30,000 Pilgrims see
Extraordinary Signs in the Heavens
The Fifth Visit, Sept. 13, 1917
By September, accounts of the visions had raised such widespread interest, the children had to make their way through a large throng to reach the apparition site. Many voices joined their recitation of the Rosary before the Virgin appeared. As before, She stood over the holm-oak, visible only to the children.
Father John Quaresma, who later became Vicar General of Leiria, describes the apparition:
“Once again at midday there was complete silence. One only heard the murmur of prayers. Suddenly there were sounds of jubilation and voices praising the Blessed Virgin. Arms were raised pointing to something in the sky. ‘Look, don’t you see?’ ‘Yes, yes, I do …!’ There was much satisfaction on the part of those who did.
“There had not been a cloud in the deep blue sky and I too raised my eyes and scrutinized it in case I should be able to distinguish what the others, more fortunate than I, had already claimed to have seen. With great astonishment I saw, clearly and distinctly, a luminous globe, which moved from the east to the west, gliding slowly and majestically through space.
“The globe then began to approach the holm-oak of the apparition. Then the sun’s brightness diminished, the atmosphere became golden yellow, like the other times. Some people even reported being able to distinguish the stars in the sky.”
Lucy again asked Our Lady, “What does Your Grace want of me?”
“Continue to say the Rosary to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.”
The Blessed Virgin also added:
“In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.”
“St. Joseph will appear with the
Child Jesus to bless the world.”
Witnesses at the Cova described what they saw:
“During the time of the apparition the majority of the pilgrims had enjoyed a marvelous spectacle. They saw falling from Heaven a shower of white petals, or round, shining snowflakes which slowly descended and disappeared as they approached the ground. It was an unheard of phenomenon, which the witnesses had difficulty describing. Some described them as stars, and others as a rain of white roses which vanished as they approached the ground.”
The Blessed Virgin wished to give the crowd gathered around the holm-oak where She was appearing, another sign of Her presence:
“A pleasant-looking cloud formed around the rustic arch which dominated the little tree stump. Rising up from the ground, it grew thicker and went up into the air until it was five or six meters high; then it disappeared like smoke that vanishes before the wind.
“A few moments later, similar curls of smoke were formed and disappeared in the same manner, and then a third time. Everything happened as though some invisible thurifers were incensing the Vision liturgically. The three ‘incensations’ together lasted the whole time of the apparition, that is from ten to fifteen minutes.”
The Bishop of Leiria, in his letter approving devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, declared this phenomena “humanly speaking inexplicable.”