The children finally reached the Cova at the spot where Our Lady had been appearing. They began to pray the Rosary with the people when suddenly they saw the flash of light that always preceded our Lady’s coming. Then she appeared above the holmoak tree. The brief conversation between our Lady and the visionaries began with Lucia’s usual question. “What do you want of me?” Our Lady then gave her usual response: “Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war!”
During her September apparition, Our Lady foretold a sequence of appearances that the children would see in October along with the promised miracle that would convince the people that Our Lady had been appearing at the Cova.
“In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolours [Sorrows] and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.”
Like the good and kind mother she is, Our Lady gave the children words of praise and encouragement about their penances. But she also added a word of caution so that the children would not hurt themselves: “God is pleased with your sacrifices. He does not want you to sleep with the rope on [tied around your waist], but only to wear it during the daytime.”
The conversation with our Lady ended like it had during other apparitions, with Lucia offering petitions to our Lady.
As our Lady departed, Lucia cried out in great simplicity: ‘If you want to see our Lady, look there!’ She pointed toward the east. Many people later testified that they had seen something like a luminous cloud moving toward the east. Most were convinced that they had not seen our Lady herself, but perhaps a kind of ‘vehicle’ which brought our Lady from heaven and returned her there again after the apparition.
With the ending of the September 13 apparition, the stage was set for October and the promised miracle that would convince the multitudes that our Lady was truly appearing at the Cova and giving a message of great importance for the world.
(From Fr Andrew Apostoli CFR, Fatima for Today: the urgent Marian message of hope (Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2010)