I came in touch with Our Lady of Fatima when I was

around sixteen years old. At the time, the crowned statue of

the Virgin of Fatima was taken across Italy. The statue arrived

in Enna by helicopter and was then taken to the monastery of

Montesalvo, where it remained for a few hours. I followed the

statue all the way to the playground where the helicopter had

landed and then took off.

The following day at school, I talked about Our Lady of

Fatima with my schoolmates, who didn’t seem as enthusiastic

as me about the coming of the statue.

Have you ever heard about the three secrets of Fatima?”

asked Carlo, one of my schoolmates. He was a priest’s

nephew. His uncle, besides being a priest, was also a teacher

of Latin at our school.

No, I haven’t. I don’t even know about Our Lady of

Fatima,” I answered.

Okay, I’ll tell you what happened on May 13, 1917. That

day, Our Lady appeared to three children, named Lucia,

Francisco, and Giacinta, in a place called Cova da Iria, and

asked them to come to the same place on the thirteenth of

each month for five consecutive months at the same time.

The civil and religious authorities didn’t believe the three

young shepherds, and Lucia’s mother accused her of lying. On

August thirteenth, the three children were arrested and

forced to confess that they hadn’t told the truth, but they were

unshakable and kept their side of the story. The children

couldn’t go to Cova de Iria that day because they were in

prison, but Our Lady appeared again to them on August

nineteenth, and this time she promised that on October

thirteenth, which would be the day of the last apparition, she

would give them evidence of the authenticity of the apparition

so that everybody would believe them.

On the appointed day, people from all over Portugal came

to Cova de Iria to be present at the miraculous event that had

been predicted by Our Lady. There were believers and nonbelievers

there, as well as civil and religious authorities and

many anticlerical journalists.

It was a rainy day. After noon it stopped raining and a

cloud enveloped the three children. Our Lady asked Lucia to

build a chapel in that place, and announced that the war

would be over soon. Then the miracle happened. The sun

started twirling in the sky. It was visible to the naked eye. It

suddenly seemed that it was falling down toward the crowd.

Then it halted before going up again in the sky.”

I listened to Carlo with my mouth wide open. I was really

mesmerized by his account, but my mind was turned to the

secrets. “What about the secrets?” I asked.

Oh, they are terrible! You should know that the third

secret of Fatima has not been revealed yet. It was given to the

Pope by one of the three children to whom the Virgin Mary

appeared. In fact, of the three young shepherds, two died very

young while the third, Lucia, is still living.”

Do you know the contents of the first two secrets?” I


Yes. In the first secret, Lucia, Giacinta, and Francisco were

shown hell. In the second secret, Our Lady said that after the

First World War, another would burst forth that would be

worse. Furthermore, she said that someday Russia would be

converted and the world would enjoy a time of peace.”

Does your uncle the priest know anything about the third

secret?” I asked.

No, he doesn’t. Nobody knows the third secret except the

Pope. In my opinion,” said Carlo, “there must be something

catastrophic in the message. Otherwise, the Pope would have

revealed it. Maybe the message talks about the end of the


At Carlo’s words, a shudder of fear ran throughout my

body as I linked the end of the world to the end of my life.

More than fifty years had gone by since my conversation

with Carlo. Meanwhile, the third secret, which had been kept

in the Vatican archives for fifty-six years, was revealed by

Pope John Paul II, who said that the secret was related to him.

The text of the third secret was also reported in our local

newspaper on June 27, 2000. I read the article, cut it out, and

put it into the drawer of my bedside table, where still I keep it.

The article tells the secret and contains a theological comment

by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later would become Pope.

Not one catastrophic prediction was contained in the third

secret. The real meaning of the message, according to Vatican,

is that one can change his or her destiny through prayer and


I had believed that every human being has his or her

destiny already assigned and cannot do anything to change it.

Now the third secret of Fatima had turned my way of thinking

upside down. On the other hand, it is unthinkable that God,

who is the giver of life and the creator of all things, is not able

to change destiny.

Here is the unabridged text of the third secret:

After the two parts which I have already explained, at

the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel

with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out

flames that looked as though they would set the world on

fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our

Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing

to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a

loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’ And we saw in an

immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how

people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a

Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was

the Holy Father.’ Other Bishops, Priests, men and women

Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which

there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a corktree

with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father

passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling

with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed

for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having

reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of

the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired

bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died

one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and

women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks

and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there

were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his

hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs

and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way

to God.

Tuy, January 3, 1944

My wife and I were flying from Rome to Lisbon when I

told her, who is not a believer, what happened on May 13,

1981, at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome.

It was a peaceful afternoon at Saint Peter’s Square when

Pope John Paul II was passing through the crowd. Suddenly a

Turkish man, who was a professional killer, fired two bullets

at the Pope. The Pope was taken to the hospital unconscious

and was about to die, while the attempted assassin tried to

run away, but was blocked by a nun named Sister Lucia. Don’t

you think that these are singular coincidences?”

What coincidences?” asked my wife.

The first coincidence is the date of the event. Both the

first apparition to the shepherd children and the attempt on

the Pope’s life happened on the same day, May thirteenth.

Furthermore, the person that caught the killer was called

Lucia, like the young shepherdess of Fatima.”

Yes, they are astonishing coincidences. Did the Pope


Yes, he survived, and he had no doubt that it had been

Our Lady who had deflected the bullets, which otherwise

would have been fatal. The Pope was bound to die, and the

prophecy contained in the third secret of Fatima would have

been carried out if not for the intercession of the Virgin

Mary. Hence, the future and prophecies can be changed if it

is God’s will.”

We landed at the airport in Lisbon and remained in the

city for a few days before going to Fatima. While in Portugal,

we visited Cabo da Roca, which is the extreme western tip of

Europe. It is the place where the land ends and the ocean

begins. Watching the immense ocean from the top of the

headland, I revived the dreams of the great navigators of the

past who had left the safety of the land to sail the unknown.

Seen from an altitude of 140 meters above sea level, the ocean

gave me a sense of immensity and infinity. It was like watching

the firmament from above rather than from below.

We arrived at Fatima in the early afternoon and found

accommodations in a very good hotel near the sanctuary. A

few steps further was a square wider than I had ever seen,

and at the opposite end was the sanctuary of Our Lady of

Fatima. What impressed me was the view of the tombs of the

three shepherd children; two were close to each other, while

Francisco’s was detached. Near the sanctuary is a museum

where the crown of Our Lady is kept. Set in the crown is the

bullet that had crossed Pope John Paul II’s body without

damaging vital organs. Not far from the square there was a

small train that took tourists to the houses where the three

children had lived and the hillock where the angel had

appeared to them.

We left Fatima bound for another holy place called

Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by ETTORE GRILLO

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind



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