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Pilgrimage Moments: The story of the Fatima miracle

Length - 02:33
Published - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road Through Portugal.

The Pilgrims continue their journey along the Northern Way, eager to delve deeper into the story of Fatima. Bobby enlightens the group by telling them about three shepherd children from the village of Fatima: 9-year-old Lucia and her younger cousins Francisco and Jacinta. On the 13th May 1917, they reported seeing a light descend from the sky and the appearance of the Virgin Mary, who told the children that to get to Heaven and to bring about world peace, they should pray the Rosary every day.

Over the next six months, the children reported seeing the Virgin Mary six times, including a final apparition on the 13th October, when they were promised a miracle. Word of the children’s visions spread rapidly, drawing a crowd of 70,000 people to witness what is now known as the Miracle of the Sun. It is said that the crowd saw the sun spinning in the sky, changing colour and size.

Fatima became a place of pilgrimage, and today it attracts over four million visitors a year.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: The Story Of the Fatima Miracle

Narrator: As the pilgrims continue to follow the Northern Way, they are keen to know more about its origins and connection to the city of Fatima.


Vicky:     Does anyone actually know the story of Fatima? Bobby does. Bobby does.


Bobby:    Yeah. So there was a girl called Lucia who was nine, and her cousins, uh, Francisco and Jacinta, who aged seven and six. And they had, like, a divine experience on the 13th of May, 1917. A light came down and a lady appeared before them, um. And the lady, the lady, the Virgin Mary.


Vicky:     So the lady.


Bobby:    The the lady. And she said to them an instruction, if you want to get to heaven, you've got to pray the rosary every day over the course of the next six months, they saw together the Virgin Mary like six times.


Vicky:     And everybody believed them. Yeah.


Narrator: The three shepherd children from Fatima claimed the Virgin Mary told them to pray the Rosary, to bring peace to the world and end the Great War. The children also said she promised that on her final apparition on October 13th, they would witness a miracle. Word of the children's vision spread and a crowd of around 70,000 gathered in the village of Fatima. What happened that day is now known as the miracle of the sun. It was reported that the crowd saw the sun spinning in the sky, changing colour and size. Fatima soon became a place of pilgrimage. The Catholic Church recognises the apparitions as credible, but it's not something Catholics have to believe. Today, the sanctuary attracts over 4 million visitors a year.


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