Three children, Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, were in the center of thousands of believers and skeptics who flooded Cova da Iria fields outside the small settlement of Aljustrel near Fatima, Portugal. The day was the 13th of October, 1917, and word had got around that Mary was going to appear at this location at noon.
After noon had passed, Mary appeared and spoke to Lucia:
“I wish to tell you that I want a chapel built here in my honor. I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. The war will end soon, and the soldiers will return to their homes.. I am the Lady of the Rosary.. Some I shall grant, and others I must deny. People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended.. There is nothing more.”
The sun, at one moment surrounded with scarlet flame, at another aureoled in yellow and deep purple, seemed to be in an exceedingly fast and whirling movement, at times appearing to be loosened from the sky and to be approaching the earth, strongly radiating heat.Dr. Domingos Coelho (reported in the newspaper Ordem)
According to Lucia, the Lady opened her hands, “made them reflect on the sun, and as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself.”
Lucia then called for people to look at the sun, and an event called “the miracle of the sun” occurred. Although not everyone claimed to see the phenomenon, numerous individuals reported that the sun appeared to change colors, spin, and “dance” in the sky.
In the wake of this event, the children reported visions of St. Joseph, the Child Jesus, and our Lady in various guises, including Our Lady of Dolors and Our Lady of Carmel, as had been promised.Jimmy Akin – Catholic.com
The sun appeared with its circumference well defined. It came down as if to the height of the clouds and began to whirl giddily upon itself like a captive ball of fire. With some interruptions, this lasted about eight minutes. The atmosphere darkened and the features of each became yellow. Everyone knelt even in the mud….Fr. Manuel Pereira da Silva (in a letter to a friend)
According to various accounts, a crowd of some 70,000 people – believers and skeptics alike – gathered to see the miracle that Mary had promised. After appearing and speaking to the children for some time, Mary then “cast her own light upon the sun.”
The previously rainy sky cleared up, the clouds dispersed and the ground, which had been wet and muddy from the rain, was dried. A transparent veil came over the sun, making it easy to look at, and multi-colored lights were strewn across the landscape.
The sun then began to spin, twirling in the sky, and at one point appeared to veer toward earth before jumping back to its place in the sky.Elise Harris – Catholic News Agency