100 years ago, on May 13, 1917, the Blessed Mother began appearing to three small shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. Mary taught the children how to pray and how to make reparations for the sins of others, but with such intense visions like the one of hell or the miracle of the dancing sun, the message of Fatima can seem too overwhelming and too intense for children (and even some adults!). Never fear, there is a wonderful book to aid in bringing children to the message of Our Lady at Fatima and draw them ever more closely to her Immaculate Heart.
Our Lady’s Message to Three Shepherd Children and the World by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle weaves the story of the children and the apparitions at Fatima in a beautifully simplistic way that never overwhelms and opens the layers of the apparitions, drawing children and others ever more deeply into the message of Our Lady and into prayer and penance.
Each chapter begins with a beautiful painting (by gifted illustrator Anne Englehart) that serves to set the stage for the story as it is about to unfold. Then, the chapters are broken down into little chunks with a cohesive lesson or message that will be easy to understand, all the while making the children of Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia relatable and admirable to children today. Each chapter then ends with a “Something to Think About” section where Cooper O’Boyle places a reflection on the message of the chapter and challenges children to enter more fully into the mysteries through questions and simple challenges like, “Can you try hard to be obedient to your parents and those who have authority over you? It will be pleasing to God and will help you to grow in virtue and holiness” (see pg. 158).
Cooper O’Boyle weaves into each chapter writings of Sr. Lucia herself and those from other saints, priests, and popes to further display how the message of Fatima is meant for all people in all times and that it is at the heart of the mission of the Church in the world. There are appendices at the back containing different prayers taught to the children at Fatima, how to pray the Rosary, and how to do the Five First Saturdays devotion.
Cooper O’Boyle effectively calms the fears that one might have trying to teach children about Fatima, thinking it might be too intense for young ones: she never dwells on the scary or intense parts, just like Our Lady didn’t, and always shows how they fit into the lives of the faithful, reminding us of the call to prayer and penance for the conversion of sinners and the world. This book is an indispensable resource for any parent or educator and is an absolute treasure. At the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima and the canonization of littlest visionaries Sts. Jacinta and Francisco Marto, do not miss the opportunity to make this book part of your life! Learn more about it here.