A weak, and exhausted Pope John Paul II completed his personal journey on May 13, 2001, when he traveled to the town of Adjustrel, located near Fatima, Portugal. His intention was to honor the lives of two children who passed away in 1917. These children were two of the three ‘Children of Fatima’ who were continually paid a visit by the spirit of the Virgin Mary. The holy ghost administered to them three prophecies, which the children kept secret, only revealing them to succeeding Popes. Over the decades, the Roman Catholic Church disclosed that all but the final prophecy had occurred. The Pope finally released details of the third prediction during his trip to pay respect to the children, it was clearly a warning that saved his life.
It all goes back to May 13th, 1917, when three young children were attending their livestock at the Cova da Iria, which was close to the town of Fatima. Nine-year-old Francisco and seven-year-old Jacinta Marto were siblings and happened to be the youngest of the three. They were assisting their ten-year old cousin, Lucia de Jesus, with her flock of sheep. All the children were well behaved, having come from a potent Catholic family background. They would stop to recite their prayers each day at noon, and then continue their work and play. On one occasion, an instant flash intervened in their afternoon activities. Suspecting it to be lightning, they turned to head home when a lovely woman stopped them, dressed in a robe that showed brighter than a star. The woman possessed a Catholic Rosary that hung from her palm, and she instructed the three children to visit the site on the 13th day of the month for the next five months.
The children complied by the ladies wishes and returned every month on the thirteenth day. As the months went by, the lady divulged three secrets about future events that would occur, and she also promised a miracle at their last get-together. As word spread, a crowd of 70,000 onlookers gathered at the site on October 13 to view the last vision; however, the mysterious woman only appeared to the three chosen children. She informed them she was ‘Our Lady of the Rosary’ and requested that they construct a chapel where the visions took place. She then performed her miracle, which was witnessed by the whole crowd. It was referred to as the ‘Miracle of the Sun’ because a huge glowing orb appeared to burst into a spectacular collection of colors and dart around the skies while flowers fell from the heavens.
The children had also acquired visions of their own demise. Francisco, and Jacinta didn’t have to wait long, as they both succumbed to pneumonia a few years later. Francisco passed away in April of 1919, and Jacinta passed away in February of 1920. They were both buried at the Fatima parish cemetery, but their remains were eventually removed and laid in the Chapel of the Apparitions, which was built on the Cova de Iria site. After receiving holy orders from visions, Lucia de Jesus became a nun and wrote a letter to Pope Pius XII describing the visions.
The first secret prophecy was said to be a vision of Hell and deliverance, which the Vatican translated as a prediction of the Second World War. The second secret prophecy was foretold as being the rise and fall of Communism, while the third secret prophecy was hidden from the public. Many speculated that it was the revelation of the end of the world. However, during the Pope’s visit to Fatima in 2001, it was revealed that the third secret was a vision of a white-robed priest dropping to the ground. It was interpreted as an assassination attempt on the Pope’s life, which indeed appeared to happen, coincidentally, on May 13, 1981, within St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
There is a strong belief among the Vatican that the Virgin Mary’s spirit steered the bullets away from causing death, and helped the Pope survive. Deeply convinced of the role the Fatima visions played, one of the bullets was placed in the statue crown of the Virgin Mary at the Chapel of the Apparitions. This event brought closure to one of the century’s most puzzling tales involving the