Oct. 13, 1917, marked the last Marian apparition in Fátima and the day on which thousands of people bore witness to the miracle of the dancing sun — a miracle that shattered the prevalent belief at the time that God was no longer relevant.

Dr. Marco Daniel Duarte, a theologian and director of the Fátima Shrine museums, shared with CNA the impact that the miracle of the sun made during those days in Portugal.

If one were to open philosophy books during that period, he or she would likely read something akin to the concept conceived by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who boldly asserted in the late 1800s that “God is dead.”

Also, in 1917 Portugal, the majority of the world was embroiled in war. As World War I raged throughout Europe, Portugal found itself unable to maintain its initial neutrality and joined forces with the Allies. More than 220,000 Portuguese civilians died during the war, thousands due to food shortages and thousands more from the Spanish flu.