Mary, the Mother of God, appeared to three children in the parish of Fatima, Portugal, six times between May 13 and October 13, 1917. On the last appearance to Lucia dos Santos (ten) and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto (nine and seven respectively), she revealed that she was Our Lady of the Rosary.
Mary asked for frequent recitation of the Rosary, penance, greater devotion to her Immaculate Heart, prayers for the conversion of Russia, and a church building in her honor.
The climax of Mary’s appearances took place on October 13: 30,000 to 50,000 people witnessed a miracle of the sun sinning as if out of control and then righting itself. Francisco died in 1919 and Jacinta in 1920 (fulfilling Mary’s prediction that she would soon take them to heaven); both of them were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2000. Lucia has remained alive as a professed nun.
Devotion to Our Lady of Fatima was authorized by Pope Pius XI in 1930, and the request for prayers for the conversion of Russia was carried by Pope Pius XII in 1952. The feast of Our Lady of Fatima was inserted into the Roman Missal authorized by Pope John Paul II in 2002.
PRAYER: God, You established the Mother of Your Son to be also our Mother. Grant that we may persevere in penance and prayer for the salvation of the world and so more effectively promote the Kingdom of Christ. Amen.