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100th anniversary of Mary Appearing at Fátima

Roman Catholics marked 2017 with the 100th anniversary of Fátima, a series of Marian apparitions that began in May 1917 in central Portugal.

Catholic shrine of Fatima
On the day before the arrival of Pope Francis, pilgrims arrive at the Catholic shrine of Fatima, Portugal May 11, 2017. |

Fátima is a small Portuguese city where Catholics say that the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children, two girls and one boy 100 years ago. The pope traveled there this year to commemorate these events. 

The children described Mary as "a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant than the sun" and who reportedly told them that praying the rosary would end The Great War, also known as World War I.

The children said that Mary appeared to them six times that year and in one particular appearance told them that a miracle would happen on Oct. 13. They were scolded for making a claim but thousands of pilgrims nevertheless gathered on that day in anticipation of another apparition.

That day became known as the day of the "Miracle of the Sun," as many reported seeing visions in the sky while others reported miracles of healing.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis leads his Wednesday general audience at Paul VI auditorium hall in Vatican City February 8, 2017. |

"Before their dazzled eyes the sun trembled, the sun made unusual and brusque movements, defying all the laws of the cosmos, and according to the typical expression of the peasants, 'the sun danced,'" a newspaper reported at the time.

The phenomena eventually received the ecclesiastical backing of the Catholic Church, which declared in 1930 that the supernatural happenings at Fatima were "worthy of belief."

Lúcia de Jesus Rosa dos Santos, one of the three shepherd children and the last surviving visionary at Fátima, reportedly said that Mary told her that the "final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. "

She added Christ's mother said people should not be afraid "because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue."

And then she concluded, "However, Our Lady has already crushed its head."

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