METHUEN — A hundred years ago this month, three children reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary in Fatima, a town in central Portugal.
To mark the occasion, a devoted couple from Methuen will head to Fatima, along with pilgrims from around the world.
It all began on May 13, 1917, when three very young shepherds — Lucia Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto — said they saw an apparition of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Hardly anyone believed them, and the children even spent a few days in jail. The authorities tried to browbeat them into recanting their story.
They insisted they were telling the truth, however. By the time the Virgin Mary made her sixth reported appearance, a crowd estimated at 30,000 to 100,000 people showed up at the place where the previous apparitions were said to have occurred.
The children said the Virgin Mary had promised a miracle would take place