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On 13 May 1917, three children were pasturing their little flock in the Cova da Iria, parish of Fatima, town of Vila Nova de Ourém. today the diocese of Leiria-Fatima. They were called: Lucia de Jesus, aged 10, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, aged 9 and 7.
About midday, after praying the Rosary, as was their custom, they were amusing themselves building a little house of stones scattered around he place where the Basilica now stands. Suddenly they saw a brilliant light, and thinking it to be lightning, they decided to go home. But as they went down the slope another flash lit up the place, and they saw on the top of a holmoak (where the Chapel of Apparitions now stands), "a Lady more brilliant than the sun", from whose hands hung a white rosary.
The Lady told the three little shepherds that it was necessary to pray much, and she invited them to return to the Cova da Iria during five consecutive months, on the 13th day at that hour. The children did so and the 13th day of June, July, September and October, the Lady appeared to them again and spoke to them in the Cova da 0a. On the 19th of August, the apparition took place at Valinhos, about 500 meters from Aljustrel, because on the 13th the children had been carried off by the local Administrator to Vila Nova de Ourém.
At the last apparition, on October 13, with about 70,000 people present, the Lady said to them that she was the "Lady of the Rosary" and that a chapel was to be built there in her honor. After the apparition all present witnessed the miracle promised to the three children in July and September :the sun, resembling a silver disc, could be gazed at without difficulty and, whirling on itself like a wheel of fire, it seemed about to fall upon the earth.

Afterwards, when Lucia was a Religious Sister of Saint Dorothy, Our Lady appeared to her again in Spain (10 December 1925 and 15 February 1926, in the Convent of Pontevedra, and on the night of 13/14 June 1929, in the Convent of Tuy), requesting the devotion of the five first Saturdays (to pray the Rosary, meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary, confess and receive Holy Communion, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary), and the Consecration of Russia to the same Immaculate Heart, This request had been announced by the Apparition on 13 July 1917, in what is called the "Secret of Fatima".

Years later, Sr. Lucia related that, between April and October of 1916, an Angel had appeared to the three seers on three occasions, twice in the Cabeço and once at the well in the garden behind Lucia´s house, who exhorted them to prayer and penance. Since 1917 pilgrims have not ceased to come to the Cova da Iria in thousands upon thousands from all parts of the world, at first on the 13th of each month. later during the summer and winter holidays, and now more and more at weekends and any day all the year round.

Lúcia de Jesus - The principal seer of the Apparitions, she was born on 22 March 1907, in Aljustrel, in the parish of Fatima. She died on 13 February 2005. On 17 June 1921, she entered the college of Vilar (Porto), directed by the religious of Saint Dorothy. Later she went to Tuy, where she received the Habit and the name Maria Lucia of Dolours. On 3 October 1928 she made religious profession of temporary vows. and on 3 October 1934, perpetual vows. On 25 March 1948 she transferred to Coimbra, entering the Carmel of Saint Teresa, and taking name the of Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart. On 31 May 1949 she made profession of solemn vows. Sister Lucia has come to Fatima several times, on May 1946, 13 May 1967, in 1981 to direct, in Carmel. a series of paintings on the Apparitions, on 13 May 1982, 13 May 1991 and 13 May 2000.
Francisco Marto - He was born on 11 June 1908, in Aljustrel. He died a saintly death on 4 April 1919, in his parents house. Very sensitive and contemplative, he directed all his prayer and penance towards "consoling Our Lord". His mortal remains were buried in the parish cemetery until 13 March 1952, on which date they were translated to the Basilica. on the eastern side.
Jacinta Marto - She was born in Aljustrel on 11 March 1910. Her holy death took place on 20 February 1920, in the Hospital of D. Estefania, in Lisbon after a long and painful illness, offering all her sufferings for the conversion of sinners, for peace in the world and for the

Seers of Fatima

Holy Father. On 12 September 1935 her body was solemnly translated from the family tomb of the Baron of Alvaiazere in Ourém, to the Fatima cemetery, and placed beside the mortal remains of her brother Francisco. On I May 1951, the translation of Jacinta´s mortal remains took place, with the greatest simplicity, to a new tomb prepared in the Basilica of Cova da Iria, on the western side.

The process of beatification of the Seers of Fatima, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, after the first steps taken in 1945. was opened in 1952 and concluded in 1979. On 15 February 1988, the final documentation, which could lead to the Holy Father proclaiming "blessed" the two little seers of Fatima, was given to the Holy Father, John Paul 11, and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Meanwhile, they were declared "venerable" by a Decree of that Sacred Congregation on 13 May 1989. The last step will be, as we hope, their canonization, by which they will be declared "saints".

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