When I was young, the nuns made sure that we understood that Lucia, one of the three children of Fatima, was still alive - that we 'knew' not just a living saint but one who had met the Virgin.
I'm not sure that my young brain processed that in the way they hoped, other than to be impressed that someone that old was still alive; still I assumed that God spoke to us all the time, that we had a relationship with Him that meant that everyday, via Guardian Angels and the Communion of Saints (which they also taught) we were wrapped in God and that we were not alone and that these things were therefore perfectly normal.
But I did not fully understand. My grandfather was even older than she was at the time but I did not understand time in those numbers. I did not understand childhood faith, nor the greys of life.
When Lucia finally died in 2005, I understood a lot better. Not the conspiracy theories or the whipping of people with rosaries but the simple message of devotion to the Gospel that someone so touched by God can give to the world.
Throughout history there have been supernatural apparitions and signs which go to the heart of human events and which, to the surprise of believers and non-believers alike, play their part in the unfolding of history. These manifestations can never contradict the content of faith, and must therefore have their focus in the core of Christ's proclamation: the Father's love which leads men and women to conversion and bestows the grace required to abandon oneself to him with filial devotion. This too is the message of Fatima which, with its urgent call to conversion and penance, draws us to the heart of the Gospel.
-- From The Message of Fatima, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith