Fatima is located 142 km (88 miles) north of Lisbon in Portugal. It is one of the most important Catholic shrines in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Fatima’s Sanctuary welcomes millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. Fatima’s fame is due to the apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary in 1917 to three shepherd children; Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta. The last apparition on October 13th, was confirmed by a miracle witnessed by 70,000 people known as “the day the sun danced.”
The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared six times to the children on the 13th of each month from May to October. She told them that she had been sent by God with a message for the world. Coming at a time when civilization was torn asunder by war and bloody violence, she promised that Heaven would grant peace to the world if her requests for prayer, reparation and consecration were heard and obeyed.
Our Lady of Fatima is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary; the title Our Lady of the Rosary is also used to reference her as that is how she identified herself to the three children during one of the apparitions. It is common to see a combination of these titles, i.e., Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima (Portuguese: ”Nossa Senhora do Rosario de Fatima”).
The story of Fatima has fascinated generations for nearly 100 years. The Message of Our Lady is even more relevant today as we find ourselves in a world still torn asunder by war and conflict, and our once great cultures degraded by sin and immorality. Our Lady promised that in the end her Immaculate Heart would Triumph. Our decision to follow her plan for peace can hasten the Triumph so desperately needed.