Places of Worship in Europe

Fatima

PORTUGAL

Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima

THE SANCTUARY

The Sanctuary of Fátima, also known as Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima (Portuguese: Santuário de Nossa Senhora de Fátima), is a group of Catholic religious buildings and structures in Cova da Iria, in the civil parish of Fátima, in the municipality of Ourém, in Portugal.

In addition to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, the shrine comprises the Chapel of the Lausperene , a great oak tree (near which the Marian Apparitions occurred), a monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Chapel of the Apparitions , where three children Lúcia Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, were first visited by Virgin Mary. In addition, several other structures and monuments were built in the intervening years to commemorate the events associated with the events in 1916, including: the Hostel/Retreat House of Our Lady of Sorrows , the rectory, the Hostel/Retreat House of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (and individual monuments to Pope Paul VI, Pope Pius XII, Pope John Paul II and Dom José Alves Correia da Silva (who had important roles in the history of site) and the Pastoral Centre of Paul VI.

The name of the town and parish is a rendition of the Arabic given name Fátima (فاطمة‎ Fāṭimah). (Fatimah is the namesake of Fatimah bint Muhammad, a daughter of the prophet of Islam Muhammad.)

Fátima was said to be the name of a Moorish princess kidnapped by a knight, Gonçalo Hermigues, and his companions. Hermigues took her to a small village in the Serra de Aire hills, in the recently created Kingdom of Portugal. According to the Western Catholic narrative, Fatima fell in love with her kidnapper and decided to convert to Christianity in order to marry him. She was baptized and given a Christian name, Oureana.

Arab sources, however, claim that Fátima was forced into Christianity, as were most Reconquista captives. There is no documentary evidence to support either scenario of such a conversion.

Whatever version is true, the place name recalls the Princess’ original Arab name rather than her Christian baptismal one.

The parish was founded in 1568, when it was annexed by the Collegiate of Ourém. For centuries, most of the villagers kept herds of sheep and depended also on subsistence farming.

Since the early 20th century, Fátima has been associated with events in which three local children, Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, purportedly saw visions of a woman known as Our Lady of Fátima, since believed by the Catholic Church to be the Virgin Mary. On 13 May 1917, whilst guarding their families’ sheep in the Cova da Iria, the children first claimed to have seen an apparition of a “lady dressed in white” and shining with a bright light.

In 2017 Fatima celebrated the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin.