During the apparitions of Fatima in Portugal in 1917, the three shepherds who saw the Blessed Virgin, Lúcia Dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, received a “Secret” from the Virgin. The Secret of Fatima is composed of three distinct parts, which caused it to be erroneously said that there were three secrets. In reality, it is a single Secret, revealed entirely by Our Lady of Fatima to the three shepards during the apparition on July 13th, 1917. The message itself is framed by two visions.
It is Sister Lúcia who tells us of the vision of Hell that she had with her two cousins on July 13th, 1917 at the Cova da Iria. “Our Lady opened her hands again, like the last two months. The reflection seemed to penetrate the Earth and we saw an ocean of fire. Immersed in this fire we saw demons and souls [of the damned]. These were like transparent embers, black or tanned, having human forms. They floated in this fire, raised by the flames that came out of themselves, with clouds of smoke. They fell on all sides, like the sparks in the great fires, without weight or balance, amidst the cries and groans of pain and despair that horrified and trembled with fear. (It was at the sight of this show that I had to shout: “Ouch! And it is said that this was heard from me.) The demons were distinguished by horrible and repugnant forms of scary and unknown animals, but transparent as black coals burning. ”
Lucie specifies: "This vision lasted only a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother who, during the first apparition, promised to take us to Heaven. Otherwise, I believe we would have died of terror and fear. ”
Sister Lucy wrote the next part of this apparition on July 13th, 1917 in her memoir. The three children had just had the vision of Hell: "Scared, and as if to ask for help, we looked up to Our Lady who said to us with kindness and sadness: “You have seen the hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wants to establish in the world's devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will escape and we will have peace. The war will end. But if one does not stop offending God, under the reign of Pius XI, another tradgedy will begin. When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign that God gives you that he will punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecution against the Church and the Holy Father. To prevent this, I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the restorative Communion of the first Saturdays. If we listen to my demands, Russia will convert and we will have peace. Otherwise, it will spread its mistakes throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, many nations will be destroyed. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate to me the Russia that will be converted, and the world will be given a certain time of peace. In Portugal, faith will always be preserved.”
It is this part of the secret, often called the "third secret of Fatima" that has aroused the greatest interest. On January 3, 1944, at her convent in Tuy, Sister Lúcia de Fatima, on the orders of her bishop, wrote the third part of the Secret of Fatima. She had never believed herself able to reveal its content to the world. She entrusted it to the Church, to her bishop, so it was up to the Church to publish it. The Blessed Virgin had asked that it be revealed by the Pope no later than 1960, but it was only forty years later. The Third Secret thus remained secret until its official publication, on June 26, 2000, by Pope John Paul II, shortly after the celebration of the beatification of Jacinta and François Marto a Fatima. They were recognized as saints for the centenary of the apparitions in 2017.
Here is the account: "After the two parts which I have already set forth, we saw to the left of Our Lady, a little higher, an Angel with a sword of fire in his left hand; it sparkled, emitted flames which seemed to burn the world; but they were extinguished in contact with the brightness which, from her right hand, Our Lady shot towards him: the Angel, pointing to the earth with his right hand, said with a loud voice: “Penance, Penance, Penance! And we saw in an immense light which is God: "something similar to the image that a mirror reflects when a person passes by": a Bishop dressed in white. We had the feeling that it was the Holy Father. Several other bishops, priests, monks and nuns climbed a steep mountain, at the top of which was a large cross of crude logs as if it were made of cork oak with bark; the Holy Father, before arriving there, passed through a great city half in ruins and, half trembling, with a vacillating step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses which he found on his way; reaching the top of the mountain, prostrated on his knees at the foot of the great cross, he was killed by a group of soldiers who shot him several times with arrows, and in the same way, the bishops, priests, monks and nuns died one after the other, along with various laymen, gentlemen and women of different ranks and conditions. Under the two arms of the Cross were two angels, each with a crystal vessel in his hand, in which they gathered the blood of the martyrs, and with which they watered the souls that drew nigh to God. ”
In her letter of May 12, 1982 to Pope John Paul II, Sister Lucy gives a key to the interpretation of the third part of the Secret: "The third part of the Secret, which you are anxious to understand, is a symbolic revelation, which refers to this part of the Message, conditioned by our response or our non-response to what the Message itself asks of us. Since we have ignored this call of the Message, we see that it has come true, Russia has flooded the world with its mistakes. And if we do not yet see as set in stone the end of this prophecy, we see that we are moving there quickly.”
On October 13, 1973, the anniversary of the last appearance of Fatima and the miracle of the sun, Our Lady appeared in Akita, Japan. She delivered a very important message to a deaf nun: “If men do not repent and improve, the father will inflict a terrible punishment on mankind. It will be worse than the flood. A fire will fall from Heaven and destroy a large part of humanity. Survivors will envy the dead. The work of the Devil will even infiltrate the Church. We will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who worship me will be despised and fought by their compatriots. The church and the altars will be ransacked. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises. ” In 1984, Bishop Ito approved the apparitions of Akita, which are therefore recognized by the Church. A few months later, Cardinal Ratzinger, future Pope Benedict XVI, confirmed that “the two messages of Fatima and Akita are essentially the same.”