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N° 52 : The consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Newsletter n°52 (31 May 2017)


Dear friends,

During this month of May when we have had the joy of celebrating the centenary of the first apparition Our Lady at Fatima, the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has been brought to the fore several times.  Such as on the 13th of May, when Cardinal Paul Cordes, former president of the pontifical council Cor unum, during the course of his sermon for the Mass which closed the Marian Congress of Kazakhstan, made the following declaration:

He [Pope Jean-Paul II] had been interested for a long time by that significant mission which the Holy Mother of God gave to the little seers:  to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  He himself made this consecration on the 25th of March 1984, when the statue of Our Lady of Fatima came to Rome.  However, he refrained from explicitly mentioning Russia, because the Vatican diplomats had asked him, with insistence, not to mention this country, as it would risk provoking diplomatic conflicts.  Shortly afterwards, he invited me to lunch.  In our little circle, he talked of the urge he felt to also mention Russia during this consecration, before finally giving in to his advisers.

These comments by Cardinal Cordes confirm what had been said some time before by Father Gabriel Amorth, the exorcist for the diocese of Rome.  In December 2015 he had confided to Life Site (lifesitenews.com):

The consecration has not yet been made.  I was there on the 25th of March 1984 in Saint Peter’s Square, in the front row;  I could practically touch the Holy Father.  Jean-Paul II wanted to consecrate Russia, but his entourage did not, afraid of upsetting the Orthodox Church.  ( … )  When His Holiness, kneeling, consecrated the world, he added a phrase which was not in the version which had been handed out, saying consecrate “especially the nations for whom you yourself have asked the consecration”.

Read more: N° 52 : The consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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N° 50 : Approaching the 13th of May

Newsletter n°50 (29 April 2017)

Dear friends,

In two weeks we will celebrate the centenary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima.  So, there is not much time left to prepare for this great day.  We should make the most of the remaining time to review the situation and put into place anything still to be done.  But first of all, why should we want to celebrate the centenary of this apparition?

Why celebrate the anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima?

The main reason is to thank Our Lady for coming to this earth to give us such an extraordinarily rich message.  We all of us like to celebrate great occasions in our lives: our birthday, baptism, marriage, ordination, religious vows, etc.  Likewise, we celebrate the entering into Heaven of all those who have marked their passage on this earth with the seal of saintliness.  In the same way the Church has us celebrate, every year, the great moments in the life of Our Lord, to whom we owe our salvation, in particular His Incarnation, His Passion and His Ressurection.  Finally, the Church has instituted a feast of the apparitions at Lourdes, and since March 2002, a feast for the apparitions at Fatima.

The second reason is to thank Our Lady for the gift which she gave us.  The few words pronounced during the first apparition show the richness of the message of Fatima.  During this single apparition on the 13th of May 1917, Our Lady confirmed the existence of Heaven and of Purgatory, gave us a sure way to go to Heaven (say lots of Rosaries), a way to save sinners and to atone for offences against God (offer all our daily sufferings to this end) and a way to restore peace and put an end to wars (the daily recitation of the Rosary).

Read more: N° 50 : Approaching the 13th of May

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N° 49 : The exceptional nature of the apparitions at Fatima

Newsletter n° 49 (7 April 2017)

Dear friends,

Unfortunately, we often hear:  “Why celebrate Fatima?  Hasn’t the Vatican said that Fatima is already history?”.

The first response to this objection is that the 150th anniversary of the apparitions at Lourdes has been celebrated.  So why should it not be done for the 100th anniversary of those at Fatima?  Moreover, the anniversary of the apparitions at Lourdes was celebrated in a very solemn way.  Therefore, an equivalent Solemnity would also be just as legitimate for Fatima.

However, this is not the main reason.  What justifies celebrating the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima, above all, is that they have an exceptional nature which is unlike any other Marian apparition.  It’s not a question of establishing a hierarchy of apparitions.  From the moment Our Lady appears on this earth, it is an exceptional event in itself.  Nevertheless, concerning Fatima, God marked these apparitions with signs which are absolutely unique in the history of apparitions.

Read more: N° 49 : The exceptional nature of the apparitions at Fatima

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N° 51 : Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces

Newsletter n°51 (12 May 2017)

Dear friends,

We have now arrived at the centenary of the first apparition at Fatima.  During the following five months we should make a point of offering the day to Our Lady.  A small hint from Our Lady of the Rosary that She wished to mark her apparitions at Fatima with the sign of the Rosary:  have you noticed that from the 13th of May to the 13th of October there are 153 days, the same as the number of Hail Marys in a Rosary?

The Rosary is not the only teaching of Our Lady of Fatima.  In fact, during the course of her six apparitions in 1917, she reminds us of the following five great teachings:

  • the necessity of praying and offering sacrifices for obtaining the conversion of sinners
  • the daily recitation of the Rosary for obtaining peace in the world
  • last ends:  Heaven, purgatory, hell
  • the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, devotion wished for by God and which will assure the salvation of those who embrace it
  • finally, her role as Mediatrix of All Graces.

This last theme of the universal mediation of the Holy Virgin is only expressed implicitly in the apparitions, but it is very present, particularly in the apparition of the 13th of July:

  • Say the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, to have peace in the world and an end to the war, because only She can obtain these”.
  • If you do as I ask, many souls will be saved and there will be peace”.
  • If you listen to my demands, Russia will convert and there will be peace”.

These sentences clearly indicate the power which was given to the Holy Virgin:  that of obtaining the conversion of sinners and peace in the world.  Our Lady therefore has a role in the spiritual domain, the conversion of sinners, but also in the temporal domain:  peace in the world.  Moreover, in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she is invoked under the names of “Refuge of sinners” and “Queen of peace”.

But it is not only in the apparition of the 13th of July that this role was announced.  Already, on the 13th of June, she had shown all the power which God had accorded her.

She said:  “I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon” showing in this way that she has power over life and death.  Then a little later, speaking about the devotion to her Immaculate Heart, she specifies:  “To whomever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation.”  She did not say:  “God promises salvation”, but “I promise salvation”!  And she confirms this just after by saying to Lucia that her heart is “the way which will lead you to God”.  She thereby shows that she has the power to enable us to enter Paradise.

Likewise, on the 13th of September, regarding the healings asked for by Lucia she says:  “Some I will heal” showing that she also has power over our health.

Our Lady’s mediation is also very clearly illustrated, in four apparitions, at the moment when she opens her hands.  With this gesture, she enlightens the little seers about God (first apparition), instructs them on their vocations (second apparition), teaches them about supernatural realities (hell in the third apparition) and the mysteries of the Rosary in the sixth).

Finally, the Dance of the Sun, also started by a gesture from her hands, indicates that she has power to act with the natural elements as well.  Moreover, she had clearly said so during the course of the three previous apparitions:  on the 13th of July she had said “I will come to perform a miracle”;  on the 19th of August, “I will perform the miracle so that everyone believes”;  and on the 13th of September, “I will perform the miracle so that all may believe”.  Also, this was an exceptional miracle, a cosmic miracle, the fourth of this type in the history of mankind (see newsletter n°12).  By this miracle, God wants to show us vividly that he has confided very widespread powers to his Mother.

Jacinta had a very profound perception of Our Lady’s power because, a few days before leaving for the hospital, she confided to her cousin her last thoughts, which throw a remarkable light on this point:

I don’t have much time before going to Heaven.  You, you’ll stay here to say that God wants to establish in the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  When the time comes to say so, don’t hide yourself.  Tell everybody that God gives us His graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that it is to her that we should ask for them, that the Heart of Jesus wants us to venerate the Immaculate Heart of Mary with Him, that if we ask the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace it is because God has confided it to her.

The mediation of the Holy Virgin is not a new teaching in the Church.  Saint Bernard had already said:  “God’s will is that we have everything through Mary”.  Nearer our time, Saint Bernardino of Sienna didn’t hesitate to say:  “All the gifts from the Holy Spirit are distributed by Mary to those she wants, when she wants, how she wants and as much as she wants”.

In his Treatise on the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort goes as far as to say in n°25:

God the Holy Spirit entrusted his wondrous gifts to Mary, his faithful Spouse, and chose her as the dispenser of all he possesses, so that she distributes all His gifts and graces to whom she wills, as much as she wills, how she wills and when she wills.  No heavenly gift is given to men which does not pass through her virginal hands.

And several popes have confirmed this teaching.  In particular, Leo XIII declared in his encyclical of the 22nd of September 1891, Octobri Mense:

May it also be affirmed that, by the will of God, Mary is the intermediary through whom is distributed unto us this immense treasure of mercies gathered by God, for mercy and truth were created by Jesus Christ.  Thus as no man goeth to the Father but by the Son, so no man goeth to Christ but by His Mother.

In his encyclical Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum of the 2nd of February 1904, Saint Pius X confirms the teaching of Leo XIII:

And from this community of will and suffering between Christ and Mary she merited to become most worthily the Reparatrix of the lost world and Dispensatrix of all the gifts that Our Saviour purchased for us by His Death and by His Blood.

The mediation of the Holy Virgin is therefore a particularly traditional notion.  And Our Lady came to Fatima to confirm what Tradition teaches;  however, so as not to anticipate the solemn declarations of the Magisterium,  the Virgin Mary did not present herself at Fatima as the “Mediatrix of All Graces”, but her whole message underlines that she really is the Mediatrix of All Graces, in particular graces of conversion for sinners and of peace for the world.

So on this centenary of her first apparition at Fatima, we should meditate on her power and ask of her who is “Mediatrix of All Graces” all the graces we need.

In union of prayer in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Yves de Lassus

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N° 47 : The fruits of the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Newsletter n° 47 (16 March 2017)

Dear friends,

Having read the last newsletter, one of our friends, who is a religious, pointed out to us:  « You’re right to emphasise that one can quite legitimately speak of “consecration to the Holy Virgin” and that many saints and popes have done this.  However, it seems to me that it could be said that the term “consecration” or “consecrate oneself” does not have the same sense for God as it does for a saint.  It is analogous.  Only God can totally possess our person.  We give ourselves to Mary so that She can give us to God. »  Our warm thanks to the honourable reader for making this clear and allowing us to rectify an omission due largely to the indispensable concision of these newsletters.

 The point was remarkably developed by Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort in his Treatise on the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.  For example, in n°115, he recommends « beginning, carrying out and completing our actions through her, in her, with her and for her in order to do them through Jesus, in Jesus, with Jesus, and for Jesus, our last end. »  And a little further on, in n°120, he specifies:

 Mary being the most conformed to Jesus, it therefore follows that, of all devotions, devotion to her makes for the most effective consecration and conformity to him.  The more one is consecrated to Mary, the more one is consecrated to Jesus.  This is why perfect consecration to Jesus is but a perfect and complete consecration of oneself to the Blessed Virgin, which is the devotion I teach.

 Thus, the ultimate goal of consecration to Our Lady is to move closer to Her Son.  Moreover, this is the teaching of Our Lady at Fatima.  On the 13th of June 1917, She said to little Lucia:  « My Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God. »

The fruits of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Even if the point of this consecration is to move more surely towards God, in order to encourage us to do this, it is, without doubt, useful to remind ourselves of the fruits of consecration.  The first fruit is a particularly precious help in attaining our salvation, as consecration is part of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Our Lady spoke of this when she said:  « To whomsoever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation. »  (see newsletter n°5)

Read more: N° 47 : The fruits of the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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Article by Canon Pierre Caillon

Article by Canon Pierre Caillon

from Our Lady’s Call n°127 (3rd quarter 1987)

 

Since the 25th of March 1984, I have never been able to know for sure what Sister Lucia thinks about the act of consecration made on that day by Jean-Paul II and bishops everywhere in the world.    Now, from the 14th to the 19th of September 1986, an important symposium, which claimed to be of the highest level, was held at Fatima.  I went to Portugal for the event and Divine Providence granted me two favours which I must relay to specialists interested by this. 

1 – I began my visit to Portugal with Porto, where I know a family which paid for Lucia’s school when she was 14, in 1921.  This family was for Lucia what one would call ‘old friends’ and who had the right to visit her, very often and on a regular basis, in the Carmel at Coïmbra.

This family was essentially a lady who is four years younger than Lucia, in other words, 76 years old, and a grandmother considered to be the patriarch of her family.  Whenever this lady goes to see Lucia, she carefully notes upon returning home the most important things Lucia said.  This will be useful for history.  This will be in the service of history, but it will only be published after Lucia’s death.

I’ve seen the lady regularly, around twice a year, for a long time but I avoid asking questions because this lady often mutters:  “I can’t say”.  However, when I arrived in Portugal on Friday the 12th of September 1986, I dared to say:  “And the consecration of Russia … ?”

Then, the lady, who has a lot of presence, sat up very straight.  Even though she was seated with me at a large table, she drew herself up to her full height while remaining seated, and with all her majesty she stretched her arm out on the table and hammering her words solemnly pronounced:  “If you like, I can swear to it with my hand on the bible:  the consecration of Russia has not been made”.   And as I asked her why, she showed me a small brochure which I’ve had for a long time, and in many examples, because they are not expensive:  “A Messageira de Jésus …” by Father Humberto Maria Pasquale.  Edicao do Cavaleiro do Immaculada.  Av. Camilo 240, Porto.  Portugal.

This brochure, whose author I knew well and who I went to see from time to time in a suburb of Turin and who died recently, aims to show that at Fatima, to the children of Fatima, Our Lady never said “Consecration of the world”, but always and uniquely, “Consecration of Russia”, because it should be seen as the unique object of the consecration. 

There should be no talk of the world, nor of all the peoples, nor of mankind, nor all the nations …  The man in the street should be able to immediately understand that it is a question exclusively of Russia alone.

2 – After I passed through Porto I went to Fatima where I stayed from Saturday the 13th of September to Friday the 19th of September with another person who is from Lucia’s family and who is close to Lucia and goes to see her regularly in the Carmel at Coïmbra.

I’ve been going to this person’s home for years.  This time, for seven days, at every meal, morning, noon and night, we only talked about one question:  the consecration of Russia.  And this person repeated to me a hundred times in every possible way:  “The consecration of Russia has not been made.  I can say that, because Lucia repeats it to everyone.”  Because “it is the consecration of Russia that Our Lady asked for”.

When a child is baptised, he is called by his name.  When Russia is consecrated, it should be named in such a way that the whole world understands completely that it concerns Russia alone and nothing else.

3 – Now, even if Lucia were to die suddenly – remember, she’s 80 years old – her friends, who know exactly what she thinks, will never allow anyone to pretend that the consecration has been made.

Sometimes the question is asked:  “Who is the judge, the Pope or Sister Lucia?”  To be sure, Sister Lucia has always been very respectful of all the authorities in the Church.  But Sister Lucia is obviously the only person who knows what Our Lady said to her, and the only person able to authentically transmit the message to whom it may concern.  All that seems to me to be perfectly clear.

After every grand attempt at a consecration, in 1942, in 1952, in 1964, in 1982, how many people, sometimes highly placed, have believed and said that the consecration has been made!

But the little voice coming from Portugal was saying no.  And it was the same after the great attempt of 1982, when people believed and proclaimed, that this time, it was well and truly done.  But the same little voice coming from the Carmel at Coïmbra still says no.

When talking about “the consecration”, it should be clear that we are talking about the consecration of Russia.  Otherwise, we should keep quiet.  Lucia does not pretend to be highly placed, but she knows what Our Lady told her.

What should we do now?  We should try to obtain the heartfelt adhesion of all the bishops to this consecration of Russia.  After all of this, the bishops should eventually be able to understand.

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N° 46 : The consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

This Saturday, the 4th of March 2017:  1st Saturday of the month

Newsletter n° 46 (28 February 2017)

Dear friends,

Several people have asked us what it means to consecrate oneself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  This is, indeed, an important question and without doubt it would be useful to clarify this point.

What is a consecration?

 First of all, what does it mean to consecrate oneself?  The term “consecrate” has several meanings.  The one which interests us here is that which means “reserved for God”.  Consecrate an object, an edifice or a place means that this object (a chalice, for example) or that edifice (a church, for example) is reserved for God and His worship and that it cannot serve for any other purpose.

A person, or a group of people can also be consecrated.  In this case, the person keeps his freedom but promises to follow Jesus and to live according to His law.  For example, when a person consecrates himself to the Sacred Heart, he gives himself entirely to Jesus:  he gives Him his body, his soul, his worldly goods, his interior assets (virtues and merits), all that he has in the order of nature and of grace.  By his act of consecration, he acknowledges that Our Lord has the full right to dispose of all his assets for the triumph of His Church.  To consecrate oneself is to commit to being a meek instrument in His hands.  It means promising an unwavering obedience in everything that He asks of us.

Read more: N° 46 : The consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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N°48 : Celebrating the centenary of the apparitions

Newsletter n°48 (29 March 2017)

Dear friends,

 In the previous newsletter, we saw all the graces granted by Our Lady to those who consecrate themselves to Her Immaculate Heart.  However, among the practices of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, consecration is not the only one to bear fruits:  the other practices have also precious fruits

  • The daily recital of the Rosary brings us peace and can solve all the problems of our spiritual lives, as well as of our temporal lives (see newsletters n°2 and n° 35).
  • Besides the fact that the scapular assures us of attaining Heaven if we are wearing it in a saintly way on the day of our death, it can protect us from many dangers (see newsletter n°21 and the pages on the scapular on this website).
  • The First Saturdays of the month can lead to the conversion of someone close to us (see newsletter n°17).
  • Finally, sacrifices for the conversion of sinners can assure them eternal salvation (see newsletters n°6 and n°7).

Read more: N°48 : Celebrating the centenary of the apparitions

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N° 45 : Pray for the Holy Father

Newsletter n° 45 (13 February 2017 – 12th anniversary of the death of Sister Lucia)

Dear friends,

Many of you have asked us about the events organised for the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima.  Alas,  apart from the Pope’s visit to Fatima for the 13th of May, and the different pilgrimages organised by parishes or religious communities, there isn’t much to report.  Consulting the official website for the centenary, http://www.fatima.pt/en  doesn’t tell us much more.

It is somewhat disconcerting to see that there is more publicity and more ceremonies planned for the fifth centenary of Luther’s Reformation than for the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima.  Why is there such an attitude on the part of our religious authorities?  Why is it that the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima has not been given the same importance as that of the Year of Mercy?  The answer can be found in the file attached to the text of the third secret released by the Vatican on the 26th of June 2000.  This is what appears in the Theological Commentary, the most important of the seven documents of this file:

Read more: N° 45 : Pray for the Holy Father

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Sister Lucia’s interview with Father Fuentès

Sister Lucia’s interview with Father Fuentès is probably the text which is closest in content to the third secret.  It received the imprimatur of Monseigneur Sanchez, Archbishop of Veracruz.  It was the object of several publications, notably in the review Fatima Findings published by Father Ryan in June 1959, and in the Italian magazine Messagero del Cuore di Maria, n° 8-9, August-September 1961.
It was the object of a retraction only on the 2nd of July 1959, in other words eighteenth months later.
Father Alonso, the best specialist on the subject, after being highly critical of it, did justice to Father Fuentès and affirmed that it was perfectly reliable.

What Father Fuentès said in the actual text of his conference to the Mexican religious community certainly corresponds with the essence of what he heard from Lucia during his visit on the 26th of December 1957.  Because, even though they be mingled with oratorical considerations on the part of the preacher, even though they be arranged in a literary manner, these texts say nothing that Sister Lucia has not said in her numerous writings which have been made public.  Perhaps the principal error consists in having presented these texts as coming literally from Sister Lucia herself, expressly and formally as a message addressed by her to the world.  This was certainly never the intention of Sister Lucia.

Here are some broad extracts of this interview such as it was published in the above-mentioned journals:

I wish only to tell you of the last conversation I had with her, on the 26th of December of last year.  I met her in her convent.  She was very sad, pale, emaciated.  She said to me: 

Father, the Most Holy Virgin is very sad because no-one has paid any attention to Her message, neither the good nor the bad.  The good continue on their way, but without giving any importance to Her message.  The bad, not seeing the punishment of God actually falling upon them, continue their life of sin without even caring about the message.  But believe me, Father, God will chastise the world and this will be in a terrible manner.  The punishment from Heaven is imminent.

Father, how much time is there before 1960 arrives, and what will happen then?  It will be very sad for everyone, not one person will rejoice at all if beforehand the world does not pray and do penance.  I am not able to give any other details because it is still a secret.  According to the will of the most Holy Virgin, only the Holy Father and the Bishop of Fatima are permitted to know the secret, but they have chosen to not know it so that they would not be influenced.

This is the third part of the message of Our Lady which will remain secret until 1960.

Tell them, Father, that the Most Holy Virgin told my cousins Francisco and Jacinta, as well as myself, many times, that many nations will disappear from the face of the earth and that Russia will be the instrument of chastisement chosen by Heaven to punish the whole world if we do not beforehand obtain the conversion of that poor nation.  ( … )

Sister Lucy also told me:  Father, the devil is engaged in a decisive battle with the Holy Virgin, and as he knows what it is that most offends God, and which in a short space of time will gain for him the greatest number of souls,  he does everything he can to capture souls consecrated to God, because in this way the devil separates souls from their leaders, and thereby he can seize them more easily.

Here, the English version in the American review published by Father Ryan, Fatima Findings, in June 1959, is more precise:

That which afflicts the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Heart of Jesus is the fall of religious and priestly souls.  The devil knows that religious and priests who fail in their beautiful vocation drag numerous souls to hell (…).  The devil wishes to take possession of consecrated souls;  he tries to corrupt them in order to deaden the souls of lay people in a final impenitence.  He employs all the tricks, even going so far as to suggest delaying entrance into religious life.  The result of this is the sterility of interior life, and among lay people, coldness regarding the subject of renouncing pleasure and total dedication to God.

This version was taken up by the magazine Messagero del Cuore di Maria, n°8-9, August-September 1961:

Tell them also, Father, that my cousins Francisco and Jacinta sacrificed themselves because in all the apparitions of the Most Holy Virgin, they always saw Her very sad.  She never smiled at us and this sadness, this anguish caused by offences against God and the punishments which menace sinners, penetrated our souls, and we thought only, with our childish little imaginations, of inventing different means of praying and making sacrifices.  ( … )  The other thing which sanctified the children was seeing the vision of hell.  ( … )  This is why, Father, my mission is not to tell the world about the material punishments which are certain to come if the world does not pray and do penance beforehand.  No.  My mission is to tell everyone about the imminent danger we are in of losing our souls for all eternity if we remain obstinate in sin.

Father, Sister Lucia also said to me, we should not wait for the Holy Father’s call to penitence for the whole world to come from Rome;  neither should we wait for it to come from our bishops in their dioceses, nor from the religious congregations.  No.  Our Lord has already, very often, used these means and the world has not paid attention.  This is why it is now necessary for each one of us to begin  to reform himself spiritually.  Each person must not only save his soul but also all the souls that God has placed in our path. ( … )

Here, the English version adds:

The devil does all he can to distract us and to take away from us the love of prayer;  we shall be saved together or we shall be damned together.

The initial text continues:

Father, the Most Holy Virgin did not tell me that we are in the last times of the world, but She made me understand this for three reasons.

The first reason is because She told me that the devil is about to engage in a decisive battle with the Holy Virgin, and a decisive battle is a final battle where one side will be victorious and the other side will suffer defeat.  Hence from now on we are for God or we are for the devil.  There is no middle course.

The second reason is because She said to my cousins as well as to myself that God is giving two last remedies to the world:  the Holy Rosary and the Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, These being the last two remedies, this signifies that there will be no others.

The third reason is because, as always in the plans of Divine Providence, God, before He is about to chastise the world, exhausts all other remedies.  Now, when He sees that the world pays no attention whatsoever, then, as we say in our imperfect manner of speaking, He offers us with a certain trepidation the last means of salvation, His Most Holy Mother.  It is with a certain trepidation because if you despise and repulse this ultimate means we will not have any more forgiveness from Heaven because we will have committed a sin which the Gospel calls the sin against the Holy Spirit.  This sin consists of openly rejecting, with full knowledge and consent, the salvation which He offers.  Remember that Jesus Christ is a very good Son and that He does not permit that we offend and despise His Most Holy Mother.  We have as testimony many centuries of Church history which demonstrate, by the terrible chastisements which have befallen those who have attacked the honour of His Most Holy Mother, how Our Lord Jesus Christ has always defended the honour of His Mother.

Two ways of saving the world, Sister Lucia told me:  prayer and sacrifice ( … ).

Regarding the Holy Rosary, look, Father, the Most Holy Virgin, in these last times in which we live, has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary.  So much so, that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or, above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nation, that cannot be solved by the Rosary.  There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by praying the Holy Rosary.  With the Holy Rosary, we will save ourselves, we will sanctify ourselves, we will console Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls.

Finally, the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Most Holy Mother, consists in considering Her as the seat of mercy, of goodness and of pardon, and as the certain door by which we are to enter Heaven.

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N° 44 : The exceptional nature of the message of Fatima

Newsletter n° 44 (29 January 2016)

Dear friends,

« How unsearchable are His judgements, and His ways past finding out! » said Saint Paul in his Epistle to the Romans.  However, divine ways are not always unknowable.  Because God, from time to time, likes to make His will known to us.  The occasions are admittedly rare, but they do exist.  In the 14th century, for example, God spoke to Saint Catherine of Siena, who wrote down what she learned in her Dialogue.  In the 17th century, at Paray-le-Monial, Our Lord asked Saint Margaret-Mary to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Fatima is part of these rare occasions when God shares one of His wishes with us, only this time with a distinctive particularity:  there is an astonishing parallel between the apparations at Paray-le-Monial and those of Fatima.  In both cases, the establishment of the devotion to a Heart is asked for:  the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Each time, we are promised salvation if we embrace the proposed devotions (the practice of the nine first Fridays of the month and the five first Saturdays of the month).  And each time, the consecration to these Hearts was asked for (the consecration of France to the Sacred Heart and the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary).

Whenever God happens to manifest Himself, He generally does so discreetly, as with Saint Catherine of Siena or Saint Margaret-Mary.  This was not the case at Fatima:  the signs which accompanied the apparitions were extraordinary, be they natural phenomena (see newsletters n°8 and n°10), or the number of prophecies of which several came to pass (see newsletter n°23), or the Miracle of the Sun (see newsletter n°12).  No other apparition, even those of Lourdes or Guadalupe has been authenticated in such a spectacular manner, none has had the benefit of so many external witnesses.  This is a fact without precedent in the history of apparitions.

Read more: N° 44 : The exceptional nature of the message of Fatima

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The dossier published by the Vatican on the 26th of June 2000

On the 26th of June 2000, the Vatican released a dossier entitled The Message of Fatima containing seven documents:

  • An introduction to the dossier by Monseigneur Bertone,
  • The first and second parts of the secret (facsimile of the manuscript version followed by a translation),
  • The third part of the secret (facsimile of the manuscript version followed by a translation),
  • A letter dated the 17th of April 2000 from Jean-Paul II to Sister Lucia (facsimile of the original in Portugese followed by a translation),
  • An account of the meeting which took place on the 27th of April 2000 between Monseigneur Bertone and Sister Lucia,
  • The announcement made by Cardinal Sodano on the 13th of May 2000,
  • A theological commentary bearing the signature of Cardinal Ratzinger.

 The dossier can be consulted on the Vatican website at the following address:
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000626_message-fatima_en.html

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N° 42 : Programme for the centenary year

 This Saturday, 7 January 2017 : first Saturday of the month

Newsletter n° 42 (1 January 2017)

Dear friends,

We are now in the centenary year of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.  For the last twenty months or so, we have been getting ready to celebrate the centenary as fittingly and solemnly as possible. The forty-odd newsletters published since the project was launched have addressed the essentials of the message delivered by Our Lady.  Obviously, not everything has been covered because the message is so extensive.  However, the most important points have been explained.  Armed with this knowledge, we should henceforth enter into this centenary determined to declare an ever greater love for Our Lady, with the firm intention of responding to Her call by making the effort to better heed the requests she made at Fatima, particularly by the fervent practice of the devotion to Her Immaculate Heart, and by being ardent apostles of this devotion.

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the wearing of the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

To do this, we should consecrate ourselves to Her Immaculate Heart (if we have not already done so).  The next organised consecration is on the 11th of February.  The preparation begins on the 11th of January :  there is still time, therefore, to become acquainted with the preparation file which explains why we should consecrate ourselves and how to register.  We should wear the holy habit which the Holy Virgin entrusted to us :  the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (see the ritual of imposition).

 Both actions require little effort.  There is, of course, a committment, and as such, we are then obliged to do as we have promised.  But the act of committment itself, apart from the necessary preparation, is not complicated.  We should all take the resolution, for 2017, to consecrate ourselves (or to renew our consecration) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to wear the scapular, for the love of Our Lady.  In this way, we will show our Heavenly Mother our intention to put ourselves in Her service and, out of love for Her, to do everything She requests.

Read more: N° 42 : Programme for the centenary year

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N° 41 : The Popes’ Consecrations of Russia

Newsletter n°41 (14 December 2016)

Dear friends,

 Two distinct requests were made by Heaven regarding the consecration of Russia :  the first in 1929 and 1930 by Our Lady (see newsletter n°39) ; then, as the Pope had not reacted, a second by Our Lord, which was easier, but bearing different fruits (see newsletter n°40).

 The conditions associated with these two consecrations are also different.   Through Alexandrina da Costa, Our Lord asked only for a consecration by the Pope.  On the other hand, Our Lady added several conditions to her request which we know about through the letters of Sister Lucia to her confessor.  On the 29th of May 1930 she wrote to him :

 The good Lord promises to end the persecution in Russia if the Holy Father deigns, and orders all the bishops in the world to likewise undertake a solemn and public act of reparation and the consecration of Russia to the Most Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, His Holiness promising that in return for the end of the persecution, to approve and recommend the practice of the devotion of reparation.

 Two weeks later she again wrote to her confessor, repeating word for word the request expressed in her previous letter.  Father Gonçalvès himself informed Pope Pius XI of this.

Read more: N° 41 : The Popes’ Consecrations of Russia

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Interior or Exterior Visions ?

Interior or Exterior Visions ?

Extract from chapter 15 of Mysteres et vérités cachées du troisième secret de Fatima (The Mysteries and Hidden Truths of the Third Secret of Fatima) by Joseph de Belfont (Nouvelles Editions Latines).

The term « commentary » refers the document entitled Theological Commentary, to be found in the dossier joined to the third secret made public by the Vatican on the 26th of June 2000.

The three types of visions

The commentary recalls the perfectly traditional distinction between the three types of vision:

Theological anthropology distinguishes between three forms of perception or “vision”:  vision with the senses, and hence exterior, bodily perception;  interior perception;  and spiritual vision (visio sensibilis – imaginativa – intellectualis).

More specifically, Abbé Adolphe Tanquerey[i] in his Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology explains:

Visions are supernatural perceptions of an object which is naturally invisible to man.  They are only revelations when they reveal hidden truths.  There are three kinds:  perceptible, imaginary, or purely intellectual.

1)    Perceptible or corporeal visions, also called apparitions, are those whereby the senses perceive an objective reality which is naturally invisible to man.  It is not necessary for the perceived object to be a flesh and blood body, it just has to be a visible or luminous form.  Thus, with Saint Thomas, it is commonly thought that Our Lord, after his Ascension, only very rarely appeared in person;  He generally only appears in a perceptible form which is not His real body.  When He appears in the Eucharist this can be explained in two ways, says Saint Thomas:  either by a miraculous impression in the eyes of the beholder (which is the case when He makes Himself seen to only one person);  or by the formation in the surrounding air of a real and perceptible form, but which is distinct from Our Lord’s body Itself;  because, he adds, the body of Our Lord can only be seen in its own form in one place:  “Corpus Christi non potest in propria specie videri nisi in uno loco, in quo definitive continetur” (Sum. Theol., III, q.76, a.8).  What is said about Our Lord applies to the Holy Virgin;  thus, when She appeared at Lourdes, Her body remained in Heaven and, at the site of the apparition, there was only a perceptible form which represented Her.  This explains how she appeared sometimes in one form and sometimes in another.

2)    Imaginary or imaginative visions are those produced in our imaginations by God or His angels, either in a waking or a sleeping state.  It was in this way that an angel appeared several times to Saint Joseph whilst he slept, and Saint Teresa tells of several imaginary visions of the Humanity of Our Lord that she had in a waking state (The Life of Saint Teresa of Jesus, ch. 28);  these visions are often accompanied by an intellectual vision explaining their significance (Life of St. Teresa, ch. 29).  ( … )

3)    Intellectual visions are those whereby the mind perceives a spiritual truth, without perceptible forms:  such was the vision that Saint Teresa had of the Holy Trinity ( … ).  These visions occur either through ideas already received, but which God co-ordinates or modifies, or by innate kinds which better represent divine things than do received ideas.  Sometimes they are obscure and only show the presence of the object (Life of St. Teresa, ch.27, p.336);  at other times they are clear, but only last for a moment:  they are like intuitions which leave a profound impression (Château, 6e Dem., ch.X, p.262).

There are visions which combine two or three characteristics.  Thus, the vision of Saint Paul on the road to Damascus was perceptible, when he saw the tremendous light, imaginative when Ananias’ features were shown to his imagination, and intellectual when he understood what was God’s will for him.[ii]

However, after having recognised the existence of three types of vision, the commentary considerably limits their scope by asserting that whether the vision be internal or external, the seer necessarily deforms that which he has seen:

“Interior vision” … also has its limitations.  Even in exterior vision the subjective element is always present.  We do not see the pure object, but it comes to us through the filter of our senses, which carry out a process of translation. 

In the case of interior vision, the process of translation is even more extensive than in exterior vision, for the subject shares in an essential way in the formation of the image of what appears.  He can arrive at the image only within the bounds of his capacities and possibilities.  Such visions therefore are never simple “photographs” of the other world, but are influenced by the potentialities and limitations of the perceiving subject.

According to the commentary, because of our senses, visions, whether they be exterior or interior, can only be related in a deficient manner.  In other words, the account of the apparitions is only a more or less distorted translation of what the seer saw internally or externally;  it is not an exact description of the observed object.  Henceforth, it will be possible to limit the range of the vision to the limits of the seer and thereby exclude certain characteristics of the apparition which could be considered as inconvenient.

The type of visions at Fatima

The commentary then categorically excludes that the apparitions at Fatima could be exterior or perceptible visions and deliberately classes them as interior visions:

It is clear that in the visions of Lourdes, Fatima and other places it is not a question of normal exterior perception of the senses:  the images and forms which are seen are not located spatially, as in the case for example of a tree or a house.  ( … ) 

Therefore we are dealing with the middle category, interior perception.  For the visionary, this perception certainly has the force of a presence, equivalent for that person to an external manifestation to the senses.  ( … )

It means rather that the soul is touched by something real, even if beyond the senses.

( … )  The images described by them [the children of Fatima] … should not be thought of as if for a moment the veil of the other world were drawn back, with heaven appearing in its pure essence, as one day we hope to see it in our definitive union with God.

The commentary thereby denies the reality of exterior phenomena and only sees in the visions at Fatima an interior perception on the part of the seers and considers that at Fatima, as at Lourdes, the figures seen by the visionaries did not exist externally in space!  The description of the Holy Virgin by the children would thereby only be an image of what they had perceived internally!  In other words, Our Lady did not come to Fatima:  the seers only had an interior perception of Her presence.

It should be pointed out that this remark applies to the whole of the Holy Virgin’s apparitions, as it is clearly stated “In the visions at Lourdes, Fatima and other places…”  This text therefore has a general scope and is not limited to the apparitions at Fatima.

At the end of the document, the commentary goes even further:  it affirms that the vision of the official secret has been, purely and simply, added by Sister Lucia:

The concluding part of the “secret” uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith.

The conclusion of the secret, in other words, the two angels collecting the blood of martyrs in aspersoria, does not come from the Holy Virgin but from ancient intuitions of the faith!  It would be interesting to know in which devotional book Sister Lucia could have found such an image.

It is certain that Sister Lucia was of the completely opposite opinion:  she is sure that she really saw the Holy Virgin, just as she hopes to see Her one day in Heaven.  In 1924, before the Canonical Commission of Inquiry, Lucia affirmed:

I am certain that I saw Her and that I am not mistaken.  Even if I were to be killed, no-one would make me say the contrary![iii]

During the course of her life, Sister Lucia did not only have perceptible visions.  She was subject to three types of visions.  The inspirations which she received from Heaven in response to her questions will be, most often, interior perceptions.  However, the theophanic vision at Tuy belongs to the second type, as Sister Lucia said that she saw and there is no reason to doubt her testimony.  But the persons or objects of this image were not physically present, in particular God the Father:  thus, it is difficult to classify it as a perceptible vision.  The vision of Hell can also be ranked in this category because, as the commentary notes, the fire did no damage at Cova da Iria, which is exact.  Hell was not, therefore, physically in front of the little seers:  they saw it owing to the light coming from the Virgin’s hands.  But the fact that the vision of hell is in the category of imaginative visions does not mean that the same can be said for the rest of the vision because, as abbé Tanquerey says, there is nothing to prevent there being several different perceptions during the course of the same apparition.  Moreover, this double perception already occurred in the first apparition on the 13th of May 1917.  From the reflection coming from the hands of the Holy Virgin, the little shepherds saw themselves in God:  this vision is most probably an intellectual vision which came along with the perceptible vision of the Holy Virgin.  In the apparitions of 1917, it is easy to discern the imaginative and intellectual visions, as they are preceded by Holy Virgin’s gesture of opening Her hands and by a ray emanating from her hands as if to materialise the grace of the given image.

But the visions of Our Lady are, for sure, perceptible visions.  It is certain that the Holy Virgin appeared to the little shepherds in an exterior, perceptible form.  This is because the physical phenomena which accompanied Her coming and which were observed by a great number of witnesses cannot be the fruit of an imaginative vision.  Their number is impressive.  It is precisely this which is one of the extraordinary and marvellous characteristics of the apparitions at Fatima.  We will give some evidence to show the absolute certainty of exterior visions manifesting, without the slightest doubt, the actual presence of a person from Heaven.

The witnesses

Not only the seers, but also all those who received the grace to witness the apparitions observed these physical phenomena, and this for all the apparitions, not only during the Miracle of the Sun.  Nowhere other than at Fatima did the Holy Virgin surround Her coming and authenticate Her presence with such numerous and extraordinary signs.  And the witnesses to this were particularly numerous:  around fifty for the second apparition, between three and four thousand at the third apparition, 18 to 20,OOO at the fourth, 25 to 30,000 at the fifth and around 70,000 at the last apparition, some of them being sometimes several kilometres from the site of the apparitions!

Most surprising is the disparity of the witnesses who viewed these phenomena.  On the 13th of September, several witnesses reported having seen nothing, such as Monsieur Mendès, or Canon Formiâgo, while on the 13th of August, all the witnesses were able to see the different phenomena.  This disparity in seeing categorically excludes the hypothesis of a collective hallucination because amongst those who saw nothing, there were some who would have wanted to see with all their heart and soul.  Conversely, among the non-believers present who were firmly decided that they would see nothing, many saw.

Also very surprising is the fact that, on the 13th of August 1917, the 18,000 witnesses had observed something while the little seers were not there:  they were imprisoned at Vila Nova de Ourem.  In this situation there was no psychological stimulus to push the people to see something:  quite the contrary!  However, many saw, increasing even further their faith in the apparitions, as the parish priest of Fatima, abbé Ferreira, noticed, writing at the time:

According to the thousands of witnesses, the absence of the children did not prevent the Queen of Angels showing Her power.  Everyone testified to the extraordinary events and phenomena which confirmed and deepened their faith.

If the vision of the little seers was purely interior, how did thousands of people see the phenomena on the 13th of August?

The attitude of the seers

The three little shepherds saw exactly the same thing and in the same direction.  How could an interior vision of three people be identical to this extent?  The apparition’s blinding character also proves the real presence of the Holy Virgin’s Glorious Body, as Lucia often had to lower her eyes, such was the force of the light emanating from the Holy Virgin.  To Canon Formigâo, who asked her during the summer of 1917:  “Why do you often lower your eyes and stop looking at Our Lady?”, she replied:  “Because sometimes she dazzles me”.[iv]  In the account that she gave of the apparition of the 13th of October, she said:  “She came at the centre of a great light.  Once again, she was blinding.  From time to time I had to rub my eyes.”[v]  If the vision was strictly interior, how could this have been possible?  How could a little, uneducated, girl of ten years be able to invent such detail?

The murmurings of the apparition

The witnesses who were sufficiently close to the seers heard a slight murmur.  Here is the testimony of Maria Carreira as told by Father De Marchi:  “Then we began to hear something like the sound of a faint voice;  but without understanding what was being said;  it was like the humming of a bee.”[vi]  Canon Barthas also recorded that, during the second apparition, “Maria de la Capelinha [real name, Maria Carreira] and other witnesses, told that they heard, in between Lucia speaking, like the murmur of a light, but unintelligible, voice.”[vii]  Monsieur Marto, the father of Jacinta and Francisco, also admitted to hearing this slight noise during the apparition of the 13th of July:  “Then, he said, I began to hear a sound, a humming, something like the noise of a big fly in an empty jar.  But I didn’t hear any words…”[viii]

The holm oak

The closest witnesses also saw other phenomena which are difficult to attribute to interior visions.  One of them stated:  “During the vision, the branches of the bush curved down on all sides, as if they had really carried the weight of Our Lady.”  Another witness tells:  “It was the month of June and the tree had all its branches covered with long, young, shoots.  But at the end of the apparition, when Lucia announced that Our Lady was leaving towards the east, all the branches of the tree came together and bent over on the same side, as if Our Lady, in leaving, had trailed her dress over them.

The same account from Maria Carreira:  “Then turning towards the miraculous holm oak, we were very surprised to see that the little branches at the top, which before had been quite straight, were now a little inclined towards the east, as if they had really been trodden upon by someone.”[ix]

The flash of lightning and the luminosity of the day

If hearing the murmur and the vision of the holm-oak was reserved for the witnesses closest to the seers, other phenomena could be observed by a great number of witnesses:

  • There was a flash a lightning and a big clap of thunder at the beginning and end of each apparition;  the thunderclap at the beginning terrified some people, so much so that they cried out that they were going to die;
  • The luminosity of the day dimmed, as if during an eclipse;
  • It changed so much that the atmosphere turned a golden yellow;
  • The temperature, which had been very hot, lowered noticeably.

And these phenomena occurred at each of the six apparitions.

The flash of lightning and the thunder were seen and heard by the 18 to 20,000 people present at Cova da Iria on the 13th of August while the little seers were in prison at Vila Nova de Ourem.  How could all these people have had the same interior perception of this noise at the same time?  The fact that it includes an audible perception makes a collective hallucination totally impossible, especially as at least 13,000 of them came for the first time, there having been only 5,000 on the 13th of July.

Another phenomenon which was seen by most of the people:

Then looking around us, we saw a strange thing, which we had already seen the time before, and which we were to see again later on.  People’s faces were all the colours of the rainbow:  pink, red, blue …  The trees seemed not to have branches and leaves, but only flowers;  all of them seemed to be covered with flowers, and every leaf seemed like a flower.  The ground looked like it was covered in tiles of different colours.  Clothes, too, were all the colours of the rainbow.  The two lanterns attached to the arch seemed to be made of gold.[x]

Finally, people who were not at the site of the apparitions could observe similar phenomena.  Most surprising of all is, without doubt, that which happened on the 19th of August.  On that day, towards 4 o’clock in the afternoon, when the little seers were at Valinhos, Teresa, Lucia’s sister, came home with her husband.  She had no reason to think that there had been an apparition, as it was six days after the 13th of August, and in the middle of the afternoon.  But this is what she said:

We were just coming into Fatima when we began to notice that the air had cooled;  the sun took on a yellow colour, and gave out different colours all around, just as had happened on the 13th at Cova da Iria.  ‘Oh!  What’s this?’ I said to my husband…  ‘It’s a mystery!’  I even began to see the colours I spoke of on his white shirt.  ‘Are we all under an illusion?’ I said to him.  ‘What do you mean?’ he asked me.  ‘Well, don’t you see that everything’s like the 13th?’  When we arrived at the Church, it was all over.  Later, we learned that at the same hour, Our Lady had again appeared to the little ones at “Valinhos”.

The white cloud and the flakes

The thunderclap was not the only phenomenon perceived by far-off witnesses.  One of them tells:  “The thunderclap was followed by a flash of lightning, and immediately after we all began to notice a little cloud, which was very pretty, white in colour, very light and which floated for a few moments above the holm oak, then rose towards the sky and disappeared into thin air.”[xi]

For his part, Monsieur Marto summarises his own experience of the 13th of July as follows:

Personally, I looked all around, and I saw nothing.  However, on paying closer attention, I saw like a little ashen cloud floating over the holm oak.  The sun darkened and there was a cool, pleasant breeze.  It no longer felt as if we were at the height of summer.  The people were so impressed that they were speechless.[xii]

Excited by the phenomena of the 13th of August, there were even more witnesses on the following 13th of September:  between 25 and 30,000 people.  That day, the signs were even more extraordinary.  A shining globe moved majestically around in the sky, which was perfectly blue and cloudless.  A cloud similar to an incensement formed and disappeared three times in a row above the holm oak.  Here is how Canon Barthas described the phenomenon:

A cloud, pleasant to look at, formed around the rustic arch which overlooked the little, splintered tree trunk.  Rising up from the ground, the cloud grew and rose in the air until it reached a height of five or six metres, then it vanished like smoke dissipating in the wind.  A few moments later, similar curls of cloud formed and disappeared in the same way.  And then again a third time.  Everything happened as if there were invisible thurifers liturgically incensing the Vision.  Altogether, the three “incensations” lasted the whole time of the apparition, in other words, ten to fifteen minutes.[xiii]

Monseigneur Jean Quaresma, who would later be vicar general of the diocese of Leiria and member of the Canonical Commission investigating the apparitions, wrote to Monseigneur Manuel do Carmo Gois who was with him at the apparition:

After a few minutes, exactly the time that the apparitions normally lasted, the little girl started to cry out again, pointing to the sky:  “Now it’s going up again!”  And she continued to follow the shining globe with her eyes just until it disappeared in the direction of the sun.

What do think about this globe?” I then asked you.  You seemed excited by what we had seen.  You then replied, without hesitation:  “It was Our Lady who came !”  This was also my own conviction.  The little shepherds had seen the Mother of God herself.  It had been given to us to see what was in the way of the vehicle which transported Her from Heaven to the inhospitable moor of Serra de Aire.

We should say that most of the people who were there had observed the same thing that we had.  Cries of joy and praises to Our Lady could be heart on all sides.  However, certain people had seen nothing.  Near us, a pious and simple woman cried bitterly because she had not seen anything.

We felt really happy.  You were so excited, going from group to group, from Cova da Iria up to the road, finding out about what had been seen !  The people questioned belonged to all social classes.  All of them affirmed  the reality of the phenomenon that we ourselves had observed.[xiv]

That day, there had also been a mysterious shower of flakes which vanished as they reached the ground, a phenomenon which repeated itself on the 13th of May 1918 and the 13th of May 1924.  There are many testimonies on this extraordinary phenomenon, for example:

Very high up could be seen all sorts of little white forms, like snowflakes, moving through the air from the East to the West.  You would have thought they were doves, but it could clearly be seen that they were not birds.  On the hill, towards the West, was the Reverend Father Joaquim Ferreira Gonçalvès das Neyes, the parish priest of Santa Catarina da Serra…  I turned towards him and asked him if he saw anything.  He replied no.  I pointed out to him the direction, and he at once declared that he too could see.[xv]

The parish priest of Santa Catarina was a witness most unlikely to be suspected of complacency regarding the apparitions because he had warned his parishioners against them.  He even went as far as saying from the pulpit:  “The devil disguises himself as an angel of light.”[xvi]

Of the 25 to 30,000 witnesses about a third declared that they saw nothing.  In particular, many of those who wanted to see announced that they had seen nothing, while others, the simply curious or hardened non-believers, admitted having seen the phenomena.[xvii]  This disparity categorically eliminates any purely natural explanation, in the way that the number of witnesses having seen eliminates the hypothesis of a collective hallucination.  In his letter of approval of the cult of Fatima, Monseigneur the Bishop of Leiria declared the phenomenon as “humanly inexplicable”.

The Miracle of the Sun

The miracle of the sun is the most astonishing phenomenon of all the apparitions.  It is sufficiently well-known that it does not need to be described here.  It is also one of the most solidly established historical facts, much more than many other historical facts that no-one would ever dream of doubting.

First of all, the place, day and hour were precisely predicted.  How could young, uneducated children have been able to make such a prediction without it having been communicated to them by a celestial being?

Next, the sky was overcast all morning:  no-one could have thought that the phenomenon would come from the sun as it had not been seen all morning.  On the contrary, many people expected a completely different type of miracle and thought that the war would finish that day in some kind of extraordinary way.  It is therefore impossible that it could be a collective hallucination.

At the appointed hour, the sky suddenly cleared, and people’s clothes, which had been soaked by the rain falling from the beginning of the morning, dried out after the quarter of an hour that the Dance of the Sun lasted.  Here again, it is impossible to attribute this phenomenon to collective imagination.

The Dance of the Sun was seen not only by those who were at Cova da Iria, but also by people several kilometres around.  Thus, the poet Alfonso Lopes Vieira, who was in his country house at the edge of the sea at Sao Pedro, forty kilometres from Fatima, could observe the phenomenon, which greatly surprised him.  He recounted:  “On that day, the 13th of October, while I hadn’t remembered the little seers’ predictions, I was amazed by a dazzling sight in the sky, something entirely new for me, which I watched from this balcony.”[xviii]

The inhabitants of the little village of Albiturel, about ten kilometres from there, also saw it.

I was barely nine years old at the time, says abbé Inacio Lourenço Pereira.  I went to the primary school where I was born, a little village perched on a solitary hill, just opposite the mountain of Fatima, ten or eleven kilometres away.  It was around mid-day, when suddenly we were alarmed by the cries and shouts of men and women on the public path in front of the school.  ( … )  Outside, in the square, the assembled people were crying and screaming, pointing at the sun, without even hearing the questions our anxious teacher asked them…

( … )  I looked steadily at the sun:  it seemed to me to be pale and lacking its dazzling brightness;  it looked like a globe of snow turning around on itself.  Then, suddenly, it seemed to come down in a zig-zag , threatening to fall to earth.

Panicked, absolutely panicked, I ran into the middle of the people.  Everyone was crying, waiting, any moment now, for the end of the world.  ( … )

During the long minutes of the solar phenomenon, objects near us reflected all the colours of the rainbow …  Our faces were red, then blue, then yellow, etc.  These strange phenomena added to our terror.

At the end of ten minutes, the sun went back to its place in the same way it had come down, still pale and dull.[xix]

Most surprising of all is that the fiercest adversaries of the apparitions, at the time the most powerful people in Portugal, never produced a single witness from someone affirming that they saw nothing on that day !  They tried to prove that it was a natural phenomenon, but they never pretended that it was only an hallucination.  But even if the phenomenon was purely natural, how was it that the three little shepherds were able to predict it three months earlier?

A vision which is necessarily perceptible

How can we reasonably believe that all these phenomena, especially the great solar miracle, were imaginative visions, particularly when they were observed by several thousands of people, some of whom were not even at the site of the apparitions?  The commentary carefully avoids the subject.  Moreover, it is astonishing that Vatican dossier never makes the slightest allusion to the solar miracle, one of the most solidly established throughout the entire history of mankind.  And for several years now, the Vatican has not once broached the subject.  Why ?

Furthermore, such a phenomenon is not against the faith.  The Gospel itself predicts such phenomena.  “… and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven …  And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars …  for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”  (Luke 21: 11, 25-26)  There will be signs in the sun!  It can’t be any clearer !

Also, the presence of the Holy Virgin during the apparitions at Fatima is an absolute certainty.  The importance of the exterior phenomena, especially the three incensations of the 13th of September 1917, even seem to prove that She came with Her Glorious Body.  There would have to have been a fair amount of mischief on the part of Heaven if this was not the case.  Would the angels, who see constantly our Heavenly Mother, have incensed a simple, perceptible form?

The presence of Our Lady with her Glorious Body is not anything which goes against the faith.  The existence of the Glorious Body is part of our faith.  It is attested in the Gospel itself during the appearance of Christ to his apostles after His Resurrection.  This is how we know about certain of its characteristics:  weightless, passing through walls, but being able to eat like everyone else, etc.  The study of angels shows us other examples of the Glorious Body operating in the life of men.  And after their death, numerous saints or damned persons[xx] have appeared and left physical traces of their passage.

Despite this, the commentary affirms clearly that during the course of the apparitions at Fatima, there was neither exterior phenomena, nor any object belonging to our usual perceptible world:  the little seers only had an interior vision.  It is one or the other:  either the author of the commentary knows little about the apparitions at Fatima, which, in his situation, is wholly unlikely;  or, alas, that he agrees with the interpretation of Father Dhanis and considers these phenomena to have been invented by the seers and the witnesses.  If this is the case, the words reported by the little seers are also invented.  In fact, as there was only an interior vision, no words were actually pronounced by the Holy Virgin in person:  the little seers only translated their internal perceptions into images and words which were limited by their own possibilities:  therefore, they could only have been the projections of their interior world of children.

Without saying so explicitly, the answer given by the commentary to the question posed in the introduction is that there was not really any communication from the Holy Virgin, but only an imaginative vision that the little seers translated, saying the the Holy Virgin had spoken to them.

However, this position is not shared by everyone.  Eminent prelates have expressed the opposite point of view.  Thus, two months after the release of the dossier, Monseigneur Hnilica made it known to Cardinal Ratzinger that he did not share the opinion of the commentary:

It seems to me, after having thought it over all summer, that there is no proof that all these apparitions and visions of the Holy Virgin belong to what Your Eminence calls “the middle way” or “interior perception”.  And if there is no proof, it is evident that one cannot say “It is clear that”.  Your Eminence knows, better than I, how the dogma of the Assumption of Mary was never liked by certain liberal and rationalist theologians who still try to tone it down.  Also, I wonder if we should refuse, without proof and a priori, the possibility of the corporal presence of the Most Holy Virgin in these apparitions.  Why could the Virgin Mary, who rose to Heaven with her body, not appear with her body?[xxi]

For all those who refuse to doubt the reality of the exterior phenomena and the honesty of the little seers, the position taken by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is unacceptable.  It is not up to us to decide with certainty whether or not the Holy Virgin came with Her Glorious Body.  But the exterior manifestations at Cova da Iria were so numerous and varied that it is very probable, even if abbé Tanquerey teaches that at Lourdes the Holy Virgin did not appear with Her Glorious Body:  what could be true for Lourdes is not necessarily true for Fatima.  We will continue, therefore, to believe that the Holy Virgin really came six times to Cova da Iria with Her Glorious Body, showed Herself to the children, spoke to them, and manifested Her presence to all the people present by unmistakable physical signs. 



[i]     Adolphe Tanquerey (1854-1932) of the Society of the Priest of Saint Sulpice, Doctor of Theology.  His book, The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology, is a reference on the subject.  Jean-Paul II confided to André Frossard that as a young man, before entering the seminary, this book was his grounding and that he knew it by heart.  It can be consulted on the website Calaméo.com.
[ii]    Tanquerey, ibid., part 2, book 3, chapter 3, n°1491;  p.934 in the 1928 edition of Desclées et Cie.
[iii]   Castelbranco, p.75.
[iv]    Novos documentos, p.35.  De Marchi, p.174.  TVF1, p.198.  TVF5, p.57.
[v]     De Marchi, p.209.  TVF1, p.198
[vi]    De Marchi, p.101
[vii]   Barthas, pp.122 and 123
[viii]  De Marchi, p.113.  TVF1, p.225
[ix]    De Marchi, p.104.
[x]     Testimony of Maria Careira, De Marchi, p.136.  TVF1, p.251.
[xi]    Account given by Maria Careira, TVF3, p.537.
[xii]   Barthas, p.123.  De Marchi, p.113.  TVF1, p.225.
[xiii]  Barthas, pp.127 and 128. TVF5, p.96 quoting Barthas, Fatima, merveille inouïe, pp.203-204.
[xiv]   De Marchi, pp.165-166.  Barthas, pp.126-127. TVF1, p.275.
[xv]    TVF1, p.274, quoting Dom Jean-Nesmy, p.115.
[xvi]   TVF1, p.274, note 3, quoting Fatima, 1917-1968 from Canon Barthas, p.225.
[xvii]  TVF1, pp.284 and 285.
[xviii] De Marchi, p.204.
[xix]   Barthas, p.136.  TVF5 p.112.
[xx]    In the case of the damned, see in particular the little book L’Enfer de Monseigneur de Ségur.
[xxi]   TVF4, p.514, quoting la Revue de l’Institut du Christ-Roi Souverain Prêtre, n°23, May 2001.

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N° 40 : The two consecrations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary : Russia and the world

This Saturday, the 3rd of December : Ist Saturday of the month

Newsletter n°40 (27 November 2016)

Dear friends,

In the previous newsletter, we saw that Our Lady asked for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.  Why then, have our popes consecrated the world, and not Russia ?  A quick review of the history of the apparitions will enable us to grasp the reason for this.
On the 13th of July, after having announced that she would return to ask for the consecration of Russia, Our Lady made her request to Sister Lucia in 1929, then in 1930 at Tuy (see newsletter n°39).  Father Gonçalvès, then Monseigneur da Silva conveyed the request to Pope Pius XI, but the Pope did nothing.  Also, in August 1931, Heaven made known to Sister Lucia its displeasure that the consecration of Russia had still not taken place.

As I asked God for the conversion of Russia, Spain and Portugal, it seemed that His Divine Majesty said to me :  «  ( … ) Make it known to my ministers that as they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the implementation of my request, they will follow him also into adversity. »  (Letter to Monsiegneur da Silva, 29th of August 1931)

Read more: N° 40 : The two consecrations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary : Russia and the world

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N° 43 : Appeal to the Holy Father

Newsletter n° 43 (14 January 2017)

Dear friends,

The last newsletter proposed a programme so that the centenary year sees the development of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and at the same time, the recovery of the situation – more and more catastrophic, especially morally - in which we find ourselves (see the previous newsletter).  But how is it possible to believe that such simple actions could make for such a recovery ?

 The gospel this Sunday (extraordinary rite) gives us the answer.  It tells of Jesus’ first miracle, and shows that before the actual miracle itself we have to undertake different acts which, in this case, were carried out by Our Lady.  The first of these acts is a request.  « They have no wine. »  The second is an act of faith :  « Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. »  We have, there, a perfectly sublime act of faith as Jesus had just said to his mother :  « Woman, what have I to do with thee ? mine hour is not yet come. »  But Mary has Faith.  Moreover, she knows her Jesus better than anyone else.  So, she does not hesitate to say to the servants :  « Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. »  The third act is a concrete action which seems to have little to do with the ultimate objective.  Jesus asks :  « Fill the waterpots with water. »  The servants must have wondered what was going on inside the head of the person who gave them this order.  What use is it to fill pots with water, when what you’re looking for is wine ?  And most of Our Lord’s miracles took place according to a similar plan, in particular the resurrection of Lazarus.


Therefore, before God intervenes, we have to do three things : ask for a grace, affirm our faith in divine power and accomplish the action asked for by Heaven, even when it seems to bear no relation to the ultimate objective.  It’s what the Benedictine motto sums up perfectly by uniting within one expression the request and the act of Faith:  Ora et labora.  If we want to put right the current situation we should therefore pray and act.

Concerning prayer, is there anything more likely to incite divine intervention ?  Well, yes !  At Fatima Our Lady revealed :  « God wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary ».  Thus, the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is particularly desired by God for our time.  Consequently, it is, after Holy Mass, the devotion most likely to touch His Heart and make Him do something.  And many graces are attached to this devotion :  in particular, peace for the world and the end of war (see newsletter n°35) as well as the fulfillment of all our temporal or spiritual needs through the daily recitation of the Rosary (newsletter n°31), our eternal salvation through the communion of reparation on the first Saturdays of the month (newsletter n°17) and the wearing of the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (newsletter n°21),  the protection of nations and their conversion by their consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (newsletter n°16), etc.  If we wish to receive all of these graces, there’s no doubt that we should favour the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, particularly in this centenary year of the apparitions during which it was revealed.

But prayer is not enough.  We should also act on a temporal level, even if what we can do seems to have little chance of success.  God works with next to nothing, but not with nothing at all !  He wants us to do the minimum.  At Cana, Jesus could have easily filled the waterpots with wine directly without first asking for them to be filled with water.  The miracle would not have cost any more for it.  Likewise, he could have brought Lazarus back to life even if the stone had stayed in front of the entrance to the tomb.  He could just as well have resuscitated Lazarus Himself without anyone having rolled the stone away beforehand.  But the aim of these prerequisites is to allow us to show our Faith in a concrete way.  If we want God to intervene and put the situation to right, we have to act on two levels :  the spiritual and the temporal.  This indispensible union between prayer and action was illustrated in a remarkable way by Charles Péguy :

Of all the abuses which can be made of prayer and the sacraments, none is more odious than that of the laziness which consists of not working and not acting, and afterwards, and during and before, expecting prayer to fill the void…  Asking for victory and not wanting to fight, I find that ill-mannered !
The Crusaders (outstanding amongst them, Saint Louis) however, did not behave this way.   They fought a holy war, literally for the body of God, for the temporal of God, as they were fighting to recover Jesus Christ’s tomb.  They did not pray like geese waiting to be fed.  They prayed, better than we do, and then, if I can say, in executing, and almost crowning, their prayers, they fought, themselves, as much as they could, with all their strength, and by themselves with all their temporal capabilities.  Because, in this temporal world, and for temporal conquest, you also have to engage the temporal.  (…)
Likewise for Joan of Arc who certainly did not undertake a holy war but who had surely thought of a holy war, as a continuation and crowning of the crusade, and who undertook not only a holy war, but a war as a vocation, and her own vocation, a war which she had been personally and formally ordered to wage.  And yet, all those people prayed better than we do.  But after they had prayed, they fastened their belts, not only for the crowning of their prayers, but also in obedience to the obligation to work.

After having prayed, we have to act on a temporal level.  We don’t necessarily have to do much, but we have to do something !  Therefore let’s do what we are capable of, for example, go and see our parish priest and ask him to put the first Saturdays in place in our parish.

May these modest actions, our prayers and our signatures, contribute to the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In union of prayer in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Yves de Lassus,
Cap Fatima 2017

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N° 39 : The Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Newsletter n°39 (13 November 2016)

Dear friends,

Among the requests made by Our Lady at Fatima, five have a general application and are addressed to each one of us.  Four of them have been analysed in previous newsletters :  the daily recitation of the Rosary, sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, stop offending our Lord (see newsletter n°36) and the communion of reparation on the first Saturdays of the month (see newsletter n°37).  The fifth concerns the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Unfortunately, this request has divided Catholics, some of whom affirm that the consecration has taken place, while others continue to say that it has not been according to Our Lady’s wishes.  While it is important to clarify this point, it is not acceptable that we be divided by a request from our Mother in Heaven.  Moreover, the Church has never been afraid of the truth.  So, we should not be afraid to analyse this controversial question.

The request for the consecration of Russia was made during the apparition of the 13th of July 1917 :

To prevent it (the Second World War, of which Our Lady had just spoken), I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the communion of reparation on the first Saturdays of the month.  If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will convert and there will be peace.  ( … )  In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.  The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and she will be converted, and the world will know peace for some time.

Read more: N° 39 : The Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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N° 38 : What should we do for the centenary ?

Newsletter n° 38 (28th of October 2016)

 Dear Friends,

 People regularly ask us what they could do to help us, or to work for the centenary.  In order to reply without delay to this question, the analysis of the requests made by Our Lady at Fatima, begun in the newsletters n° 36 and n° 37, will be temporarily interrupted.  Because, from here on, we are one year away from the anniversary of the last apparition.  It is important, therefore, not to delay in putting into place all the actions possible in order to celebrate this centenary in a fitting manner.

 These actions have already been presented in the first newsletter.  The different propositions have then been developed during the course of the newsletters. However, it would seem to be useful to go over them again.

 The general priniciple is to do God’s will as expressed at Fatima by the voice of the Holy Virgin, namely: to work for the establishment in the world of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
 This devotion consists of five pratices : the daily recital of the Rosary, prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, the communion of reparation on the first Saturdays of the month in reparation for offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and wearing the scapular.
 To accomplish God’s will it is necessary to make these five practices our own, and to spread them around us.  This propagation can take place at different levels :  personal, familial, parochial, diocesan, national.

Read more: N° 38 : What should we do for the centenary ?

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N° 37 : Approval of the devotion of reparation by the Holy Father

Newsletter n° 37  (13 October 2016) 

Dear friends,

We are now one year away from the centenary of the last apparition at Fatima.  From here on, time is of the essence in trying to satisfy all the requests of Our Lady at Fatima.
These requests, five in all, were reiterated in our last newsletter.  Three were expressed in the present tense and concern us directly, namely :  say our Rosary every day, make sacrifices for sinners and no longer offend our Lord.  (See newsletter n°36)
The two others, the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the communion of reparation on the first Saturdays of the month, were at first, expressed in the future tense.  But, from now on, these last two requests are no longer in the future, because, since then, Our Lady has expressed them formally.  At Pontevedra, on the 10th of December 1925, she confided to Sister Lucia :

Read more: N° 37 : Approval of the devotion of reparation by the Holy Father

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