The Prophecy of Our Lady of Fatima (and the mad Catholics)
On 13 July 1917, three children were startled to find a mysterious figure approaching them as they tended their flock of sheep in pastureland near Fatima in Portugal. Lucia dos Santos and her two cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto reported seeing what they described as a ‘pretty lady from Heaven’.
Lucia said the lady was ‘brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun’. Just the sort of description you’d expect from an illiterate ten-year-old shepherd girl.
Lucia also claimed the lady had also entrusted her with three important secrets, which she did not reveal until many years later.
Instead of being cuffed around the ear, the three scally-wags were firmly believed and the devout soon identified the mysterious visitor as the Blessed Virgin Mary herself.
Word of the vision rapidly spread, and thousands began making the pilgrimage to the Cova da Iria (the area of pastureland near Fatima in which the children had grazed their sheep) hoping to see the Mother of Jesus for themselves.