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During World War I Pope Benedict XV made repeated but forlorn pleas for peace, and finally,
in May 1917, made a direct appeal to Mary to intercede for peace in the world. The response was Mary's first
appearance at Fatima just over a week later. At this time Fatima was just a small village about seventy miles north
of Lisbon; the three children to whom she appeared were Lucia dos Santos, aged ten, and her cousins Francisco and
Jacinta Marto, brother and sister, aged eight and seven respectively.