By October the news of Fatima spread more, and the people learned that a miracle was to happen. The children began to speak of the miracle which was to happen.
Seventy to one hundred thousand pilgrims came to the Cova da Iria.
It was pouring down rain and everything was very muddy. My family was very uncertain and feared that if the miracle did not take place; the people would want to kill the three children.
Once there, moved by an interior impulse, I asked the people to shut their umbrellas and pray a Rosary. Soon after that there was a flash of light, and Our Lady appeared above the oak tree. Lucia asked: "What do you want of me?"
I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes."
"I have many things to ask you: the cure of some sick persons, the conversion of sinners, and other things . . . "
"Some yes, but not others. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins." Looking very sad, Our Lady said: "Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended."
Then, opening her hands, she made them reflect onto the sun, and as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself.
Here, Your Excellency, is the reason why I cried out to the people to look at the sun. My aim was not to call their attention to the sun, because I was not even aware of their presence. I was moved to do so under the guidance of an interior impulse.
After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolor's. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, holding the child Jesus in one hand and the brown scapular in the other hand.
(Questions & Answers about the Brown Scapular, Story about the Scapular Medal)
At the predetermined hour, the rain stopped, and the thick mass of clouds broke. The sun looked like a disc of dull silver, and began dancing wildly. The people shouted out: "MIRACLE!" It seems that the majority of the people saw the sun trembling and dancing, whirling around like a catherine wheel; it descended almost low enough to burn the earth with its rays. Many thought the end of the world had come, as the sun seemed to fall upon them. People reported color changes in objects on earth, caused by the rays of the sun. Some expressed sorrow for their sins aloud. Some who had come to ridicule now believed.
After the great miracle of the Sun which Our Lady had performed "so that all may believe," the events of Fatima became the subject of national attention in Portugal.
It took the Church over thirteen years to make an official declaration, and many clarifications were still necessary.
The first publication of the subject of Fatima came from Fr. Formigao in 1921. He too was a nonbeliever of the Fatima events and was converted by Our Lady of Fatima at the September 13, 1917, apparition.