I’ve recently read a scholarly book for one of my classes that focuses on apparition stories in the Andes. It reminded me of an apparition that occurred in Portugal in the city of Fatima. There were three kids, Jacinta, Franciszek, and Lucia, and they saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary on May 13th, 1917.
Every month after that (for six months), they saw the Virgin Mary and they received messages and visions from her. The first month she came to them, May 13th, Mary told the children to come to that location every month and at the same time, and that they should pray the rosary. The second time Mary visited the children, she told both Jacinta and Franciszek that they would soon go to Heaven, while Lucia would stay and spread the news of Mary (in order to create a devotion to the Immaculate Heart and to pray the rosary). The third time Mary came, July 13th, the children received a vision of Hell and were once again told to pray the rosary.
The fourth time Mary came, August 13th, the children were unable to see Mary because they were arrested. The fifth time Mary came was September 13th. The children were asked to pray the rosary again. The last apparition was October 13th and 70,000 people came to see this event. They all wanted proof that the children were really seeing Mary. Lucia asked Mary to give the crowd a sign because they were getting frustrated, and they were going to kill the children. Then the Sun swirled in circles for the crowd to witness (miracle of the sun), and the crowd believed. Afterwards, Mary told the children, “I have come to reprove humanity, to change life and not grieve God with grave sins, let people pray the rosary every day and repent of their sins.”
During Mary’s visits, the children were also told three important secrets, and they were not allowed to tell them until a certain time. If anyone’s interested in knowing these, check out this website (it may be in Polish so make sure to translate the web page).
In addition, Pope John Paul II was shot on May 13th, 1981. After he survived, he believed that Our Lady of Fatima saved him from death, and afterwards he made May 13th a day of celebration for Our Lady of Fatima every year.
Additionally, when looking at the sculpture it is clear to see that this statue is elaborate. It is meant to represent a holy figure. Here she is standing on a cloud. It reminds me of the Ascension of Mary, such as in Murillo’s Assumption of the Virgin, where Mary is also standing on a cloud (and usually a moon) going up to Heaven. She also wears a crown, showing that she is the Queen of Peace and of the Rosary. Lastly, in this elaborate statue the Virgin is portrayed as being young and pure through her young face and chaste nature.
Some images are from wobroniewiaryitradycji