Pope Francis recently adorned the base of a statue of our Blessed Mother with a golden rose. On that day, the radiant statue was gazed upon by around a half million pilgrims, including the Pope. It’s part of Our Lady of Fatima shrine at Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal. It was there, exactly one hundred years earlier, that Our Lady of Fatima began appearing to three shepherd children – Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco. Between May 13, 1917 and October 13, 1917, Blessed Mother appeared to the children six times.
“Hand in hand with the Virgin Mother, and under her watchful gaze, may we come to sing with joy the mercies of the Lord, and cry out: ‘My soul sings to you, Lord,’” exclaimed Pope Francis during that visit to Fatima. “The mercy you have shown to all your saints and all your faithful people, you have also shown to me. Out of the pride of my heart, I went astray, following my own ambitions and interests, without gaining any crown of glory! My one hope of glory, Lord, is this: that your Mother will take me in her arms, shelter me beneath her mantle, and set me close to your heart. Amen.”
The Pope’s visit shed light on what’s considered to be one of the greatest miracles of the 20th Century. The apparitions, which took place against the backdrop of World War I, are as relevant today as they were back then. But how much do we know about them? Here are just seven things that you may not know.