The Apparitions

Our Lady of Fatima

Date: 13 May to 13 October 1917
Location: Cova da Iria, Fátima, Portugal
Targets: Lúcia dos Santos, Francisco and Jacinta Marto

Our Lady appeared 6 times before Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto at Fátima, Portugal from the 13 May to 13 October 1917. They were visited three times by an apparition of an angel in 1916 who taught them prayers, to make sacrifices, and to spend time in adoration of the Lord.

First Apparition – 13 May 1917

Our Lady standing over the foliage of a small holm oak, all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water. “Fear not!” Our Lady said, “I will not harm you. I come 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. Do you want to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may choose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and as a supplication for the conversion of sinners?”

Promptly Lucia responded for all three, “Yes, we want to.”

“Say the Rosary every day to bring peace to the world and the end of the war.” Our Lady said. She began to elevate Herself serenely until She disappeared in the immensity of space.

Second Apparition – 13 June 1917

About 50 to 60 people presented with Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco for the second apparition. Our Lady said to Lucia, “I wish you to come here on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. Later, I will tell you what I want.” Lucia asked Her to take them to Heaven. “Yes. I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. But you are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.”

Third Apparition – 13 July 1917

About 3,000 people gathered at Cova da Iria waiting for the apparition. “I want you to return here on the thirteenth of next month,” the Lady said. “Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, for only She can help you.” Our Lady showed the vision of Hell to them. “The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius Xl”, “I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. 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. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

The Lady reminded Lucia not to tell the “Secret” to anyone except Francisco. First and second parts of the “Secret” were presented by Lucia on 31 August 1941 for the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima while the third part of the “Secret” were revealed on the day of the Beatification of Francisco and Jacinta on 13 May 2000. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) talked about the meaning of the message of Fatima: the exhortation to prayer as the path of ‘salvation for souls’ and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion.

Fourth Apparition – 19 August 1917

Our Lady appeared to them at a place called Valinhos. She wanted them to say the Rosary every day and make sacrifices for sinners.

Fifth Apparition – 13 September 1917

At noon, a globe of light appeared before a 30,000 crowd, and the all holy Queen of Angels was standing over the holm oak. “Continue praying the Rosary every day”, Our Lady said, at the same time renewing the promises, “In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolours and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.”

Sixth Apparition – 13 October 1917

Over 70,000 crowds praying Rosary with Lucia waiting for the apparition, at about noon time, Our Lady came and was standing over the holm oak.

“I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honour. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day.” Our Lady said. Then, opening her hands, she made them reflect on the sun, and as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself.

Crowds were unable to see the vision. “There She goes; there She goes!” shouted Lucia suddenly. The sky had a certain greyish tint of pearl and a strange clearness filled the gloomy landscape, every moment getting gloomier. The sun seemed to be veiled with transparent gauze to enable the people to look at it without difficulty. The greyish tint of mother-of-pearl began changing as if into a shining silver disc, that was growing slowly until it broke through the clouds. And the silvery sun, still shrouded in the same greyish lightness of gauze, was seen to rotate and wander within the circle of the receded clouds! The people, standing in the pouring rain and soaked to the skin, cried out and begged for mercy, falling to their knees upon the muddy ground. As the miracle came to its end and the people arose from the muddy ground, they noticed that their clothes were perfectly dry. All of a sudden a tremendous shout burst forth, ‘Miracle, miracle! Marvel, marvel!’ It was seen by people of all classes, members of the Church and non-Catholics. It was seen by reporters of the principal news-papers and by people many miles away.

After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, the visionaries beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, Lucia saw Our Lord and Our Lady of Dolours. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and Lucia saw Our Lady once more resembling Our Lady of Carmel.

By the Lady’s indication, a chapel in her honour was built in 1919. Later, on 13 May 1928 marked the blessing of the first stone and started the construction of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima. In addition, several other structures and monuments were built in the intervening years for pilgrimage, adoration, reconciliation and other events.

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Our Lady of Lourdes

Date: 11 February to 16 July 1858
Location: Lourdes, France
Target: Bernadette Soubirous

On 11 February 1858, in a small village in southern France named as Lourdes, the Lady appeared to a fourteen-year old girl, Bernadette. Up till 16 July 1858, there was a total of 18 apparitions. Through Bernadette, the Blessed Virgin reminded us to recite the rosary, confess and perform penance, to build a chapel in Lourdes, and hold the truth divinely revealed in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

This is how the Apparitions took place. In the midst of ordinary daily tasks, going to search for firewood, Bernadette was confronted by a mystery. She heard a noise like a gust of wind, she looked up towards the Grotto: “I saw a lady dressed in white, she wore a white dress, and equally white veils, a blue belt and a yellow rose on each foot.” The Lady held on her right arm a rosary of white beads with a chain of gold shining. Thereafter, Bernadette said the rosary with the Lady in each apparition.

On 18 February 1858, Bernadette went to the Grotto the third time. She knelt down and started the rosary and the Lady appeared. Bernadette held out a pen and paper asking her to write her name. She replied; “It is not necessary” and she added: “I do not promise to make you happy in this world but in the other. Would you be kind enough to come here for fifteen days?”

Bernadette told the Parish Priest about the apparitions and in the eighth apparition on 24 February, she asked the Lady’s name, as requested by the Priest. The Lady did not answer and only smiled. The Lady asked Bernadette to pray for the sinners. “Penance! Penance! Penance! Pray to God for sinners. Kiss the ground as an act of penance for sinners!”

On 25 February, the day of the nineth apparition, Bernadette related, “She told me to go, drink of the spring and wash myself there (….) I only found a little muddy water. At the fourth attempt I was able to drink. She also made me eat the bitter herbs that were found near the spring, and then the vision left and went away.” In front of the crowd that was asking “Do you think that she is mad doing things like that?” she replied; “It is for sinners.”

On 2 March 1858, the day of the thirteenth apparition, the Lady asked Bernadette: “Go and tell the priests that people are to come here in procession and to build a chapel here.” This was a difficult task as Bernadette had been told by the Parish Priest not to return to the Grotto. She was being told that these were illusions and had caused disturbances to many people. It took a great deal of courage for her to present herself to the Priest again. He dismissed her curtly, ordering her to tell the Beautiful Lady that the Cure of Lourdes was not in the habit of dealing with mysterious strangers; that if She wanted a chapel — if She had a right to one — She must reveal Her identity.

During the 16th apparition, which occurred on the Feast of The Annunciation on 25 March, the Lady revealed her identity to Bernadette. Bernadette recounted: “She extended her arms towards the ground, then joined them as though in prayer and said Que soy era Immaculada Concepciou (I am the Immaculate Conception)”. The young visionary left and, running all the way, repeated continuously the words that she did not understand. These words troubled the brave Parish Priest. Bernadette was ignorant of the fact that this theological expression was assigned to the Blessed Virgin. Four years earlier, in 1854, Pope Pius IX declared this a truth of the Catholic Faith (a dogma). The Priest knew that the young girl, who was having only a rudimentary knowledge of the Catholic faith, had no knowledge of the doctrine. He then realized that it was the Mother of God who was appearing in the Grotto.

Mgr Laurence, Bishop of Tarbes, authenticated this revelation in January 1862. Construction of the church started from October the same year and the church was named as “Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception” on 15 August 1871.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe

Date: 9 to 12 December 1531
Location: Tepeyac Hill, Mexico
Target: Juan Diego

Our Lady appeared four times before Juan Diego and once more before Juan Diego’s uncle, Juan Bernardino from 9 to 12 December 1531.

On the Saturday morning of 9 December, Juan Diego was on his way to Tenochtitlan for attending Catechism, he passed the hill of Tepeyac and encountered Mary. She asked that a chapel be built on Tepeyac and sent him to the bishop, Fray Juan de Zumárraga. But he was not able to meet the bishop and Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac with sorrow, where he found the Virgin waiting for him. He told Her of his lack of success and asked Her to send other messengers. She, however, directed him to return on the following day.

On Sunday 10 December, Juan went back to Tenochtitlan. After waiting for hours, Juan finally met with the bishop who asked for a sign as a proof of who she was. Juan dutifully returned to the hill and told Mary, who was again waiting for him there, of the bishop’s request. The Lady promised a sign the next day, but instead of visiting the hill, he took care of his uncle, Juan Bernardino, whom he found ill and was close to death.

Very early morning on Tuesday 12 December, Juan headed to Tenochtitlan in search of a priest to anoint his uncle. He bypassed Tepeyac so as to escape from Mary, yet She stopped him and said, “Know, rest very much assured, my littlest son, let nothing whatever frighten you or worry you. Do not be concerned. Do not fear the illness or any illness or affliction. Am I, your Mother, not here? Are you not under my shade and my shadow? Am I not your happiness? Are you not in my lap and in my carrying gear? Is there anything more that you need? Do not let anything worry you further or upset you.” She assured that his uncle would not die and was already cured. At the same time, Mary revealed to Juan Bernardino, she healed him and revealed that she desired to be known under the title of Guadalupe.

With his courageous faith and perseverance inspired by Mary, Juan was sent to the top of Tepeyac where he found a full bloom of Castilian roses at the hilltop where there was barely any plant. He cut the flowers back to Mary and she placed them in his tilma. She told him to go to the bishop and opened it only in his presence.

Juan once again came before the bishop and several of his advisors. He told the bishop his story and opened the tilma letting the flowers fall out. But it wasn’t the beautiful roses that caused the bishop and his advisors to fall to their knees; for there, on the tilma, was a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary precisely as Juan had described her.

The tilma shows no sign of decay and is still in perfect condition after nearly five centuries. In 1999, Pope Saint John Paul II declared the Virgin of Guadalupe Patroness of the Americas with 12 December established as the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe built in the North of Mexico City near the hill of Tepeyac, where the Virgin Mary revealed to Saint Juan Diego. As one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Catholicism, the basilica and tilma are visited by several million people every year. The new Basilica which now contains Diego’s cloak was completed in 1974 can accommodate up to 10,000 people, especially around 12 December, Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast day. The tilma is now located at the huge altar of the new basilica, underneath a large cross, a few meters to the back of the priest’s chair.

Our Lady of Guadalupe revealed to us, as the Mother of Hope and Life, the glory of God through respect life, against death penalty and abortion as well as strike against violence, terror and all kinds of sufferings and sorrows.

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Our Lady of Knock

Date: 21 August 1879
Location: Knock, County Mayo, Ireland
Targets: Mary Byrne, Mary McLoughlin

In 1879, at the beginning of the Land War, Ireland was suffering from enormous religious, social cultural and economic sufferings. In the past 3 centuries, Catholic faith in Ireland were persecuted because of Protestant Reformation. The apparition took place in a little village called Knock in County Mayo at the south gable end of small local parish church of Knock, County Mayo, Ireland. Mary McLoughlin was the housekeeper to the Rev. Archdeacon Cavanagh who was the parish priest of Knock. She and 14 other Irish Catholics were given a vision of the Virgin Mary, St Joseph, and St John the Evangelist.

The apparition affirmed God’s blessing upon the Catholic faithful of Ireland and Our Lady’s support and comfort in their trials, reminding the people that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which for centuries had been attacked, outlawed and abused by the anti-Catholic oppressors of Ireland, is the most central, sacred and important act of worship and the greatest prayer on earth.

On a wet dark evening, 21 August 1879, the villagers of this place were in their small thatched cottages gathered around their turf fires from which they took warmth and light on such a terrible night. They had spent day doing the usual work of the harvest time of the year – gathering hay, bringing turf home from the bog. Mary McLoughlin passed by the chapel, towards the house of Margaret Byrne. She saw a wonderful number of statues at the gable which was suffused with light; one like the blessed Virgin Mary, one like St. Joseph; one like a bishop and an altar. She thought the figures were new statues replacing ones that a storm had destroyed some time back. Mary went to her friend Margaret Byrne’s home to tell her of this sight, and Margaret’s sister, also named Mary, and accompanied Mary McLoughlin to the church. They both witnessed the miracle, seeing Our Lady, along with St Joseph and St John the Evangelist stood together at about 2 feet from the ground.

Mary Byrne went back to share this news with her family, and soon a larger crowd gathered and witnessed the miraculous appearance.

Our Lady appeared larger than the other saints, with her eyes fixed on Heaven, her hands lifted to her shoulders and her palms inclined towards her shoulders, a crown on her head, wearing a white cloak. Saint Joseph appeared with his head inclined towards Our Lady as though paying her respect. St John the Evangelist appeared with his left hand holding Gospel or Mass Book and stood on the left side towards the altar. At the altar, there were a cross and a lamb with adoring angels surrounding resting on and faced towards Saint John with its body surround with golden stars.

They watched and prayed for over 2 hours and though they were wet, they noticed that no rain fell on upon the Apparition or on the gable.

One of the fifteen witnesses, Patrick Hill, said of the vision: The figures were fully rounded, as if they had a body and life. They did not speak but, as we drew near, they retreated a little towards the wall.

The following day, many who witnessed the miracle went to the Archdeacon, who then reported the vision to his bishop.

The Church set up an inquiry, and the Commission concluded that, “the testimonies of all, taken as a whole, is trustworthy and satisfactory.”

Pilgrimages began the following year, and soon thereafter the village and church in Knock became an important pilgrimage site and grew over the subsequent century. Now a larger church has been built at Our Lady of Knock’s Shrine, the Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland, which hundreds of thousands of pilgrims flock to every year.

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