At Fatima in the spring of 1915, in other words exactly 100 years ago, the Angel of Portugal appeared for the first time to Lucia dos Santos, who was with three friends of her own age : Maria Justina, and Teresa and Maria-Rosa Matias. That year, the Angel appeared three times, without speaking. The following year, he appeared three times again, to Lucia and her two cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. Finally, in 1917, from May to October, the Holy Virgin appeared to them six times. For the following two years, we will therefore commemorate the centenary of these twelve apparitions.
This centenary is a unique occasion to make the secret of Fatima and the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary better known, as there is still a very great ignorance about this subject even today - an ignorance which surely wounds the heart of Our Lady.
This devotion consists essentially in atoning for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in praying for the conversion of sinners by offering all the sacrifices of our daily lives, and in making a communion of reparation with these two intentions every first Saturday of the month. To these two practices should be added the daily recitation of the Rosary to bring peace to the world. A document containing the principle points of this devotion can be found in the tab ‘The Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary’ in the Visitors’ Menu.
It is important to thoroughly understand that this devotion is God’s own will, revealed by Our Lady to the Fatima Seers on the 13th of July 1917 : « It is to save them [sinners] that God wants to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. »
This importance was underlined several times by Sister Lucia, and particularly in a letter of the 19th of March 1935 to Father Aparicio : « The practice of this devotion, combined with the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, determines whether there is war or peace in the world. »
On the 26th of December 1957 she also confided to Father Fuentès « She [Our Lady] said, to my cousins as well as to me, that God had given the last two remedies to the world : the Holy Rosary and the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and these being the last two remedies, this meant that there would be no others. »
This devotion, coming as it does from the demands of Our Lady, has such extraordinary fruits (the conversion of sinners and peace in the world), that we must take full advantage of this centenary to make it better known.