On May 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary first appeared to three shepherd children, Lúcia dos Santos, Francisco Marto, and Jacinta Marto, at the Cova da Iria outside the village of Aljustrel, near Fatima, Portugal. In the months that followed, the children would see Mary five more times. On the sixth and last appearance, the Virgin told the children her name: The Lady of the Rosary. Throughout these appearances, the children received prophetic messages of prayer, penance and peace called the “Secret,” and residents of Fatima witnessed a stunning atmospheric event that would become known as the Miracle of the Sun.
The full meaning of the miracles of Fatima would not be understood until decades beyond – and now, a century later, they continue to inspire the faithful across the globe. As we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, we invite you to read a collection of posts from the Basilica reflecting on the different facets of this Marian devotion and how it is honored in our art.
Prayer, Peace, and Penance: The Message of Our Lady of Fatima
Do you know what the three parts of “the Secret” were, or what happened in the Miracle of the Sun? Learn about all the events of Fatima in detail and how the faithful can draw inspiration from this Marian devotion today.
The beloved devotion to Our Lady of Fatima has carried special significance for each of the holy fathers who have served the Church since its occurrence – from Pope John Paul II, whose own brush with death was foretold in the apparitions, to Pope Francis, who has emphasized Our Lady of Fatima’s role as a bringer of Christ’s light. Read inspiring insight from three popes about what Fatima meant for them – and for the Church.
Born on March 11, 1910, Jacinta de Marto is primarily known for being one of the three young shepherd children to witness the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. But did you know that Jacinta was also the youngest person to be canonized a saint? Though Jacinta experienced great personal tragedy, the peace and comfort she found in Our Lady of Fatima sustained her throughout her lifetime. Learn more about Jacinta’s life and where you can find her portrayed in the Basilica.
Our Lady of Fatima has served as a beloved Marian devotion of protection and hope for those suffering, offering comfort through times of uncertainty. As we observe the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, you can find peace in reflecting upon the Guidance of the Blessed Mother.
Rohling, Geraldine M., PhD, MAEd. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception: Guide and Tour Book. Washington, D.C.: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 2018.
Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, Sister Maria Lúcia
“Radical Saints: Jacinta Marto,” Franciscan Media
Light a Candle at the Basilica
In honor of Our Lady of Fatima, we invite you to light a candle today at the National Shrine. Vigil candles burn in the chapels throughout the Great Upper Church and lower crypt level of the National Shrine. Each candle represents the faith of the supplicants and their fervent prayers entrusted to the loving intercession of the Blessed Mother.