2017: Fatima Centenary Year
October 7-8: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Lucia described in her memoirs what happened next, when our Lady was about to leave.
“Then, opening her hands, she made them reflect on the sun, and as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself. Here…is the reason why I cried out to the people to look at the sun, because I was not even aware of their presence. I was moved to do so under the guidance of an interior impulse.’
Once the October apparition began, the three children were oblivious of everything around them, even the great crowd of people. They were no doubt in a kind of ecstatic state resulting from their being in the presence of the Mother of God, as they had experienced on previous occasions. Lucia’s spontaneous words to the people made the great crowd turn their attention to the sun, and they witnessed the great miracle of the sun dancing at Fatima. What the three little visionaries saw was quite a different apparition:
‘After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. When a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolours [Sorrows]. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Mount Carmel.’
Many people who saw the great miracle have shared what they experienced. One witness, Mary
Allen, gives her testimony:
“As we approached the hillside upon which the appearances were supposed to have taken place, I saw a sea of people. (Some newspapers said there were 70,000 people there.) I didn’t count, but it was more people than I have ever seen in my life, even to this day… We had just arrived there when suddenly my attention was drawn by a sudden bright light from the heavens, lighting up the whole countryside. Suddenly the rain ceased, the clouds separated and I saw a large sun, brighter than the sun, yet I could look at it without hurting my eyes, as if it were only the moon. This sun began to get larger and larger, brighter and brighter until the whole heavens seemed more brilliantly lighted than I have ever seen it. Then the sun started spinning and shooting streams of light, which changed it to all colours of the rainbow… At the same time, it started getting bigger and bigger in the sky as though it were headed directly for us, as though it were falling on the earth. Everyone was frightened. We all thought it was the end of the world. Everyone threw themselves on their knees praying and screaming the Act of Contrition. Suddenly the sun stopped spinning and returned to its place in the sky. Everyone started shouting: ‘Miracle! This is a miracle!’ Just then I noticed that both the ground and my clothes were bone dry. Everyone seemed to rush forward to see the children. Unfortunately I was only able to see them at a distance.”
From Fr Andrew Apostoli CFR, Fatima for Today: the urgent Marian message of hope (Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2010)