100 years ago today, three shepherd children in Portugal reportedly were visited by an apparition of the Virgin Mary and an angel giving them instructions to pray the rosary for peace and an end to World War I. Nine-year-old Lúcia Santos of Fátima, and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, reported seeing a woman “brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light… and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.” On the second of the famed Marian apparitions, one month later, the lady revealed that Francisco and Jacinta would be taken to Heaven soon, but Lúcia would live longer in order to spread her message, all of which came to pass The three children claimed to have seen the Blessed Virgin Mary in a total of six appearances between 13 May and 13 October. (1917)
Since then, the site, called Our Lady of Fátima, has drawn millions of pilgrims annually on the thirteenth day of each month, from May to October, on the anniversaries of the original visions. Statues, Chapels, hospitals and other facilities have been constructed at the site.
Lúcia later became a nun, wrote six memoirs about the experience and her life, and was beatified as a saint – like her two cousins were – after her death in 2005.
In March 2017, 100 years after the events, on a trip to Fatima, Pope Francis canonized Jacinta and Francisco, The decision followed papal confirmation of a miracle attributed to the intercession of the two visionaries.
One of several “prophesies” the children later reported, including the foretelling of an unusual light that would signal the start of a second great war. In 1938, an aurora borealis appeared over the northern hemisphere, including in places as far south as North Africa, Bermuda and California– the widest occurrence of the aurora since 1709– and one month later Hitler seized Austria, beginning his takeover of Europe which led to World War II. (Top photo by José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro, CC)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Thomas Edison performed the first test of his electric railway in Menlo Park, New Jersey (1880)
- Brazil abolished slavery with the passage of the Lei Áurea, “Golden Law” (1888)
- The U.S. Congress passed legislation honoring the uncompensated work of mothering by establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day (1914)
- The first commercial FM radio station in the U.S. was launched in Bloomfield, Connecticut, which came to be known as WDRC (1939)
- The world premiere of The Beatles film ‘Let It Be’ – the final release of any kind by the band– featured the unannounced rooftop concert in London, which was their last performance in public (1970)
- Alison Hargreaves, a 33-year-old British mother of two became only the second person ever to reach the peak of Everest–the world’s highest mountain–unaided, without oxygen or help from sherpas (1995)
Happy Birthday to Stevie Wonder who was born a musical prodigy 67 years ago today. He became blind as a young child but went on to become one of the most beloved performers of the late 20th century. After signing with Motown Records at age 11, he recorded 30 U.S. top ten hits and won 25 Grammy Awards–the most ever awarded to a male solo artist. (1950) – Photo by Thomas Hawk (CC)
And Happy Birthday to Darius Rucker, three-time Grammy Award winner and former lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Hootie & the Blowfish, (Only Wanna Be With You) who turns 51 today. As a solo country artist and renown philanthropist, he heads out on tour this summer, partnering with corporate sponsors that are awarding mortgage-free homes to wounded U.S. military veterans.