October 13, 1917 – Miracle of the Sun in Portugal
Pictured – A crowd of 70,000 gathers in Fatima to witness a supposed appearance of the Virgin Mary.
In 1916, three children in the rural village of Fatima, Portugal, claimed to see the Virgin Mary while they tended sheep on a hill. They told no one, but later said that Mary told them she would reappear on the 13th of every month. But quickly enough the town and the parish priest heard, and when the children refused to recant, interest grew. Crowds gathered on September 13, and again on October 13, when apparently Mary had promised a miracle.
A crowd of 70,000 stood on the hill on October 13 and claimed to see the sun “tremble and shake” for ten minutes in the sky, as odd, bright colors appeared from behind the clouds. Villagers from as far as 25 miles away also attested to the strange phenomena. Scientific or holy, the Church proclaimed it a the Miracle of the Sun in 1930. Two of the three children died of the flu soon after, and the third became a nun. She stated later that the Virgin Mary had shown her three prophecies: the end of World War I, the October Revolution, and the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II (although whatever the Virgin Mary expected a Portuguese six-year old to do with this knowledge is anyone’s guess.)