.
Navajo Visitation Report
[From an article by Malcolm
Brenner in The Independent.]
GALLUP - A May 16, 1996 memorandum from Navajo Nation President
Albert Hale substantiates widespread stories that an elderly
Navajo woman living in Arizona received a visitation from two
The visitation reportedly occurred on May 5 at Rocky Ridge,
near Third Mesa, on the eastern edge of the Hopi Reservation.
President Hale declared the week of May 17-24 Spiritual Unity
Week to commemorate the event.
"By now, everyone has heard of the Rocky Ridge appearance
of the deities," Hale said. "This is a significant
event to Navajo people everywhere." Hale granted all Navajo
Nation employees four hours of administrative leave during the
week to visit the site for prayers and offerings. "I call
upon the people of this great Navajo Nation to devote this week
to prayers and prayer services," Hale said. "We must
give thanks for the many blessings that we have, and to pray
for our land, for abundance of rain, for our future and for our
While it has gone unreported by local news media, rumors
of the visitation have spread rapidly across the Navajo Nation,
which is currently experiencing one of its worst droughts this
century. Hale's memorandum was the first official confirmation
that something had actually happened at Rocky Ridge. But traditional
Navajos, who guard the secret doctrines of their religion carefully,
are refusing to reveal any details of the visitation to the Anglo
press. Even the tribally owned and operated Navajo Times,
a weekly, neglected to mention the event in its May 16 issue.
"I can't talk about it," is the response given
over and over by Navajos when asked about the event. "It's
too sacred to talk about," said Ray Baldwin Louis, spokesman
for the Office of the Speaker of the Navajo Tribal Council. Louis
expressed fears that the non-Navajo press would treat the event
in a sacrilegious manner.
The site where the visitation occurred was reportedly the
scene of a major Navajo ceremony on the weekend of May 18-19.
Only Navajos and their linguistic relatives, the Apaches, are
being allowed to visit the site, but they are reportedly visiting
by the hundreds to pray and leave offerings.
The visitation is being discussed by almost every Navajo,
from police officers and physicists to sheep herders. Versions
of the event collected from different sources bear a striking
similarity, suggesting a common origin, but the name of the woman
who received the visitation remains unknown.
The Independent has compiled a composite version
of the story from widely-circulated rumors. The version may or
may not reflect the actual events that happened at Rocky Ridge,
but it is what Navajos are passing on by word of mouth.
The visitation was witnessed by an elderly Navajo woman
living with her adult daughter in a remote area near Rocky Ridge.
The woman had not spoken for several years, reportedly because
she had been struck by lightning.
On the night of May 5, the woman began to speak in Navajo,
asking "Have they come yet?" and "Where are they?"
Although there was no sound of a vehicle, the family heard footsteps
around their dwelling, and the old woman went outside.
The woman saw a light come down from the sky and found
she could not move. She found herself facing two of the Navajo
Holy People, or Gods. One version of the story identifies the
visitors as Haashch'eelti'i (Talking God) and Haashch'eoghan
(Growling God). Another version identifies them as the Hero Twins
Monster Slayer and Born-for-Water, who figure as demigods in
the Navajo creation story.
One figure was dressed in white; one, in blue. The beings
addressed the old woman, saying that the reason the Navajo Nation
is suffering from the drought is because the Navajo people are
not honoring their traditional religious practices. They are
not conducting their corn-pollen prayers in the mornings and
are not using the Navajo language as they did in the past.
Unless the Navajo people return to their traditional practices,
the beings warned, the drought and other misfortunes would continue
to befall them. Some versions state that the beings gave a time
limit of four years before some type of major disaster occurs.
Having delivered their message, the Holy People disappeared,
and the woman found she could move again. Looking down, she found
a circle of corn pollen on the ground with two footprints inside
of it, one made by each of the Holy People.
While the appearance of the Holy People has particular
significance for the Navajos and related tribes, the general
outlines of the event -- the remote location, nocturnal timing,
the isolated status of the visionary, the lights, and the issuance
of a prophecy or warning by the beings -- are characteristic
of religious visions in general.
In 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared to a group of children
in the village of Fatima, Portugal. Thousands of people witnessed
the final event, in which the sun appeared to dive from the sky
and swoop over the crowd. Like the Navajos, the Vatican has not
released the prophecies given to the children.
In the 1980s, children in the town of Medjugorje, Yugoslavia,
also reported persistent appearances of the Virgin Mary. [Also,
there were warnings and prophecies.] While the Catholic Church
at first refused to validate the appearances, the site has since
become a shrine.
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