In 2017, we are celebrating the centennial of the Apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, in Portugal, the most well-known and important Marian Apparition in the history of mankind. From May 13 to October 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared six times to three young shepherds: Jacinta Marto, aged 7, her brother Francisco, aged 9, and their 10-year-old cousin, Lucia Dos Santos. As predicted by Our Lady, the first two children passed away at a very young age: Jacinta in 1920 when she was 9, and Francisco in 1919 at the age of 11. As for Lucia, the Blessed Virgin told her that she would have to stay on earth a “little longer” to make Her Message known. She became a Carmelite and died at the age of 97 on January 13, 2005. Jacinta and Francisco were beatified on May 13, 2000. Lucia’s beatification process is underway.
In all of the recognized Marian Apparitions, whether at Lourdes, La Salette, or Kibeho in Rwanda, the Virgin Mary, to whom Jesus has entrusted mankind before dying on the cross, has only one desire: that we be saved eternally, that we be united to Her Divine Son. She warns us of the many dangers that can keep us away from God for eternity.
Amongst the demands made by Our Lady at Fatima, four are meant for everyone: To say the daily Rosary, to stop offending Our Lord, to make a Communion of reparation on first Saturdays, to make penance for the conversion of sinners. Mary told the three children:
“Pray much and do penance for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to do penance and to pray for them.” She added: “Do you want to offer yourself to God to withstand all of the sufferings that He may will to send upon you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and as an act of supplication for the conversion of sinners?”
Throughout the year, we will return to the topic of the Apparitions at Fatima. On top of the four requests Our Lady made, as mentioned above, a fifth must be added: the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. During the July 13th Apparition, the three young shepherds were given to see a vision of Hell, a sea of fire in which are found the demons and the damned. Following this, Our Lady told the three children:
“You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wants to establish in the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If you do as I say, many souls will be saved, and we will have peace. But if you do not stop offending God, under the reign of Pius XI, another war will begin, worse still. When you will see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign that God is giving you to show that He will punish the world for its crimes by means of the war, by famine, and by persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father.
“To prevent this war, I will come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays. If my demands are followed, Russia will be converted, and peace will come. If not, Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, bringing about wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred. The Holy Father will have much to suffer. Many nations will be destroyed.
“At the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and an era of peace will be given to the world.”
After the 1917 Apparitions, Lucia later became a Carmelite sister and continued to have celestial Apparitions. On December 10, 1925, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Lucia and told her:
“See, My child, My Heart crowned with thorns that ungrateful men drive in, day in and day out, by their blasphemies and their ingratitude. You, at least, see to it that I am consoled, and say that all those who, during five months on the first Saturday, will go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary, and will keep Me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary in a spirit of reparation, I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their soul.”
On June 13, 1929, Our Lady appeared again to Sister Lucia, at Tuy in Spain. She was accompanied by the Holy Trinity. (See picture on the right.) Here is how Sister Lucia relates this in her memoirs:
“I had sought and obtained permission from my superiors and confessor to make a Holy Hour from eleven o’clock until midnight, every Thursday to Friday. Being alone one night, I knelt near the altar rails in the middle of the chapel and, prostrate, I prayed the prayers of the Angel. Feeling tired, I then stood up and continued to say the prayers with my arms in the form of a cross. The only light was that of the sanctuary lamp. Suddenly the whole chapel was illuminated by a supernatural light, and above the altar appeared a cross of light, reaching to the ceiling.
“In a brighter light on the upper part of the cross, could be seen the face of a man and his body as far as the waist, upon his breast was a dove also of light and nailed to the cross was the body of another man. A little below the waist, I could see a chalice and a large host suspended in the air, onto which drops of blood were falling from the face of Jesus Crucified and from the wound in His side. These drops ran down onto the host and fell into the chalice.
“Beneath the right arm of the cross was Our Lady, and in Her hand was Her Immaculate Heart. (It was Our Lady of Fatima, with Her Immaculate Heart in Her left hand, without sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames).
“Under the left arm of the cross, large letters, as if of crystal clear water which ran down upon the altar, formed these words: ‘Grace and Mercy.’
“Then, Our Lady told me: ‘The time has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all of the world’s Bishops, the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart. He promises to save it through this means. They are so numerous, the sins which God condemns to be sins committed against Me, that I have come to ask reparation. Sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray!’
“Later on, by the means of an intimate communication, Our Lord told me, complaining: ‘They did not want to listen to My demand...! Like the King of France, they will repent of it but it will be too late. Russia will already have spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer!’”
A few years later, in a letter dated May 18, 1936, Lucia gave the reasons for this Consecration: “I asked Him why He did not force Russia to convert without the Pope having to make this Consecration. Jesus said to me: ‘Because I want My whole Church to recognize this Consecration as being the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I want the devotion to Her Immaculate Heart to be spread as one with the devotion to My Sacred Heart.’”
After seeing the sign in the sky, on the night of January 26 to 27, 1938, Sister Lucia understood that the war foretold by Our Lady in Her July 13, 1917 Message was near. On several occasions, she warned the bishop of the diocese of Leiria (where Fatima is located), Bishop da Silva. On one of these occasions, on February 6, 1939, seven months before the War was officially declared, Lucia wrote to him to warn him of the imminence of the War. And she added an important point: Portugal would be spared because its bishops had consecrated their nation to The Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In fact, on May 13, 1931, all of the Portuguese bishops had consecrated Portugal to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a consecration that they again renewed on May 13, 1938. Sister Lucia’s prophecy was fulfilled to the letter: No Portuguese soldier took part in the hostilities and no foreign army ever occupied Portugal. While the whole of Europe was subjected to a horrendous war that lasted five years, only Portugal remained at peace.
In 1950, in the Vatican gardens, Pope Pius XII witnessed the miracle of the sun, the same that had taken place in Fatima on October 13, 1917. He undertook to carry through a consecration of Russia. (Note that Pius XII was made bishop on May 13, 1917, the day on which the first Apparition took place in Fatima). He formulated the Consecration Act on July 7, 1952 in his Apostolic letter Sacro Vergente Anno, but he had not given the order that all Catholic bishops join him in a public action.
On March 24, 1984, after having asked, in a letter sent to the bishops of the whole world to join him, Pope St. John Paul II, standing in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome before the pilgrim statue brought from Fatima for the occasion (see picture on the right), consecrated the whole world to Mary:
“O Mother of individuals and peoples, you who know all their sufferings and their hopes, you who have a mother’s awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness which afflict the modern world, accept the cry which we, moved by the Holy Spirit, address directly to your Heart.
“Embrace, with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord, this human world of ours, which we entrust and consecrate to you, for we are full of concern for the earthly and eternal destiny of individuals and peoples.
“In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated.
“We fly to your patronage, O Holy Mother of God. Despise not our petitions while we are faced by adversity.”
Though he did not mention Russia specifically, St. John Paul II nevertheless added these words to the Consecration: “Enlighten especially the peoples whose consecration and entrustment by us you are awaiting.”
In a letter written in November 1989, Sister Lucia confirmed that the solemn and universal Act of Consecration did correspond to the request of Our Lady of Fatima: “Yes, it was done as Our Lady asked.” Yet, there are still people today who argue whether or not the consecration that was carried out in 1984 satisfies Mary’s request. But the facts that followed this consecration tend to prove it did. Here are some of these facts:
May 13, 1984: An explosion at the Soviets’ Severomorsk Naval Base, near Mourmansk on the Kola Peninsula in Russia, destroys two-thirds of all the missiles stockpiled for the Soviets’ Northern Fleet, the largest of four fleets. The blast also destroys workshops needed to maintain the missiles as well as hundreds of scientists and technicians.
December 19, 1984: Soviet Defense Minister, field marshal Oustinov, mastermind of the invasion plans for Western Europe, suddenly and mysteriously dies. Three days later, his successor, field marshal Sodolov, also dies.
March 10, 1985: Soviet Chairman Konstantin Chernenko dies.
March 11, 1985: Soviet Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev is elected.
April 26, 1986: A nuclear reactor accident took place in Chernobyl, in Ukraine. The word chernobyl, in Ukrainian, means wormwood, and one can read in Saint John’s Apocalypse (8:10-11): “And the third angel sounded the trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, burning as it were a torch, and it fell on the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters: And the name of the star is called Wormwood. And the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”
May 12, 1988: An explosion wrecked the only factory that made the rocket motors for the Soviets’ deadly SS 24 long-range missiles, which carry ten nuclear bombs each.
November 9, 1989: Fall of the Berlin Wall.
Nov.-Dec. 1989: Peaceful revolutions took place in Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania.
1990: East and West Germany are unified.
August 19, 1991: (74th anniversary of the 4th Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima): A putsch is attempted to overthrow Gorbatchev.
August 22, 1991: Feast of Our Lady, Queen of the World: The coup d’etat to return Communism to power is defeated.
December, 1991: Gorbatchev pays a visit to the Vatican. Diplomatic ties are created between Russia and the Holy See.
December 25, 1991: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is dissolved. The Communist flag is lowered for the last time at the Kremlin, in Moscow.
It could be said, that in 2017, it is Russia that seems to be upholding Christian values, natural law, marriage, etc., rather than the Western countries.