The Apparition that Changed the World: A Review of Jean Heimann’s New Book on Fatima

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The following review was originally written on the blog Sacrifice of Love. It is republished here with permission from the author.

With depth and simplicity, Jean Heimann’s new book, Fatima: The Apparition That Changed the World (Tan Books 2017), instructs and inspires as it delves into the story of Our Lady of Fatima. However, instead of solely focusing on the apparitions themselves, Heimann provides a holistic view which shows the people and societal conditions that were so drastically affected by Mary’s appearances at Fatima. Heimann begins her work by introducing the three young children whom Mary appeared to: Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. She then continues to discuss the Marian apparitions that took place in 1917 and continue to be important 100 years later.

Used with permission.

Instead of simply discussing each apparition and then moving onto the next one, though, Heimann really dives into the messages of Our Lady. Following the scenes of the first two apparitions, she includes a “Lessons from the Apparition” section. This part of the book connects the faithful, humble “yes” that the three young visionaries gave to God with the fiat of Mary, the Mother of God. Heimann also explores Mary’s words, and how typical, “normal” lay Catholics can live out these messages. Instead of just throwing around terms like “reparation” and “Rosary,” she talks about what these aspects of the Faith are. I found the small section on the Rosary particularly inspiring as it discussed the importance of contemplation in this prayer.

In discussing these apparitions, Heimann draws from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s commentary on Fatima, which helps illustrate various symbols that were in the third apparition. She also provides the historical context of political events that were happening in Portugal at the time. Learning about these historical details was eye-opening, and helped me see how pivotal it was that Mary appeared in Fatima at this specific time period, and helped revive the Catholics there.

After diving into the sixth apparition—the famous incident of the Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 1917—Heimann talks about the lives and deaths of the visionaries in the years that followed. I really did not know much about the events that followed the apparitions, and I was fascinated as I read about Lucia’s life in the convent. The book concludes by discussing the different popes who have visited Fatima, and some miracles connected to Our Lady of Fatima that have taken place in the years since the apparitions.

I really enjoyed this book, and think that Heimann did an excellent job crafting a well-researched, thorough resource on Fatima that is very approachable and engaging. Whether you are unfamiliar with Our Lady of Fatima or grew up watching the animated movie about Fatima, this book is a great read that inspired me.  I found that this isn’t just a book about Fatima as an isolated set of Marian apparitions; instead, it shows us how Mary’s appearances at Fatima are part of the beautiful, rich tapestry of God’s work throughout the centuries.

Fatima: The Apparition that Changed the World, by Jean Heimann, is available for pre-order at Tan Books and at Amazon. 

I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

AnneMarie Miller

AnneMarie Miller

AnneMarie Miller is a quirky, spontaneous woman who loves the excitement and adventure that each day brings. She also greatly enjoys making weird analogies that intertwine the Catholic Faith and everyday life. A recent college graduate, she currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, where she spends her days blogging, avoiding housework, freelance writing, and reading good books. You can hear about her adventures and contact AnneMarie through her blog, Sacrifice of Love (

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6 thoughts on “The Apparition that Changed the World: A Review of Jean Heimann’s New Book on Fatima”

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    If you liked this book on Fatima, there is a whole spirituality that flows from this event. It is found in the book “To the priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.” It is available at mmp-usa dot net. This book also is a profound commentary on the problems facing the Church in our times and is actually the best analysis I know of.

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    douglas kraeger

    Fatima is such a great blessing from God. One aspect of the entire event that does not seem to garner much discussion is the purpose of St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appearing and blessing the world three times. Mary foretold on Aug. 19 and Sept 13 that St. Joseph and the Child Jesus would come in October, and they did, but I have never seen where anyone has focused on what the two Blessing the world three times is supposed to mean. We off coarse need Mary’s intercession for world peace, but we also need God’s Blessing as a consequence of Her intercession. If we see Jesus Christ as true God and True Man, and as God having only one, single, infinite, indivisible, eternally in the present tense thought, WORD, in which Jesus thinks about every detail of His infinite nature, every detail of time and space, and every detail of God’s entire will, all at once in the present tense and then focus on God’s revealed will that Jesus would love, honor, and be subject to Joseph as the head of the family for close to thirty years and realize that this is eternally God’s will throughout all space and time, we can then see that God’s blessings always and everywhere come through the blessing of St. Joseph as the head of the family. Yes, this is almost unfathomable, and something the devil will do all he can to keep people from focusing on and implementing in their prayer life, but, This is my question How is it possible for it to be not true without denying a fundamental truth concerning God, that He can only have one, eternal, indivisible infinite willing of everything all at once and Jesus willed, with His Human and divine will, to perfectly honor St. Joseph as the head of the family and therefore St. Joseph has the obligation of asking God’s blessings on the Family, including all the spiritual children of Mary, all of us? Do you know of any “expert” that discusses this aspect of Fatima? Thank you

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      Adrian Johnson

      St Joseph, “the just”, the craftsman, is the shadow of God the Father, Creator, protector and provider. He utters no word in the gospels; even as everything God the Father has to say is uttered in the Eternal Word made man in Jesus. St Joseph is not only head of the Holy Family, but Patron and protector of the Universal Church. That’s us. “Go to Joseph” Pharaoh said in the Book of Genesis to those who sought food in time of famine. “Go to St Joseph” in these times of spiritual famine; he will protect you from evil and provide food, clothing, and shelter to those who love his wife and adore his divine step-son.

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    Matthew 24:24New International Version (NIV)
    24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

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      Joshua 5:14 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
      . . .And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and worshipped (the angel), and said to him, “What does my lord bid his servant?”

      Daniel 8:7 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
      So he (St. Gabriel the Archangel) came near where I stood; and when he came, I was frightened and fell upon my face. . .

      Tobit 12:16 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
      They were both alarmed; and they fell upon their faces, for they were afraid (of St. Raphael the Archangel).

      Matthew 18:10 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
      “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. (We venerate angels because of their great dignity, which comes from their union with God. Saints also are united with God)

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        Revelation 19:9-11New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

        9 And the angel said[a]
        to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage
        supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant[b] with you and your comrades[c] who hold the testimony of Jesus.[d] Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus[e] is the spirit of prophecy.”

        John 16:23
        In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

        Colossians 3:17
        And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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