While Pope Benedict XV insisted on the recitation of the Rosary for Peace (May 5, 1917), Our Lady appeared for the first time in Fatima (Portugal) on May 13, 1917, to Lucia (March 22, 1907- February 13, 2005), Francisco (June 11, 1908 - April 4, 1919) and Jacinta (March 10, 1910 - February 20, 1920). Lucia, who became a Carmelite nun, recalled the event:
High up on the slope in the Cova da Iria, I was playing with Jacinta and Francisco at building a little stone wall around a clump of furze. Suddenly we saw what seemed to be a flash of lightning… We began to go down the slope, hurrying the sheep along towards the road.
Suddenly, on a small holmoak, we beheld a Lady all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun and radiated a light more clear and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it.
We stopped, astounded, before the Apparition. We were so close, just a few feet from her, that we were bathed in the light which surrounded her, or rather, which radiated from her. Then Our Lady spoke to us:
“Do not be afraid. I will do you no harm.”
“Where are you from?”
“I am from Heaven.”
“What do you want of me?”
“I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the 13th day, at this same hour. Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards, I will return here yet a seventh time (1).”
“Shall I go to Heaven too?”
“Yes, you will”
“She will go also.”
“He will go there too, but he must say many Rosaries.”
Then I remembered to ask about two girls who had died recently. They were friends of mine and used to come to my home to learn weaving with my eldest sister.
“Is Maria das Neves in Heaven?”
“Yes, she is.”
(I think she was about 16 years old).
“She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.”
(It seems to me that she was between 18 and 20 years of age).
“Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?”
“Yes, we are willing.”
“Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”
As she pronounced these last words “...the grace of God will be your comfort,” Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then, moved by an interior impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts:
“O most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!”
After a few moments, Our Lady spoke again:
“Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.”
Sister Lucia's Memoirs
Fourth Memoir. The Story of the Apparitions (Vice-postulação dos videntes, Fátima, 1991, p 165-167)