Statue of The Three peasant children, Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia whom, Witnessed the Blessed Virgin Mary… (Picture by Sue Karpie in Lewiston, NY)
Basilica of The National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima (Lewiston, New York)
Fátima Miracle: What happened at the Miracle of Fátima?
Why does Fátima, a city in Santarém get over 8 million religious visitors every year? Home to the Sanctuary of Fátima…
The story of the Our Lady of Fátima miracle begins on May 13, 1917. Three peasant children, Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia were tending to their family’s sheep. The children under 10 years old were blessed with the presence of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus. In Portugal, she is also known as Fátima. The children saw this beautiful woman, dressed in white and standing above a bush. The Virgin Mary told the children that world peace would occur if they spread the godly message of prayer.
She visited the young children on the 13th for the next six months. She revealed to the children three secrets. We will go through them and their Catholic interpretations in the next section.
The children were told to make sacrifices to save sinners. They were tight cords around their wrists and did not drink water on hot days. Lucia told the villagers that Mary asked them to say the Rosary every day in order to keep world peace.
News of the apparitions spread throughout the village, some believing the children and some not so much. The Blessed Virgin Mary promised the children that one day a prophecy would occur that would show the village people that they were being truthful. These events culminated in the sixth final apparition “Miracle of the Sun”.
The True Story of Fatima
Author: Fr. John de Marchi, I.M.C.
THE TRUE STORY OF FATIMA
Father John de Marchi, I.M.C,
Through no gift of the author’s, but by the divine power, this is one of the very great stories of modern times. The remarkable events occurring near Fatima, Portugal, in the months from May to October, 1917, gain significance and new meaning with every passing day; the friends and followers of Our Lady of Fatima, for whom this volume speaks, increase each year by numberless legion in prayerful certitude that what we are revealing here is true.
The author is a witness to this truth, having lived at Fatima for many years, and this plain book’s pretension to importance is that it is able to present for the first time to Americans the full and documented background against which God has written His own prescription for peace.
Much of this account is lovely and can be counted on to fulfil almost anyone’s story-book expectations, as it tells of the shepherd children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco. But it is also a divinely serious narrative recalling, to the likely discomfort of many, the reality of heaven and hell, and bringing to necessary attention other primary matters too often and too long placed out of mind. It is hoped that this book, in its completeness, will provide a kind of text on Fatima, and the author feels obliged, in the face of such ambition, to list the documents on which it has been based.
“The Miracle of the Sun”
A Critical Note by Pio Scatizzi, S.J.
In world history, outside ordinary eclipses, nothing prodigious has been recorded or the sun, with the single exception of the biblical miracle of Joshua — the day’s standstill of sun and moon. This fact and no other marks Fatima with a stupendous singularity quite apart from the rest of the story.
The thousands of pilgrims, as we know, were caught in pouring rain, while gusts of wind swept the rocky hillsides. Suddenly, at midday, the heavens opened and the clouds drew back to the horizon, leaving the air pure and clear as a mirror. Such would be the case after prolonged and copious rain, when the air becomes more transparent than usual and appears to have been washed. At this moment the sun begins to pale, and it may be argued that the diminution of light could have been caused by mist or flakes of mist suspended in the air. After all those hours of rain and all that humidity, it would be logical to suspect that at least some fragments of mist would remain in the atmosphere. At first sight such doubts might be justified, since many witnesses describe the sun’s disc as being opaque, silvered, or like mother-of-pearl.
Yet we can admit without hesitation that the sun looked opaque, with a well-defined rim, and at the same time prove that there was no intervening mist. In fact, we can postulate this alternative: either the mist was light or it was dense. I define a “light” mist that which exists between zero and the extreme point at which the eye cannot, with impunity, be fixed on the sun. I call a “dense” mist that which exists from this point until there is complete occultation. Now it is certain that the first alternative must be excluded, for the sun appeared like mother-of-pearl on which the vision could easily be fixed. There remains, therefore, the second alternative. But if the mist were dense, the sun’s disc would not have been clearly defined. For, in fact, when a dense, damp fog veils it, there is formed in the surrounding atmosphere a kind of aureole or crown (not in the technical and astronomical sense of the word) which, so to speak, confirms the presence of mist. Yet all affirm that the sky behind the sun was perfectly clear. Now between this and a mist capable of dominating solar light, there would seem to be an excessive difference, one may say a contradiction: the sky a clean background and at the same time a mist obscuring the sun…
This opaqueness of the sun in a clear sky was but the beginning of events, for immediately there began to radiate from its center, thousands upon thousands of colored monchromatic lights in sectors, which, in the form of spirals, began to whirl around the center of the solar disc in such a manner that the sun itself seemed to turn on itself rather like a catherine wheel, while the colored rays spread out in a centrifugal movement covering the sky as far as the curtain of clouds, and turning everything various colors as if by magic. Such a spectacle of red, yellow, green and violet rays from the sun, spreading and sweeping over the sky, cannot be explained by any know laws, nor has such a thing been seen before.
Could it have been a rainbow? Obviously not, for the simple reason that a rainbow is usually stationary. Further, the rainbow is drawn on a vertical plane opposite the sun and does not originate in the solar disc itself, but in the opposite line of vision. The eye rests on the summit of a cone on whose base rests the plane of the arch. The solar rays, which are parallel and horizontal, radiate form behind the observer, not from the front, and with a penetrating action reflect themselves once or twice in the falling drops of water, returning to the eye with the dispersion of the iris. In the case under review, on the contrary, the phenomenon is one of radiation over the whole circle of the horizon with uniform and continuous movement. Certainly there can occur other prismatic effects in the atmosphere, but they are seen, as is well known, at dawn or sunset. The air then operates as a prism, dispersing the light in various colored beams — those of the spectrum.
In the case of Fatima, it is extremely difficult to place such a phenomenon within a framework when outside the solar disc there was only limpid air without any reflecting agent, as with a rainbow, when along each monochromatic ray numberless drops of water renew the prismatic effect. In Fatima, as seen by motionless observers, the monochromatic sectors appeared to revolve and to subsist without any support. We must conclude that each colored ray was maintained autonomously, with its origin in the solar body, the air providing no means to transmission. At an altitude of 42 degrees 44' — that of the sun at midday in October — clear air, in some measure disturbed by wind, could not of itself cause a phenomenon of spectral dispersion of autonomous rotating rays.
The only comparable phenomenon is, perhaps, the aurora borealis. Professor Vercelli, in his book, quotes a description by Mr. Herdel of an exceptional aurora which was seen in the state of Iowa on the night of May 14, 1921. Taking this account as a base for comparison, I note a great divergence between the two events. In Fatima, stable, compact, above all homogeneous. The aurora was variable, disordered, unstable. Further, it is proved that the zone of maximum occurrence of the aurora borealis is limited by a quasi-parallel running through North Cape-Northern Siberia-coast of Alaska-Hudson Bay-Labrador-Iceland and back to North Cape in Norway. We can then be nearly certain that on the 50th parallel the aurora cannot be seen — at least according to current theory.
The aurora borealis is caused by trajectories of electrons, or better, according to Vegard, by particles thrown off by the sun and diverted to the magnetic field of the earth. Then, coming in contact with the air, they give origin to the variegated lights which can be observed. The quasi-parallel trajectories which pass through the magnetic north are seen by us converging and diverging only by an effect of perspective. In substance, the aurora borealis are inherent in the terrestrial magnetic poles and thence to the regions — hence their name.
In spite of all this, one cannot absolutely excluded the possibility of the aurora borealis being seen in low latitudes. In fact one was observed in Rome in 1938. but one fact alone distinguishes the Fatima phenomenon from this and other appearances of the aurora. The origin of the lights in Fatima was in the sun, from whence the sprang, whereas during the true aurora the sun is always invisible. Apart from this, the latitude of Fatima (39 degrees 36') is even lower than that of Rome. Also the synchronizing, revolving movement of the sectors and their three stops at regular intervals (according to witnesses) is far from the irregular, disordered movements, the disappearance and reappearance of light as described in Mr. Herdel’s account. Lastly, if there had been a true aurora borealis it would have been observed in some European observatory.
It now remains to examine the third phase of the phenomenon, that is to say the movement of the sun, which appeared to detach itself from the sky and to fall on the earth in a zigzag path. It can be affirmed that such a phenomenon is outside and against all natural and astronomical laws. It appears that with this final occurrence, all doubts as to the natural origin of the events, all skepticism on our part, must be laid aside.
At this point it would be well to refresh our motives for belief in such an unheard of incident. The number and nature of the witnesses exceed all requirements for verification. With twelve such, the law justifies the execution of a man. In this case, eyewitnesses numbered some 70,000.
To resume our study: first, we have the rotation of the sun and the various colors; secondly, a movement outside the normal daily path of the sun in the heavens. In the first case there would be a normal admiration such as would be excited by a first view of an aurora borealis. There would be no cause for terror. Yet, suddenly, without the intervention of any new factor, the multitude is seized with terror as if menaced by a cataclysm. Everyone feels threatened by imminent catastrophe. There is a sensation that the sun is about to fall on the earth; that it is being torn from the cosmic laws of its eternal path. Hence the invocations, the prayers, the cries of affliction, as in a universal cataclysm.
Observe well the second phase. It is not religious hysteria, nor a species of pentecostal fervor. It is sheer panic in the presence of Him who alone can dominate the forces of the universe. Contemporary accounts will show that it was not a case of suggestion, but that an objective vision was the cause of the panic which, when it had passed, left everyone perfectly calm, contented even, at having witnessed a prodigy which had been exactly foretold and anxiously awaited. How also could everyone have seen the danger pass at one and the same moment?
Of the historical reality of this event there can be no doubt whatever. That it was outside and against known laws can be proved by certain simple scientific considerations.
The “movement” of the sun is relative to the earth’s own. The orbit of the latter is nearly an ellipse of extremely small ex-centricity. The daily transitional movement of the earth — even with its velocity of 18 miles a second — is projectively imperceptible. Much less would it be so during the ten minutes’ duration of the phenomenae ten minutes are sufficient, as was the case in Fatima, for a generic qualitative observation, they would not suffice for the observation with the naked eye of a solar dislocation which can be known only in relation to the distances of the zodiac constellations.
Conclusion: The above-mentioned solar phenomena were not noted in any observatory. Impossible that they should escape the notice of so many astronomers and indeed the other inhabitants of the hemisphere. It must then be admitted that there is no question of an astronomical or meteorological phenomenon as we have already said. We are thus confronted with an inescapable dilemma. Either all the observers in Fatima were collectively deceived and erred in their testimony, or we must suppose an extra-natural intervention. Given the indubitable reference to God, and the general context of the story, it seems that we must attribute to Him alone the most obvious and colossal miracle of history.....
Copyright 1952 by John de Marchi, published 1956 for the ‘Catechetical Guild Educational Society’ St. Paul 2, Minnesota.CONTACT
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