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(LifeSiteNews) — On July 13, 1917, after having shown the three children a terrifying vision of hell, Our Lady of Fatima said the following words:

You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.

If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end, but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI. […]

To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. 

If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. 

In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.

These words are part of what has come to be known as “the second secret” of Fatima.

They’ve been the subject of much controversy over the last hundred years — particularly over whether the prophecies have been fulfilled or are yet to come.

But what’s clear is Russia has a tremendously important role in the fate of the world – whether for good or ill.

A few months before this message, in February 1917, revolution had broken out in Russia, leading to the abdication of the Tsar. Less than a month after the final Fatima apparition and the Miracle of the Sun in October 1917, the Bolsheviks took power in the October Revolution.

It was a truly frightening time for the world. Communist revolutions sprung up in many different places, and no one could tell where things would go.

The year 1917, the year of this revolution, is itself full of meaning. 1517 was the year of Luther’s rebellion against the Church. 1717 was the year Freemasonry was established — rebellion against Christ and the idea of Christianity. But 1917 — the year of atheistic, communist materialism — represented a rebellion against God Himself.

We all are aware of the horrors of the Russian Communist regime, whose effects are continuing to this day through cultural Marxism and other means.

We’re told that Lucy, the oldest, did not actually even know what the word “Russia” meant at the time — and yet she always affirmed hearing it. Russia does not feature very greatly in the later messages at Fatima, but returns with greater force once Sister Lucy had entered the convent, and Our Lady returned to make her request.

The Vision at Tuy

In 1929, Our Lord told Sister Lucie that the time had arrived.

At a late Holy Hour, kneeling in darkness, lit only by the red sanctuary lamp, praying before the Blessed Sacrament at the communion rail and saying the prayers that the Angel had taught her in Fatima — suddenly the chapel was filled with light.

A great cross appeared on the altar, held and supported by God the Father, with Christ hanging upon it, and with a luminous dove at his breast. A Chalice and Host were in mid-air with drops of blood falling from Christ into the chalice.

To the right was Our Lady with her Immaculate Heart, crowned with thorns and flames — and on the other were large letters spelling the words “Grace and Mercy.”

In this vision, Our Lady said: “The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.”

Why Russia?

Now, this may all sound quite strange. Why Russia? Why a consecration, and why to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

Well, we can see the horrific and bloody role that Russian communism played over the last two years — not least towards the Russian people themselves. It’s said that the way the Communists behaved showed that they hated the Russian people more than any others. It enslaved around 18,000,000 in the Gulag system based on ludicrous show trials and denunciations.

But it’s estimated that 3.5 million Ukrainians died in the Holodomor, a man-made famine that the Ukrainian government and others recognize as a genocide by the communists.

This is to say nothing of the horrendous blood-stained atrocities carried out by the communists in the other Soviet “republics.”

So we can see why Russia is important. But why the Immaculate Heart and why a consecration? Sister Lucy records asking Our Lord why he insisted on these things for the conversion of Russia. He responded:

Because I want my whole Church to recognize that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary … The Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia. It has been confided to Her.

Some say that this has already been done. We have indeed enjoyed a period sort-of peace, and indeed the USSR has appeared to have fallen, but it’s hardly been replaced with anything we can clearly recognize as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

After the 1929 vision I mentioned, Sister Lucy sent letter after letter to her confessors, her bishop and various other clergy, asking that these messages reach the pope and be fulfilled. Again and again she stressed the danger facing the world and the importance of this consecration for averting it.

For example, six years later, she said in a letter to a priest: 

Regarding the matter of Russia, I think it would please our Lord very much if you worked to make the Holy Father comply with his wishes …

About three years ago Our Lord was very displeased because His request had not been attended to and I made this fact known to the bishop in a letter. Up to date Our Lord has asked nothing more of me, except for prayers and sacrifices.

When I am speaking intimately with Him, it seems to me that He is ready to show His mercy toward Russia, as He promised five years ago, and whom He wishes so much to save.”

It’s really striking how frequently and urgently she wrote to these people. There are many more examples in other letters.

The Lack of a Consecration 

In 1940, she attributed the outbreak of the Second World War to the consecration not having been done. She said:

Our Lord also regrets it. By this act He would have appeased His justice and forgiven the world the scourge of war that Russia is promoting among the nations since the war in Spain.

It’s not really taught in schools, but the Spanish Civil War was a prelude to the Second World War in many ways and a brutal anti-Catholic persecution by the communist forces in Spain, in which many priests and nuns were butchered.

In fact, Portugal, Spain’s neighbor, was largely spared these atrocities — which the bishops attributed to their own consecration of Portugal to the Immaculate Heart.

Everyone knows that Spanish Communism was being spurred on by the Communists in Russia. It’s not a secret. But Sister Lucy is saying that these atrocities would have been averted if the consecration had been made.

In other words, Russia was already being used as a scourge against the world. And she said further:

Therefore it is the will of God that the request be renewed with the Holy See. Unless this act intervenes, through which intervention we would obtain peace, the war will only end when the blood spilled by the martyrs is enough to appease the Divine Justice.

King of France

We’ve all heard of the famous “Third Secret of Fatima,” which was due to be opened in 1960. But the consecration itself was supposed to happen soon after 1929.

In 1931, Sister Lucy recounts a frightening message from Christ, already angry at the hierarchy’s failure to obey his request:

They did not want to heed my request [to consecrate Russia]! … Like the King of France they will repent and do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread its errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church: the Holy Father will have much to suffer.

Then she relayed this message from Christ to her bishop and the hierarchy:

Make it known to my ministers that, given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My request, they will follow him into misfortune. It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.

What does this mean, the King of France?

In 1689, Christ had ordered, through St. Margaret Mary, King Louis XIV of France to consecrate his realm to the Sacred Heart. He promised great blessings for this act — and punishments for failing to do so. For various reasons, it didn’t happen — and one hundred years later, the later King Louis XVI lost his head in the French Revolution and the monarchy was overthrown.

What a frightening message, that if the consecration is not done, the hierarchy will go the way of the King of France. Who knows exactly what the threat means, but we can leave that aside. For our purposes, thinking about Russia, we see again that Sr. Lucy says the delays mean that even when the consecration is made, Russia will have already spread its errors and provoked wars and persecutions.

Final Interview?

In 1957, she gave what some believe to be her final interview to a priest called Fr. Fuentes. Take a listen to what she says:

“The chastisement from Heaven is imminent. The year 1960 is on us” — the year that the third secret was supposed to be revealed — “and then what will happen? It will be very sad for everyone, and far from a happy thing if the world does not pray and do penance before then.”

But does she seem to tell us, with hints, what the third secret says?

This is the third part of the Message of Our Lady, which still remains secret until 1960. Tell them, Father, that the Blessed Virgin said repeatedly – to my cousins Francisco and Jacinta as well as to me – that many nations would disappear from the face of the earth, that Russia would be the instrument of chastisement from Heaven for the whole world if the conversion of that poor Nation is not obtained beforehand …

Let’s hear that again:

Many nations would disappear from the face of the earth, [and] Russia would be the instrument of chastisement from Heaven for the whole world if the conversion of that poor Nation is not obtained beforehand.

So what can we do?

As we watch what is going on over in Ukraine, can we not see the beginnings of this prophecy? In light of these words, it’s chilling, chilling stuff. But we recall these things not to stir up hatred or warmongering, but to focus on how we should view these events, which is more helpful than whipping ourselves up into a frenzy.

What can we do? Well, we can pray and observe a good Lent with proper fasting, and by doing penance for sin.

But Sister Lucy also told us that there were two specific things we should do.

The first is pretty basic: We should say the Rosary every day. In the interview with Fr. Fuentes, she said that Our Lady “has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary”:

She has given this efficacy to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary.

These are strong promises, and we should trust them.

But the second means is more uniquely linked to Fatima — we can observe the First Saturday devotions revealed by Our Lady of Fatima.

Do you remember, from the second secret I read at the beginning? I can’t go too much into it here, but the idea is this:

For five consecutive Saturdays — and just keep doing it once you’ve done five — we go to confession, receive Holy Communion, offer 5 decades of the rosary and 15 minutes of meditation on the Rosary — all in a spirit of reparation for sins against the Immaculate Heart.

You can read more about this devotion in this article, but this is what Sister Lucy said of it in 1939 to a priest:

War or peace in the world depends on practicing this devotion [the first Saturdays] united to the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

This week is the First Saturday of March, so let’s get involved. Who knows whether what is happening in Ukraine is the start of something bigger and darker … but heaven warned us nearly 100 years ago and gave us the weapons to overcome these things.

It’s no good tweeting things like #PrayForUkraine and then merely sending “good vibes” over there. The best thing we could do for Ukraine — and perhaps ourselves — is to pray for the conversion of Russia and to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart in these First Saturday devotions.

These are our weapons. Let’s take them up.

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

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John-Henry is the co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne have eight children and they live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout the world. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum, an annual strategy meeting for life, faith and family leaders worldwide. He is a board member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family. He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization. He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.