In 1917, Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. During the third apparition came three profound revelations, of which Our Lady asked the children to keep secret – the Three Secrets of Fatima.
The first one was a ghastly vision of hell, graphically and subsequently described by Lucia, in which, “Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers…floating about in the conflagration…amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us…”
Linked to this was the second and prophetic secret that the First World War would end, and: “if people do not cease offending God, a worse one [World War II] will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI”, (the identification of this pope was of course not known then).
The third secret was an explicit, visual compilation, depicting the suffering Church over a period of unspecified time – vividly described by Lucia – of which part, “A bishop dressed in white, we had the impression it was the Holy Father, other bishops, priests, men and women religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big cross… Before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins, and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big cross, he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other bishops, priest men and women religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions”. These details were not revealed until 2000, at the behest of Pope John Paul II.
To prevent all this, Our Lady asked for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, together with the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays, reassuring that whatever the Church would have to endure, “in the end” her Immaculate Heart would triumph. The apparition concluded with Our Lady teaching the children the prayer of forgiveness normally said at the conclusion of each decade of the Rosary: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell, and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy”.
Keep Reading About Fatima
This account of the Three Secrets of Fatima is extracted from our book Fatima: A Pilgrim’s Companion. Telling the story of the apparitions and guiding the reader through a visit to the shrine and surrounding area, this guide is an inspiration to explore the meaning of Our Lady’s message there.
Discover more fascinating facts about the Fatima apparitions and be inspired to make a pilgrimage yourself by ordering your copy of Fatima: A Pilgrim’s Companion today.