Our Lady first appeared to Lucia and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco, on May 13th, 1917. She asked them to come every 13th day of the month for six months and promised to perform a miracle on the 13th day of the final month.
The Beautiful Lady expressed, over the course of six apparitions, her desire that devotion to her Immaculate Heart be propagated. She asked the children to pray the Rosary every day and to make many sacrifices for sinners. She said that many sinners went to Hell because they had no one to pray for them and even showed them a frightening vision of that terrible place.
She also asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart and the practice of the five First Saturdays Devotion. The war (World War I), she said, would soon end. But another, more terrible war would come if her requests were not heeded; Russia would spread her errors throughout the world, the Church would be persecuted, the Holy Father would suffer much, and the good would be martyred.
After word spread through the region that the three shepherd children had seen Our Lady, crowds began to come to the apparition site.
Today, on the 13th of October, tens of thousands were gathered—some estimates say about 70,000. It was a rainy day, the people’s clothes were wet, and the roads were sodden and muddy.
The Lady came in the early afternoon. She asked that the people build a chapel in her honor at the site and continue to say the Rosary every day. She said that she was the “Lady of the Rosary.”
The children saw a vision of the mysteries of the Rosary in the sky, and of St. Joseph with the child Jesus, who together blessed the world. Lucia also saw Our Lady of Sorrows with Our Lord, Who also gave His blessing, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The people, however, did not see these things—they had their eyes fixed on the sun. It had broken through the clouds, appearing as a silver disk, and everyone could see it without hurting their eyes. Not only that—it was dancing! It whirled, danced, and cast colorful rays of light downwards.
Then it hurtled towards the earth as though it would crash into it.
The people, filled with awe and terror, cried out, knelt, and prayed. But the sun did not hurt them; it reversed course and returned to its place in the sky. Though it had been soaked before, the land was now miraculously dry, as were the people’s clothes.
Thousands upon thousands had observed this event. Catholics and atheists alike. Lawyers, doctors, professors, priests, men, women, and children saw it and gave their eyewitness testimony of Our Lady’s magnificent miracle. Newspapers—including O Seculo, a secular, anti-Catholic Lisbon publication—reported what happened on “the day the sun danced.”
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