Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1917
Last month we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Fatima with special solemnity, as we marked the 100th anniversary of her first apparition to three shepherd children in a small town in Portugal.
Over the course of Mary’s six monthly apparitions in 1917, she instructed Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco to pray the Rosary daily for peace, and to make sacrifices for sinners, saying that “many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them." They took her advice seriously, finding many ways to offer sacrifices out of love for Our Lord and for all of His people. Today, during his visit to Fatima, Pope Francis will recognize their heroic virtue by canonizing Jacinta and Francisco. (Their cousin Lucia’s cause for beatification was recently opened.)
We ourselves may not be able to travel to Fatima during this momentous year, but we can listen to Our Lady’s requests. Saint John Paul II tells us that “the message of Fatima is, in its basic nucleus, a call to conversion and repentance as in the Gospel.” This call is an expression of Mary’s deep love for all of us, her children. As our mother, she desires that all of us should draw close to her Son, and she asks us to pray her own prayer, the Rosary, to obtain this grace. Only in this way will we be able to obtain the peace so needed by our world.
Let us imitate Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia, the three shepherd children of Fatima, and accept all of our own sufferings out of love. We pray for all sinners, including ourselves, as we say the prayer Our Lady of Fatima asked to be added after each mystery of the Rosary: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy mercy." -Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist