On May 13, 1917 three young children, who were looking after two families’ flocks of sheep, beheld an amazing vision of a lady in a bright white robe edged in gold. They saw this vision on five subsequent occasions. On the last occasion, October 13, 1917 Lúcia reported seeing the sun dance and rotate in the sky. Many believers saw the same phenomenon.
The two youngest children soon died, but the third, Lúcia, had a long life as a nun, dying eventually in 2005. The three are well on their way to sainthood in the Roman Catholic church.
The outcome of these visions was the foundation of the shrine at Fátima and the building of a basilica. What was merely a mountainside is now a built-up monument, attracting pilgrims from around the world.
The site has also attracted three Popes, Paul VI and John Paul II (thrice) and Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis will visit the shrine on the centenary of the first vision, May 13, 2017.
Peter Booker examines the terpsichorean sun, the contemporary political atmosphere and the uses to which various institutions have put these supernatural phenomena.
The talks are organised by the Algarve History Association and they will be held on Wednesday, April 26 in the Convento de São José Lagoa at 6pm and on Friday, April 28 in the Municipal Library Tavira at 11am.