The beautiful Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima was built in 1954 in reverence of witnessed apparitions of the Virgin Mary. The history of this Marian shrine begins in the spring of 1916 in Chousa Velha, Portugal, when an Angel of Peace appeared three times in an olive grove to three shepherd children: Lúcia Santos and her two cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Although the apparition of this Angel was only known from 1937, by virtue of the second of four memoirs Lúcia would go on to write, this was an early indication of the extraordinary.
The following spring in 1917, one week before the Feast of the Ascension, the Virgin Mary appeared to Lucia and her two cousins on their family’s land: the Cova da Iria in Fatima. “It was a Lady (Lucia has written), clothed in white, and brighter than the sun, radiating a light more intense and clear than a crystal cup would be, were it filled with sparkling water and lit with burning sunlight.” – The True Story of Fatima, Father John de Marchi, published 1956. The photo above depicts the faith inspiring Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary within the Santuário de Fátima – visited by pilgrims and tourists alike from all around the world.