Fatima in focus

John M. Samaha SM

On October 13 we mark the 95th anniversary of the last of the five apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima in 1917. John M. Samaha, a Marianist monk from Cupertino, California, looks back on those events.

Like the apparitions of Our Lady at Guadalupe and at Lourdes, her apparitions at Fatima are known far and wide across the world in both religious and secular circles. To appreciate more clearly the impact of Mary?s appearances at Fatima, it is important for us to know something about the conditions in Portugal at the time of the appearances in 1917. The events need to be placed in historical context.

The historical, political, and social circumstances
For centuries Portugal had distinguished itself by its zeal for the spread of the Christian faith. But in the eighteenth century the government was influenced by anti-religious ideas and, from that time, Freemasonry set about de-Christianizing the country. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the moral and religious situation in Portugal was abysmal.

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