By Jim Fritz at The Defender
There have been many articles, pamphlets, books and even a movie about Our Lady of Fatima; however, I would like to mention just one aspect which I find very pertinent to the people of today and especially to our young people. This pertains to the first of the three secrets; i.e., the Vision of Hell.
The 100th anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun” is on October 13th of this year; therefore, I have been doing a lot of reading about the many, many aspects of this remarkable event. The most noteworthy element is the huge number of people who witnessed the miracle. Usually, when we read of miracles happening, they are witnessed by a handful of devout Catholics. This miracle was witnessed by a crowd of at least 50,000 to 70,000 people, and some estimate the number even higher. In addition the crowd included not only many skeptics but those who had previously ridiculed the upcoming miracle in secular newspapers.
How did the crowd become so large? It looks like Our Blessed Mother planned it that way. She started out in the spring of 1917 with three children reporting apparitions of an angel, then on May 13, 1917, there appeared apparitions of the Virgin Mary at the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal. These visions occurred on the 13th of each month following, with the crowds growing larger each month. The children described the vision as "The Lady more brilliant than the Sun." Only the children (Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco) could see and hear the Virgin Mary although the others saw an apparition. The children reported to all that on October 13 the Lady would reveal her identity and perform a miracle "so that all may believe." Newspapers reported the prophecies, and more and more people began visiting the area.
The children’s accounts were true but controversial, drawing intense criticism from both local secular and religious authorities. A provincial administrator briefly took the children into custody and even emotionally tortured them because he believed the prophecies were politically motivated. He told them they would be boiled in oil if they did not tell him they were lying. They were willing to die rather than claim they were lying. Read more