On July 13, 1917 the visionaries of Fatima, Portugal, Francesco and Jacinta Marto and Lucia de Santos saw a vision of hell. They were 9, 7 and 10 years old respectively. This is what Lucia wrote in her memoirs describing what she saw,
“The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened and burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear… The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. Terrified and as if to plead for succour, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly: “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 witnesses to this although they could not see hell said they saw on the children’s faces expressions of fear, terror and shock.
The children later became very dedicated to the work of co-redemption. Which means uniting our personal will to God’s in imitation of Jesus and offering our sufferings and prayers in union with the sacrifice of the mass. (Luke 9:23) Saint Paul said it was his joy to suffer to make up what is lacking in the suffering of Christ. (Colossians 1:24)
They did this through the ordinary means of fasting and reparative prayer. They started to wear a hairshirt with hooks but God sent an angel to them saying that was taking it too far and losing the spirit of imitating Jesus. The Blessed Mother told Francesco and Jacinta that they would die one year after the visions. Jacinta asked for a one year extension to suffer for sinners. After almost a year in the hospital the Blessed Virgin Mary revealed to her before she died that her efforts merited the redemption of 50,000 souls. That is how many souls get to heaven. Through the prayers of religious who sacrifice themselves for sinners. Jesus made this so explicit to Saint Faustina that he had her found a congregation dedicated to doing exactly that: praying for mercy and conversions. One day at Saint Faustina’s request Jesus promised every soul who died on a day she asked would escape hell. That is in the diary of Saint Faustina number 873. That is why reparation is important. The Blessed Mother revealed to Father Stefano Gobbi though that especially at this time in history many souls are going to hell. So we must convert ourselves and start to make reparation.
Sister Lucia recorded this in her memoirs about Jacinta’s reaction to the vision
“The vision of hell filled her with horror to such a degree, that every penance and mortification was nothing in her eyes, if it could only prevent souls from going there… Jacinta often sat thoughtfully on the ground or on a rock and exclaimed:
“‘Oh, Hell! Hell! How sorry I am for the souls who go to hell! And the people down there, burning alive, like wood in the fire!” Then, shuddering, she knelt down with her hands joined, and recited the prayer that Our Lady had taught us.'”