In the 17th of may 1917, three children saw visions of a woman known as Our Lady of Fátima, since believed to be the Virgin Mary. She visited the children each month on the 13th day until October. Jacinta died in 1919 and Francisco in 1920 from the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918-1920. Lúcia, the only survivor, became a nun and lived until 2005- and writer of six memoirs of the events until her death. The lady is said to have entrusted the children with three secrets, two of them were revealed in 1941. The last secret was was officially released by Pope John Paul II in 2000 - a vision of the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.
It’s 100 years since the first vision that, one of the biggest pilgrimage in catholic religion and it is the first visit of Pope Francis to the place ( where in 1982 there was an attempt to murder Pope John Paul II, one year after the attempt murder in Vatican city).
The Sanctuary of Fatima is one of the religious places most visited in the world with more than 5 million pilgrims every year. At the same time the Sanctuary of Fátima ( just the religious ground not all the private and religious activities that surround it) presents bills of more than 17 million euros (data from 2005). The village with 2500 persons in 1917 has grown to more than 12000 in 2011- Hotels, museums, souvenir shops, restaurants, everything is part of the great "Fatima" that Pope Francis is going to visit.
100 years passed, the presence of Our Lady of Fatima, is spread across all continents and most countries - in the US alone there are 49 churches dedicated to worship.