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This Is How the Sun Looked in Fatima – by Father Brian Harrison, O.S.

On Sunday, October 13, was the anniversary of the greatest, most massively attested, miracle that has taken place on this planet since biblical times: the solar phenomenon witnessed by around 70,000 people at the Cova da Iria near the small town of Fatima, Portugal.

A month earlier, three shepherd children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto and Lucia dos Santos, had predicted that a great public miracle would occur on October 13, 1917, "so that all the world may believe" - in the words they attributed to a beautiful lady who they said had been appearing to them on the 13th day of the five preceding months, and who had told them to make know her prediction of this miracle.

To cut a long story short, the prediction was fulfilled on the appointed day by a spectacular solar prodigy in which the sun appeared to spin around on its axis, then to emit rays of varying bright colors, and finally to initiate a terrifying descent toward the earth, seeming to grow constantly larger.

After several minutes everything suddenly returned to normal in the sky. There were tens of thousands of witnesses, including many unbelievers who had come to scoff but went away dumbfounded - and in some cases converted.

A leading Portuguese newspaper, O Seculo - liberal, secular and generally anti-clerical - sent a reporter to cover what was expected to be a great disappointment for masses of gullible believers.

But the paper was honest enough to print his account on the front page under the headline: "COMO O SOL BAILOU AO MEIO DIA EM FATIMA" ("How the Sun Danced at Midday at Fatima") in its issue of October 15, 1917.

This was not a natural phenomenon, since nothing extraordinary was registered that day in any observatory or by any meteorological instrument. But neither can it be dismissed as some sort of "mass hallucination" (a phenomenon in any case unknown to serious psychology).

For it was simultaneously seen by multiple witnesses within a radius of 30 miles or so from the Cova da Iria who later gave sworn testimony that they were just going about their ordinary daily business at the time, with no expectation of seeing anything unusual.

Now, to get to the point of this article: The witnesses of this prodigy said it began when the dark clouds suddenly parted after hours of rain, and the sun became clearly visible in an expanse of blue sky.

However, they said it had inexplicably lost its glare and they could gaze directly at it without being dazzled.

For instance. Witness A, Maria Marques da Cruz Menezes: "Suddenly the sun appeared so that we could look at it as though it were the moon."

Witness B, Jose Joaquim da Silva: "We could look at the sun without difficulty."

Witness C, the report published in O Seculo: "We saw the immense crowd turn toward the sun at its highest, free of all clouds. The sun seemed to us like a plate of dull silver. It could be seen without the least effort. It did not blind or burn" (quotations from John M. Haffert, Meet the Witnesses, Ave Maria Institute, 1961, pp. 97, 99 and 107 respectively).

After just a few seconds like that, it seems, the spinning and multi-colored phenomena began.

But the above eye-witness testimonies make it clear that what you see in the extraordinary photo of the sun at the top of this article - snapped by yours truly on my simple tablet camera at about 1:20 p.m. over the tower of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary here in St. Louis - is very similar to what the vast crowd at Fatima saw at the beginning of the solar prodigy.

I'll guarantee that you have never seen the sun looking like this - a non-glaring disk resembling a full moon, high in a blue sky!

Another miracle, folks? Nope. Here comes the spoiler! 😢 The truth is, I didn't see the sun looking like this either, and was very surprised when I saw how my photo came out!

However, it was indeed taken during another spectacular solar prodigy - but this time a completely natural one, namely, the total eclipse of the sun that was seen here and in many parts of the U.S. on August 21, 2017.

That happened to be the anniversary of another rigorously investigated and authenticated miracle seen by multiple witnesses, that of Our Lady, St. John and St. Joseph at Knock, Ireland, in 1879.

Owing to some quirk in the exposure setting of my camera, what came out in the photo was quite the opposite of a total eclipse: the disk of the sun totally lit up with no trace of darkness!

But while professional and accurate photos of solar eclipses are a dime a dozen (a black disk surrounded by the bright corona), the amateurish one you see here certainly isn't!

But to me it was a special little gift from Our Lady of Fatima in the centenary year of her apparitions, showing how the great solar miracle looked to the crowd in the moment it began.

So, I'm sharing it as her little gift to you as well, on this year's anniversary of that wonderful and faith-inspiring event.

The author is a scholar and pastor of St. Mary of Victories in Saint Louis, United States.
Message from Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Church Hierachy to Sr Lucia at Rianjo
archive.fatima.org/essentials/facts/rianjo.asp

Eye witness account of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima Oct 13 1917
archive.fatima.org/essentials/facts/miracle.asp

Film about the apparitions of Fatima 1917
www.youtube.com/watch in English with Spanish Subs.
www.youtube.com/watch

www.youtube.com/watch
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Message from Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Church Hierachy to Sr Lucia at Rianjo
archive.fatima.org/essentials/facts/rianjo.asp

Eye witness account of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima Oct 13 1917
archive.fatima.org/essentials/facts/miracle.asp

Film about the apparitions of Fatima 1917
www.youtube.com/watch in English with Spanish Subs.
www.youtube.com/watch

www.youtube.com/watch
www.youtube.com/watch
I witnessed the solar eclipse from Idaho. There were peoplenearby with professional equipment whose photos looked the way the eclipse looked to the naked eye--a black disc surrounded by the corona. The pictures I took with my ordinary camera merely showed a bright, white disc. I.e., the camera registered the black moon surrounded by the corona as a white disc. No miracle.
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