One question that came to my mind when looking at Fatima was, “How did word get out to so many people that they would go slog through the mud to see something that might possibly happen, but only if it was a miracle?”
There were just these three little kids that were telling people that they knew that a miracle could be expected on October 13, 1917 around noon time.
These three little kids said that they were getting visions from Mary that there was going to be a miracle “so that all may believe.”
It’s not like these little kids were popular at the time. There was nothing remarkable about them. Their parents were not well off. So, how did word get out about the up coming Fatima miracle?
The first time the kids made any comments about the up coming miracle was in May of 1917. The youngest kid, named Jacinta is on the left in the picture above. She was the first to start telling everyone that they saw someone who promised a miracle.
Word spread from there along with the questions. “Where they telling the truth? Or, was this just some silly kid stuff?” The odds had to be on the “silly kid stuff.” Without some kind of confirmation, who would care to take the time to go see some supposed miracle?
The Portugal Government – Did the government sell this miracle to the people? Hardly. The government had vowed to stomp out religion within two generations. Anything giving the people a reason to believe would have been damaging to their credibility. You might be surprised (as I was recently) to learn that those witnessing the miracle actually had to confront soldiers. The following is a quote from an eye witness, Mr. Dominic Reis, about that issue.
“Everywhere we saw animals, trees, bushes. Very rough. And this National Guard, what we would call “weekend soldiers”… tried to stup os from going down into the Cova.
“The crowd was breaking in one corner. When the soldiers move to protect that corner, another corner is breaking out. First thing you know, everybody got through.
“What happened, happened because they couldn’t control crowds… I was slightly wounded by one of the bayonets.” At this point, Mr. Reis showed a scar on his hand from a wound inflicted by the bayonet of one of the soldiers as he braved the pointed bayonets.
As you see here, the Portugal government wasn’t a supporter of the event. But, they did make a large mistake that did end up giving credibility to the children. In August, 2 months prior to the miracle, the kids were taken by the government and put into jail for two days (tossed in along with the other men that were in jail). The leaders in Fatima wanted to put an end to the rumors that God was going to show a miracle. So, after a day in jail, the men told the children that the were going to kill them by boiling them in oil. And, one by one, the children were threatened with death and taken away. Lucia, the oldest, was the last child to be threatened – and she was convinced that her two young friends had been brutally killed. And, after seeing these two kids drug off, she also stuck to her story. Facing certain death, she didn’t waver.
The kids were returned to their families because they feared what might happen to them if they were to in fact kill the kids. The fact that the children stood up to these men and didn’t back down actually gave a great deal of credibility to their story.
The Church – With all of the pressure by the government to tone down religion, you’d think that the church was doing everything it could to push the up coming miracle. That would be wrong, it turns out. The Catholic Church is not all that eager to embrace miracles as they are occurring. Only after the validity of the miracle if verified are these events discussed. The up coming miracle at Fatima was not a topic that could be discussed in the churches in Portugal.
The Weather – Did the weather help? Not so much. It had been raining for days, and the ground was soaked terribly. So, in order to get to the site of the miracle, people had to put up with uncomfortable conditions, get past the guards, and then go stand in the mud and wait for something (no one had any idea “what”).
Faith and People Watchers – The crowd was filled mostly with people of faith – people that believed that a miracle could happen. But, the crowd had other people in there as well – people that were certain that the kids were just full of it. They were insulting these people of faith, calling them “Simpletons”. Simple minded people too stupid to rationally think for themselves.
Those two elements are what pulled people to the event – but by far, most of the 70,000 were people who did believe that a miracle could happen.