The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is one of the most famous Marian Shrines in the world and place of the Pilgrimage to Fatima. About 5 million people visit Fatima each year, attracted by the apparitions of Virgin Mary reported by three shepherd children in 1917.
The Miracle of the Sun. Thus it is known by the Portuguese people. It all happened 99 years ago, in early May, 1917. Three shepherd children spoke of experiencing a vision of the Virgin Mary in the fields of Cova da Iria near the city of Fatima. It was on the 13th of the month. These apparitions were repeated on the 13th of each month until October. The oldest child was Lucia, age 10, and she was accompanied by her 2 cousins, Francisco 9 and Jacinta 7.
When asked, the children described seeing a flash of lightning near noon. It was followed by another in which they enveloped them in blinding light. Looking up, they saw a lady “Brighter than the sun,” her bare feet resting on a cloud touching the branches of a rickety holly oak. They described the sight as kinder than anyone they have ever seen. The Lady was young, dressed in white, her face pure and smiling, with a touch of sadness. Her hands were praying together, a rosary hanging over her arm. You said they would go to the same place for the next 6 months at the same time on the 13th of the month.
Exactly one month later, at the same time of day, the children received another vision. The Lady spoke to them for about 10 minutes. She revealed that the two younger children would die early and be taken to paradise. You requested devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, emphasizing the importance of saying the Rosary as the key to world peace. The visions continued every month, during a Maria confided to Lucia 3 secrets, to be disclosed to the Vatican in time. Each month that passed grew the number of adults accompanying the children to the designated place, and although not privileged to share their visions, they saw a cloud disappear eastward and were captured by the atmosphere.
On 13 October a population of 70,000 gathered near Cova da Iria in response to the children’s claims that a miracle would happen that day for “everyone to believe”. At the appointed time, in the midst of a thunderstorm the clouds opened and the sun like a disk roaring in the air, shooting great rays of fantastic color. As one columnist reported, “Before the surprised eyes of the population the sun trembled and danced.” Suddenly it seemed to descend until it almost touched the earth, but it stopped. Slowly following your way back to heaven. Many of those present “wept and prayed” in recognition of the miracle they were waiting for. The phenomenon was witnessed by people 40 kilometers away, proving that mass hysteria could not be responsible.
The Fatima events were declared “Worthy of Believing” by the Catholic Church on October 13, 1930. just 13 years after the Sun Miracle.
Today pilgrims arrive in mass throughout the year but are particularly present from May to 13 October. In the days preceding thousands will enter the grounds of the Sanctuary, arriving by car, bike, on foot, to pay tribute to Our Lady of Fatima. Regardless of your religious persuasion, you will undoubtedly engage in the charm and sense of unity that surrounds this sacred place.
On the 13th, pilgrims wave their handkerchiefs in honor of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima as it passes through the central square between 10:00 and 12:30. There are great candle processions at dusk on the pilgrimage to Fatima
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Pilgrimage to Fatima
Most visitors come to Fatima from Lisbon, which is 125 kilometers away. By car from Lisbon Airport it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The road between the two cities is of good quality and safe. Go2Lisbon offers airport transfers to other places in Lisbon or Fatima.