May 13, 1917: The First Apparition - “I am of Heaven”

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Sunday, May 13th was a perfect spring day in the little town of Fatima, Portugal. The three shepherd children – Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco – went to Mass that day as they did every Sunday. “Heaven forbid,” Senhora Marto, the mother of Jacinta and Francisco, said, “that we should ever miss hearing Mass on Sundays.”

After Mass, the children took their sheep to graze on Lucia’s parents’ property called the Cova da Iria. There, they ate lunch, prayed the Rosary, and then began to play. The game on that day was making castles out of rocks. Francisco was the mason and architect, Lucia and Jacinta gathered the stones.

Suddenly, the children saw what seemed to be lightning. Frightened, they dropped their stones, looked first at each other, and then at the sky, which was clear and bright without the least spot of a cloud. Still, fearing that a thunderstorm was approaching, Lucia told Francisco and Jacinta to hurry home with the flock of sheep.

Then came a second flash of light and this time, the children saw a woman standing above a small holm-oak tree, only a few feet away. She was wearing a white gown embroidered with gold. She radiated brilliant clusters of light, and Her face was supernaturally beautiful. The shepherd children could see the Lady, but only Lucia and Jacinta could hear Her speak.

“Do not be afraid, I will do you no harm."

“Where is Your Grace from?” Lucy asked.

“I am of Heaven,” the Lady answered. “I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the 13th day, at this same hour. Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want.”

In childlike simplicity, Lucia asked, “And I, am I, too, going to go to Heaven?”

“Yes, you shall,” the Lady assured her.

“And Jacinta?”

“Yes.”

“And Francisco?”

“He too shall go, but he must say many Rosaries,” the Lady responded.

She then asked the children, “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners?”

Lucy answered for all three, “Yes, we want to.”

“Then you are going to suffer a great deal,” the Lady promised, “but the grace of God will be your comfort.”

Lucy was to later write that the Lady then “opened Her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that as it streamed from Her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God.” Through this light they understood that God is sad because He is so offended by the sins of all men, women, and children on earth.

Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta, moved by an inner impulse, fell on their knees and prayed together:

“O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee. My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”

The Lady reminded the children to pray the Rosary every day for peace in the world and the end of the great World War (World War I). At the end of their conversation, She began to rise serenely, going up towards the east as a light emanating from Her parted the heavens into which She disappeared.

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