The title “Our Lady of Fatima” refers to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, who in 1917, appeared six times in the village of Fatima, Portugal, to three children: Lucia dos Santos and her two cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto.
During her visits to Fatima, the Blessed Mother requested that the children pray the rosary daily for peace in the world and that they do penance and make sacrifices for the salvation of sinners. She also asked that the world be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart and that people everywhere stop sinning and offending the Lord Our God.
On October 13th, the Virgin Mary revealed herself as the “Lady of the Rosary” and requested that a chapel be built on the site of the apparitions. Then, keeping the promise she had made on a previous visit, the Blessed Mother performed the so-called “miracle of the sun,” witnessed by 70,000 people, in which the sun changed into multiple colors as it “zigzagged” and “twirled” in the sky.
In 1930, after a long and thorough investigation, the Roman Catholic Church declared the apparitions as “worthy of belief” and officially established devotion to “Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.” Today, Fatima is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Christendom attracting millions of visitors each year.
In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II established May 13th as the official feast day of Our Lady of Fatima for the Universal Church. He also beatified Jacinta and Francisco Marto, bringing them one step closer to canonization.