Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Last of three to see Virgin Mary at Fatima laid to rest


On May 13, 1917, three children's lives changed forever.

Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco Marto and Jacinta Marto came face to face with the Virgin Mary in a cove on a mountaintop in Fatima, Portugal. For the next six months the Lady of the Rosary appeared in the cove, each time on the 13th of the month, and revealed to the children three divine secrets and provided instructions to rid the world of sorrow and restore Christian devotion. By October 13, the Lady's final appearance, over 50,000 people had joined the children in the cove to see Her. Not everyone saw the Lady, but they did claim to see lights and rainbows.

After the apparitions stopped, the children were hounded and ridiculed, and even imprisoned for a brief time.

The Lady told the Marto siblings that She would return for them soon. Jacinta died in
1919 and Francisco in 1920 in an influenza pandemic.

Their cousin survived until a year ago. She died on Febrary 13, 2005, at the age of 97. She was buried at the convent she had served as a nun for most of her life. She became a nun shortly after having the visions.

In 2000, her cousins were beatified, the last step before becoming saints.

Sister Lucia had wanted to be buried for a year at her convent in Coimbra. Once that year was up, last Sunday, her remains were removed and transported to her final resting place, the Shrine of Fatima, where she and her cousins had seen the Virgin Mary. She was re-buried in the Basillica alongside the sepulchre of her cousins.

Church officials said around 100,000 people from all over the world packed the Fatima sanctuary, about 95 miles north of Portugal’s capital Lisbon.

“Fulfilling her profound wish we will give her body to the [Fatima] sanctuary,” said the Bishop of Coimbra, Albino Cleto, during a mass held at the local cathedral.

The ceremony ended with a "farewell procession," with pilgrims waving white handkerchiefs.

Sister Lucia said she had also seen the Lady on June 13, 1929, and afterwards waged a campaign to have the Pope consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in order to save that country from atheism and communism. In 1984, Pope John Paul II did just that, consecrating Russia. Within a year, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbechev visited the Pope in Rome, and within five years, the Berlin Wall fell. Sister Lucia wrote soon after the consecration: "The terms for the conversion of Russia have been met. God will not let us down."

Sister Lucia also once said she had a vision that foretold the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul on May 13, 1981. Pope John Paul later placed one of the bullets that nearly killed him in the crown of the statue of Fatima.

Dos Santos was said by believers to have received prophecies from the Virgin about a
vision of hell and the outbreak of World War II.

The Vatican originally interpreted the Virgin's prophecies to the children as foretelling Communism’s persecution of Christianity. The apparitions took place the same year as the Russian Revolution.

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God bless these children and may God reward them for keeping such a secret and for the pain and suffering they endured when rejected by the unbelievers.
Thank you for keeping this story alive as a reminder that miracles occur every day.
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