Read: Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 2021

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Happy Feast Day! This day recalls the first apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children — Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco — in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. The message of Our Lady of Fatima includes a call to conversion of heart, repentance from sin and a dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially through praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis.

“Praying the Holy Rosary every day permits us to repeatedly enter into the life, the heart, the mind of Mary – she who knew Jesus best and loved him most – so that we can learn from her unwavering faithfulness to Christ, even in times of great anguish, and can thus grow daily in our pursuit of personal holiness, supported and sustained by Our Lady’s maternal love for each of us,” said Craig Pohl, Director of the Office of New Evangelization for the Diocese of Lansing, May 13.

Official recognition of the visions of Fatima came in 1930 when the local bishop - after long inquiry - authorized the cult of Our Lady of the Rosary at the site of the apparitions. By then, the two younger children had died: Francisco in 1919 and his sister, Jacinta, the following year. Lucia, subsequently Sister Lucia, died in 2005, at her Carmelite convent in Coimbra, Portugal, after a long illness.

Among the many graces ascribed to Our Lady of Fatima, the Venerable Fulton Sheen (1895 –1979) proposed that the events of 1917 would eventually lead Muslims to Jesus Christ given that the village of Fatima is named after a young Muslim princess who was the namesake of Muhammad’s favorite daughter who, according to her father, “has the highest place in heaven after the Virgin Mary.”

“I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as ‘Our Lady of Fatima’ as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her Divine Son, too,” wrote Archbishop Sheen in his 1952 book, The World’s First Love.

It was also on this day in 1981 that Pope Saint John Paul II was shot by a trained assassin in St. Peter's Square in Rome. The Pope was struck four times and suffered severe blood loss. He attributed his survival to Our Lady of Fatima. One of the assassin’s bullets now adorns the crown of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

* Additional material courtesy of https://www.catholicculture.org/