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The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima(1952)

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On 13 May 1917, in the Cova Da Iria, near the mountain village of Fatima, Portugal, a vision of a beautiful Lady appears to three shepherd children, Lucia Dos Santos and her younger cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Appearing above a tree, the Lady asks the children to return to the cova on the thirteenth day of each month for the next six months. Upon returning to the village, the children describe their encounter to Hugo DaSilva, an educated, agnostic peddler and friend, who counsels them to keep silent about it for their own protection. However, Jacinta tells her parents, Manuel and Olimpia Marto, who believe the story and tell Lucia's parents, Antonio and Maria Rosa Dos Santos. Fearing repercussions from the police, Maria Rosa accuses Lucia of playing tricks on her little cousins, and later tells the story to the village priest, Father Ferreira, who suggests it is a manifestation of girlish hysteria that should be ignored. By the middle of the following month, word has spread about the vision of the Lady, and pilgrims trek to the cova, but Maria Rosa forbids Lucia to go. Instead, she is taken to a village celebration, where the crowd taunts her until the village administrator, Arturo, arrives with the police. Having heard reports of religious sightings, which are punishable by law in the current police state, he questions the villagers and demands to be shown Lucia, but Hugo sneaks her away. After Lucia convinces Hugo to take her to the cova, a cloud appears and moves to the same place above the tree, but when the Lady appears, only the three children see her. She tells them that Jesus wants her to be known, and predicts that although Lucia will remain on earth to carry out her mission, Jacinta and Francisco will soon return to heaven. Then the crowd witnesses the cloud move from the tree and disappear. Later, Hugo is arrested for obstructing a police investigation and the village church is closed. Ferreira, who now no longer doubts that the children saw something, is still not certain that the vision is good, as only evil has come from it so far, but he tells Arturo that closing the church only sanctions the visions. Arturo counters that if no crowd appears at the cova the following month, the church will be reopened. On the day of the next expected appearance, the crowd is even larger than before. The police arrest Ferreira as he pleads to the pilgrims to return home, but the crowd prevents them from taking the children. The Lady appears, again only to the children, and says that they will suffer for the conversion of sinners. She predicts that the world will be punished by a second big war and tells of an evil scheme in Russia. Before departing, she promises to give a sign for the unbelievers in October. Afterward, when the newspapers denounce the actions of the police, Ferreira is released, but on the thirteenth of the following month, the police abduct the children. At the province's police station, the children are bribed, harassed and threatened to deny their vision, but they do not relent. The magistrate tries to trick them into implicating Ferreira or admitting that the visions are a money-making scheme fabricated by Antonio, who owns the land of the cova. When the children remain true, they are jailed with adult criminals, where Hugo is being held. While believers hold a vigil outside the jail, the children recite the Rosary until the magistrate releases them along with Hugo. Then the bishop arrives and tries to shame Lucia into discrediting her story, but Maria Rosa and Antonio comfort her by saying that they believe. On a rainy 13th of October, the families escort the children to the cova, where thousands of pilgrims wait for the vision, who calls herself the Lady of the Rosary. She appears and predicts that the current war will soon end and God will triumph. For the restless crowd, she presents the promised miracle: the sun appears to fall to the earth and when it returns to the heavens, the earth is dry, in spite of the heavy rain, and many of the sick and injured are healed. On that day, many skeptics, including Hugo, become believers. Thirty-four years later, thousands of people again pay homage to the lady at a basilica which has been built on the site of the cova. Inside the basilica, visiting the graves of Francisco and Jacinta, is Hugo with the nun Lucia. She tells him that if the people will pray, God will send peace.