This well-done film tells the true story of three young children in Portugal, who during World War I see visions of the Virgin Mary. Her message is to pray and suffer for the conversion of sinners, in order to bring the war to an end. The youngsters are persecuted and asked to recant over and over by their parents, as well as religious and political leaders, who believe the visions to be distracting and dangerous. However, the three remain firm — they saw “the lady of the rosary” and she will perform a miracle so that others believe in her. The miracle occurred on October 13th, 1917 when a large crowd had gathered. After heavy rain, the sun came out and various unusual solar activity was described — different colors, the sun dancing or zig-zagging and coming close to the earth. The drenched earth and people became immediately dry.
The plot progresses through a series of flashbacks, as the oldest child, Lucia, now a nun, describes her experiences to an interviewer writing a book about the events. All of the characters, both believers and doubters are portrayed sensitively and compassionately. The roles are well-acted. The goal of the film seems to be to present the facts dispassionately, without influencing the viewer to a particular viewpoint. As Sister Lucia says:
“I can only give you my testimony. I can’t explain everything.”
Isn’t this all any of us can do? What came through most clearly was the determination of three young children (age 7-10) to hold firm to the vision they believed to be authentic. In 1930 the Catholic Church accepted the events at Fatima as a miracle; the two younger children (Francisco and Jacinto) died a few years after the sightings, and were canonized in 2017. Sister Lucia lived to be almost 98, and her cause for canonization is still in progress.
VERDICT: 5 Stars. You will enjoy this movie and learn something about the history of this famous event in Catholic history, even if you chose not to accept its’ veracity.
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