This quote of Our Lady is one that practically summarizes the entire message of Fatima, at least in terms of what she was asking of us! It is a call to prayer and penance, both of which are so essential to bring about the conversion of sinners. As our heavenly Mother, Mary wants all  her spiritual children to be saved by turning away from their sins, seeking God’s forgiveness for them and amending their lives so as to live in a manner pleasing to God. This means to know God, to love Him and to serve Him in this world so that we might be happy with Him forever in Heaven. Once an individual has begun living a faithful Christian life to achieve their own personal salvation, Our Lady then asks them to join with her Divine Son Jesus in the all-important mission of saving the almost countless souls of others. As we shall see, this can take many forms: sharing  God’s Word,  good example, catechetical instruction, performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, spiritual direction and the like.  Not everyone can do these things, but everyone with a sufficient understanding and practice of faith, hope and charity can actually do the two most primary works: namely, prayer and sacrifice! We are all called to do this for the salvation of souls!


This apparition of Our Lady was the most unique of all six of them for a number of reasons. For one, Our Lady did not appear in the Cova da Iria as in her previous apparitions. but instead in a place called Valinhos located about a ten-minute walk from their village of Aljustrel.  The little shepherds many times grazed their sheep there. The Angel of Peace made two of his three apparitions nearby as well.

Another reason why this August apparition was unique was that it did not occur on the 13th of the month like the others, but rather on August 19th. The reason was that the three little visionaries, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, were secretly abducted by the then district administrator, Arturo de Oliveira Santos. He was a fallen-away Catholic, a leading Freemason and a fiercely anti-clerical man. The reason he abducted the children was not only to prevent them from being in the Cova da Iria for their scheduled meeting with Our Lady, but also to torture and torment the little children by horrible threats of boiling them in oil if they did not reveal the secrets Our Lady had confided to them and then make a public statement that there really were no apparitions by Our Lady, but they had just made up the whole story. The children remained steadfast and would not give in! So Our Lady, having missed her appointment on the 13th, made it up to the children by appearing to them on August 19th.

Another difference in this apparition was that it was not “planned” in advance as to time and place. It happened quite suddenly. Lucia and Francisco were together with John, the brother of Francisco and Jacinta, at Valinhos grazing their families’ sheep. When Lucia sensed the coming presence of the Blessed Mother and that she would appear at any moment, realizing that Jacinta might miss the apparition, she asked John to go and get his sister. He refused to do so until she “bribed” him with a few pennies for his efforts. As soon as Jacinta arrived, Our Lady appeared over a holmoak tree at the site. Her visit was brief and her message simple. Our Lady told the children to continue to come to the Cova on the 13th, to pray the Rosary daily and that she would perform a miracle in October for all to believe in the truth of her apparitions. She also answered a question that Lucia put to her about what to do with money that people were leaving at the Cova. Our Lady told her to use some of it to make two litters (used to carry statues) for the coming feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7th) and the rest was to be used to help construct a chapel that was to be built on the spot of the apparitions. Finally, Lucia asked Our Lady to cure some sick people. Our Lady responded that she would heal a number of them during the year, but added  that it was necessary for some of them to reform their lives and return to God, while others needed to pray especially the Rosary.


Lucia tells us that suddenly, the face of Our Lady became sad. It was the sadness of a mother in mortal anguish over a horrible fate that threatened to come upon many of her beloved children! It was at that moment that Our Lady uttered her heartfelt plea of sorrow and anguish:

Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls  go to  hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for  them.

This plea of Our Lady brings us right into the heart of the redemptive mission of Christ. Jesus said that He had come that we might have life and have it more abundantly. [Jn 10:10] We know that it is a central belief of our Catholic faith that Jesus gave His life to take away our sins by His death on the cross. He was the victimal Lamb offering Himself in sacrifice and in obedience to the Father’s will. His Precious Blood was the price of our redemption. When He rose again on Easter Sunday, He destroyed the power of death and gave us the hope of eternal life. He has promised to raise all who love Him to eternal life on the last day. Theologians refer to what Jesus did for us in making Himself the offering or Victim for our sins as the “vicarious redemption.” In other words, though we sinned He atoned for them. He suffered in place of us and for us. But it is part of God’s plan that others join Him in distributing the graces of Christ’s redemption to all souls that they might be set free from Original Sin and personal sin, and that they might gain eternal life in Heaven.


No one shared more completely in Christ’s redemptive mission than Our Blessed Lady. After all, Our Lord needed to be part of the human family if He was going to redeem all of humanity. So He needed a body and blood as well as a human soul. He took His body and blood from the Virgin Mary when she gave her consent with such total generous abandonment to God’s plan for the salvation of the world. She then shared in all His joys and sorrows from the moment of His conception to the moment of His death. Although it is not a defined dogma of the Faith, theologians and even Popes have referred to her role in God’s plan as “Co-Redemptrix.” This does not mean that she equally shared with Jesus in the work of redemption, for only Jesus could redeem us; but it does mean that she shared most intimately in the redemptive sufferings of her Son. The truly inspiring words of St. Bernard of Clairvaux express this so beautifully. It is found in the Divine Office for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15:

Do not be surprised, brothers, that Mary is said to be a martyr in spirit. Let him be  surprised who does not remember the words of Paul, that one of the greatest  crimes of the Gentiles was that they were without love. That was far from the  heart of Mary; let it be far from her servants.

Perhaps someone will say: “Had she not known before that He would die?”  Undoubtedly. “Did she not expect Him to rise again at once?” Surely. “And still  she grieved over her crucified Son?” Intensely. Who are you and what is the  source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary  than at the passion of Mary’s Son? For if He could die in body, could she not die  with Him in spirit? He died in body through a love greater than anyone had ever known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since His.


The plea that Our Lady made to the children for prayer and sacrifice was, in the final analysis, an invitation for them to share also in the redemptive mission of Jesus with her. The Lord wants us to do this. Very often in the Gospel we see people who shared in Jesus’ mission of redemption. Some people brought certain individuals to Jesus to receive not only healing but forgiveness of their sins. This was true of the healing of the paralytic at Capernaum [cf Mk 2:1-12] who was carried by his friends and placed before Jesus. Our Lord first forgave him his sins and then healed his paralysis. That paralytic could never have gotten to Jesus unless his friends carried him there. So in a spiritual sense, there are many people who never pray to God for the forgiveness of their sins. They may even be totally unaware that they are in danger of being lost from God for all eternity. Someone else will have to “carry them” by their prayers and sacrifices to Jesus. In other words, by the prayer and sacrifice Our Lady requested, we win the grace for sorrow for sins, conversion and forgiveness for those who are not asking for these graces for themselves. This can be especially seen in the “Pardon Prayer” taught to the children by the Angel. “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you; and I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love you!”


After making her plea for prayer and penance, Our Lady adds the urgent reason why we must respond. She tells the three children and us as well that many souls go to hell because there is no one praying and sacrificing for them. The children, having already seen a vision of hell in the July apparition, know only too well how terrible that suffering was, and for all eternity! Remember, these sinners are not making reparation for their own sins, so Our Lady wants us to make reparation for them. There is no way that Our Lady could ever forget the immense suffering of Jesus on the cross precisely for the salvation of souls. So even for one soul to be lost, one of her own spiritual children no less, what sorrow this must cause her mother’s heart. She heard the cry of Jesus on the cross, “I thirst.” Not only was that thirst for physical drink, but His thirst was also a spiritual desire for the salvation of the whole world. He wanted none to be lost. So Mary’s plea is an anguished cry that all may be saved and none may be lost. The way we can fulfill Our Lady’s request is by our frequent prayers and sacrifices for sinners to be saved.