May 1913, Our Blessed Mother began a series of visits with three Portuguese shepherd children: Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. During the months that followed the initial visitation, the three visionaries were graced with six messages from the Blessed Virgin, as well as three apparitions of the “Angel of Portugal,” all of which culminated in the spectacular “Miracle of the Sun,” witnessed by tens of thousands of the faithful. Each month, on the 13th day, Our Lady of Fatima delivered a message to the children-- a message of the importance of devotion to the Immaculate Heart and praying the Rosary—through which the ruinous course of humanity could be converted and redeemed.
Following the previous visits of the Angel of Portugal, who had taught the children how to pray, and prepared them for the first apparition of Our Blessed Mother, Mary had appeared in a wondrous light, conversed with the children, and instructed them: “Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.” She promised to return the following month.
Lucia, in her memoirs, details their interaction. She inquired, "Please tell me, Madam, what it is that you want of me?"
Our Blessed Mother replied, “I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month. I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. And after each one of the mysteries, my children, I want you to pray in this way: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need. I want you to learn to read and write, and later I will tell you what else I want of you.”
"Will you take us to heaven?" She again received the reply, “Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you will remain a little longer, since Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.”
"Must I remain in the world alone?"
“Not alone, my child,” Our Lady of Fatima replied kindly, “and you must not be sad. I will be with you always, and my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God.”
Lucia recounted that following this words, Our Blessed Mother opened her hands and “transmitted to us, for the second time, the reflection of that intense light. In it we felt we were submerged in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which was rising to Heaven, and I in the part spreading over the earth. In front of the palm of Our Lady's right hand was a heart encircled with thorns which appeared to pierce it. We understood it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary offended by the sins of mankind, craving reparation.”
As promised, Mary would return on July 16, offering the children a glimpse of the suffering souls of hell, and encouraging them to continue praying for sinners and praying the Rosary for peace in the world.
Through prayers of adoration and reparation, we turn to Our Lady of Fatima—to whom God has entrusted our redemption through her grace and cooperation with her divine spouse—to rectify the state of the world, reduce the influence of evil, save the sinful, and draw ourselves closer to Our God through devotion to the Immaculate Heart.
Oh my Jesus,
Forgive us our sins.
Save us from the fires of Hell.
Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Your Mercy.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."