The younger children died in the 1918-19 European influenza pandemic. Their cousin, Lúcia, whose beatification process began in 2008, died in 2005 at age 97. The Virgin is said to have confided three secrets to the children, which were not written down until 1941, when Lúcia started writing her memoirs.
The first two secrets were interpreted as foretelling a world war and the dangers of Soviet Communism. The third secret was long kept a mystery, but the sanctuary’s importance grew after Pope John Paul II credited the Virgin of Fátima with saving his life when Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turkish gunman, tried to kill him on May 13, 1981, the anniversary of the visions.