During the July 13, 1917 apparition, Our Lady gave the three children a three-part secret. The first two parts were revealed in Sister Lucia’s letter to her Bishop on August 31, 1941: “What is the secret? I think I may reveal it, because I have permission from Heaven now….The secret is composed of three different parts, two of which I will go on to reveal.”
The First Part of the Secret: The Vision of Hell
Our Lady told the three seers, “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say very often, especially when you make some sacrifice: ‘O Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’”
In saying these last words, she opened her hands as in the preceding two months. The light seemed to penetrate the earth and we saw, as it were, a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. Terrified and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady who said to us so kindly and so sadly:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. 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 XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.”
The Second Part of the Secret: Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
“To prevent this, 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, and various nations will be annihilated.
In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved.”
The Third Part of the Secret
The third part of the secret was requested of Sister Lucia by the Bishop of Leira when she fell seriously ill in mid-1943. The bishop feared she would die and take the secret with her. In obedience, she tried on numerous occasions to write it down without success. Finally on the night of January 3, 1944, Our Lady came to her and told her, “Do not be afraid, God wanted to prove your obedience, faith and humility. Be at peace and write what they order you, but not what has been given you to understand its meaning. After writing it, place it in an envelope, close and seal it, and write on the outside that this can be opened in 1960 by the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon or by the Bishop of Leira.” Sister Lucia then wrote down the following:
At the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire, but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated toward him from her right hand. Pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’ We saw an immense light that is God, something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it, a bishop dressed in white (we had the impression it was the Holy Father), and other bishops, priests and men and women religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork tree with the bark. Before reaching there, the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins, and have trembling with a halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met along 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, priests, men and women religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in their hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
The third part of the secret was published by the Vatican on June 26, 2000.
Read the Theological Commentary and Vatican statements about the Message of Fatima below: