Our Lady of the Rosary
Fatima welcomes millions of devotees a year who come to pray at the site of a miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary here in 1917.Three shepherd children had a vision of Mary, who reportedly reappeared on the 13th of each of six subsequent months calling for peace in the world. On the day of the final apparition a crowd of over 70,000 people had gathered and claimed to witness the Miracle of the Sun, when illnesses and disabilities were cured amongst the onlookers.
Fatima now attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world, particularly on the pilgrimage days in May and October. The large torch-light processions in the evening are particularly impressive, often lead by Cardinals and Bishops. The pilgrims gather in Cova de Iria an enormous plaza where a little chapel was built and where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared to the children. Around the plaza are a considerable number of shops and stalls selling various religious articles.
On the far side of the plaza rises the great basilica, built in the in neo-classical style, with a central tower 65 meters high, the construction of which was begun on 13 of May 1928. It is flanked by colonnades linking it with the extensive convent and hospital buildings. In the basilica are the tombs of two of the three visionaries, siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who died in 1919 and 1920 respectively, and were beatified in 1970. The third seer, Lucia dos Santos, died in 2005.
The final part of the secret (known as the “third secret) was written down in a letter by Lucia Dos Santos, the last living Fatima seer, in 1944, with instructions not to read it until 1960, this was placed in the care of The Holy See. Most informed sources speculate that this portion of the Secret concerns chaos in the Catholic Church, predicting widespread apostasy and a loss of faith beginning in the seventh decade of the 20th Century. But it is now believed that it predicted the 1981assassination attempt of Pope John Paul 11.