We celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13th. On this day in 1917, Our Lady made her first appearance to three shepherd children, Jacinta (age 7), Francisco (age 9) and Lucia (age 10), at Fatima in Portugal. She appeared to them once a month from May through October. The lives of the three children of Fatima were entirely transformed by the heavenly apparitions. While fulfilling the duties of their state with the greatest fidelity, those children seemed now to live only for prayer and sacrifice, which they offered in a spirit of reparation to obtain peace and the conversion of sinners. They deprived themselves of water during the periods of great heat; they gave their lunch to poor children; they wore around their waists thick cords that even drew blood; they abstained from innocent pleasures and urged one another to the practice of prayer and penance with an ardor comparable to that of the great saints.
A Sure Means of Salvation
Our Lady communicated with Lucia, the oldest of the three children, in her six monthly appearances. She asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to take them to Heaven. “Yes,” Our Lady answered, “I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. You, however, are to stay here a longer time. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish the devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself to adorn His throne”.
There are three principal practices of devotion which Our Lady has requested in honor of her Immaculate Heart: the First Saturday of the month, the Five First Saturdays, and the Consecration of Russia. They bear a marked similarity to the devotions in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The practice of the First Saturdays – It consists of the following exercises, performed with the intention of consoling the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and making reparation to it for all the outrages and blasphemies of which it is the object on the part of ungrateful Christians: 1. the Rosary; 2. Communion of Reparation.
The practice of the Five First Saturdays – In addition to the two exercises already mentioned, the following two are added on the first Saturday of five consecutive months: 3. go to confession; 4. keep the company of the Immaculate Heart of Mary by meditating for a quarter of an hour on the mysteries of the Rosary. These two must be offered in reparation to the Immaculate Heart . The meditation may be on one or several mysteries.
Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – Our Lady asked that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart and Lucia, one of the seers, has explained that Our Lady wants the Pope and all the bishops of the world to do this on one special day. If this is done She will convert Russia and there will be peace . . . ———————————————————