In the case of Fátima it is clear that something more than an intellectual vision took place, an external apparition accompanied by indications of the actual presence of Our Lady. This latter cannot be conclusively determined. However, it reasonably follows from the descriptions of the events and especially from the sense of Her Presence continued to be felt there to this day.
As a fruit of the events, and of the fidelity of the three children to the message of Fátima, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta grew in holiness and became mystics in the proper sense. It is for their heroic virtue in the pursuit of God that the two youngest are being raised to the honor of the altar, not for being the recipients of an apparition. This fact, more even than the miracle of the Sun, authenticates the message of Fátima.