Just four years after the proclamation made
by Pius IX in 1854, Our Lady began to appear to
St. Bernadette at Lourdes, France, from Feb.11,
1858. On March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, after Bernadette had asked her several times
to reveal her name, the Blessed Virgin extended
her arms to assume the position shown on the
Miraculous Medal before rejoining them at the
breast. She looked up to heaven
and said in the local patois,
“Que soy era Immaculada Concepciou,” or, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Thus at Lourdes, she revealed
her inner essence, as it were,
that she was immaculately
These various apparitions of
Our Lady prepare the foundation for what she said and did at Fatima in 1917,
when she appeared to the little shepherds and
placed a focus on her Immaculate Heart — which
was ultimately immaculate because of her Immaculate Conception. Our Lady told them that to
save souls from hell, God wished to establish in
the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart.
She later gave details of this devotion to Sister
Lucia, specifically the request for reparation
to her Immaculate Heart in the First Saturday devotion. It is significant that Our Lord
revealed to Sister Lucia that one of the five
blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of
Mary concerned those who deny her Immaculate Conception.
We know that Our Lady’s Heart will triumph
in the end, because she told us. As such, we
should rejoice on this solemnity, realizing that
all the blessings that the Church and the world
have received at Fatima, and more generally in
the Church, have ultimately come from Our
Lady’s Immaculate Conception.

“O Mary,
conceived without
sin, pray for us who
have recourse to thee.”

Donal Anthony Foley

is the author of a number of books on Marian
apparitions, including Marian Apparitions, the
Bible, and the Modern World, and maintains a
related website at www.theotokos.org.uk.