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. Also:
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 to suffer.
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 this time.”
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 Navajo deities.
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 children.”
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.