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Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, I.C.D.
The Sole Surviving Seer of Fatima
FATIMA, IN LUCIA'S OWN WORDS
Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, I.C.D.
The Sole Surviving Seer of Fatima
FATIMA, IN LUCIA'S OWN WORDS
(Editor’s Note: Some of the spelling and grammatical errors have been corrected.)
Oh will Of God, You Are My Paradise.
Your Excellency Here I am, pen in my hand, ready to do the will of my God. Since I have no other aim but this, I begin with the maxims which my holy Foundress has handed down to me and which after her example I shall repeat many times in the course of this account: “Oh Will of God, You are my paradise.”
Allow me, Your Excellency, to sound the depths contained in this maxim. When- ever repugnance or love for my secret makes me want to keep some things hidden, then this maxim will be my norm and my guide. I had a mind to ask, what use there could possibly be in my writing an account like this, since even my handwriting is scarcely presentable. But I am asking nothing.
I know that the perfection of obedience asks no reasons. Your Excellency's words are enough for me, since they assure me that this is for the glory of Our Blessed Mother in Heaven. In the certainty that it is so, I implore the blessing and protection of Her Immaculate Heart and, humbly prostrate at Her feet, I use Her own most holy words to speak to my God: “I, the least of your handmaids, O my God, now come in full submission to Your Holy Will, to lift the veil from my secret, and reveal the story of Fatima just as it is. No longer will I savour the joy of sharing with You alone the secrets of Your Love; but henceforth, others too, will sing with me the greatness of Your Mercy!”
Your Excellency The Lord has looked upon His lowly handmaid, that is why all peoples will sing the greatness of His Mercy. It seems to me, Your Excellency, that our dear Lord deigned to favour me with the use of reason from my earliest childhood. I remember being conscious of my actions, even from my mother's arms. I remember being rocked and falling a sleep to the sound of lullabies. Our Lord blessed my parents with five girls and one boy, of whom I was the youngest, and I remember how they used to squabble, because they all wanted to hold me in their arms and play with me. On such occasions none of them ever succeeded, because my mother used to take me away from them altogether.
If she was too busy to hold me herself, she would give me to my father and he also would fondle me and cover me with caresses. The first thing I learned was the Hail Mary. While holding me in her arms, my mother taught it to my sister Carolina, the second youngest, and five years older than myself. My two eldest sisters were already grown up. My mother, knowing that I repeated everything I heard like a parrot, wanted them to take me with them every where they went. They were, as we say in our locality, the leading lights among the young people. There was not a festival or dance that they did not attend. At Carnival time, on At John's Day and at Christmas, there was certain to be a dance. Besides this, there was the vintage. Then there was the olive picking, with a dance almost every day. When the big parish festivals came around such as the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of the Rosary, St Anthony, and so on, we always raffled cakes: after that came a dance, without fail. We were invited to almost all the weddings for miles around, and if they did not invite my mother to be matron of honour, they were sure to need her for the cooking. At these weddings, the dancing went on from after the banquet until well into the next morning.
Since my sisters had to have me always with them, they took as much trouble in dressing me up as they were wont to do for themselves. As one of them was a dress maker, I was always decked out in a regional costume more elegant than that of any other girl around. I wore a pleated skirt, a shiny belt, a cashmere kerchief with the corners hanging down behind, and a hat decorated with gold beads and bright coloured feathers. You would have thought sometimes, that they were dressing a doll rather than a small child. Popular Entertainments At the dances, they deposited me on top of a wooden chest or some other tall piece of furniture, to save me from being trampled underfoot. Once on my perch, I had to sing a number of songs to the music of the guitar or the concertina. My sisters had already taught me to sing, as well as to dance a few waltzes when there was a partner missing. The latter I performed with rare skill, thus attracting the attention and applause of everyone present. Some of them even rewarded me with gifts, in the hope of pleasing my sisters. On Sunday afternoons, all these young people used to gather in our yard, in the shade of three large fig trees in summer, and in winter in an open porch that we had where my sister's Maria's house now stands. There they spent the afternoons playing and chatting with my sisters. It was there that we used to raffle the sugared almonds at Easter time, and most of them used to find their way into my pocket, as some of the winners hoped to gain our good graces.
My mother would spend these afternoons seated at the kitchen door looking out on the yard, so that she could see all that was going on. Sometimes she held a book in her hand and so she would read for a while; at other times she chatted with my aunts or neighbours who sat beside her. She was always very serious and every- body knew that what she said was like Scripture and must be obeyed without more ado. I never knew anyone to say a disrespectful word in her presence, or show her any lack of consideration. it was the general opinion among them, that my mother was worth more than all her daughters put together, I often heard my mother say: “I don't know how these people enjoy running about chattering from house to house! As for me there is nothing as good as just staying at home for a nice quiet read! These books are full of such wonderful things! And as for the lives of the Saints, they're simply beautiful!”
It seems to me that I have already told Your Excellency how during the week, I used to spend the day surrounded by children from the neighbourhood. The mothers went out to work in the fields, so they used to ask my mother if they could leave the children with me. When I wrote to Your Excellency about my cousin, I think I also described our games and amusements, so I will not dwell on them here. Amid the warmth of such affectionate and tender caresses, I happily spent my first six years. To tell you the truth, the world was beginning to smile on me, and above all a passion for dancing was already sinking its roots deep into my heart. And I must confess that the devil would have used this to bring about my ruin, had not the good Lord shown His special mercy towards me.
If I am not mistaken, I have also told Your Excellency in the same account, how my mother was accustomed to teach catechism to her children during the summer at siesta time. In the winter we had our lesson after supper, at night, gathered round the fire side, as we sat roasting and eating chestnuts and a sweet variety of acorns.
Lucia's First Communion
The day which the parish priest had appointed for the solemn First Communion of the children of the parish, was drawing near. In view of the fact that I knew my catechism and was already six years old, my mother thought that perhaps I could now make my First Communion. To this end, she sent me with my sister Carolina to the catechism instructions which the parish priest was giving to the children, in preparation for this great day. I went therefore radiant with joy, hoping soon to be able to receive my God for the first time. The priest gave his instructions, seated in a chair on a platform. He called me to his side, and when one or other of the children was unable to answer his question, he told me to give the answer instead just to shame them.
The eve of the great day arrived, and the priest sent word that all the children were to go to the church in the forenoon, so that he could make the final decision as to which ones were to receive their First Communion. What was not my disappointment when he called me up beside him, caressed me and said I was to wait till I was seven years old! I began to cry at once, and just as I would have done with my own mother, I laid my head on his knees and sobbed. It happened that another priest who had been called in to help with the confessions, entered the Church just at that moment. Seeing me in this position, he asked the reason for my tears. On being informed, he took me along to the sacristy and examined me on the catechism and the mystery of the Eucharist. After this he took me by the hand and brought me to the parish priest, saying: “Father Pena, you can let this child go to Communion. She understands what she is doing better than many of the others.” “But she is only six years old!” objected the good priest. “Never mind! I'll take responsibility for that.” “Alright then”; the good priest said to me: Go and tell your mother that you are making your First Communion tomorrow.”
I could never express the joy I felt. Off I went, clapping my hands with delight, and running all the way home to give the good news to my mother. She at once set about preparing me for the Confession I was to make that afternoon. My mother took me to the church, and when we arrived, I told her I wanted to confess to the other priest. So we went to the sacristy, where he was sitting on a chair, hearing confessions. My mother knelt down in front of the high altar near the sacristy door, together with the other mothers who were waiting for their children to confess in turn. Right there before the Blessed Sacrament, my mother gave me her last recommendations. Our Lady Of The Rosary Smiles At Lucia When my turn came around, I went and knelt at the feet of Our dear Lord, represented there in the person of His minister, imploring forgiveness for my sins. When I had finished, I noticed that everyone was laughing.
My mother called me to her and said: “My child, don't you know that confession is a secret matter and that it is made in a low voice? Everybody heard you! There was only one thing nobody heard: that is what you said at the end.” On the way home, my mother made several attempts to discover what she called the secret of my confession. But the only answer she obtained was complete silence. Now, however, I am going to reveal the secret of my first Confession. After listening to me, the good priest said these few words: “My child, your soul is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Keep it always pure, so that He will be able to carry on His divine action within it.”
On hearing these words, I felt myself filled with respect for my interior, and asked the kind confessor what I ought to do: “Kneel down there before Our Lady and ask Her, with great confidence, to take care of your heart, to prepare it to receive Her beloved Son worthily tomorrow, and to keep it for Him alone!” In the Church, there was more than one statue of Our Lady; but as my sisters took care of the altar of Our Lady of the Rosary, I usually went there to pray. That is why I went there on this occasion also, to ask Her with all the ardour of my soul, to keep my poor heart for God alone. As I repeated this humble prayer over and over again, with my eyes fixed on the statue, it seemed to me that She smiled and, with a loving look and a kindly gesture, assured me that She would. My heart was overflowing with joy, and I could scarcely utter a single word.
My sisters stayed that night making me a white dress and a wreath of flowers. As for me, I was so happy that I could not sleep, and it seemed as if the hours would never pass! I kept in getting up to ask them if the day had come, or if they wanted me to try on my dress or my wreath, and so forth.
The happy day dawned at last; but nine O'clock-how long it was in coming! I put on my white dress, and then my sister Maria took me into the kitchen to ask pardon of my parents, to kiss their hands and to ask their blessing. After this little ceremony, my mother gave me her last recommendations. She told me what she wanted me to ask Our Lord when I had received Him into my heart, and said good bye to me in these words: “Above all, ask Him to make you a saint.” Her words made such a indelible impression on my heart, that they were very first that I said to Our Lord when I received Him. Even today, I seem to hear the echo of my mother's voice repeating these words to me. I set out for the church with my sisters, and my brother carried me all the way in his arms, that so not a speck of dust from the road would touch me,. As soon as I arrived at the church, I ran to kneel before the altar of Our Lady to renew my petition. There I remained in contemplation of Our Lady's smile of the previous day, until my sisters came in search of me and took me to my appointed place. There was a large number of children, arranged in four lines- two of boys and two of girls- from the back of the church right up to the altar rails. Being the smallest, it happened that I was the one nearest to the Angels on the step by the altar rails.
The Great Day
Once the Missa Cantata began and the great moment drew near, my heart beat faster and faster, in expectation of the visit of the Great God who was about to descend from Heaven to unite Himself to my self. The parish priest came down and passed among the rows of children, distributing the Bread of Angels.
I had the good fortune to be the first one to receive. As the priest was coming down the alter steps, I felt as though my heart would leap from my breast. But he had no sooner placed the Divine Host on my tongue than I felt an unalterable serenity and peace. I felt myself bathed in such a supernatural atmosphere that the presence of our dear Lord became as clearly perceptible to me as if I had seen and heard Him with my bodily senses. Then I addressed my prayer to Him: “Oh Lord, make me a saint. Keep my heart always pure, for You alone.” Then it seemed that in the depths of my heart, our dear Lord distinctly spoke these words to me: “The grace granted to you this day will remain living in your soul, producing fruits of eternal life.” I felt as though transformed in God.
It was almost one O’clock before the ceremonies were over, on account of the late arrival of priests coming from a distance, the sermon and the renewal of baptismal promises. My mother came looking for me, quite distressed, thinking I might faint from weakness. But I, filled to overflowing with the Bread of the Angels, found it impossible to take any food whatsoever. After this, I lost the taste and attraction for the things of the world, and only felt at home in some solitary place where, all alone, I could recall the delights of my First Holy Communion.
Such moments of seclusion were rare indeed. As Your Excellency already knows, I had to look after the children whom the neighbours entrusted to our care; and besides this, my mother was in much demand thereabouts as a nurse. In cases of minor ills, people came to our house to seek her advice, but when the sick person was unable to go out, they asked my mother to go to their homes. She often spent entire days there and even nights. If the illness was prolonged, or the sick person's condition required it, she occasionally sent my sisters to stay by the patients bedside at night, to give the family a chance to get some rest.
Whenever the sick person was the mother of a young family, or someone who could not stand the noise of children, my mother brought the little ones to our house and, charged me with keeping them occupied. I kept the children amused, by teaching them how to prepare the yarn for weaving: they set the wooden winder spinning to wind it into balls; they rolled it into spools; they strung it on the skeiner to make it into skeins; and they guided the balls of yarn as the warp was prepared on the frame.
In this way we always had plenty to do. There were usually several girls working in our house, who had come to learn weaving and dress making. Usually these girls showed great affection for our family, and used to say that the best days of their lives were those spent in our house. At certain times of the year, my sisters had to go out working in the fields during the day time, so they did their weaving and sewing at night. Supper was followed by prayers led by my father, and then the work began.
Everyone had something to do. My sister Maria went to the loom; my father filled the spools; Teresa and Gloria went to their sewing; my mother took up her spinning; Carolina and I, after tidying up the kitchen, had to help with the sewing, taking out basting, sewing on buttons, and so forth: to keep drowsiness away, my brother played the concertina, and we joined in singing all kinds of songs. The neighbours often dropped in to keep us company, and although it meant losing their sleep, they used to tell us that the very sound of our gaiety banished all their worries and filled them with happiness. I heard different women sometimes say to my mother: “How fortunate you are! what lovely children God has given you!” When the time came round to harvest the corn, we removed the husks by moonlight.
There was I sitting atop a heap of corn, and chosen to give a hug all round when- ever a dark coloured corn cob appeared. In Retrospect I don't know whether the facts I have related above about my First Communion were a reality or a little child's illusion. What I do know is that they always had, and still have today. a great influence in uniting me to God. What I don't know either is why I am telling Your Excellency all about our family life. But it is God who inspires me to do so, and He knows the reason for it. Perhaps it is to let you see how, after having had so much affection lavished upon me. I would feel all the more deeply the suffering our dear Lord was going to ask of me. As Your Excellency has told me to give an account of all the sufferings that Our Lord has sent me, and all the graces which He has deigned, in His mercy, to grant me, I think it best to tell them just as they happened. Moreover, I feel quite at peace about it, because I know Your Excellency will put into the fire whatever you see does not further the glory of God and of Mary most Holy.
The Apparitions, Lucia the Shepherdess
This was how things were until I was seven years old. My mother then decided that I should take over the care of our sheep. My father did not agree, nor did my sisters. They were so fond of me, that they wanted an exception made in my case. My mother would not give in: “She's just like the rest.” she said: “Carolina is already twelve years old. That means she can now begin to work in the fields, or else learn to be a weaver or a seamstress, whichever she prefers.” The care of our flock was then given to me. News that I was beginning my life as a shepherdess spread rapidly among the other shepherds: almost all of them came and offered to be my companions. I said Yes to everybody, and arranged with each one to meet on the slopes of the serra. Next day, the serra was a solid mass of sheep with their shepherds, as though a cloud had descended upon it.
But I felt ill at ease in the midst of such a hubbub. I therefore chose three companions from among the shepherds, and without saying a word to anyone, we arranged to pasture our sheep on the opposite slopes. These were the three I chose. Teresa Matias, her sister Maria Rosa and Maria Justino. On the following day, we set out in the direction of a hill known as the Cabeco. We went up the northern slope. Valinhos, is a place that Your Excellency already knows by name, is on the southern side of the same hill. On the eastern slope is the cave I have already spoken of, in my account of Jacinta. Together with our flocks, we climbed almost to the top of the hill. At our feet lay a wide expanse of trees-olives, oaks, pines, holmoaks, and so on, that stretched away down towards the level valley below.
A Mysterious Presage in 1915
Around midday, we ate our lunch. After this, I invited my companions to pray the Rosary with me, to which they eagerly agreed. We had hardly begun when, there before our eyes, we saw a figure poised in the air above the trees. It looked like a statue made of snow, rendered almost transparent by the rays of the sun. “What is that”? asked my companions, quite frightened. “I don't know!” We went on praying, with our eyes fixed on the figure before us, and as we finished our prayer, the figure disappeared. As was usual with me, I resolved to say nothing: but my companions told their families what had happened the very moment they reached home. The news soon spread, and one day when I arrived home, my mother questioned me: “Look here! They say you've seen I don't know what up there. What was it you saw? “I don't know” as I could not explain it myself, I went on: “It looked like a person wrapped up in a sheet!”. As I meant to say that I couldn't discern its features, I added: “You couldn't make out any eyes, or hands, on it.” My mother put an end to the whole matter with a gesture of: “Childish nonsense!”
After sometime, we returned to our flocks to the same place, and the very same thing happened again. My companions once more told the whole story. After a brief interval, the same thing was repeated. It was the third time that my mother heard all these things being talked about outside, without my having said a single word about them at home. She called me therefore, quite displeased, and demanded: “Now let us see what it is that you girls say you saw over there?” “I don't know mother. I don't know what it is!” Some people started making fun of us. My sisters recalling that for sometime after my First Communion I had been quite abstracted, used to ask me scornfully: “Do you see someone wrapped in a sheet?” I felt these contemptuous words and gestures very keenly, as up to now I had been used to nothing but caresses. But this was nothing really. You see, I did not know what the Good Lord had in store for me in the future.
Apparitions of the Angel in 1916
Around this time, as I have already related to Your Excellency, Francisco and Jacinta sought and obtained permission from their parents to start taking care of their own flock. So I left my good companions, and joined my cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, instead. To avoid going to the serra with all the other shepherds, we arranged to pasture our flocks on properties belonging to my uncle and aunt and my parents.
One fine day, we set out with our sheep for some land that my parents owned, which lay at the foot of the eastern side of the slope of the hill that I have already mentioned. This property was called Chousa Velha. Soon after our arrival, about mid-morning, a fine drizzle began to fall, so fine that it seemed like mist. We went up the hillside, followed by our flocks, looking for an overhanging boulder where we could take shelter. Thus it was for the first time that we entered this blessed hollow among the rocks. It stood in the middle of an olive grove belonging to my god-father Anastacio. From there you could see the little village where I was born, my parents home, and the hamlets of Casa Velha and Eira da Pedra. The olive grove, owned by several people, extended to within the confines of the hamlets themselves.
We spent the day there, among the rocks, in spite of the fact that the rain was over and the sun was shining bright and clear. We ate our lunch and said our Rosary. I am not sure whether we said it that day, in the way I have already described it to Your Excellency, saying the word Hail Mary, and Our Father on each bead, so great was our eagerness to our play! Our prayer finished, we started to play Pebbles. We had enjoyed the game for a few moments only, when a strong wind began to shake the trees. We looked up startled, to see what was happening, for the day was unusually calm. Then we saw coming towards us, above the olive trees, the figure I have already spoken about. Jacinta and Francisco had never seen it before, nor had I ever mentioned it to them. As it drew closer, we were able to distinguish its features. It was a young man, about fourteen or fifteen years old, whiter than snow, transparent as crystal when the sun shines through it, and of great beauty. On reaching us, he said: “Do not be afraid! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.”
Kneeling on the ground, he bowed down until his forehead touched the ground, and made us repeat these words three times: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.” Then rising he said: “Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.” His words engraved themselves so deeply on our minds that we could never forget them. From then on, we used to spend long periods of time, prostrate like the Angel, repeating his words, until sometime we fell exhausted. I warned my companions, right away, that this must be kept secret and, thank God, they did what I wanted.
Some time passed , and summer came, when we had to go home for the siesta. One day, we were playing on the stone slabs of the well at the bottom of the garden belonging to my parents, which we called the Arneiro ( I have already mentioned this well to Your Excellency in my account of Jacinta). Suddenly, we saw beside us the same figure, or rather, Angel, as it seemed to me. “What are you doing? he asked. “Pray, pray very much! The most Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the most High.” How are we to make sacrifices? I asked. “Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country. I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission, the suffering which the Lord will send you.” A considerable time had elapsed, when one day we went to pasture our sheep on a property belonging to my parents, which lay on the slope of the hill, I have mentioned, a little higher up than Valinhos. It is an olive grove called Pregueira. After our lunch, we decided to go and pray in the hollow among the rocks on the opposite side of the hill. To get there we went around the slope, and had to climb over some rocks above Pregueira. The sheep could only scramble over these rocks with great difficulty.
As soon as we arrived there, we knelt down, with our foreheads touching the ground, and began to repeat the prayer of the Angel: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You, I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.” I don't know how many times we had repeated this prayer, when an extraordinary light shone upon us. We sprang up to see what was happening, and beheld the Angel. He was holding a Chalice in his left hand, with the Host suspended above it, from which some drops of Blood fell into the Chalice. Leaving the Chalice suspended in the air, the Angel knelt down beside us and made us repeat three times: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.” Then rising, he took the Chalice and the Host in his hands. He gave the Sacred Host to me, and shared the Blood from the Chalice between Jacinta and Francisco, saying as he did so: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men! Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” Once again, he prostrated on the ground and repeated with us, three times more, the same prayer...”Most Holy Trinity...”and then disappeared. We remained a long time in this position, repeating the same words over and over again. When at last we stood up, we noticed that it was already dark, and therefore time to return home.
Trouble At Home
Here I am Your Excellency, at the end of my three years as shepherdess, from the time I was seven until I was ten years old. During these three years, our home and I would venture to say, our parish as well, underwent an almost total change. Reverend Father Pena was no longer our parish priest, and had been replaced by Reverend Father Boicinha. When this most zealous priest learned that such a pagan custom as endless as dancing was only too common in the parish, he promptly began to preach against it from the pulpit in his Sunday sermons, in public and in private, he lost no opportunity of attacking this bad custom. As soon as my mother heard this good priest speak in this fashion, she forbade my sisters to attend such amusements. As my sisters example led others also to refrain from attending, this custom gradually died out. The same thing happened among the children, who used to get up their little dances apart, as I have already explained to Your Excellency, when writing about my cousin Jacinta.
Apropos of this, somebody remarked one day to my mother: “Up to now, it was no sin to go to dances, but just because we have a new parish priest, it is a sin. How could that be?” “I don't know” my mother replied: “All I know is that the priest does not want dancing, so my daughters are not going to such gatherings any more. At most, I would let them dance a bit within the family, because the priest says there's no harm in that.” During this period, my two eldest sisters left home, after receiving the sacrament of matrimony. My father had fallen into bad company, and let his weakness get the better of him, this meant the loss of some of our property. When my mother realized that our means of livelihood were diminishing, she resolved to send my two sisters. Gloria and Carolina, out to work as servants. At home, there remained only my brother, to look after our few remaining fields; my mother, to care of the house and myself, to take our sheep out to pasture. My poor mother seemed just drowned in the depths of distress. When we gathered around the fire at night time, waiting for my father to come into supper, my mother would look at her daughters empty places and exclaim with profound sadness: “My God, where has all of the joy of our home gone?” Then, resting her head on a little table beside her, she would burst into tears. My brother and I wept with her.
It was one of the saddest scenes I have ever witnessed. What with longing for my sisters, and seeing my mother so miserable, I felt my heart was just breaking. Although I was only a child, I understood perfectly the situation we were in. Then I remembered the Angels words: “Above all, accept submissively the sacrifices that the Lord will send you.” At such times, I used to withdraw to a solitary place, so as not to add to my mother's suffering, by letting her see my own. This place was usually our well. There on my knees, leaning over the edge of the stone slabs that covered the well, my tears mingled with the waters below and I offered my suffering to God. Sometimes Jacinta and Francisco would come and find me like this, in bitter grief. As my voice was choked with sobs and I could not say a word, they shared my suffering to such a degree that they also wept copious tears. Then Jacinta made our offering aloud: “My God, it is an act of reparation, and for the conversion of sinners, that we offer you all these sufferings and sacrifices”. The formula of the offering was not always exact but the meaning was always the same.
So much suffering began to undermine my mother's health. She was no longer able to work, so she sent for my sister Gloria to come and take care of her, and look after the house as well. All the surgeons and doctors around was consulted. We had recourse to every kind of remedy, but there was no improvement whatsoever. The good parish priest kindly offered to take my mother to Leiria in his mule cart, to consult the doctors there. Accompanied by my sister Teresa, she went to Leiria. But she arrived home half dead from such a journey, worn out after so many consultations, and having obtained no beneficial results of any kind. Finally a surgeon in S. Mamede was consulted. He declared that my mother had a cardiac lesion, a dislocated spinal vertebra and fallen kidneys. He prescribed for her a rigorous treatment of red-hot needles and various kinds of medication, and this brought about some improvement of her condition.
This is how things were with
us when the 13th of May, 1917 arrived. It was around this time also that
my brother reached the age for enlistment into the army. As his health
was excellent, there was every reason to expect that he would be accepted.
Besides, there was a war on, and it would be difficult to obtain his exemption
from military service. My mother being afraid of being left alone with
no one to look after the land, sent also for my sister Carolina to come
home. Meanwhile, my brother's godfather promised to obtain his exemption.
He put in a word with the doctor responsible for his medical examination
and thus the good Lord deigned to grant my mother this relief.
Apparitions of Our Lady
I will not delay now describing the Apparition of May 13th. It is well known to Your Excellency, and it would therefore be a waste of time for me to go into it here. You also know how my mother came to be aware of what happened, and how she spared no efforts to make me admit that I had lied. We agreed never to reveal to anyone the words Our Lady spoke to us that day. After having promised to take us to Heaven, she asked: “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God to bear all the sufferings He will send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” “Yes we are willing” was our reply. “Then, you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”
The 13th of June, Feast of St Anthony, was always a day of great festivals in our parish. On that day, we usually let out the flocks very early in the morning, and at nine o’clock we shut them up in their pens again, and went off to the festa. My mother and my sisters, who knew how much I loved a festa, kept saying to me: “We've yet to see if you'll leave the festa just to go to the Cova da Ira, and talk to that Lady!” On the day itself nobody single word to me. Insofar as I was concerned, they acted as if they were saying: “Leave her alone; and we'll soon see what she'll do!”
I let out my flock at daybreak, intending to put them back in the pen at nine, go to Mass at ten, and after that go to the Cova da Ira. But the sun was no sooner up than my brother came to call me. He told me to go back home, as there were several people there wanting to speak to me. He himself stayed with the flock, and I went to see what they wanted. I found some women, and men too, who had come from such places as Minde, from around Tomar, Carrascos, Boleiros, etc. They wished to accompany me to the Cova da Iria. I told them that it was early yet and invited them to the eight 'o clock Mass. After that, I returned home. These good people waited for out in the yard, in the shade of our fig tress. My mother and my sisters persisted in their contemptuous attitude, and this cut me to the heart, and was indeed as hurtful to me as insults. Around eleven 'o clock, I left home and called at my uncle's house, where Jacinta and Francisco were waiting for me. Then we sent off for the Cova da Iria, in expectation for the longed-for moment. All those people followed us, asking a thousand questions. On that day, I was overwhelmed with bitterness. I could see that my mother was deeply distressed, and that she wanted at all costs compel, as she put it, to admit that I have lied. I wanted so much to do as she wished, but the only way I could do so was to tell a lie. From the cradle, she had instilled into her children a great horror of lying, and she used to chastise severely anyone of us who told an untruth.
“I have seen it,” she often said, “that my children always told the truth, and am I now to let the youngest get away with a thing like this? If it were a small just a small thing....! But a lie of such proportions, deceiving so many people and bringing them all the way here!” After these bitter complaints, she would turn to me, saying: “Make up your mind which you want! Either undo all this deception by telling these people that you've lied, or I'll lock you up in a dark room where you won't even see the light of the sun. After all the troubles I've been through, and now a thing like this to happen!” My sisters all sided with my mother, and all around me the atmosphere was one of utter scorn and contempt.
Then I would remember the old days, and ask myself: “Where is all that affection now, that my family had for me just such a short while ago?” My one relief was to weep before the Lord, as I offered Him this sacrifice. It was on this very day that in addition to what I have already narrated, Our Lady, as although guessing what was going on, said to me:”Are you suffering a great deal? Don't loose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
When Jacinta saw me in tears, she tried to console me, saying: “Don't cry. Surely, these are the sacrifices which the Angel said that God was going to send us. That's why you are suffering, so that you can make reparation to Him and convert sinners.”
Lucia's Doubts and Temptations
Around that time, our parish priest came to know of what was happening, and sent word to my mother to take me to his house. My mother felt she could breathe again, thinking the priest was going to take responsibility for these events on himself. She therefore said to me: “Tomorrow, we're going to Mass, first thing in the morning. Then, you are going to the Reverend Father's house. Just let him compel you to tell the truth, no matter how he does it; let him punish you; let them do whatever he likes with you, just so long as he forces you to admit that you have lied; and then I'll be satisfied.”
My sisters took my mothers part and invented endless threats, just to frighten me about the interview with the parish priest. I told Jacinta and her brother all about it. “We're going also,” they replied, “The Reverend Father told our mother to take us there too, but she didn't say any of those things to us. Never Mind! If they beat us, we'll suffer for love of Our Lord and for sinners.” Next day I walked behind my mother, who did not address a single word to me the whole way. I must admit that I was trembling at the thought of what was going to happen. During Mass, I offered my suffering to God. Afterwards, I followed my mother out of the church over the priest's house, and started up the stairs leading to the verandah. We had climbed only a few steps, when my mother turned round and exclaimed: “Don't annoy me any more! Tell the Reverend Father now that you have lied, so that on Sunday he can say in the church that it was all a lie, and that will be the end of the whole affair. A nice business, this is! All the crowd running to the Cove da Iria, just to pray in front of a holm oak bush!”
Without more ado, she knocked on the door. The good priest's daughter opened the door and invited us to sit down on a bench and wait a while. At last, the parish priest appeared. He took us into his study, motioned my mother to take a seat, and beckoned me over to his desk. When I found that his Reverence was questioning me quite calmly, and with such a kindly manner, I was amazed. I was still fearful, however, of what was yet to come. The interrogation was very minute and, I would venture to say, tiresome. His Reverence concluded with this brief observation: “It doesn't seem to me like a revelation from Heaven. It is usual in such cases for Our Lord to tell the souls to whom He makes such communications to give their confessor or parish priest an account of what has happened. But this child. on the contrary, keeps it to herself as far as she can. This may also be a deceit of the devil. We shall see. The future will show us what we are to think about it all.”
Encouragement from Jacinta and Francisco
How much this reflection made me suffer, only God knows, for He alone can penetrate our inmost heart. I began than to have doubts as to whether these manifestations might be from the devil, who was seeking by these means to make me lose my soul. As I heard people say that the devil always brings conflict and disorder, I began to think that, truly, ever since I had started seeing these things, our home was no longer the same, for joy and peace had fled. What anguish I felt! I made known my doubts to my cousins. “No, it's not the devil!” replied Jacinta, “not at all! They say that the devil is very ugly and that he is down under the ground in hell. But that Lady is so beautiful, and we saw Her go up to Heaven!”
Our Lord made use of this to allay somewhat the doubts I had. But during the course of that month, I lost all enthusiasm for making sacrifices and acts of mortification, and ended up hesitating as to whether it would be better to say that I had been lying, and so put an end to the whole thing. “Don't do that!” exclaimed Jacinta and Francisco. “Don't you see that now you are going to tell a lie, and to tell lies is a sin?” While in this state of mind, I had a dream which only increased the darkness of my spirit. I saw the devil laughing at having deceived me, as he tried to drag me down to hell. On finding myself in his clutches I began to scream so loudly and call on Our Lady for help that I awakened my mother. She called out to me in alarm, and asked me what was the matter. I can't recall what I told her, but I do remember that I was so paralyzed with fear that I couldn't sleep anymore that night. This dream left my soul clouded over with real fear and anguish. My one relief was to go off by myself to some solitary place, there to weep to my heart's content. Even the company of my cousins began to seem burdensome, and for that reason I began to hide from them as well. The poor children! At times they would search for me, calling out my name and receiving no answer, but I was there all the while, hidden right close to them in some corner where they never thought of looking.
The 13th of July was close at hand, and I was still doubtful as to whether I should go. I thought to myself: 'If it is the devil, why should I go to see him? If they ask me why I'm not going, I'll say that I'm afraid it might be the devil who is appearing to us, and for that reason I'm not going back to the Cova da Iria anymore' My decision made, I was firmly resolved to act on it.
By the evening of the 12th, the people were already gathering, in anticipation of the events of the following day. I therefore called Jacinta and Francisco, and told them of my resolution. “We're going” they answered: “The Lady said we were to go.” Jacinta volunteered to speak to the Lady, but she was so upset over my not going, that she started to cry. I asked her for the reason for her tears. “Because you don't want to go!” “No, I'm not going. Listen! If the Lady asks for me, tell her I'm not going, because I am afraid that it may be the devil.” I left them then, to go and hide, and so avoid having to speak to all the people who came looking for to ask questions. My mother thought I was playing with the children of the village, when all the time I was hidden behind the bramble bushes in a neighbors property which adjoined the Arneiro, a little to the east of the well which I have mentioned so many times already. She scolded me, as soon as I got home that night: “A fine little plaster saint aren't you, to be sure! All the time you have left from minding the sheep, you do nothing but play, and what's more you have to do it in such a way that nobody can find you!”
On the following day, when it was nearly time to leave, I suddenly felt I had to go, impelled by a strange force that I could hardly resist. Then I set out, and called at my uncle's house to see if Jacinta was still there. I found her in her room, together with her brother Francisco, kneeling beside the bed, crying. “Aren't you going then?” I asked. “Not without you! We don't dare. Do come!” “Yes, I'm going,” I replied. Their faces lightened up with joy, and they set out with me. Crowds of people were waiting for us along the road, and only with difficulty did we finally get there. This was the day on which Our Lady deigned to reveal to us the Secret. After that, to revive my flagging fervor, She said to us: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times to Jesus, especially when you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
Lucia's Mother Has Doubts
Thanks to Our good Lord, this apparition dispelled the clouds from my soul and my peace was restored. My poor mother worried more and more, as she saw the crowds who came flocking from all parts. “These poor people,” she said, “come here, taken in by your trickery, you can be sure of that, and I really don't know what I can do to undeceive them.” A poor man who boasted of making fun of us, of insulting us, and even going so far as to beat us, asked my mother one day: “Well ma'am, what have you got to say about your daughter's visions?” “I don't know,” she answered, “It seems to me that she's nothing but a fake, who is leading half the world astray.” “Don't say that out loud, or somebody's likely to kill her. I think there are people around here, who'd only be too glad to do so.” “Oh, I don't care, just so long as they force her to confess the truth. As for me, I always tell the truth, whether against my children, or anybody else, or even against myself.”
And, truly, this was so. My mother always told the truth, even against herself. We, her children, are indebted to her for this good example. One day, she resolved to make a fresh attempt to compel me to retract all that I had said, as she put it. She made up her mind to take me back the very next day to the parish priest's house. Once there, I was to confess that I had lied, to ask his pardon, and to perform whatever penance His Reverence thought fit or desired to impose on me. This time the attack was so strong, that I did not know what to do. On the way, as I passed my uncle's house, I ran inside to tell Jacinta, who was still in bed, what was taking place. Then I hurried out and followed my mother. In my account about Jacinta, I have already told Your Excellency about the part played by her and her brother in this trial which the Lord had sent us, and how they prayed as they waited for me at the well, and so on. As we walked along, my mother preached me a fine sermon. At a certain point I said to her trembling: “But mother, how can I say that I did not see, when I did see?” My mother was silent. As we drew near the priest's house, she declared: “Just you listen to me! What I want is that you should tell the truth. If you saw, say so! But if you didn't see, admit you lied.”
Without another word, we climbed the stairs, and the good priest received us in his study with the greatest and even I might almost say, with affection. He questioned me seriously, but most courteously, and resorted to various stratagems to see if I would contradict myself, or be inconsistent in my statements. Finally he dismissed us, shrugging his shoulders, as if to imply: 'I don't know what to make of all this!'
The Administrators Threats
Not many days later, our parents were notified to the effect that all three of us, Jacinta, Francisco and myself, together with our fathers were to appear at a given hour on the following day before the Administration in Vils Nova Ourem. This meant that we had to make a journey of about nine miles, a considerable distance for three small children. The only means of transport in those days was either our own two feet or to ride on a donkey. My uncle sent word right away that he would appear himself but as for his children, he was not taking them. “They'd never stand the trip on foot, he said: “And not being used to riding, they could never manage to stay on the donkey. And any way, there's no sense in bringing two children like that before a court.” My parents thought the opposite: “My daughter is going. Let her answer for herself! As for me, I understand nothing of these things. If she is lying then it is a good thing that she should be punished for it.”
Very early the next morning, they put me on a donkey and off I went, accompanied by my father and my uncle. I fell off the donkey three times along the way. I think I have already told you Your Excellency, how much Jacinta and Francisco suffered that day thinking I was going to be killed. As for me, what hurt me most was the indifference shown me by my parents. This was all the more obvious, since I could see how affectionately my aunt and uncle treated their children. I remember thinking to myself as we went along: 'How different my parents are from my uncle and aunt. They risk themselves to defend their children, while my parents hand me over with the greatest indifference, and let them do what they like with me! But I must be patient'.. I reminded myself in my inmost heart: 'since this means I have the happiness of suffering more for love of You, O' my God, and for the conversion of sinners'. This reflection never failed to bring me consolation.
At the Administration office, I was interrogated by the Administrator, in the presence of my father, my uncle and several other gentlemen who were strangers to me. The Administrator was determined to force me to reveal the secret and to promise him never to return to the Cova da Iria. To attain his end, he spared neither promises nor even threats. Seeing he was getting nowhere, he dismissed me, protesting however, that he would achieve his end, even if it meant that he had to take my life. He then strongly reprimanded my uncle for not having carried out his orders, and finally let us go home.
Trouble in Lucia's Family
In the intimacy of my own family, there was fresh trouble, and the blame for this was thrown on me. The Cova da Iria was a piece of land belonging to my parents. In the hollow it was more fertile, and there we cultivated maize, greens, peas and other vegetables. On the slopes grew olive trees, oaks and holm oaks. Now, ever since the people began to go there, we have been unable to cultivate anything at all. Every thing was trampled on. As the majority came mounted, their animals ate up all they could find and wrecked the whole place. My mother bewailed her loss;”You know,”she said to me,”when you want something to eat, go and ask the Lady for it! “My sisters chimed in with; Yes, you can have what grows in the Cova da Iria!”.
These remarks cut me to the heart, so much so that I hardly dared to take a piece of bread to eat. To force me to tell the truth, as she said, my mother, more often than not, beat me soundly with the broom-handle or a stick from the wood pile near the fireplace. But in spite of this, mother that she was, she then tried to revive my failing strength. She was full of concern when she saw me so thin and pale, and feared I might fall sick. Poor mother! Now, indeed, that I understand what her situation really was, how sorry I feel for her! Truly, she was right to judge me unworthy of such a favour, and therefore to think I was lying.
By a special grace from our Lord, I never experienced the slightest thought or feeling of resentment regarding her manner of acting towards me. As the Angel announced that God would send me sufferings, I always saw the hand of God in it all. The love, esteem and respect which I owed her, went on increasing, just as though I were most dearly cherished. And now, I am more grateful to her for having treated me like this, than if she had continued to surround me with endearments and caresses.
Lucia's First Spiritual Director
It seems to me that it was in the course of this month that Rev. Dr Formigao came for the first time to question me. His interrogation was serious and detailed. I liked him very much, for he spoke to me a great deal about the practice of virtue and taught me various ways of exercising myself in it. He showed me a holy picture of St Agnes, told me about her martyrdom and encouraged me to imitate her. His Reverence continued to come every month for an interrogation, and always ended up giving me some good advice, which was of help to me spiritually. One day he said to me: “My child, you must love Our Lord very much, in return for so many favours and graces that He is granting you.”
These words made such an impression on my soul that, from then on, I acquired the habit of constantly saying “My God., I love you, in thanksgiving for the graces which You have granted me.” I so loved this ejaculation, that I passed it on to Jacinta and her brother, who took it so much to heart that in the middle of the most exciting games, Jacinta would ask: “Have you been forgetting to tell Our Lord how much you love Him for the graces He has given us.?”
Imprisonment at Ourem
Meanwhile the 13th day of August had dawned. Ever since the previous evening, crowds had been pouring in from all parts. They all wanted to see and question us, and recommended their petitions to us, so that we could submit them to the most Holy Virgin, in the middle of all that crowd, we were like a ball in the hands of boys at play. We were pulled hither and thither, everyone asking us questions without giving us a chance to answer anybody. In the midst of all this commotion, and order came from the Administrator, telling me to go to my aunts house, where he was awaiting me. My father got the notification and it was he who took me there. When I arrived, he was in a room with my cousins. He interrogated us there, and made fresh attempts to force us to reveal the secret and to promise that we would not go back to the Cova da Iria. As he achieved nothing, he gave orders to my father and my uncle to take us to the parish priest's house.
I will not delay now to tell Your Excellency about everything else that happened during our imprisonment, for you already know it all. As I previously explained to Your Excellency, what I felt most deeply and what caused me most suffering on that occasion was my being completely abandoned by my family; and it was the same for my little cousins. After this journey of imprisonment, for I really don't know what to call it, I returned home, as far as I can remember, on the 15th of August. To celebrate my arrival, they sent me right away to let out the sheep and take them off to pasture. My uncle and aunt wanted their children to stay with them at home, and therefore sent their brother John in their place. As it was already late, we stayed in the vicinity of our little hamlet, at a place called Valinhos.
What happened next is also known to Your Excellency: therefore I will not delay here to describe this either. Once again the Blessed Virgin recommended to us the practice of mortification, and ended up by saying: “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.”
Penances and Sufferings
Some days later, as we were walking along the road with our sheep, I found a piece of rope that had fallen off a cart. I picked it up and, just for fun, I tied it round my arm. Before long, I noticed that the rope was hurting me. “Look, this hurts!” I said to my cousins. “We could tie it round our waist and offer this sacrifice to God”. The poor children promptly fell in with my suggestion. We then set about dividing it between the three of us, by placing it a cross a stone and striking it with the sharp edge of another one that served as a knife. Either because of the thickness or roughness of the rope, or sometimes we tied it to tightly, this instrument of penance often caused us terrible suffering. Now and then, Jacinta could not keep back her tears, so great was the discomfort caused her. Whenever I urged her to remove it, she replied: “No! I want to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord in reparation, and for the conversion of sinners.”
Another day we were playing, picking little plants off the wall and pressing them in our hands to hear them crack. While Jacinta was plucking these plants, she happened to catch hold of some nettles and stung herself. She no sooner felt the pain than she squeezed them more tightly in her hands, and said to us: “Look! Look! Here is something else with which we can mortify ourselves!” From that time on, we used to hit our legs occasionally with nettles, so as to offer to God yet another sacrifice. If I am not mistaken, it was also during this month that we acquired the habit of giving our lunch to our little poor children, as I have already described to Your Excellency in the account about Jacinta. It was during this month too, that my mother began to feel a little more at peace. She would say: “If there were just one more person who had seen something, why then, I might believe! But among all those people, they're the only ones who saw anything!”
Now, during this past month, various people were saying that they had seen different things. Some had seen Our Lady, others, various signs in the sun, and so on. My mother declared: “I used to think before, that if there were just one other person who saw anything, then I'd believe; but now, so many people say they have seen something, and I still don't believe!” My father also began, about then, to come to my defense, and to silence those who started scolding me; as he used to say: “We don't know if it's true, but neither do we know if it's a lie.” Then it was my uncle and aunt, wearied out by the troublesome demands of all these outsiders who were continually wanting to see us and speak to us, began to send their son John out to pasture the flock, and they themselves remained home with Jacinta and Francisco. Shortly afterwards, they ended by selling the sheep altogether.
As I did not enjoy any other company, I started to go out alone with my sheep. As I've already told Your Excellency, whenever I happened to be nearby, Jacinta and her brother would come to join me; and when the pasture was at a distance they would be waiting for me on the way home. I can truly say that these were really happy days. Alone, in the midst of my sheep, whether on the tops of the hills or in the depths of the valleys below, I contemplated the beauty of the Heavens and thanked the good God for all the graces He had bestowed on me. When the voice of one of my sisters broke in on my solitude, calling me to go back home to talk to some person or other who had come looking for me, I felt a keen displeasure, and my only consolation was to be able to offer up to our dear Lord yet another sacrifice. On a certain day, three gentlemen came to speak to us. After questioning, which was anything but pleasant, they took their leave with this remark: “See that you decide to tell that secret of yours. If you don't, the Administrator has every intention of taking your lives!” Jacinta, her face lighting up with a joy that she made no effort to hide, said: “How wonderful! I so love Our Lord and Our Lady, and this way we'll be seeing them soon!” The rumor got round that the Administrator has every intention to kill us. This led my aunt, who was married and lived Casais, to come to our house with the express purpose of taking us home with her, for, as she explained: “I live in another district and, therefore, this Administrator cannot lay hands on you there.” But her plan was never carried out, because we were unwilling to go, and replied: “If they kill us, it's all the same! We'll go to heaven!”
Now the 13th of September was drawing near, in addition to what I have already related. Our Lady said to us on this day: “God is pleased with your sacrifices, but He does not want you to sleep with the rope on; only wear it during the day.” Needless to say, we promptly obeyed His orders. Since it seemed Our Lord had a month before, He wished to give some visible sign out of the ordinary, my mother eagerly hoped that, on this day, such signs would be still more clear and evident. The good Lord, however, perhaps to give us the opportunity to offer Him yet another sacrifice, permitted that no ray of His glory should appear on this day. My mother lost heart once more, and the persecution at home began all over again.
She had indeed many reasons to be so upset. The Cova da Iria was now a total loss, not only as a fine pasture for our flock, but even as regards the eatables we had grown there. Added to this was my mother's almost certain conviction, as she expressed it, that the events themselves were nothing but foolish fancies and mere childish imaginings. One of my sisters did scarcely anything else but go and call me, and take my place with the flock, while I went to speak to the people who were asking to see me and talk with me.
This waste of time would have meant nothing to a wealthy family, but for ourselves who had to live by our work, it meant a great deal. After sometime, my mother found herself obliged to sell our flock, and this made no small difference to the support of the family. I was blamed for the whole thing, and at critical moments, it was all flung in my face. I hope Our dear Lord has accepted it all from me, for I offered it to Him always happy to be able to sacrifice myself for Him and for sinners. On her part, my mother endured everything with heroic patience and resignation: and if she reprimanded me and punished me it was because she really thought that I was lying. She was completely resigned to the crosses which Our Lord was sending her, and at times she would say: “Could it be that all this is God's work, in punishment for my sins? If so, then blessed be God!”
Lucia's Spirit of Sacrifice
A neighbour took it on herself one day, why I do not know, to remark that some gentleman had given me some money, though I cannot remember how much. without more ado, my mother called me and asked for it. When I told her I hadn't received any, she wanted to force me to hand it over to her, and to this end, had recourse to the broom-handle. When the dust had been well beaten out of my clothes, Carolina, one of my sisters intervened, along with a girl from our neighbourhood, called Virginia. They said they had been present at the interrogation, and they had seen that the gentleman had actually given me nothing at all. Thanks to their defending me, I was able to slip away to my beloved well, and there offer another sacrifice to Our Good Lord.
A Tall Visitor
If I am not mistaken, it was also during this month that a young man made his appearance at our home. He was of such tall stature that I trembled with fear. when I saw he had to bend down in order to come through the door way in search of me, I thought I must be in the presence of a German. At that time we were at war, and grown ups would try to frighten children by saying: “Here comes a German to kill you”. I thought, therefore, that my last hour had come. My fright did not pass unnoticed, by the young man, who sought to calm me; he made me sit on his knee and questioned me with great kindness. His interrogation over, he asked my mother to let me go and show him the site of the apparitions, and pray with him there. He obtained the desired permission and off we went. But all along the way, I trembled with fear at finding myself a lone with a stranger. Then I began to feel tranquil again at the thought that if he killed me, I would go and see Our Lord and Lady. On arriving at the place, he knelt down and asked me to pray the Rosary with Him to obtain a special grace from Our Lady that he greatly desired; that a certain young lady would consent to receive him in the sacrament of matrimony. I wondered at such a request, and thought to myself, 'If she has as much fear of him as I, she will never say yes!' When the Rosary was over, the good young man accompanied me most of the way home, and then bade me a friendly farewell, recommending his request to me again. I ran off helter skelter to my aunt's house, still afraid he might turn round and come back!
What was my surprise then, on the 13th of October, when I suddenly found myself after the apparitions, in the arms of this same person, sailing along over the heads of people. It actually served to satisfy the curiosity of everybody who wanted to see me! After a little while, the good man, who was unable to see where he was going, stumbled and fell. I didn't fall, as I was caught in the crush of people who pressed around me. Right away, others took hold of me, and this gentleman disappeared. It was not until sometime later that he appeared again, this time accompanied by the aforesaid girl, who was now his wife! He came to thank the Blessed Virgin for the grace received, and to ask Her copious blessings on their future. This young man is today Dr. Carlos Mendes of Torres Novas.
Now Your Excellency, here we are at the 13th October. You already know all that happened on that say. Of all the words spoken at this Apparition!, the ones most deeply engraved upon my heart were those of the request made by our Heavenly Mother: “Do not offend Our Lord and God any more, because He is already so much offended!” How loving a complaint, how tender a request! Who will grant me to make it echo through the whole world, so that all the children of Our Mother in Heaven may hear the sound of her voice!
The rumour had spread that the authorities intended to explode a bomb quite close to the Apparition. This did not frighten me in the least. I spoke of it to my cousins. “How wonderful!” We exclaimed: If we were granted the grace of going up to Heaven from there, together with Our Lady!” My parents, however, were very much afraid, and for the first time they wished to accompany me, saying that if their daughter was going to die, they wanted to die by her side. My father then took me by the hand to the place of the Apparitions. But from that moment of the Apparition itself, I did not set eyes on him again until I was back home with the family that night.
I spent the afternoon of that day with my cousins. We were like some curious creature that the multitudes wanted to see and observe. By night time I was really exhausted after so many questions and interrogations. These did not even end with nightfall. Several people, who had been unable to question me, remained over till the following day, awaiting their turn. Some of them even tried to talk to me that night, but, overcome by weariness, I just dropped down and fell asleep on the floor. Thank God, human respect and self-love were, at the time, still unknown to me. For that reason, I was as much at ease with any person at all, as I was with my parents.
On the following days, or rather, to be accurate, on the following days, the questioning continued. Almost every day, from then on, people went to the Cova da Iria to implore the protection of our heavenly Mother. Everybody wanted to see the seers, to put questions to them, and to recite the Rosary with them. At times, I was so tired of saying the same thing over and over again, and also of praying. that I looked for any pretext for excusing myself, and making my escape. But those poor people were so insistent, that I had to make an effort, and indeed no small effort, in order to satisfy them. I then repeated my usual prayer deep down in my heart: “ O my God, it is for love of You, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the conversion of sinners, and for the Holy Father!”
Questioned by Priests
In the account that I have written about my cousin, I have already told Your Excellency how two holy priests came and spoke to us about His Holiness, and told us of his great need of prayers. From that time on, there was not a prayer or a sacrifice that we offered God which did not include an invocation for His Holiness. We grew to love the Holy Father so deeply, that when the parish priest told my mother I would probably have to go to Rome to be interrogated by His Holiness, I clapped my hands with joy and said to my cousins: “Won't it be wonderful if I can go and see the Holy Father!” They burst into tears and said: “We can't go, but we can offer this sacrifice for him.”
The parish priest questioned me for the last time. The events had duly come to an end at the appointed time, and still His Reverence did not know what to say about the whole affair. He was also beginning to show his displeasure. “Why are all those people going to prostrate themselves in prayer in a deserted spot like that, while here the living God of our altars, in the Blessed Sacrament, is left all alone, abandoned, in the Tabernacle? What's all the money for, the money they leave under the holm oak, while the church, which is under repairs, cannot be completed for lack of funds?” I understood perfectly why he spoke like that, but what could I do! If I had been given the authority over the hearts of those people, I would certainly of led them to the parish church, but as I had not, I offered God yet another sacrifice.
As Jacinta was in the habit of putting her head down, keeping her eyes fixed on the ground and scarcely uttering a word during the interrogations, I was usually called upon to satisfy the curiosity of the pilgrims. For that reason, I was continually being summoned to the house of the parish priest. On one occasion, a priest from Torres Novas came to question me. When he did so, he went into such minute details, and tried so hard to trip me up, that afterwards I felt some scruples about having concealed certain things from him. I consulted my cousin on the matter: “I don't know” I asked them, “If we are doing wrong by not telling them everything, when they ask us if Our Lady told us anything else. When we just say that She told us a secret. I don't know whether we are lying or not, by saying nothing about the rest.” “I don't know” replied Jacinta. “That is up to you! You're the one who does not want us to say anything.” “Of course I don't want you to say anything.” I answered. “Why, they'll start asking us what sort of mortifications we are practicing! And that would be the last straw! Listen! If you had kept quiet, and not said a word, nobody would have known by now that we saw Our Lady, or spoke to Her, or to the Angel, and nobody needed to know it anyway!”
The poor child had no sooner heard my arguments than she started to cry. Just as she did in May, she asked for my forgiveness in the way I have already described in my account of her life. So I was left with my scruple, and had no idea how I was to resolve my doubt A while later, another priest appeared: he was from Santarem. He looked like a brother of the first I've just spoken of, or at least they seemed to have rehearsed things together, asking the same questions, making the same attempts to trip me up, laughing and making fun of me in the same way; in fact their very height and features were almost identical. After the interrogation, my doubt was stronger than ever, and I really did not know what course of action to follow. I constantly pleaded with Our Lord and Our Lady to tell me what to do. “O my God and my dearest Mother in Heaven, you know that I do not want to offend You by telling lies, but you know that it would not be right to tell them all that you told me!”
In the midst of this perplexity, I had the happiness of speaking to the Vicar of Olival. I do not know why, but His Reverence inspired me with confidence, and I confided my doubt to him. I have already explained, in my account of Jacinta, how he taught us to keep our secret. He also gave us some further instructions on the spiritual life. Above all, he taught us to give pleasure to Our Lord in everything, and how to offer Him countless little sacrifices. “If you feel like eating something my children” he would say: “leave it and eat something else instead: and thus offer a sacrifice to God. If you feel inclined to play, do not do so, and offer to God another sacrifice. If people question you, and you cannot avoid answering them, it is God who wills it so: offer this sacrifice too.”
This holy priest spoke a language that I could really understand, and I loved him dearly. From then on, he never lost sight of my soul. Now and then, he called in to see me, or kept in touch with me through a pious widow called Sonora Emillia, who lived in a little hamlet near Olival! She was very devout and often went to pray at the Cova de Iria. After that, she used to come to our house and ask them to let me go and spend a few days with her. Then we paid a visit to the Reverend Vicar who was kind enough to invite me to remain for two or three days as company for one of his sisters. At such times, he was patient enough to spend whole hours alone with me, teaching me the practice of virtue and guiding me with his own wise counsels. Even at the time I did not understand anything about spiritual direction, I can truly say, that he was my first spiritual director. I cherish, therefore, grateful and holy memories of this saintly priest.
After the Apparitions, Lucia goes to school
Oh dear, here I am writing about rhyme or reason, as we say, and already leaving various things that I should have said! But I am doing as Your Excellency told me: writing just what I remember and all simplicity. That is what I want to do without worrying about order or style. In that way, I think my obedience is more perfect, and therefore more pleasing to Our Lord and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I will go back, then to my parents, home. I have told Your Excellency that my mother had to sell our flock. We kept only three sheep, which we took along with us when we went to the fields. Whenever we stayed at home, we kept them in the pen and fed them there. My mother then sent me to school, and in my free time, she wanted me to learn weaving and sewing. In this way, she had me safe in the house, and didn't have to waste time looking for me.
One fine day, my sisters were asked to go with some other girls to help with the vintage on the property of a wealthy man of Pe de Cao. My mother decided to let them go, as long as I could go too. I have already said earlier on, that my mother never allowed them to go anywhere, unless they took me with them.
Lucia and the Parish
At that time also, the parish priest began preparing the children for a solemn Communion. Since the age of six, I had repeated my solemn Communion every year, but this year my mother decided I would not do so. For this reason I did not attend the Catechism classes. After school, the other children went to the parish priest's verandah, while I went home to get on with my sewing or weaving. The good priest did not take kindly to my absence from the Catechism classes.
One day on my way home from school, his sister sent another child after me. She caught up with me on the road to Aljustrel, near the house of a poor man who was nick-named snail. She told me that the parish priest's sister wanted me, and that I was to go straight back. Thinking that I was just wanted for questioning. I excused myself saying that my mother had told me to go home right after school. Without further ado, I took to my heels across the fields like a mad thing, in search of a hiding place where no one could find me. But this time the prank cost me dear. Some days later there was a big feast in the parish, and several priests came from all around to sing the Mass. When it was over, the parish priest sent for me, and in front of all those priests, reprimanded me severely for not attending the Catechism lessons, and for not running back to his sister when she had sent for me. In short all my faults and failings were brought to light, and the sermon went on for quite a long while. At last,, though I don't know how, a holy priest appeared on the scene, and sought to plead cause. He tried to excuse me saying that perhaps my mother had not given me permission. But the good priest replied: “Her mother! Why, she is a saint! But as for this one, it remains to be seen what she'll turn out to be!”
The good priest, who later became Vicar of Torres Novas, then asked me very kindly why I had not been to the Catechism classes. I therefore told him of my mother's decision. His Reverence did not seem to believe me and sent for my sister Gloria, who was over by the church, to find out the truth of the matter. Having found that indeed things were just as I had said, he came to this conclusion: “Well then! Either the child is going to attend the Catechism classes for the days still remaining and afterwards come to me for confession, and then make her solemn Communion with all of the rest of the children, or she's never going to receive Communion again in this parish!” When my sister heard this proposal, she pointed out that I was due to leave with my sisters five days beforehand, and such arrangements would be most inconvenient. She added that, if His Reverence so desired, I could go to Confession and Communion some other day, before we left. The good priest paid no attention to her request, and stood firm by his decision.
When we reached home, we told my mother all about it. She also went to the Reverend Father to ask him to hear my confession and give me Holy Communion on another day. But it was all in vain. My mother then decided that, after the solemn Communion day, my brother would make the journey with me, in spite of the long distance and the difficulties caused by the extremely bad roads, winding up and down the hills and highlands. I think I must have sweated ink at the mere idea of having to go to confession to the parish priest! I was so upset that I cried.
On the day before the solemn Communion, His Reverence sent for all the children to go to church in the afternoon to make their confession. As I went, anguish gripped my heart as in a vice. As I entered the church I saw that there was several priests hearing confessions. There at the end of the church was Reverend Father Cruz from Lisbon. I had spoken to his Reverence before, and I liked him very much indeed. Without noticing that the parish priest was in an open confessional half way up the church; I thought to myself: 'First I'll go and make my confession to Father Cruz and ask him what I am to do, and then I'll go to the parish priest.' Dr. Cruz received me with the greatest kindness.
After hearing my confession, he gave me some advice, telling me that if I do not want to go to the parish priest, I should not do so; and that he could not refuse me Communion for something like that. I was radiant with joy on hearing this advice and said my penance. Then I made good my escape from the church, for fear lest somebody might call me back. Next day, I went to the church all dressed in white, still afraid that I might be refused Communion. But His Reverence contended himself with letting me know that my lack of obedience in going to confession with another priest, had not gone unnoticed. The good priest grew more and more displeased and perplexed concerning these events until, one day he left the parish. The news then went round that His Reverence had left on account of me, because he did not want to assume responsibility for these events. He was a zealous priest and much beloved among the people, and so I had much to suffer as a result. Several pious women, whenever they met me, gave vent to their displeasure by insulting me, and sometimes sent me on my way with a couple of blows or kicks.
>> Part 2
Oh will Of God, You Are My Paradise.
27. Companions in Sympathy and
28. Government Opposition.
29. Lucia's Mother Falls Seriously ill.
30. Lucia's Father Dies.
31. Serious Illness of Lucia's Cousins.
32. Lucia In Poor Health.
33. Lucia's First Meeting With The Bishop.
34. Farewell to Fatima.
36. Further Memories of Jacinta.
37. Lucia's Magnetic Personality.
38. Lucia's Excellent Memory.
40. What Is The Secret?.
41. The Vision Of Hell.
42. Lasting Impression On Jacinta.
43. Lucia Looks Back.
44. The Immaculate Heart Of Mary.
45. Jacinta's Visions Of The Holy Father.
46. Visions of War.
47. Lucia Explains Her Silence.
48. Jacinta And The Immaculate Heart Of Mary.
51. Confidence and Abandonment.
52. Inspiration in the Attic.
53. Unction of the Spirit.
54. Francisco's character, His Spirituality.
55. Natural Inclinations.
56. Francisco sees the Angel.
57. Impressions of the First Apparition.
58. Impressions Of The Second Apparition.
59. Francisco Strengthens Lucia's Courage.
60. Impressions of The Third Apparition.
61. Francisco in Prison.
62. Impressions Of The Last Apparitions.
63. Anecdotes And Popular Songs.
64. Francisco, The Little Moralist.
65. Francisco, Lover Of Solitude And Prayer.
66. Francisco sees the Devil.
67. Francisco And His Feathered Friends.
68. Francisco's Love And Zeal.
69. Francisco's Holy Death.
Companions in Sympathy and in Sacrifice
These heaven-sent-caresses were rarely meted out to Jacinta and Francisco, for their parents would not allow anyone to lay their hands on them. But they suffered when they saw me suffering, and many a time tears ran down their cheeks whenever they saw me distressed or humiliated. One day, Jacinta said to me: “If only my parents were like yours, so that those people would beat me too, then I'd have more sacrifices to offer Our Lord”. However she knew how to make the most of opportunities for mortifying herself. Occasionally also, we were in the habit of offering God the sacrifice of spending nine days or a month without taking a drink. Once we made this sacrifice even in the month of August, when the weather was suffocating.
As we were returning, one day from the Cova da Iria where we had been praying our Rosary, we came to a pond beside the road, and Jacinta said to me: “Oh I'm so thirsty, and my head aches so! I'm going to drink a little drop of this water.” “Not that water” I answered: “My mother doesn't want us to drink it, because it is not good for us. We'll go and ask Maria dos Anjos for some”. (She was a neighbour of ours, who had been recently married and was living near there in a small house). “No! I don't want good water. I'd rather drink this, because instead of offering Our Lord our thirst, I could offer Him the sacrifice of drinking this dirty water.” As a matter of fact, this water was filthy. People washed their clothes in it, and the animals came there to drink and waded right into it. That was why my mother warned her children not to drink this water.
At other times, Jacinta would say: “Our Lord must be pleased with our sacrifices, because I am so thirsty, so thirsty! Yet I do not want to take a drink. I want to suffer for love of Him.” One day, we were sitting in the doorway of my uncle's house, when we noticed several people approaching. Not having time to do anything else, Francisco and I ran inside to hide under the beds, he in one room and I in another. Jacinta said: “I'm not going to hide. I am going to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord.” These people came up and talked to her, waiting around quite a long time until I could be found. Finally they went away. I slipped out of my hiding place and asked Jacinta: “What did you answer when they asked if you knew where we were?” “I said nothing at all. I put my head down, kept my eyes fixed on the ground, and said nothing. I always do that, when I don't want to tell the truth; and I don't want to tell a lie either, because lying is a sin.”
She was indeed accustomed to do just this, and it was useless to question her, if those who did so obtained no response whatsoever. If escape were at all possible, we normally felt little inclined to offer this kind of sacrifice. Another day, we were sitting in the shade of two fig trees overhanging the road that runs by my cousins house. Francisco began to play a little way off. He saw several ladies coming towards us and tan back to warn us. We promptly climbed up the fig trees. In those days it was the fashion to wear hats with brims as wide as a sieve, and we were sure with such head gear, those people would never catch sight of us up there. As soon as the ladies had gone by, we came down as fast as we could, took to our heels and hid in the cornfield.
This habit we had of making good our escape, whenever possible, was yet another cause for complaint on the part of the parish priest. He bitterly complained of the way we tried to avoid priests in particular. His Reverence was certainly right. It was priests especially who put us through the most rigorous cross-examinations, and then returned to question us all over again. Whenever we found ourselves in the presence of a priest, we prepared to offer to God one of our greatest sacrifices!
Meanwhile, the Government showed disapproval of the way affairs were progressing. At the place of the Apparitions some people had erected poles to form an arch, hung with lanterns which they were careful to keep always burning. One night orders were given for some men to pull down these poles, and also cut down the holm oak on which the Apparitions had taken place, and drag it away with them behind a car. In the morning news of what had happened spread like wildfire. I ran to the place to see if it were true. But what was my delight to find that the poor men had made a mistake, and that instead of cutting down the holm oak, they had carried off one of the others growing nearby! I then asked Our Lady to forgive these poor men and I prayed for their conversion.
Sometime later, on the 13th of May, I don't remember whether it was 1918 or 1919, news went round at dawn that cavalry men were in Fatima to prevent the people from going to the Cova da Iria. Everybody was alarmed, and came to give me the news, assuring me without any doubt this was to be the last day of my life. Without taking this news too seriously, I set out for the church. When I reached Fatima, I passed between the horses which were all over the church grounds, and went into the church. I heard Mass celebrated by a priest I did not know, received Holy Communion, made my thanksgiving and went back home without anyone saying a single word to me, or that they did not think me worthy of notice. News kept coming in that the troops were trying in vain to keep the people away from the Cova da Iria In spite of this, I went there too to recite the Rosary. On the way I was joined by a group of women who had come from a distance. As we drew near the place, two cavalrymen gave their horses a smart crack of the whip and advanced at full speed towards the group. They pulled up beside us and asked where were going. The women boldly replied that it was none of their business. They whipped the horses again as though they meant to charge forward and trample us under- foot. The women ran in all directions and a moment later I found myself alone with the cavalry men. Then they asked me my name, and I gave it without hesitation. They next asked me if I was the seer, and I said I was. They ordered me to step out on to the middle of the road between the two horses, and proceed in the direction of Fatima.
As we reached the pond I spoke of earlier, a poor woman who lived there and whom I have also mentioned, seeing me coming in the distance between the two horses, ran out as I approached, into the middle of the road, like another Veronica. The soldiers lost no time in getting her out of the way, and the poor woman burst into a flood of tears, loudly bewailing my misfortune. A few paces further on, they stopped and asked me if the woman was my mother. I said she was not. They did not believe me and asked if that house was my home. I again said “No!” Still apparently not believing me, they ordered me to walk a little ahead until I arrived at my parents house.
When we reached a plot of ground that lies on the outskirts of Aljustrel, where there was a small spring, and some trenches dug for planting vines, they called a halt and said to one another, probably in order to frighten me: “Here are some open trenches. Let's cut off her head with one of our swords, and leave her here dead and buried. Then we'll be finished with this business once and for all.” When I heard these words, I thought that my last moment had really come, but I was as much at peace as if it did not concern me at all. After a minute or two during which they seemed to be thinking it over, the other replied: “No. We have no authority to do such a thing.” They ordered me to keep going. So I went straight through our little village, until I arrived at my parents house. All the neighbours were at the windows and doors of their houses to see what was going on. Some were laughing and making fun of me, others were lamenting my sorry plight . When we reached my home, they ordered me to call my parents, but they were not at home. One of them dismounted and went to see if my parents were hiding inside. He searched the house but found no one; whereupon he gave orders for me to stay in doors for the rest of the day. Then he mounted his horse and they both rode off.
Late in the afternoon, news went round that the troops had withdrawn, defeated by the people. At sunset I was praying my Rosary in the Cova da Iria, accompanied by hundreds of people. While I was under arrest, according to what we heard later, some persons went to tell my mother what was happening, and she replied: “If it is true that she saw Our Lady, Our Lady will defend her; and if she is lying, it will serve her right to be punished.” And she remained in peace as before. Now someone will ask me: And where were your little companions, while all this was going on?” I don't know. I can recall nothing at all of their whereabouts at that time. Perhaps in view of the news that got abroad, their parents did not allow them at all to leave the house that day.
Lucia's Mother Falls Seriously ill
Such suffering on my part must have been pleasing to Our Lord, because He was about to prepare a most bitter chalice for me which He was soon to give me to drink. My mother fell so seriously ill that, at one stage, we thought she was dying. All her children gathered around her bed to receive her last blessing, and to kiss the hand of their dying mother. As I was the youngest my turn came at last. When my mother saw me she brightened up a little, flung her arms around my neck and with a deep sigh, exclaimed: “My poor daughter, what will become of you without your mother! I am dying with my heart pieced through because of you”. Then bursting into tears and sobbing bitterly, she clasped me more and more tightly in her arms. My eldest sister forcibly pulled me away from my mother, took me to the kitchen and forbade me to back to the sick room, saying: “Mother is going to die of grief because of all the trouble you have given her! “ I knelt down, put my head on a bench, and in a distress more bitter than any I had ever known before, I made the offering of my sacrifice to our dear Lord. A few minutes later, my two older sisters, thinking the case was hopeless, came to me and said: “Lucia! If it is true that you saw Our Lady, go right now to the Cova da Iria and ask Her to cure our mother. Promise Her whatever you wish, and we'll do it; and then we'll believe.”
Without losing a moment, I set out. so as not to be seen, I made my way across the fields along some bypaths, reciting the Rosary all the way. Once there, I placed my request before Our Lady and unburdened myself of all my sorrow, shedding copious tears. I then went home, comforted by the hope that my beloved Mother in Heaven would hear my prayer and restore health to my mother on earth. When I reached home my mother was already feeling somewhat better. Three days later she was able to resume her work around the house. I had promised the Most Blessed Virgin that, if She granted me what I asked, I would go there for nine days in succession, together with my sisters, pray the Rosary and go on our knees from the roadway to the holmoak tree; and on the ninth day we would take nine poor children with us, and afterwards give them a meal. We went then to fulfill my promise and my mother came with us. “How strange!” she said: “Our Lady cured me and some how I still don't believe! I don't know how this can be!”
Lucia's Father Dies
Our good Lord gave me this consolation, but once again He came knocking on my door to ask yet another sacrifice, and not a small one either. My father was a healthy man, and robust; he said he had never known what it was to have a headache. But in less than twenty four hours, an attack of double pneumonia carried him off to eternity. My sorrow was so great that I thought I would die as well.
He was the only one who never failed to show himself to be my friend, and the only one who defended me when disputes arose at home on account of me. “My God! My God!” I exclaimed in the privacy of my own room: “I never thought You had so much suffering in store for me! But I suffer for love of You, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Holy Father and for the conversion of sinners.”
Serious Illness of Lucia's Cousins
Around that time, Jacinta and Francisco also began to grow worse. Jacinta used to tell me sometimes: “My chest hurts so much, but I am not saying anything to my mother! I want to suffer for Our Lord, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Holy Father and for the conversion of sinners”. One morning when I went to see her, she asked me: “How many sacrifices did you offer to Our Lord last night?” “Three. I got up three times to recite the Angels prayers.” “Well, I offered Him many, many sacrifices. I don't know how many there were, but I had a lot of pain, and I made no complaint.”
Francisco spoke very little. He usually did everything he saw us doing, and rarely suggested anything himself. During his illness, he suffered with heroic patience, without ever letting the slightest moan or the least complaint escape his lips. One day shortly before his death, I asked him: “Are you suffering a lot, Francisco?” “Yes, but I suffer it all for love of Our Lord and Our Lady.” One day he gave me the rope that I have already spoken about, saying: “Take it away before my mother sees it. I don't feel able to wear it anymore around my waist.” He took everything his mother offered him, and she could never discover which things he disliked. He went on like this until the day came for him to go to Heaven. The day before his death, he said to Jacinta and myself: “I am going to Heaven, but when I am there, I will pray a great deal to Our Lord and Our Lady, asking them to bring you there too, very soon.”
I think I have already described, in my account of Jacinta, what suffering this separation caused us. For this reason, I do not repeat it here. Jacinta was already sick, and was gradually growing worse. There is no need to describe it now, as I have already done so. I shall simply relate one or two acts of virtue, which I saw her practice, and which I do not think I have described before. Her mother knew how hard it was for her to take milk. So, one day, she brought her a fine bunch of grapes with her cup of milk, saying: “Jacinta, take this. If you can't take the milk, leave it there, and eat the grapes.” “No mother. I don't want the grapes; take them away and give me the milk instead. I'll take that.” Then without showing the least sign of repugnance, she took it. My aunt went happily away, thinking her little girl's appetite was returning. She had no sooner gone than Jacinta turned to me and said: “I had such a longing for those grapes and it was hard to drink the milk! But I wanted to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord”.
One morning I found her looking dreadful, and I asked her if she felt worse. “Last night,” she answered: “I had so much pain, and I wanted to offer Our Lord the sacrifice of not turning over in bed, therefore I didn't sleep at all”. On another occasion, she told me: “When I'm alone, I get out of bed to recite the angel's prayer. But now I'm not able to touch the ground any more with my head, because I fall over, so I only pray on my knees.”
One day, I had the opportunity of speaking to the Vicar. His Reverence asked me about Jacinta and how she was. I told him what I thought about her condition, and afterwards related what she had said to me about being unable to touch the ground when she prayed. His Reverence sent me to tell her that she was not to get out of bed to pray, but that she was to pray lying down, and then only as long as she could do so without getting tired. I delivered the message at the very first opportunity. “And will Our Lord be pleased?” she asked. “He is pleased” I replied. Our Lord wants us to do whatever the Reverend Vicar says.” “That's alright, then I won't get up any more”.
Whenever I could, I loved to go to the Cabeco to pray in our favorite cave. Jacinta was very fond of flowers, and coming down the hill-side on the way home, I used to pick a bunch of irises and peonies, when there were any to be found, and then take them to her saying: “Look! These are from the Cabeco!” She would take them eagerly and sometimes with tears running down her cheeks, she would say “To think I'll never go there again! Nor Valinhos, nor Cova da Iria! I miss them all so much!” “But what does it matter, if you're going to Heaven to see Our Lord and Our Lady?” “That’s true” she replied. Then she lay there contentedly, plucking off the petals and counting them one by one.
A few days after falling ill, she gave me the rope she had been wearing and said: “Keep it for me; I'm afraid my mother may see it. If I get better I want it back again!” This cord had three knots, and was somewhat stained with blood. I kept it hidden until finally I left my mother's home. Then not knowing what to do with it, I burned it, and Francisco's as well.
Lucia In Poor Health
Several people who came from a distance to see us, noticing that I looked very pale and anemic, asked my mother to let me go and spend a few days in their homes, saying the change of air would do me good. With this end in view, my mother gave her consent and they took me with them, now to one place, now to another. When away from home like this, I did not always meet with esteem or affection. While there were some who admired me and considered me a saint, there were also others who heaped abuse upon me and called me hypocrite, a visionary and a sorceress. This was the good Lord's way of throwing salt into the water to prevent it from going bad. Thanks to this Divine Providence, I went through the fire without being burned, or without becoming acquainted with the little worm, vanity which has the habit of gnawing its way into everything. On such occasions, I used to think to myself: 'They are all mistaken. I'm not a saint, as some say, and I'm not a liar either, as others say. Only God knows what I am'. When I got home I would run to see Jacinta, who said: “Listen! Don't go away again. I have been so lonely for you! Since you went away, I have not spoken to anyone. I don't know how to talk to other people.”
The time finally came for Jacinta to leave for Lisbon. I have already described our leave taking, and therefore I won't repeat it here. How sad I was to find myself alone! In such a short space of time Our dear Lord had taken to Heaven my beloved father, and then Francisco; and now He is taking Jacinta, who I was never to see again in this world. As soon as I could, I slipped away to the Cabeco, and hid within our cave among the rocks. There, alone with God, I poured forth my grief and shed tears in abundance. Coming back down the slope, everything reminded me of my dear companions; the stones on which we had so often sat, the flowers I no longer picked, not having anyone to take them to; Valinhos, where the three of us had enjoyed the delights of paradise! As though I had lost all sense of reality, and still half abstracted, I went to my aunts house one day, and made for Jacinta's room, calling out to her. Her sister Teresa, seeing me like that, barred the way and reminded me that Jacinta was no longer there!
Shortly afterwards, news arrived that she had taken flight to Heaven. Her body was then brought back to Vila Nova de Ourem. My aunt took me there one day, to pray beside the mortal remains of her little daughter, in the hope of thus distracting me. But for a long time after, my sorrow only seemed to grow ever greater. Whenever I found the cemetery open, I went and sat by Francisco's grave, or beside my father's and there I spent long hours. My mother, thank God decided some time later after this to go to Lisbon, and to take me with her. Through the kindness of Dr. Formigao a good lady received us into her house, and offered to pay for my education in a boarding school, if I was willing to remain. My mother, after consulting doctors, found that she needed an operation for kidneys and spinal column; but the doctors would not be responsible for her life, since she also suffered from a cardiac lesion. She therefore went home, leaving me in the care of this lady. When everything was ready and the day arranged for my entering boarding school, I was informed that the Government was aware that I was in Lisbon and was seeking my whereabouts. They, therefore, took me to Santarem to Dr Formigao's house, and for some days I remained hidden, without even being allowed out to Mass.
Finally, His Reverence's sister arrived to take me home to my mother, promising to arrange for my admittance to a boarding school that the Dorothean Sisters had in Spain, and assuring us that as soon as everything was settled, she would come and fetch me. All these happenings distracted me somewhat, and so the oppressive sadness began to disappear.
Lucia's First Meeting With The Bishop
It was about this time that Your Excellency was installed as Bishop of Leiria, and your dear Lord confided to your care this poor flock that had been so many years without a shepherd. There was not wanting people who tried to frighten me about Your Excellency's arrival, just as they had done before about another holy priest. They told me that Your Excellency knew everything, that you could read hearts and penetrate the depths of consciences and that now you were going to discover all my deception. Far from frightening me, it made me earnestly desire to speak to you, and I thought to myself: 'If it is true that he knows everything, he will know that I am speaking the truth'. For this reason as soon as a kind lady from Leiria offered to take me to see Your Excellency, I accepted her suggestion with joy. There was I, full of hope, in expectation of this happy moment.
At last the day came, and the lady and I went to the Palace. We were invited to enter, and shown to a room, where we were asked to wait for a little while. A few moments later, Your Excellency's secretary came in and spoke kindly with Dona Gilda who accompanied me. From time to time, he asked me some questions. As I had already been twice to confession to His Reverence, I already knew him, and it was therefore a pleasure to talk to him. A little later, Rev Dr. Marques dos Santos came in wearing shoes with buckles, and wrapped in a great big cloak. As it was the first time that I had seen a priest dressed like this, it caught my attention. He then embarked on a whole repertoire of questions that seemed unending. Now and again, he laughed, as though making fun of my replies, and it seemed as if the moment when I could speak to Your Excellency would never come. At last, Your Secretary returned to speak to the lady who was with me. He told her that when Your Excellency arrived, she was to make her apologies and take her leave, saying that she had to go else where, since Your Excellency may want to speak to me in private. I was delighted when I heard this message, and I thought to myself: As His Excellency knows everything, he won't ask me many questions, and he will be alone with me! What a blessing!
When Your Excellency arrived, the good lady played her part very well, and so I had the happiness of speaking with you alone. I am not going to describe now what happened during this interview, because Your Excellency certainly remembers it better than I do. To tell the truth, when I saw Your Excellency receive me with such kindness, without the least attempting to ask me any useless or curious questions, being concerned solely for the good of this poor little lamb that the Lord had just entrusted to you, then I was more convinced than ever that Your Excellency did indeed know everything; and I did not hesitate for a moment to give myself completely in your hands. Thereupon, Your Excellency imposed certain conditions which, because of my nature, I found easy that is to keep completely secret all that Your Excellency had said to me, and to be good. I kept my secret to myself, until the day when Your Excellency asked my mother's consent.
Farewell to Fatima
Finally, the day of my departure was settled. The evening before I went to bid farewell to all the familiar places so dear to us. My heart was torn with loneliness and longing, for I was sure I would never set foot on the Cabeco, the Rock, Valinhos, or in the parish church where Our dear Lord had begun His work of mercy, and the cemetery, where rested the mortal remains of my beloved Father and of Francisco, whom I could still never forget. I said good bye to our well, already illumined by the pale rays of the moon, and to the old threshing floor where I had so often spent long hours contemplating the beauty of the starlit heavens, and the wonders of sunrise and sunset which so enraptured me. I loved to watch the rays of the sun reflected in the dew drops, so that the mountains seemed covered with pearls in the morning sunshine; and in the evening, after a snowfall, to see the snowflakes sparkling on the pine trees was like a foretaste of the beauties of paradise.
Without saying farewell to anyone, I left the next day at two o'clock in the morning, accompanied by my mother and a poor laborer called Manuel Correia who was going to Leiria. I carried my secret with me, inviolate. We went by the way of the Cova da Iria, so I could bid it my last farewell. There for the last time I prayed my Rosary. As long as this place was still in sight, I kept turning round to say my last good bye. We arrived at Leiria at nine o'clock in the morning. There I met Dona Filomena Miranda, whom Your Excellency had charged to accompany me. This lady was later to be my godmother at Confirmation. The train left at two o'clock in the afternoon, and there I was at the station, giving my poor mother a last embrace, leaving her overwhelmed with sorrow and shedding abundant tears. The train moved out, and with it went my poor heart plunged in an ocean of loneliness and filled with memories that I could never forget.
I think Your Excellency, that I have just picked the most beautiful flower and the most delicious fruit from my little garden, and I now place it in the merciful hands of the Good Lord, whom you represent, praying that He will make it yield a plentiful harvest of souls for eternal life. And since Our dear Lord takes pleasure in the humble obedience of the least of His creatures, I end with the words of her whom He, in His infinite mercy, has given me as Mother, Protectress and Model, the very same words with which I began: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord! May He continue to make use of her, as He thinks best.”
Further Memories of Jacinta
P.S. - I forgot to say that when Jacinta went to hospital in Vila Nova de Ourem and again in Lisbon, she knew she was not going to be cured, but only to suffer. Long before anybody spoke to her of the possibility of her entering the hospital of Vila Nova de Ourem, she said one day: “Our Lady wants me to go to two hospitals, not to be cured, but to suffer more for the love of Our Lord and for sinners.” I do not know Our Lady's exact words in these apparitions to Jacinta alone, for I never asked her what they were. I confined myself to merely listening to what she occasionally confided to me, in this account, I have tried not to repeat what I have written in the previous one, so as not to make it too long.
Lucia's Magnetic Personality
It may seem from this account that, in my village, nobody showed me any love or tenderness. But this is not so. There was a dear chosen portion of the Lord's flock, who showed me singular affection. These were the little children. They ran up to me bubbling over with joy, and when they knew I was pasturing my sheep in the neighbourhood of our little village, whole groups of them used to come and spend the day with me. My mother used to say: “I don't know what attraction you have for children! They run after you as if they were going to a feast!” As for myself, I did not feel at ease in the midst of such merriment, and for that reason I tried to keep out of their way.
The same thing happened to me with my companions in Vilar, and I would almost venture to say that it is happening to me now with my Sisters in religion. A few years ago, I was told by my Mother Mistress, who is now Rev Mother Provincial: “You have such an influence over the Sisters that if you want to you can do them a great deal of good.” And quite recently, Rev Mother Superior in Pontevedra said to me: “To a certain degree, you are responsible to Our Lord for the state of fervor or negligence in observance, on the part of the other Sisters, because their favour is increased or diminished at recreation; whatever the others see you doing at that time, they do as well. Certain topics you brought up at recreation helped other Sisters to understand the Rule better, and made them resolve to observe it more faithfully.” Why is this? I don't know. Perhaps it is a talent which the Lord has given me, and for which He will hold me to account. Would that I knew how to trade with it, that I might restore it to Him a thousand fold.
Lucia's Excellent Memory
Maybe someone will want to ask: How can you remember all this? How? I don't know. Our dear Lord, Who shares out His gifts as He thinks fit, has allotted to me this little portion-my memory. He alone knows why. And besides as far as I can see, there is this difference between natural and supernatural things: When we are talking to a mere creature, even while we are speaking, we tend to forget what is being said; whereas these supernatural things are ever more deeply engraved on the soul, even as we are seeing and hearing them, so that it is not easy to forget them.
Your Excellency In obedience to the order which Your Excellency gave me in your letter of July 26th, 1941, that I should think it over and note down anything else I could remember about Jacinta, I have given thought to the matter and decided that, as God was speaking to me through you, the moment has arrived to reply to two questions which have often been sent to me, but which I have put off answering until now.
In my opinion, it would be pleasing to God and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that in the book of Jacinta, one chapter would be devoted to the subject of hell, and another to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Your Excellency will indeed find this opinion rather strange and perhaps inopportune, but it is not my own idea. God Himself will make this clear to you that this is a matter that pertains to His glory and to the good of souls. This will entail my speaking about the secret, and thus answering the first question.
What Is The Secret?
It seems to me that I can reveal it since I already have permission from Heaven to do so. God's representatives on earth have authorized me to do this several times and various letters, one I believe is in your keeping, This letter is from Rev. Fr. Jose Bernardo Goncalves, and in it he advises me to write to the Holy Father, suggesting among other things, that I should reveal the secret. I did say something about it. But in order not to make my letter too long, since I was told to keep it short, I confined myself to the essentials, leaving it to God to provide another more favorite opportunity.
In my second account, I have already described in detail the doubt which tormented me from June 13th until July 13th, and how it disappeared completely during the Apparition on that day.
The Vision Of Hell
Well, the secret is made up of three distinct parts, two of which I am now going to reveal. The first part is the vision of hell.
Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form like, transparent burning embers, all blackened, or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and 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, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to Our dear Heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, us in the first Apparition, to take us to Heaven. Otherwise I think we would have died of fear and terror.
We then looked up at Our Lady, who said to us so kindly and so sadly: “You have seen hell where the souls if 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 war is going to end, but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius X1. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given to you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.
“To prevent this I shall come
to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion
of reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are heeded, Russia
will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her
errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.
The good will be martyred; they Holy Father will have much to suffer, various
nations will be annihilated, in the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph.
The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and she will be converted
and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
Lasting Impression On Jacinta
Your Excellency, as I already told you in the notes I sent to you after reading the book about Jacinta, some of the things revealed in the secret made a strong impression on her. This was indeed the case. 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. Well, I am now going to answer the second question, one which has come to me from various quarters.
How is that Jacinta, small as she was, let herself be possessed by such a spirit of mortification and penance, and understood it so well? I think the reason is this: firstly, God willed to bestow on her a special grace, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and secondly, it was because she had looked upon hell, and had seen the ruin of souls who fall therein. Some people, even the most devout, refuse to speak to children about hell, in case it would frighten them. Yet God did not hesitate to show hell to three children, one of whom was only six years old, knowing well that they would be horrified to the point of, I would almost dare to say, withering away with fear. 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 a live, like wood in the fire!”
Then shuddering, she knelt down with her hands joined and recited the prayer that Our Lady taught us: “Oh my Jesus! Forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.” Now Your Excellency will understand how my own impression was that the final words of this prayer refer to souls in greatest danger of damnation, or those who are nearest to it. Jacinta remained on her knees like this for a long periods of time, saying the same prayer over and over again. From time to time, like someone waking from sleep, she called out to her brother or myself: “Francisco, Francisco! Are you praying with me? We must pray very much, to save souls from hell! So many go there! So many!” At other times, she asked: Why doesn't Our Lady show hell to sinners? If they saw it, they would not sin, so as to avoid going there! You must tell Our Lady to show hell to all those people (referring to those who were in Cova da Iria at the time of the Apparition). “You'll see how they will be converted.” Afterwards, unsatisfied, she asked me: “Why didn't you tell Our Lady to show hell to all those people?” “I forgot” I answered. “I didn't remember either!” she said, looking very sad.
Sometimes, she also asked: “What are the sins people commit, for which they go to hell?” “I don't know! Perhaps the sin of not going to Mass on Sunday, of stealing, of saying ugly words, of cursing and of swearing.” “So for just one word, then, people can go to hell?” “Well it’s a sin!” “It wouldn't be hard for them to keep quiet and go to Mass! I'm so sorry for sinners! If only I could show then hell”. Suddenly, she would seize hold of me and say: “I'm going to Heaven, but you are staying here. If Our Lady lets you, tell everybody what hell is like, so that they won't commit anymore sins and not go to hell.” To quiet her, I said: “Don't be afraid! You're going to Heaven.” “Yes I am”; she said serenely, “but I want all those people to go there too!”
When in a spirit of mortification, she did not want to eat. I said to her: “Listen Jacinta! Come and eat now.” “No! I'm offering this sacrifice for sinners who eat too much.” When she was ill, and yet went to Mass on a week day, I urged her: “Jacinta, don't come! You can't, you're not able. Besides today is not Sunday!” “That doesn't matter! I'm going for sinners who don't go on a Sunday.” If she happened to hear any of those expressions which some people make, a show of uttering, she covered her face with her hands and said: “Oh, my God, don't these people realize that they can go to hell for saying those things? My Jesus, forgive them and convert them. They certainly don't know that they are offending God by all this! What a pity, my Jesus! I'll pray for them.” There and then she repeated the prayer that Our Lady taught us: “Oh my Jesus, forgive us....”
Lucia Looks Back
Now Your Excellency, another thought comes to my mind. I have sometimes been asked if, in any Apparitions, Our Lady pointed out to us which kind of sins offend God most. They say that Jacinta, when in Lisbon, mentioned sins of the flesh. She had often questioned me on this matter, and I think now, that when at Lisbon, perhaps it occurred to her to put the question to Our Lady herself, and that was the answer she received. Well Your Excellency, it seems to me that I have now made known the first part of the secret.
The Immaculate Heart Of Mary
The second part refers to the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As I have already written in the second account, Our Lady told me on June 13th, 1917, that she would never forsake me, and that Her Immaculate Heart would be my refuge and the way that would lead me to God.
As She spoke these words, She opened Her hands, and from them streamed a light that penetrated to our inmost hearts. I think that on that day, I think the main purpose of this light was to infuse within us a special knowledge and love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, just as on the other two occasions it was intended to do, as it seems to me, with regard to God and the mystery to the most Holy Trinity. From that day onwards, our hearts were filled with a more ardent love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary. From time to time, Jacinta said to me: “The Lady said that Her Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God. Don't you love that? Her Heart is so good! How I love it!”
As I explained earlier, Our Lady told us, in the July secret, that God wished to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart, and that to prevent a future war, she would come to ask for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, and for the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. From then on, whenever we spoke of this among ourselves, Jacinta said: “I am so grieved to be unable to receive Communion in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary!”
I have also mentioned already how Jacinta chose the litany of ejaculations which Father Cruz suggested to us, this one “Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation!” After saying it, she used to add sometimes, with the simplicity that was natural to her: “I so love the Immaculate Heart of Mary! It is the Heart of our dear Mother in Heaven! Don't you love saying many times: sweet Heart of Mary, Immaculate Heart of Mary?: I love it so much, so very much”. At other times, as she gathered wild flowers, she sang a little tune that she made up herself as she went along: “Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation! Immaculate Heart of Mary, convert sinners, save souls from hell!
Jacinta's Visions Of The Holy Father
One day we spent our siesta down by my parents' well. Jacinta sat on the stone slabs on top of the well. Francisco and I climbed up a steep bank in search of wild honey among the brambles in a nearby thicket. After a little while, Jacinta called out to me: “Didn't you see the Holy Father?” “No”. “I don't know how it was, but I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him.” I have already told you, how one day two priests recommended us to pray for the Holy Father, and explained to us who the Pope was.
Afterwards Jacinta asked me: “Is he the one I saw weeping, the one Our Lady told us about in the secret?” “Yes, he is”, I answered. “The Lady must have shown him also to those priests. You see, I was not mistaken. We need to pray a lot for him”. At another time, we went to the cave called Lapa Cabeco. As soon as we got there, we prostrated on the ground, saying the prayers the Angel had taught us. After sometime, Jacinta stood up and called to me: “Can't you see all those highways and roads and fields full of people, who are crying with hunger and have nothing to eat? And the Holy Father in a church praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary? And so many people praying with him?” Some days later, she asked me: “Can I say that I saw the Holy Father and all those people?” “No! Don't you see that this is part of the secret? If you do they'll find out straight away.” “All right! Then I'll say nothing at all.”
Visions of War
One day, I went to Jacinta's house to spend a little while with her. I found her sitting on her bed, deep in thought. “Jacinta, what are you thinking about?” “About the war that is coming. So many people are going to die, and almost all of them are going to hell! Many homes will be destroyed and many priests will be killed. Look I am going to Heaven, and as for you, when you see the light which the Lady told us would come one night before the war, you run up there too.” “Don't you see that nobody can just run up to Heaven!” “That's true, you cannot! But don't be afraid! In Heaven I will be praying hard for you, for the Holy Father, for Portugal, so that the war will not come here, and for all the priests.”
Your Excellency is not aware that a few years ago, God manifested that sign, which astronomers chose to call an aurora borealis. I don't know for certain, but I think if they investigated the matter, they would discover that, in the form in which it appeared, it could not possibly had been an aurora borealis. Be that as it may, God made use of this to make me understand that His justice was about to strike the guilty nations. For this reason, I began to plead insistently for the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays, and the consecration of Russia. My intention was to obtain mercy and pardon, not only for the whole world but for Europe in particular.
When God, in His infinite mercy, made me feel that the terrible moment was drawing near, Your Excellency may recall how, whenever occasion offered, I took the opportunity of pointing out, I still say that the prayer and penance which have been done in Portugal, have not yet appeased the Divine Justice, for they have not been accompanied by either contrition or amendment. I hope that Jacinta is interceding for us in Heaven.
As I said in the notes I sent about the book called Jacinta, she was most deeply impressed by some of the things revealed to us in the secret. Such was the case with the vision of hell and the ruin of so many souls who go there, or again, the future war with all its horrors which seemed to be always present to her mind. These made her tremble with fear. When I saw her deep in thought, and asked her: “Jacinta, what are you thinking about?” She frequently replied: “About the war which is coming, and all the people who are going to die and go to hell! How dreadful! If they would only stop offending God, then there wouldn't be any war and they wouldn't go to hell!”
Sometimes, she also said to me: “I feel so sorry for you! Francisco and I are going to Heaven, and you're going to stay here for a while longer. When the war comes, do not be afraid. In heaven, I'll be praying for you.” Shortly before she went to Lisbon, at one of those times when she felt sad at the thought of our coming separation. I said to her: “Don't be upset because I can't go with you. You can then spend your time thinking of Our Lady and Our Lord, and saying many times over those words you love so much: 'My God, I love You! Immaculate Heart of Mary, Sweet Heart of Mary' and so on.” “Yes, indeed” she eagerly replied, “I'll never get tired of saying those words until I die! And then, I can sing them many times over in Heaven!”
Lucia Explains Her Silence
It may be, Your Excellency, that some people think that I should have made known all this some time ago, because they consider that it would have been twice as valuable years before hand. This would have been the case, if God had willed to present me to the world as a prophetess. But I believe God had no such intention, when He made known these things to me. If that had been the case, I think that in 1917, when He ordered me to keep silent, and this order was confirmed by those who represented Him, He would on the contrary, have ordered me to speak.
I consider then, Your Excellency, that God willed only to make use of me to remind the world that it is necessary to avoid sin, and to make reparation to an offended God, by means of prayer and penance. Where could I have hidden myself in order to escape from innumerable questions they would have asked me about such matters? Even now I am afraid, just thinking of what lies a head of me! And I must confess that my repugnance in making this known is so great that, although I have before me the letter in which Your Excellency orders me to write everything else that I can remember, and I feel convinced that this is indeed the hour that God has chosen for my doing this, I still hesitate and experience a real inner conflict, not knowing whether to give you what I have written, or to burn it. As yet I do not know what will be the outcome of the struggle. It will be as God wills.
For me keeping silent has been a great grace. What would have happened had I described hell? Being unable to find words which exactly express the reality- for what I say is nothing and gives only a feeble idea of it all. I would therefore had said, now one thing, now another, wanting to explain but not succeeding in doing so. I might thus perhaps have caused such a confusion of ideas as even to spoil, who knows, the work of God. For this reason, I give thanks to the Lord, and I know that He does all things well. God usually accompanies His revelations with an intimate and detailed understanding of their significance. But I do not venture to speak of this matter, for fear of being led astray, as can all to easily happen, by my own imagination. Jacinta seemed to have this understanding to quite a remarkable degree.
Jacinta And The Immaculate Heart Of Mary
A little while before going to hospital, Jacinta said to me: “It will not be long now before I go to Heaven. You will remain here to make known that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you are to say this, don't go and hide. Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask Her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at His side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God has entrusted it to Her. If I could only put into the hearts of all, the fire that is burning within my own heart, and that makes me love the Hearts of Jesus and Mary so very much!”
One day, I was given a holy picture of the Heart of Jesus, quite a nice one, as man made pictures go. I took it to Jacinta: “Do you want this holy picture?” She took it, looked at it attentively and remarked: “It's so ugly! It doesn't look like Our Lord at all. He is so beautiful! But I want it; it is He just the same.” She always carried it with her. At night and during her illness, she kept it under her pillow, until it fell apart. She kissed it frequently, saying: “I kiss the Heart because I love it most! How I would love to have a Heart of Mary! Don't you have one? I would love to have the two together.”
On another occasion, I brought her a picture of a chalice with a host. She took it and kissed it and radiant with joy she exclaimed: “It is the Hidden Jesus! I love Him so much! If only I could receive Him in Church! Don't they receive Holy Communion in Heaven? If they do, then I will go to Holy Communion every day. If only the Angel would go to the hospital to bring me Holy Communion again, how happy I would be!” Sometimes, on returning from church, I went into see her, and she asked me: “Did you receive Holy Communion?” And if I answered in the affirmative, she said: “Come over here close to me, for you have the hidden Jesus in your heart.”
At other times she told me: “I don't know how it is! But I feel Our Lord within me. I understand what He says to me, although I neither see Him nor hear Him, but it is so good to be with Him!” On another occasion, she remarked: “Look, do you know this? Our Lord is sad, because Our Lady told us not to offend Him anymore, for He is already very much offended; yet nobody takes any notice, and they continue to commit the same sins!”
There, Your Excellency, is everything else I can remember about Jacinta, and which I don't think I have already said before. The meaning of all I say is exact.
And regards the manner of expressing myself, I do not know if I have exchanged one word for another, as for example, when we spoke of Our Lady: sometimes we said Our Lady, sometimes we said the Lady. And now I do not remember which of the two phrases we used at a given time. It is the same with a few other small details, which I think are only of minor importance. I offer to Our Good God and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, this little work, which is the fruit of my poor and humble submission to those who represent Him in my regard. I beg them to make it fruitful for their glory and the good of souls.
There are two points of importance in relation to the third memoir of Sister Lucia. Sister Lucia affirms that the Consecration made by John Paul II, in union with the Bishops, on 25th March 1984, corresponded to the request of Our Lady and was accepted by Heaven. She confirmed that a numerical union of all the Bishops was not required, that a moral union was sufficient.
In a vision by the Blessed Virgin to Lucia at Pontevedra on the 10th of December 1925, Our Lady fulfilled Her promise to come back made during the apparitions of 1917. On the 13th of June, 1929, Lucia had a further vision at Tuy, where Our Lady asked for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. Unfortunately, the consecration was not done when Our Lady asked for it to be done, and therefore Russia had already spread her errors, before the Consecration was made. Also that Communion of Reparation has not been fulfilled. It could not be said that Lucia's prophecies were post eventum, simply because Lucia's superiors released her manuscripts for publication only after the events which had been announced in them. These manuscripts were in fact, already composed prior to the events taking place.
Confidence and Abandonment
Your Excellency, After a humble prayer at the feet of Our Lord in the tabernacle and before the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our loving heavenly Mother, asking the grace not to be permitted to write one word, or even a single letter, that is not for their glory. I come now to begin this work, happy and at peace as are those who conscience assures them that they are doing in all things the will of God. Abandoning myself completely into he arms of our heavenly Father and to the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I therefore once again place in Your Excellency's hands the fruits of my tree, the tree of obedience.
Inspiration in the Attic
Before making a start, I thought of opening the New Testament, the only book I desire to have here in front of me, in this remote corner of the attic, lit by a single skylight, to which I withdraw whenever I can, in order to escape, as far as possible from all human eyes. My lap serves as a table, and an old trunk as a chair. But, someone will say, 'Why don't you write in your cell?' Our dear Lord has seen fit to deprive me even of a cell?
Our dear Lord has seen fit to deprive me even of a cell, although there are quite a few empty ones in the house. As a matter of fact, the community room that we use for work and recreation would seem more suitable for the fulfillment of His designs; but, just as it is inconvenient for writing during the day, so it is all too conductive to drowsiness at night time. But I am glad and I thank God for the grace of having been born poor, and for living more poorly still for love of him. Dear Lord! That is not at all that I wanted to say. I must return to what God presented to me when I opened the New Testament.
In St. Paul's letter to the Philippians 2, 5-8, I read as follows; “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God...,emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant..., He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death,” After reflecting a while, I read also verse 12 and 13 of the same chapter: “with fear and trembling work out your salvation. It is God that works in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to His good will”.
Very well then. I need no more than this: obedience and abandonment to God who works within me. I am truly no more than a poor and miserable instrument which He desires to use, and in a little while, like a painter who casts his now useless brush into the fire so that it may be reduced to ashes, the divine Artist will Himself reduce his now useless instrument to the ashes of the tomb, until the great day of the eternal Alleluias. And I ardently desire that day, for the tomb does not annihilate everything, and the happiness of eternal and infinite love begins-now!
Unction of the Spirit
Your Excellency, In Valenca, On October 7th, 1941, I was asked the following questions by Rev. Dr. Galamba: “Sister, when you said that penance had been done only in part, did you say this of yourself, or was it revealed to you?” I think, Your Excellency, that, in such cases, I never speak or write anything at all that comes from myself alone. I have to thank God for the assistance of the Divine Holy Spirit, whom I feel within me, suggesting to me what I am to write or say. If, at times, my own imagination or understanding suggests something to me, I at once feel the lack of the Divine Unction, and I stop what I am doing, until I know in my inmost heart what it is that God wants me to say instead. But why do I tell you all this? I do not know. God knows, who has inspired your Excellency to command me to tell everything, and not deliberately conceal anything.
Francisco's character, His Spirituality
I am going to begin then, your Excellency, by writing what God wills to bring to my mind about Francisco. I hope that our Lord will make him know in Heaven what I am writing about him on earth, so that he may intercede for me with Jesus and Mary, especially during these coming days. The affection that bound me to Francisco was just one of kinship, and one which had it's origin in the graces which Heaven designed to grant us. Apart from his features and his practice of virtue, Francisco did not seem at all to be Jacinta's brother. Unlike her, he was neither capricious nor vivacious. On the contrary, he was quiet and submissive by nature.
When we were at play and he won the game, if anyone made a point of denying him his rights as a winner, he yielded without more ado and merely said “you think you won? that's all right, I don't mind!” He showed no love for dancing, as Jacinta did; he much preferred playing the flute while the others danced. In our games he was quite lively; but few of us liked to play with him as he nearly always lost. I must confess that I myself did not always feel too kindly disposed towards him, as his naturally calm temperament exasperated my own excessive vivacity. Sometimes, I caught him by the arm, made him sit down on the ground or on a stone, and told him to keep still; he obeyed me as if I had real authority over him. Afterwards, I felt sorry, and went and took him by the hand, and he would come along with me good humoredly as if nothing had happened. If one of the other children insisted on taking something away from him, he said “Let them have it! What do I care?”
I recall how, one day, he came to my house and was delighted to show me a handkerchief with a picture of our Lady of Nazarene on it, which someone had bought him from the seaside. All the children gathered round him to admire it. The handkerchief was passed from hand to hand, and in a few minutes it disappeared. We looked for it, but it was nowhere to be found. A little later, I found it myself in another small boy's pocket. I wanted to take it away from him, but he insisted that it was his own, and that someone had bought him one from the beach as well. To put an end to the quarrel, Francisco then went up to him and said,” Let him have it! What does a handkerchief matter to me? “my own opinion is that, if he had lived to manhood, his greatest defect would have been his attitude of “never mind!”
When I was seven and began to take our sheep out to pasture, he seemed to be quite indifferent. In the evenings he waited for me in my parents yard with his little sister, but this was not out of affection for me, but rather to please her. As soon as Jacinta saw the tinkling of the sheep bells, she ran out to meet me; whereas Francisco waited for me, sitting in the stone steps leading up to our front door. Afterwards he came with us to play on the old threshing floor, while we watched for Our Lady and the Angels to light their lamps. He eagerly counted the stars with us, but nothing enchanted him as much as the beauty of sunrise and sunset. As long as he could still glimpse one last ray of the setting sun, he made no attempt to watch for the first lamp to be lit in the sky. “No lamp is as beautiful as Our Lord's” he used to remark to Jacinta, who much preferred Our Lady's lamp, because as she explained: “It doesn't hurt our eyes”.
Enraptured he watched the sun rays glinting on the window panes of the homes in the neighboring villages, or glistening in the drops water which spangled the trees and furze bushes of the serra, making them shine like so many stars; in his eyes these were a thousand times more beautiful than the Angels lamps. When he persisted in pleading with his mother to let him take care of the flock and therefore come along with me, it was more to please Jacinta than anything else, for she much preferred Francisco's company to that of her brother John.
One day his mother, already quite annoyed, refused this permission and he answered with his usual tranquility: “Mother, it doesn't matter to me, it was more to please Jacinta who wants me to go”. He confirmed this on yet another occasion. One of my companions came to my house to invite me to go with her, as she had a particularly good pasturage in view for that day. As the sky was overcast I went to my aunts house to enquire who was going out that day, Francisco and Jacinta, or their brother John; in case of the latter, I preferred the company of my former companion. My aunt had already decided that, as it looked like rain, John should go. But Francisco went to his mother again and insisted on going himself. He received a curt and decided “No!” Whereupon he exclaimed: “It's all the same with me. it is Jacinta who felt badly about it.”
What Francisco enjoyed most, when we were out on the mountains together, was to perch on the top of the highest rock and sing or play his flute. If his little sister came down to run races with me, he stayed up there entertaining himself with his music and song. The song he sang most often went like this:
“I love God in Heaven,
I love Him, too on earth,
I love the flowers of the fields,
I love the sheep on the mountains.
I am a poor shepherd girl,
I always pray to Mary;
In midst of my flock
I am like the dun at noon.
Together with my lambkins
I learn to skip and jump;
I am the joy of the serra
And the lily of the vale.”
He always took part in our games when we invited him, but he seldom waxed enthusiastic remarking: “I'll go, but I know I'll be the loser.” These were the games we knew and found most entertaining: pebbles, forfeits, pass the ring, buttons, hit the mark, quoits and card games such as the bisca game, turning up the kings, queens and knaves, and so on. We had two packs of cards: I had one and they had the other. Francisco liked best to play cards, and the bisca was his favorite game.
Francisco sees the Angel
During the Apparition of the Angel, he prostrated like his sister and myself, carried away by the same supernatural force that moved us to do so: but he learned the prayer by hearing us repeat it, since he told us, he heard nothing of what the Angel had said. Afterwards, when we prostrated to say that prayer, he was the first to feel the strain of such a posture; but he remained kneeling, or sitting and still praying, until we had finished. Later he said: “I am not able to stay like that for a long time, like you. My back aches so much that I can't do it.”
At the second Apparition of the Angel, down by the well, Francisco waited a few moments after it was over, then asked: “You spoke to the Angel. What did he say to you?” “Didn't you hear?” “No! I could see that he was talking to you. I heard what you said to him; but what he said to you, I don't know.” As the supernatural atmosphere in which the Angel left us, had not yet entirely disappeared, I told him to ask Jacinta or myself the next day. “Jacinta, you tell me what the Angel said”. “I'll tell you tomorrow. Today I can't talk about it.” Next day, as soon as he came up to me, he asked me: “Did you sleep last night? I kept thinking about the Angel and what he could have said.” I then told him all that the Angel had said at the first and second Apparitions.
But it seemed that he had not received an understanding of all that the words meant, for he asked: “Who is the most High? What is the meaning of : 'The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications?..” Having received an answer, he remained deep in thought for a while, and then broke in with another question. But my mind was not yet free, so I told him to wait until the next day, because at that moment I was unable to speak. He waited quite contented, but he did not let slip the very next opportunity of putting more questions. This made Jacinta say to him: “Listen! We shouldn't talk much about these things”. When we spoke about the Angel, I don't know what it was that we felt. I don't know how I feel”. Jacinta said. “I can no longer talk or sing, or play. I haven't the strength enough for anything”. “Neither have I” replied Francisco: “but what of it? The Angel is more beautiful than all this. Let's think about him.”
In the third Apparition, the presence of the supernatural made itself felt more intensely still. For several days even Francisco did not venture to speak. Later he said: “I love to see the Angel, but the worst of it is that, afterwards, we are unable to do anything. I couldn't even walk. I don't know what was the matter with me.” In spite of that, after the third Apparition of the Angel, it was he that noticed that it was getting dark, and who drew our attention to the fact, and thought we should take our flocks back home.
Once the first few days were over and we had returned to normal; Francisco asked: “The Angel gave you Holy Communion, but what was it that he gave to Jacinta and me?” “It was Holy Communion too”, replied Jacinta, with inexpressible joy. “Didn't you see that it was the Blood that fell from the Host?” “I felt that God was within me, but I did not know how!” Then prostrating on the ground, he and his sister remained for a long time, saying over and over again the prayer of the Angel...Most Holy Trinity... Little by little the atmosphere of the supernatural faded away, and by the 13th of May, were playing with almost as much enjoyment and freedom of spirit as we had done before.
Impressions of the First Apparition
The Apparition of Our Lady plunged us once more into the atmosphere of the supernatural, but this time more gently. Instead of that annihilation, in the Divine Presence, which exhausted us even physically, it left us filled with peace and expansive joy, which did not prevent us from speaking afterwards of what had happened. However with regard to light communicated to us when Our Lady opened Her hands, and everything connected with this light, we experienced a kind of interior impulse that compelled us to keep silent.
Afterwards, we told Francisco all that Our Lady had said. He was overjoyed and expressed the happiness he felt when he heard of the promise that he would go to Heaven. Crossing his hands on his breast, he exclaimed: “Oh, my dear Our Lady! I'll say as many Rosaries as You want!” And from then on he made a habit of moving away from us, as though going for a walk. When we called him and asked him what he was doing, he raised his hand and showed me his Rosary. If we told him to come and play, and say the Rosary with us afterwards, he replied: “I'll pray then as well. Don't you remember that Our Lady said: 'I must pray many Rosaries'?” He said to me, on one occasion: “ I loved seeing the Angel, but I loved still more seeing Our Lady. What I loved most of all was to see Our Lord in that light from Our Lady which penetrated our hearts. I love God so much! But He is very sad because of so many sins!. We must never commit any sins again.”
I have already said in the second account about Jacinta, how he was the one who gave me the news that she had broken our agreement not to say anything. As he shared my opinion that the matter should be kept secret, he added sadly; “As for me, when my mother asked me if it were true, I had to say that it was, so as not to tell a lie.” From time to time he said: “Our Lady told us that we would have to suffer, but I don't mind. I'll suffer all that She wishes! What I want is to go to Heaven!”
One day, when I showed how unhappy I was over the persecution now beginning both in my family and outside, Francisco tried to encourage me with these words. “Never mind! Didn't Our Lady say that we would have much to suffer, to make reparation to Our Lord and to her own Immaculate Heart for all the sins by which they are offended? They are so sad! If we can console them with these sufferings how happy we shall be!”
When we arrived at our pasturage a few days after Our Lady's first Apparition, he climbed up to the top of a steep rock and called to us: “Don't come up here. Let me stay up here alone.” “All right” And off I went chasing butterflies with Jacinta. We no sooner caught them than we made another sacrifice of letting them fly away, and we never gave another thought to Francisco. When lunch time came we missed him and went to call him: “Francisco, don't you want to come for your lunch?” “No, you eat” “And to pray the Rosary?” “That, yes, later on. Call me again later.” When I went to call him again, he said to me: “You come up here and pray with me.” We climbed up to the peak, where the three of us could scarcely find room to kneel down, and I asked him: “But what have you been doing all this time?” “I am thinking about God, who is so sad because of so many sins! If only I could give Him joy!” One day, we began to sing in happy chorus about the serra:
Ah! tra la la la
Tra la la la
La la la!
In this life everything sings.
And who sings better than I?
The shepherdess out of serra,
Or the maid a washing in the stream.
There's the merry chirp of the goldfinch
That comes to awaken me,
As soon as the sun arises.
The brambles come alive with his song.
The screech owl cries at night
Seeking to frighten me,
The girl in the moonlight sings
As she gaily shucks the corn.
The nightingale in the meadow
Spends the whole day long in song,
The turtle dove sings in the wood,
Even the cart squeaks out a song!
The serra is a rock-strewn garden
Smiling happily all the day long,
Sparkling with gleaming dew drops
That glisten on the mountain side!
We sang it right through once, and were about to repeat it, when Francisco interrupted us: “Let's not sing anymore,. Since we saw the Angel and Our Lady, singing doesn't appeal to me any longer.”
Impressions Of The Second Apparition
At the second Apparition on June 13th, 1917, Francisco was deeply impressed by the light which, as I related to you in the second account, Our Lady communicated to us at the moment when She said: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which will lead you to God.” At the time, he did not seem to grasp the significance of what was happening, perhaps it was because it was not given to him to hear the accompanying words. For this reason, he asked later: “Why did Our Lady have a Heart in Her hand, spreading out over the world that great light which is God? You were with Our Lady in the light which went down towards the earth, and Jacinta was with me in the light which rose towards heaven!” “That is because you and Jacinta will soon go to Heaven”, I replied. “While I, with the Immaculate Heart of Mary will remain for sometime on the earth.” “How many years longer will you stay here?” he asked. “I don't know. Quite a lot”. “Was it Our Lady that said so?” “Yes, and I saw in the light that She shone into our hearts.”
Jacinta confirmed the very same thing saying: “It is just like! That's exactly how I saw it too!” He remarked sometimes: “These people are so happy just because you told them that Our Lady wants the Rosary said, and that you are to learn read! How would they feel if they only knew what She showed us in God in Her Immaculate Heart, in that great light! But this is a secret, it must not be spoken about. It's better that no one should know it!”
After this Apparition, whenever they asked us if Our Lady had said anything else, we began to give this reply: “Yes, She did, but it's a secret.” If they asked us why it was a secret, we shrugged our shoulders, lowered our heads and kept silent. But after July 13th, we said: “Our Lady told us we were not to tell it to anybody” thus referring to the secret imposed on us by Our Lady.
Francisco Strengthens Lucia's Courage
In the course of this month, the influx of people increased considerably, and so did the constant questioning and contradictions. Francisco suffered quite a lot from all this, and complained to his sister saying: “What a pity! If you had only kept quiet, no one would know! If only it were not lie we could tell all the people that we saw nothing, and that would be the end of it. But this can't be done!” When he saw me perplexed and in doubt, he wept, and said: “But how can you think that it is the devil? Didn't you see Our Lady and God in that great light? How can we go there without you, when it is you who do the talking?”
That night after supper he came back to my house, called me out to the old threshing floor, and said: Look! Aren't you going tomorrow?” “I am not going. I've already told you I'm not going back there anymore.” “But what a shame! Why is it that you now think that way? Don't you see that it can't be the devil? God is already sad enough on account of so many sins and now if you don't go, He'll be sadder still! Come on say you'll go!” “I've already told you I'm not going. It is no use asking me.” And I returned abruptly to the house. A few days later, he said to me: “You know I never slept at all that night. I the whole time crying and praying, begging Our Lady to make you go!”
Impressions of The Third Apparition
In the third Apparition, Francisco seemed to be the one on whom the vision of hell made the least impression, though it did indeed have quite a considerable effect on him. What made the most powerful impression on him and what wholly absorbed him. was God, the Most Holy Trinity, perceived in that light which penetrated our in most souls. Afterwards he said: “We were on fire in that light which is God and yet we were not burnt! What is God?...We could never put it into words. Yes, that is something indeed which we could never express! But what a pity it is that He is so sad! If only I could console Him!...”
One day, I was asked if Our Lady had told us to pray for sinners, and I said she had not. at the first opportunity, while the people were questioning Jacinta, he called me aside and said: “You lied just now! How could you say that Our Lady didn't ask us to pray for sinners then?” “For sinners, no! She told us to pray for peace, for the war to end. But for sinners she told us to make sacrifices.” “Ah! That's true. I was beginning to think you had lied.”
Francisco in Prison
I have already described how Francisco spent the day praying and weeping, perhaps even more upset than I was when my father received an order to present me before the Administrator at Vila Nova de Ourem. In prison, he was quite courageous and tried to cheer up Jacinta when she felt most homesick. While we were saying the Rosary in prison, he noticed that one of the prisoners was on his knees with his cap still on his head. Francisco went up to him and said: “If you wish to pray, you should take your cap off.” Right away the poor man handed it to him and he went over and put it on the bench on top of his own.
During Jacinta's interrogation, he confided to me with boundless joy and peace: “If they kill us as they say, we'll soon be in heaven! How wonderful! Nothing else matters!” The after a moments silence he added: “God grant that Jacinta won't be afraid”. I am going to say a Hail Mary for her!” He promptly removed his cap and prayed. The guard seeing him praying, asked him: “What are you saying?” “I am saying a Hail Mary so that Jacinta won't be afraid.” The guard made a scornful gesture and let him go ahead.
One day after our return from Vila Nova Ourem, we began to be aware of the presence of the supernatural all around us and to feel that we were about to receive some heavenly communication. Francisco at once showed his concern over Jacinta's absence. “What a pity it would be” he exclaimed, if Jacinta did not get here in time!” He begged his brother to go quickly and get her, adding: “Tell her to run here.” After his brother had left us, Francisco said: “Jacinta will be very sad if she doesn't arrive in time.” After the Apparition, his sister wanted to stay there the whole afternoon, so he said: “No! You must go home, because mother didn't let you come out with the sheep.” And to encourage her, he went back to the house with her.
In prison we noticed that it was already past midday, and that they would not let us go to the Cova da Iria, Francisco said: “Perhaps Our Lady will come and appear to us here.” On the following day, he could not hide his distress and almost in tears, he said: “Our Lady must have been very sad because we didn't go to the Cova da Iria, and She won't appear to us again. I would so love to see Her!”
While in prison, Jacinta wept bitterly, for she was so homesick for her mother and all the family. Francisco tried to cheer her saying: “Even if we never see our mother again, let's be patient! We can offer it for the conversion of sinners. The worst thing would be if Our Lady never came back again! That is what hurts me the most. But I offer this as well for sinners.” Afterwards he asked me: “Tell me! Will Our Lady not come and appear to us anymore?” “I don't know. I think She will.” “I miss Her so much!” The Apparition at Valinhos was, therefore a double joy for him. He had been tormented by the fear that She would never return. He told me later: “Most likely, She didn't appear on the 13th, so as to avoid going to the Administrator's house, may be because he is such a bad man.”
Impressions Of The Last Apparitions
After the 13th of September, when I told Francisco that in October Our Lord would come as well, he was overwhelmed with joy: “Oh, how good He is! I've only seem Him twice, and I love Him so much!” From time to time, he asked: “Are there many days left till the 13th? I'm longing for that day to come, so that I can see Our Lord again.” Then he thought for a moment, and added: “But listen! Will He still be so sad? I am so sorry to see Him sad like that! I offer Him all the sacrifices I can think of. sometimes, I don't even run away from all those people just in order to make sacrifices!”
After October 13th, he said to me: “I Loved seeing Our Lord, but I loved still more seeing Him in that light where we were with Him, and then I can look at Him forever.” One day I asked Him: “When you are questioned, why do you put your head down and not want to answer?” “Because I want you to answer, and Jacinta too. I didn't hear anything. I can only say that I saw. Then supposing I said something you don't want me to say?” Every now and then he went off and left us without warning. When we missed him, we went in search of him, calling out his name. He answered from behind a little wall, or a shrub or a clump of brambles, and there he was on his knees praying: “why didn't you tell us so that we could come and pray with you?” “Because I prefer to pray alone”.
In my notes on the book called Jacinta, I've already related what happened on a piece of land known as Varzea. I don't think I need to repeat it here. On my way home one day, we had to pass by my godmother's house. she had just been making a mead drink, and called us in to give us a glass. We went in, and Francisco was the first to whom she offered a glassful. He took it and without drinking it, he passed it on to Jacinta, so that she and I could have a drink first. Meanwhile he turned on his heel and disappeared.
“Where is Francisco?” My godmother asked. “I don't know, he was here just now.” He did not return, so Jacinta and I thanked my godmother for the drink and went in search of Francisco. We knew without a shadow of a doubt that he would be sitting on the edge of the well which I have mentioned so often. “Francisco, you didn't drink your glass of mead! My godmother called you so many times, and you didn't appear!” “When I took the glass, I suddenly remembered I could offer that sacrifice to console Our Lord, so while you two were taking a drink, I ran over here.”
Anecdotes And Popular Songs
Between my house and Francisco's lived my godfather Anastacio, who was married to an older woman whom God had not blessed with children. They were farmers and quite well off, so they didn't need to work. My father was overseer of their farm and had charge of the day laborers. In gratitude for this they a special liking for me, particularly my godfather's wife, whom I called my godmother Teresa. If I didn't call in during the day, I had to go and sleep there at night, because she couldn't get along without her little sweet meat, as she called me.
On festive occasions, she delighted in dressing me up with her gold necklace and heavy earrings which hung down below my shoulders, and a pretty little hat decorated with immense feathers of different colors and fastened with an array of gold beads. At the 'festas', there was no one better turned out than I, and how my sisters and my godmother gloried in the fact! The other children crowded round me to admire the brilliance of my finery. To tell the truth, I myself greatly enjoyed the 'festa', and vanity was my worst adornment.
Everybody showed liking and esteem for me, except a poor orphan girl whom my godmother Teresa had taken into her home on the death of her mother. She seemed to fear that I would get part of the inheritance she was hoping for, and indeed she would not have been mistaken, had not Our Lord destined for me a far more precious inheritance. As soon as the news of the Apparitions got round, my godfather showed unconcern, and my godmother was completely opposed by it all. She made no secret of her disapproval of such 'inventions', as she called them. I began, therefore, to keep away from her house as much as I could. My disappearance soon followed by that of the groups of children who so often gathered there, and whom my godmother loved to watch singing and dancing. She treated them to dried figs, nuts, almonds, chestnuts, fruit, and so on.
One Sunday afternoon, I was passing near her house with Francisco and Jacinta, when she called out to us: “Come in, my little swindlers, come! You've not been here for a long time!” Once inside, she lavished her usual attentions on us. The other children seemed to guess we were there, and began to come along as well. My kind godmother, happy at seeing us all gathered in her house once again after such a long space of time, heaped delicacies upon us, and wanted to see us sing and dance. “Come on,” we said, “what will it be, this one or that?” My godmother made the choice herself. It was 'congratulations with illusions', a part song for boys and girls:
You are the sun of the sphere,
Do not deny it your rays!
These are the smiles of springtime,
Ah! Change them not into sighs!
Congratulations to the maiden,
Fragrant as the dewy dawn,
Smiling, you anticipate
The caressing of another morn.
The year is rich in flowers,
Rich in fruit and every good!
And may the year that dawns
Be rich in hopes for you!
There hopes are the best of gifts,
Our warmest wishes for you!
Place them upon your brow,
They're the finest crown of all!
If the past was lovely,
The future will be so too!
Greetings for the year now gone,
For the year to come as well!
In this merry banquet of life ,
Charming Atlantic flower,
The gardener and the garden fair
Are lauded in glad some song!
Your heart is yearning for the flowers
That bloom on your native soil,
For your home and its purest loves
That entwine around your heart!
Do you think it right, good sir,
When the topsail veers in sight,
That Berlenga and the Carvoeiro
- Ah! -
Extinguish their lighthouse beams?
But the sea is lashed to fury:
An everlasting swirling main!
Each night is a howling turmoil
That leads to a watery grave.
Gloomy sand banks of Papoa,
Estelas and Farilhoes!
What tragedy ever re-echoes
In the crash of the foaming waves!
Each rugged reef in these waters
Is a grim presage of death!
Every wave chants a doleful dirge
Each cross recalls a wreck!
Then, how can you be so cruel
And put out your light that is life
Way out on the darkened waters
Guiding boats securely ashore.
I no longer shed any tears
When I speak of our farewell,
My hesitating took only a moment
- Ah! -
My lost lasts all life through
Go and tell heaven to arrest
The flowing torrent of its grace,
Let the flowers wilt and wither
They no longer bespeak your care
Go, I am too disconsolate
My sanctuary all in mourning,
High up in the towering steeple
The bronze bells tolls out death.
But if leave me sad and lonely
In the churchyard grey and grim,
Carved out on the black of your tombstone
I leave my eternal laments.
This garden today is so bare,
But once all smiling and gay,
No care did it lack before,
T’was the gardener who left it to doe.
I trust in Providence bestowing
Tender caresses to come!
Hopefully prepared for everyone,
All who leave the homely nest.
Francisco, The Little Moralist
The women of the neighbourhood no sooner heard the lively singing than they came over to join us, and at the end they asked us to sing it through again. Francisco, however came up to me and said: “Let's not sing that song any more. Our Lord certainly does not want us to sing songs like that now.” We there- fore slipped away among the other children, and ran of to our favorite well. To tell the truth, now that I have just finished writing out the song under obedience. I cover my face with shame. But Your Excellency, at the request of Rev. Dr. Galamba, has seen fit to order me to write down the popular songs that we knew. Here they are then! I do not know why they are wanted, but for me it is enough to know that I am thus fulfilling God's will.
Meanwhile, it was getting near Carnival time, in 1918. The boys and girls met once again that year to prepare the usual festive meals and fun of those days. Each one brought something from home- such as olive oil, flour, meat, and so on, to one of the houses, and the girls then did the cooking for a sumptuous banquet. All those three days feasting and dancing went on well into the night, above all on the last day of the carnival. The children under fourteen had their own celebration in another house. Several of the girls came to ask me to help them organize our festa. At first, I refused. But finally I gave in like a coward, especially after hearing the pleading of Jose Carreira's sons and daughter, for it was he who had placed his home in Casa Velha at our disposal. He and his wife insistently asked me to go there.
I yielded then, and went with a crowd of youngsters to see the place. There was a fine large room, almost as big as a hall, which was well suited for the amusements, and a spacious yard for the supper! Everything was arranged, and I came home, outwardly in most festive mood, but inwardly with my conscience protesting loudly. As soon as I met Jacinta and Francisco I told them what had happened. “Are you going back again to those parties and games?” Francisco asked me sternly. “Have you forgotten that we promised never to do that any more?” “I didn't want to go at all. But you can see how they never stopped begging me to go: and now I don't know what to do!”
There was indeed no end to the entreaties, nor to the number of girls who came insisting that I play them. Some even came from far distant villages- from Moita came Rosa, Ana Caetano and Ana Brogueira; from Fatima, the two daughters of Manuel Caracol; from Boleiros, the two daughters of Manuel da Ramira, and two of Joaquim Chapeleta as well from Amoreira, the two Silva girls; from Currais, Laura Gato, Josefa Valinho, and several others whose names I have forgotten; besides those who came from Boleiros and Lomba da Pederneira, and so on; and this quite apart from all those who came from Eira da Pedra, Casa Velha, and Aljustrel. How could I so suddenly let down all those girls, who seemed not to know how to enjoy themselves without my company, and make them understand that I had to stop going to these gatherings once and for all? God inspired Francisco with the answer. “Do you know how you could do it? Everybody knows that Our Lady has appeared to you. Therefore you can say that you have promised Her not to dance any more, and for this reason you are not going! Then, on such days, we can run away and hide in the cave on the Cabeco. Up there nobody will find us!”
I accepted his proposal, and once I had made my decision, nobody else thought of organizing any such gathering. God's blessing was with us. Those friends of mine who until then sought me out to have me join in their amusements, now followed my example, and came to my home on Sunday afternoons to ask me to go with them to pray the Rosary in the Cova da Iria.
Francisco, Lover Of Solitude And Prayer
Francisco was a boy of few words. Whenever he prayed or offered sacrifices, he preferred to go apart and hide, even from Jacinta and myself. Quite often we surprised him hidden behind a wall or a clump of blackberry bushes, whither he had ingeniously slipped away to kneel and pray, or think, as he said of Our Lord, Who is sad on account of so many sins.
If I asked him: “Francisco, why don't you tell me to pray with you and Jacinta too?” “I prefer to pray by myself,” he answered, “so that I can think and console Our Lord, who is so sad!” I asked him one day: “Francisco, which do you like better - to console Our Lord, or to convert sinners, so that no more souls will go to hell?” “I would rather console Our Lord. Didn't you notice how sad Our Lady was last month, when She said that people must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already much offended? I would rather console Our Lord, and after that convert sinners so that they won't offend Him any more.”
Sometimes, on our way to school, as soon as we reached Fatima, He would say to me: “Listen! You go to school, and I'll stay here in the church, close to Hidden Jesus. It's not worth my while learning to read, as I'll be going to heaven very soon. On your way home, come here and call me.” The Blessed Sacrament was kept at that time near the entrance of the church, on the left side, as the church was undergoing repairs. Francisco went over there, between the baptismal font and the altar, and that's where I found him on my return.
Later, when he fell ill, he often told me, when I called in to see him on my way to school: “Look! Go to the church and give my love to the Hidden Jesus. What hurts me most is that I cannot go there myself and stay awhile with Hidden Jesus.” When I arrived at his house one day, I said goodbye to a group of school children who had come with me, and I went in to pay a visit to him and his sister. As he had heard all the noise, he asked me: “Did you come with all that crowd?” “Yes, I did.” “Don't go with them, because you might learn to commit sins. When you come out of school, go and stay for a little while near the Hidden Jesus, and afterwards come home by yourself.”
On one occasion I asked him: “Francisco, do you feel very sick?” “I do, but I'm suffering to console Our Lord.” When Jacinta and I went into his room one day, he said to us: “Don't talk much today, as my head aches so badly.” “Don't forget to make the offering for sinners,” Jacinta reminded Him. “Yes. But first I make it to console Our Lord and Our Lady, and then, afterwards, for sinners and for the Holy Father.”
On another occasion, I found him very happy when I arrived. “Are you better?” “No. I feel worse. It won't be long now till I go to heaven. When I'm there, I'm going to console Our Lord and Our Lady very much. Jacinta is going to pray a lot for sinners, for the Holy Father, and for you. You will stay here, because Our Lady wants it that way. Listen, you must do everything that She tells you.” While Jacinta seemed to be solely concerned with the one thought of converting sinners and saving souls from going to hell, Francisco appeared to think only of consoling Our Lady, who had seemed to him to be so sad.
Francisco sees the Devil
How different is the incident that I now call to mind. One day we went to a place called Pedreira, and while the sheep were browsing, we jumped from rock to rock, making our voices echo down in the deep ravines. Francisco withdrew, as was his wont, to a hollow among the rocks.
A considerable time had elapsed, when we heard him shouting and crying out to us and to Our Lady. Distressed lest something might of happened to him, we ran in search of him, calling out his name. “Where are you?” “Here! Here!” But it still took us some time before we could locate him. At last, we came upon him, trembling with fright, still on his knees, and so upset that he was unable to rise to his feet. “What's wrong? What happened to you?” In a voice half smothered with fright, he replied: “It was one of those huge beasts that we saw in hell. He was right here breathing out flames!” I saw nothing, neither did Jacinta, so I laughed and said to him: “You never want to think about Hell, so as not to be afraid.” Indeed when Jacinta appeared particularly moved by the remembrance of hell, he used to say: “Don't think so much about hell! Think about Our Lord and Our Lady instead. I don't think about hell, so as not to be afraid.”
He was anything but fearful. He'd go anywhere in the dark alone at night, without the slightest hesitation. He played with lizards, and when he came across snakes he got them to entwine themselves round a stick, and even poured sheep's milk into the holes in the rocks for them to drink. He went hunting for foxes, holes and rabbit burrows, for genets, and other creatures of the wilds.
Francisco And His Feathered Friends
Francisco was very fond of birds and could not bear to see anyone robbing their nests. He always kept part of the bread he had for his lunch, breaking it into crumbs and spreading them out on top of the rocks, so that the birds could eat them. Moving away a little, he called them as though he expected them to understand him. He didn't want anyone else to approach lest they be frightened. “Poor we things! You are hungry,” he said, as though conversing with them. “Come, come and eat!” And they keen- eyed as they are, did not wait for the invitation, but came flocking around him. It was his delight to see them flying back to the tree tops with their little craws full, singing and chirping in a deafening chorus, in which Francisco joined with rare skill.
One day we met a little boy carrying in his hand a small bird that he caught. Full of compassion, Francisco promised him two coins, if only he would let the birds fly away. The boy readily agreed. But first he wished to see the money in his hand. Francisco ran all the way home from the Carreira pond, which lies a little distance below the Cova da Iria, to fetch the coins, and so let the little prisoner free. Then he watched it fly away, he clapped his hands for joy, and said: “Be careful! Don't let yourself be caught again.”
Thereabouts, lived an old woman called Ti Maria Carreira, who sons sent her out sometimes to take care of her flock of goats and sheep. The animals were rather wild, and often strayed in different directions. Whenever we met Ti Maria in these straits, Francisco was the first to run to her aid. He helped her to lead the flock to pasture, chased after the stray ones and gathered them together again. The poor old woman overwhelmed Francisco with her thanks and called him her dear guardian angel. When we came across any sick people, he was filled with compassion and said: “I can't bear to see them, as I feel so sorry for them! Tell them I'll pray for them.”
One day, they wanted to take us to Montelo to the home of a man called Joaquim Chapeleta. Francisco did not want to go. “I'm not going, because I can't bear to see people who want to speak and cannot” (The man's mother was dumb). When Jacinta and I returned home at nightfall, I asked my aunt where Francisco was. “How do I know!” she replied: “I am worn out looking for him all afternoon. Some ladies came and wanted to see you. But you two were not here. He vanished, and never appeared again. Now you go and look for him!” We sat down for a bit on a bench in the kitchen, thinking that we would go later to the Loca do Cabeco, certain that we would find him there. But no sooner had my aunt left the house, than his voice came from the attic through a little hole in the ceiling. He had climbed up there when he thought that some people were coming. From this vantage point he had observed everything that happened, and told us afterwards: “There were so many people! Heaven help me if they had ever caught me by myself! Whatever would I have said to them.” (There was a trapdoor in the kitchen, which was easily reached by placing a chair on a table, thus affording access to the attic.)
Francisco's Love And Zeal
As I have already said, my aunt sold her flock before my mother disposed of ours. From then onwards, before I went out in the morning, I let Jacinta and Francisco know the place where I was going to pasture the sheep that day; as soon as they could get away, they came to join me.
One day, they were waiting for me when I arrived. “Oh! How did you get here so early?” “I came” answered Francisco: because - I don't know why - being with you didn't matter so much to me before, and I just came because of Jacinta, but now I can't sleep in the morning as I'm so anxious to be with you.” Once the Apparitions on each 13th of the month were over, he said to us on the eve of the following 13th: “Look! Early tomorrow morning, I'm making my escape out through the back garden to the cave on the Cabeco. As soon as you can, come and join me there.”
Oh dear! There I was, writing things about his being sick and near to death, and now I see that I have gone back to the happy times we had on the serra, with the birds chirping away merrily all around us. I ask your forgiveness. In writing down what I can remember, I am like a crab that walks backwards and forwards without bothering about reaching the end of its journey. I leave my work to Dr. Galamba, in case he can make use of anything in it, though I suppose he will find little or nothing.
I return therefore to Francisco's illness. But first, I will tell you something about his brief schooling. He came out of the house one day and met me with my sister Teresa, who was already married and living in Lomba. Another woman from a nearby hamlet had asked her to come to me about her son who had been accused of some crime of which I no longer remember, and if he could not prove his innocence he was to be condemned, either to exile or to a term of some years imprisonment. Teresa asked me insistently, in the name of the poor woman for whom she wished to do such a favour, to plead for this grace with Our Lady. Having received the message, I set out for school, and on the way, I told my cousins all about it. When we reached Fatima, Francisco said to me: “Listen! While you go to school, I'll stay with the Hidden Jesus, and I'll ask Him for that grace.” When I came out of school, I went to call him and asked: “Did you pray to Our Lord to grant that grace?” “Yes, I did. Tell your Teresa that he'll be home in a few days' time.” And indeed, a few days later, the poor boy returned home. On the 13th, he and his entire family came to thank Our Lady for the grace they had received.
On another occasion I noticed, as we left the house, that Francisco was walking very slowly: “What's the matter?” I asked him. “You seem unable to walk!” “I've such a bad headache, and I feel as though I am going to fall.” “Then don't come. Stay at home!” “I don't want to. I'd rather stay in the church with the Hidden Jesus, while you go to school.” Francisco was already sick, but could still manage to walk a little, so one day I went with him to the cave on the Cabeco, and to Valinhos. On our return home, we found the house full of people. A poor women was standing near a table, pretending to bless innumerable pious objects: rosary beads, medals, crucifixes and so on. Jacinta and I were soon surrounded by a crowd of people who wanted to question us. Francisco was seized upon by the would-be “blessed”, who invited him to help her. “I could not give a blessing,” he replied very seriously, “and neither should you! Only priests do that.” The little boy's words went round the crowd like lighting, as though spoken by some loud-speaker, and the poor women had to make a quick departure amid a hail of insults from the people, all demanding back the objects they had just handed over to her. I already related in my account of Jacinta, how he managed to go one day to the Cova da Iria; how he wore the rope and then handed it back to me; how he was first, on a day when the heat was suffocating, to offer the sacrifice of not taking a drink; and how he sometimes reminded his sister about suffering for sinners, and so on. I presume, therefore, that it is not necessary to repeat these things here.
One day, I was by the bedside, keeping him company, Jacinta, who had got up for a while, was there too. Suddenly, his sister Teresa came to warn us that a veritable multitude of people was coming down the road, and were obviously looking for us. As soon as she had gone out, I said to Francisco: “Alright! You two wait for them here. I'm going to hide.” Jacinta managed to run out behind me, and we both succeeded in concealing ourselves inside a barrel which was overturned just outside the door leading to the back garden. It was not long before we heard the noise of people searching the house, going out through the garden and even standing right beside the barrel; but we were saved by the fact that its open was turned in the opposite direction. When we felt that they had all gone away, we came out of our hiding place, and went to join Francisco, who told us all that had happened: “There were so many people and they wanted me to tell them where you were, but I didn't know myself. They wished to see us and ask us lots of things. Besides that, there was a woman from Alqueidao, who wanted the cure of a sick person and the conversion of a sinner. I'll pray for that woman, and you pray for the others - there's such a lot of them.” Shortly after Francisco's death, this woman came to see us, and asked me to show her his grave. She wished to go there and thank him for the two graces for which she had asked him to pray.
One day, we were just outside Aljustrel, on our way to the Cova da Iria, when a group of people came upon us by surprise around the bend in a road. In order the better to see and hear us, they sent Jacinta and myself on top of a wall. Francisco refused to let himself be put there, as though he was afraid of falling. Then, little by little, he edged his way out and leaned against a dilapidated wall on the opposite side. A poor woman and her son, seeing that they could not manage to speak to us personally, as they wished, went and knelt down in front of Francisco. They begged him to obtain from Our Lady the grace that the father of the family would be cured and that he would not have to go to the war. Francisco knelt down also, took off his cap and asked if they would like to pray the Rosary with him. They said they would, and began to pray. Very soon, all those people stopped asking curious questions, and also went down on their knees to pray. After that, they went with us to the Cova da Iria, reciting a Rosary along the way. Once there, we said another Rosary, and then they went away, quite happy.
The poor woman promised to come back and thank Our Lady for the graces she had asked for, if they were granted. She came back several times, accompanied not only by her son but also her husband, who had by now recovered. They came from the parish of St. Mamede, and we called them the Casaleiros. Francisco's illness While he was ill, Francisco always appeared joyful and content. I asked him sometimes: “Are you suffering a lot Francisco?” “Quite a lot, but never mind! I am suffering to console Our Lord, and then afterwards, within a short time, I am going to heaven!” “Once you get there, don't forget to ask Our Lady to take me there soon as well.” “That, I won't ask! You know very well that She doesn't want you there yet.”
The day before he died, he said to me: “Look! I am very ill; it won't be long now before I go to heaven.” “Then listen to this. When you're there, don't forget to pray a great deal for sinners, for the Holy Father, for me and for Jacinta.” “Yes, I'll pray. But look, you'd better ask Jacinta to pray for these things instead, because I'm afraid I'll forget when I see Our Lord. And then, more than anything else I want to console Him.”
One day, early in the morning, his sister Teresa came looking for me. “Come quickly to our house! Francisco is very bad, and says he wants to tell you something.” I dressed as fast as I could and went over there. He asked his mother and brothers and sisters to leave the room, saying that he wanted to ask me a secret. They went out, and he said to me: “I am going to confession so that I can receive Holy Communion, and then die. I want you to tell me if you have seen me commit any sin, and then go and ask Jacinta if she has seen me commit any.” “You disobeyed your mother a few times,” I answered, “when she told you to stay at home, and you ran off to be with me or to go and hide.” “That's true. I remember that. Now go and ask Jacinta if she remembers anything else.”
I went, and Jacinta thought for a while, then answered: “Well, tell him that, before Our Lady appeared to us, he stole a coin from our father to by a music box from Jose Marto of Casa Velha; and when the boys from Aljustrel threw stones at those from Boleiros, he threw some too!” When I gave him this message from his sister, he answered: “I've already confessed those, but I'll do it again. Maybe, it is because of these sins that I committed that Our Lord is so sad! But even if I don't die, I'll never commit them again. I'm heartily sorry for them now.” Joining his hands, he recited the prayer: “O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.”
Then he said: “Now listen, you must also ask Our Lord to forgive me my sins.” “I'll ask that, don't worry. If Our Lord had not forgiven them already, Our Lady would not have told Jacinta the other day that She was coming to take you to heaven. Now, I'm going to Mass, and there I'll pray to the Hidden Jesus for you.” “Then, please ask Him to let the parish priest give me Holy Communion.” “I certainly will.” When I returned from the church, Jacinta had already got up and was sitting on his bed. As soon as Francisco saw me, he asked: “Did you ask the Hidden Jesus that the parish priest would give me Holy Communion?” “I did.” “Then, in heaven, I'll pray for you.” “You will? The other day you said you wouldn't!” “That was about taking you there very soon. But if you want me to pray for that, I will, and then let Our Lady do as She wishes.” “Yes, do. You pray.” “Alright. Don't worry, I'll pray.”
Then I left them, and went off to my usual daily lessons and work. When I came home at night, I found him radiant with joy. He had made his confession, and the parish priest had promised to bring him Holy Communion next day. On the following day, after receiving Holy Communion, he said to his sister: “I am happier than you are, because I have the Hidden Jesus in my heart. I'm going to heaven, but I'm going to pray very much to Our Lord and Our Lady for them to bring you both here soon.” Jacinta and I spent almost the whole of that day at his bedside. As he was already unable to pray, he asked us to pray the Rosary for him. Then he said to me: “I am sure I shall miss you terribly in heaven. If only Our Lady would bring you there soon, also!” “You won't miss me! Just imagine! And you right there with Our Lord and Our Lady! They are so good!” “That's true! Perhaps, I won't remember!” Then I added: “Perhaps you'll forget! But never mind!”
Francisco's Holy Death
That night I said goodbye to him. “Goodbye, Francisco! If you go to heaven tonight, don't forget me when you get there, do you hear me?” “No, I won't forget. Be sure of that.” Then seizing my right hand, he held it tightly for a long time, looking at me with tears in his eyes. “Do you want anything more?” I asked him, with tears running down my cheeks too. “No!” he answered in a low voice, quite overcome.
As the scene was becoming so
moving, my aunt told me to leave the room. “Goodbye then, Francisco! Till
we meet in heaven, goodbye!...” Heaven was drawing near. He took his flight
to heaven the following day in the arms of his heavenly Mother. I could
never describe how much I missed him. This grief was a thorn that pierced
my heart for years to come. It is a memory of the past that echoes forever
'Twas night: I lay peacefully
That on this festive longed-for day
Of heavenly union, the Angels above
Vied with us here in holy emulation!
What golden crown beyond all telling,
What garland of flowers garnered here below
Could equal the crown heaven was offering
Angelic beauty, all earthly longing stilled.
The joy, the smile, of our loving Mother
In the heavenly realms, he lives in God
Ravished with love, with joys surpassing,
Those years on earth were so swift, so fleeting...
>> Part 3
Oh will Of God, You Are My Paradise.
70. The Story of the Apparitions.
71. Apparition of the Angel.
72. Lucia's Silence.
73. The 13th May, 1917.
74. The 13th of June 1917.
75. The 13th of July, 1917.
76. The 13th of August 1917.
77. The 13th Of September, 1917.
78. The 13th of October, 1917.
80. A Wonderful Cure.
81. The Prodigal Son.
82. Notes On FR. Fonseca's Book.
84. Interrogation By The Author Antero De Figueiredo.
85. Final Annotations.
86. Jacinta's Reputation for Sanctity.
87. Jacinta, reflection of God.
88. Jacinta Model Of Virtue.
89. Francisco was Different.
91. Tuy, 8th December, 1941.
92. My Father, Before the Apparitions.
93. During The Apparitions.
94. After The Apparitions.
95. Letter to Rev. Fr Luciano Guerra.
96. Coimbra, 23-2-1989.
97. Coimbra, 15-3-1989.
98. Coimbra, 16-4-1989.
99. Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, I.C.D, Introduction.
100. Text of the great promise of the Heart of Mary, in the apparition at Pontevedra, Spain.
102. Text of the request for the consecration of Russia.
The Story of the Apparitions
Now, Your Excellency, we come to the most difficult part of all that you have commanded me to put in writing. First of all, Your Excellency has expressly required of me to write about the apparitions of the Angel, putting down every circumstance and detail, and even as far as possible, their interior effects upon us. Then, along comes Dr. Galamba to ask you to command me to also write about the Apparitions of Our Lady.
“Command her,” he said a little while ago in Valencia. “Yes, Your Excellency, command her to write everything absolutely everything. She'll have to do the rounds of Purgatory many a time for having kept silent about so many things!” As for Purgatory, I am not in the least afraid of it, from this point of view. I have always obeyed, and obedience deserves neither penalty nor punishment. Firstly, I obeyed the interior inspirations of the Holy Spirit, and secondly, I obeyed the commands of those who spoke to me in His name. This very thing was the first order and counsel which God deigned to give me through Your Excellency. Happy and content I record the words I have heard long a go from the lips of that Holy priest, the Vicar of Torres Novas: “The secret of the King's daughter should remain hidden in the depths of her heart.” Then beginning to penetrate their meaning, I said: “My secret is for myself.” But now I can longer say so. Immolated on the altar of obedience, I say rather: “My secret belongs to God. I have placed it in His hands; may He do with it as best pleases Him.”
Dr Galamba said then: “Your Excellency, command her to say everything, everything, and to hide nothing.” And Your Excellency assisted most certainly by the Holy Spirit, pronounced this judgment: “No I will not command that! I will have nothing to do with this matter of secrets.” Thanks be to God! Any other order would have been for me a source of endless perplexities and scruples. Had I received a contrary command, I would have asked myself, times without number: “Whom should I obey? God or His representative?” And perhaps, being unable to come to a decision, I would have been left in a state of real inner torment!
Then Your Excellency continued speaking in God's name: “Sister, write down the Apparitions of the Angel and of Our Lady, because my dear sister, this is for the glory of God and of Our Lady.” How good God is! He is the God of peace, and it is along paths of peace that He leads those who trust in Him. I shall begin then my new task, and thus fulfill the commands received from Your Excellency as well as the desires of Rev. Dr Galamba. With the exception of that part of the secret which I am not permitted to reveal at present, I shall say everything. I shall not knowingly omit anything, though I suppose I may forget just a few small details of minor importance.
Apparition of the Angel
Although I cannot give the exact date, it seems to me that it was 1915 that the first Apparition took place. As far as I can judge, it was the Angel, although at the time he did not venture to make himself fully known. From what I can recall of the weather, I think that this must have happened between the months of April and October in the year 1915.
My three companions from Casa Velha, by name of Teresa Matias and her Sister Maria Rosa, and Maria Justino, were with me on the southern slope of the Cabeco. We were just about to pray the Rosary when I saw, poised in the air above the trees that stretched down to the valley which lay at our feet, what appeared to be a cloud in human form, whiter than snow and almost transparent. My companions asked me what it was. I replied that I did not know. This happened in two further occasions, but on different days. This Apparition made a certain impression upon me, which I do not know how to explain. Little by little, this impression faded away, and were it not for the events that followed, I think I would have forgotten it completely.
The dates I cannot set down with certainty, because at that time, I did not know how to reckon the years, the months or even days of the week. But I think it must have been in the spring of 1916 that the Angel appeared to us for the first time in our Loca do Cabeco. As I have already written in my account of Jacinta, we climbed the hillside in search of shelter. After having taken our lunch and said our prayers, we began to see, some distance off, above the trees that stretched away towards the east, a light, whiter than snow, in the form of a young man transparent, and brighter than any crystal, pierced by the rays of the sun. As he drew nearer, we could distinguish his features more and more clearly. We were surprised, absorbed, and struck dumb with amazement. On reaching us, he said: “Do not be afraid. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.”
Kneeling down on the ground, he bowed down until his forehead touched the earth. Led by a supernatural atmosphere which enveloped us was so intense, that we were scarcely aware of our own existence, remaining in the same posture in which he had left us, and continually repeating the same prayer. The presence of God made itself felt so intimately and so intensely that we did not even venture to speak to one another. Next day we were still immersed in this spiritual atmosphere, which only gradually began to disappear. It did not occur to us to speak about this apparition, nor did we think of recommending that it be kept a secret. The very Apparition itself imposed secrecy. It was so intimate, that it was not easy to speak of it at all. The impression upon us was all the greater, perhaps, in that it was the first such manifestation that we had experienced.
The second Apparition must have been at the height of summer, when the heat of the day was so intense that we had to take the sheep home before noon and only let them out again in the early evening. We went to spend the siesta hours in the shade of the trees which surrounded the well that I have already mentioned several times. Suddenly, we saw the same Angel right beside us. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Pray! Pray very much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the most High.” How are we to make sacrifices?” I asked. “Make everything you do a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country. I am its Angel Guardian, the Angel of Portugal. Above all accept and bare with submission, the suffering which the Lord will send you.”
These words were indelibly impressed upon our minds. They were like a light which made us understand who God is, how He loves us and desires to be loved, the value of sacrifice, how pleasing it is to Him and how, on account of it, he grants the grace of conversion to sinners. It was for this reason that we began, from then on, to offer the Lord all that mortified us, without however seeking out other forms of mortification and penance, except that we remained for hours on end with our foreheads touching the frond, repeating the prayer the Angel had taught us.
It seems to me that the third Apparition must have been in October, or towards the end of September, as we were no longer returning home for siesta. As I have already written in my account of Jacinta, we went one day from Pregueira ( a small olive grove belonging to my parents) to the Lapa, making our way along the slope of the hill on the side facing Aljustrel and Casa Velha. We said our Rosary there and the prayer the Angel had taught us at the first Apparition. While we were there, the Angel appeared to us for the third time, holding a chalice in his hand, with a Host above it from which drops of Blood were falling into the sacred vessel. Leaving the chalice and the Host suspended in the air, the Angel prostrated on the ground and repeated this prayer three times: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the out- rages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.”
Then rising, he once more took the chalice and the Host in his hands. He gave the Host to me, and to Jacinta and Francisco he gave the contents of the chalice to drink, saying as he did so: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Repair their crimes and console your God.” Once again, he prostrated on the ground and repeated with us three times more, the same prayer...”Most Holy Trinity....” and then he disappeared. Impelled by the power of the supernatural that enveloped us, we imitated all that the Angel had done, prostrating ourselves on the ground as he did and repeating the prayers that he said. The force of the presence of God was so intense that it absorbed us and almost completely annihilated us. It seemed to deprive us of all our exterior actions as though guided by the same super - natural being who was impelling us thereto. The peace and happiness which we felt were great, but wholly interior, for our souls were completely immersed in God. The physical exhaustion that came over us was also great.
I do not know why, but the Apparitions of Our Lady produced in us very different effects. We felt the same peace and happiness, but instead of physical prostration, an expansive ease of movement; instead of this annihilation in the Divine Presence, a joyful exultation; instead of the difficulty of speaking, we felt a certain communicative enthusiasm. Despite these feelings, however, we felt inspired to be silent, especially concerning certain things. Whenever I was interrogated, I experienced an interior inspiration which directed me how to answer, without either failing in truth or revealing what should remain hidden for the time being. In this respect, I still have just this one doubt: “Should I have not said everything in this canonical enquiry?”
But I have no scruples about having kept silence, because at that time I had as yet no realization of the importance of this particular interrogation to which I was accustomed. The only thing I thought strange was the order to take the oath. But as it was my confessor who told me to do so, and as I was swearing to the truth, I took the oath without any difficulty. Little did I suspect, at that moment, that the devil would make the most of this, in order to torment me with scruples later on. But thank God that is all over now.
There was yet another reason which confirmed me in my conviction that I did well to remain silent. In the course of the canonical enquiry, one of the interrogators, Rev. Dr. Marques dos Santos, thought he could extend somewhat his questionnaire, and began therefore to ask me more searching questions. Before answering, I looked enquiringly at my confessor. His Reverence saved me from my predicament, and answered on my behalf. He reminded the interrogator that he was exceeding his rights in this matter.
Almost the same thing happened when I was questioned by Rev. Dr. Fischer. He had the authorization of Your Excellency and of Rev. Mother Provincial, and seemed to have the right to question me on everything. But, thank God, he came accompanied by my confessor. At a given moment, he put to me a carefully studied question about the secret. I felt perplexed and did not know how to answer. I glanced towards my confessor, he understood me and answered for me. The interrogator understood also, and confined himself to picking up some magazines lying near by and holding them in front of my face. In this way, God was showing me that the moment appointed by Him had not yet arrived.
I shall now go on to write about the Apparitions of Our Lady. I shall not delay over the circumstances that preceded or followed them, since Rev. Dr. Galamba has kindly dispensed me from doing so.
The 13th May, 1917
High up on the slope in the Cova da Iria, I was playing with Jacinta and Francisco at building a little stone wall around a clump of furze. Suddenly we saw what seemed to be a flash of lightning. “We'd better go home,” I said to my cousins, “that's lightning; we may have a thunderstorm.” “Yes, indeed!” they answered. We began to go down the slope, hurrying the sheep along towards the road. We were more or less halfway down the slope, and almost level with a large holmoak tree that stood there, when we saw another flash of lightning.
We had only gone a few steps further when, there before us on a small holmoak, we beheld a Lady all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun, and radiated a light more clear and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it. We stopped, astounded, before the Apparition. We were so close, just a few feet from her, that we were bathed in the light which surrounded her, or rather, which radiated from her. Then Our Lady spoke to us: “Do not be afraid. I will do you no harm.” “Where are you from?” “I am from heaven.” “What do you want from me?” “I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the 13th day, at this same hour. Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards, I will return here yet a seventh time.” “Shall I go to heaven too?” “Yes, you will.” “And Jacinta?” “She will go also.” “And Francisco?” “He will go there too, but he must say many Rosaries.”
Then I remembered to ask about two girls who had died recently. They were friends of mine and used to come to my home to learn weaving with my eldest sister. “Is Maria das Neves in heaven?” “Yes, she is.” (I think she was about 16 years old). “And Amelia?” “She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.” (It seems to me that she was between 18 and 20 years of age). “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” “Yes, we are willing.” “Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”
As She pronounced these last words “...the grace of God will be your comfort”, Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God. Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then, moved by an interior impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts: “O most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!”
After a few moments, Our Lady spoke again: “Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.” Then She began to rise serenely, going upwards towards the east, until She disappeared in the immensity of space. The light that surrounded Her seemed to open up a path Her in the firmament, and for this reason we sometimes said that we saw Heaven opening.
I think that I have already explained in my account of Jacinta, or else in a letter, that the fear that we felt was not really fear of Our Lady, but rather fear of the thunder storm which we thought was coming, and it was from this that we sought to escape. The Apparitions of Our Lady inspired neither fear nor fright, but rather surprise. When I was asked if I had experienced fear, and I said we had, I was referring to the fear we felt when we saw the flashes of lightning and thought that a thunder storm was at hand. It was from this that we wished to escape, as we were used to seeing lightening only when it thundered. Besides, the flashes of lightening were not really lightning, but the reflected rays of a light which was approaching. It was because we saw the light, that we sometimes said we saw Our Lady coming; but properly speaking, we only perceived Our Lady in that light when She was already on the holmoak tree.
The fact that we did not know how to explain this, and that we wished to avoid questions, caused us to say sometimes that we saw Her coming, we were referring to the approach of the light, which after all was Herself; and when we said that we did not see Her coming, we were really referring to the fact that we really saw Our Lady only when She was on the holmoak.
The 13th of June 1917
As soon as Jacinta, Francisco and I had finished praying the Rosary, with a number of other people who were present, we saw once more the flash reflecting the light which was approaching (which we called lightening). The next moment, Our Lady was there on the holmoak, exactly the same as in May. “What do You want of me?” I asked. “I wish you to come here on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. Later I will tell you what I want.”
I asked for the cure of a sick person. “If he is converted, he will be cured during the year.” “I would like to ask You to take us to Heaven.” “Yes. I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. But you are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world, devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” “Am I to stay here alone?” I asked sadly. “No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don't lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands and for the second time, She communicated to us the rays of that same immense light. We saw ourselves in this light, as it were, immersed in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which rose towards Heaven, and I in that which was poured out on the earth. In front of the palm of Our Lady's right hand was a Heart encircled by thorns which pierced it. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary outraged by the sins of humanity, and seeking reparation. You know now, Your Excellency, what we referred to when we said that Our Lady had revealed a secret to us in June. At the time, Our Lady did not tell us to keep it a secret, but we felt moved to do so by God.
The 13th of July, 1917
A few moments after arriving at the Cova da Iria, near the holmoak, where a large number of people were praying the Rosary, we saw the flash of light once more and a moment later, Our Lady appeared on the holmoak. “What do You want of me?” I asked. “I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you.”
“I would like to ask You to tell us who You are, and to work a miracle so that everybody will believe that You are appearing to us.” “Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe.” I then made some requests, but I cannot recall now just what they were. What I do remember is that Our Lady said it was necessary for such people to pray the Rosary in order to obtain these graces during the year. And She continued: “Sacrifice yourself for sinners, and say many times especially whenever you make some sacrifice 'O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands once more, as She had done during the two previous months. 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 or 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. (It must have been the sight that caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). 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 succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us kindly but so sadly: “You have seen hell, where 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 war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius X1. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. “To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace, if not she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated, in the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and She will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc... Do not tell this to anybody. Francisco, yes, you may tell him. When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: 'O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need'” After this, there was a moment of silence, and then I asked: “Is there anything more you want of me?” “No. I do not want anything more of you today.” Then as before Our Lady began to ascend towards the east, until She finally disappeared in the immense distance of the firmament.
The 13th of August 1917
As I have already said what happened on this day, I will not delay over it here, but pass on to the Apparition which in my opinion took place on the 15th, in the afternoon. As at that time I did not yet know how to reckon the days of the month, it could be that I am mistaken. But I still have a recollection that it took place on the very day that we arrived back from Vila Nova de Ourem.
I was accompanied by Francisco and his brother John. We were with the sheep in a place called Valinhos, when we felt something supernatural approaching and enveloping us. Suspecting that Our Lady was about to appear to us, and feeling sorry lest Jacinta might miss seeing Her, we asked her brother to go and call her. As he was unwilling to go, I offered him two small coins and off he ran. Meanwhile, Francisco and I saw the flash of light, which we called lightning. Jacinta arrived, and a moment later we saw Our Lady on a holmoak tree. “what do you want of me?” “I want you to continue going to the Cova da Iria on the 13th, and to continue praying the Rosary every day. In the last month, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.”
“What do You want done with the money that the people leave in the Cova da Iria?” “Have two litters made. One is to be carried by you and Jacinta and two other girls dressed in white, the other one is to be carried by Francisco and three other boys. The money from the litters is for the festa of Our Lady of the Rosary, and what is left over will help towards the construction of a chapel that is to be built here.” “I would like to ask You to cure some sick persons.” “Yes, I will cure some of them during the year.” Then looking very sad, Our Lady said: “Pray, pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.” And She began to ascend as usual towards the east.
The 13th Of September, 1917
As the hour approached, I set out with Jacinta and Francisco, but owing to the crowds around us we could only advance with difficulty. The roads were packed with people, and everyone wanted to see us and speak to us. There was no human respect whatsoever. Simple folk, and even ladies and gentleman, struggled to break through the crowd that pressed around us. No sooner had they reached us than they threw themselves on their knees before us, begging us to place their petitions before Our Lady. Others who could not get close to us shouted from a distance.
“For the love of God, ask Our Lady to cure my son who is a cripple!” Yet another cried out: And to cure mine who is blind...To cure mine who is deaf! To bring back my husband, my son, who has gone to the war!...To convert a sinner!...To give me back my health as I have tuberculosis!” And so on. All the afflictions of poor humanity were assembled there. Some climbed up to the tops of trees and walls to see us go by, and shouted down to us. Saying yes to some, giving a hand to others and helping them up from the dusty ground, we managed to move forward, thanks to some gentleman who went ahead and opened a passage for us through the multitude.
Now when I read the New Testament about those enchanting scenes of Our Lord's passing through Palestine, I think of those which Our Lord allowed me to witness, while yet a child, on the poor roads and lanes from Aljustrel to Fatima and on to the Cova da Iria! I give thanks to God, offering Him the faith of our good Portuguese people, and I think: “If these people so humbled themselves before three poor children, just because they were mercifully granted the grace to speak to the Mother of God, what would they not do if they saw Our Lord Himself in person before them?” Well, none of this was called for here! It was a distraction of my pen, leading me away where I did not want to go. But, never mind! It's just another useless digression. I am not tearing it out, so to spoil the notebook.
At last, we arrived at the Cova da Iria, and on reaching the holmoak we began to say the Rosary with the people. Shortly afterwards, we saw the flash of light, and then Our Lady appeared on the holmoak. “Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolors and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices. He does not want you to sleep with the rope on, but only to wear it during the daytime.” “I was told to ask you many things, the cure of some sick people, of a deaf-mute...” “Yes, I will cure some, but not others. In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.” Then Our Lady began to rise as usual, and disappeared.
The 13th of October, 1917
We left home quite early, expecting that we would be delayed along the way. Masses of people thronged the roads. The rain fell in torrents. My mother, her heart torn with uncertainty as to what was going to happen, and fearing it would be the last day of my life, wanted to accompany me. On the way, the scenes of the previous month, still more numerous and moving, were repeated. Not even the muddy roads could prevent these people from kneeling in the most humble and suppliant of attitudes. We reached the holmoak in the Cova da Iria. Once there, moved by an interior impulse, I asked the people to shut their umbrellas and say the Rosary.
A little later, we saw the flash of light, and the Our Lady appeared on the holmoak. “What do you want of me?” “I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honour. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.” “I have many things to ask you: the cure of some sick persons, the conversion of sinners, and other things...” “Some yes, but not others. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.” Looking very sad, Our Lady said: “Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.” Then opening Her hands, She made them reflect on the sun, and as She ascended, the reflection of Her own light began to be projected on the sun itself.
Here, Your Excellency, is the reason why I cried out to the people to look at the sun. My aim was not to call their attention to the sun, because, because I was not even aware of their presence. I was moved to do so under the guidance of an interior impulse. After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. When, a little later, the apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolor's. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel.
Here then, Your Excellency, you have the story of the Apparitions of Our Lady in the Cova da Iria in 1917. Whenever and for whatever motive I speak of them, I sought to do so in a few words as possible, with the desire of keeping to myself alone those more intimate aspects which were so difficult for me to reveal. But as they belong to God and not to me, and as He now through Your Excellency, requires them of me, here they are. I return what does not belong to me. To the best of my knowledge, I keep nothing back!
I think I have only omitted some minor details referring to the petitions which I made. As these were merely material things, I did not attach such great importance to them, and it is perhaps because of this that they did not make such a vivid impression on my mind; and then there were so many of them, so very many! It was possibly because I was so anxious to remember the innumerable graces that I had to ask of Our Lady, that I was mistaken when I understood that the war would end on that very 13th.
Not a few people have expressed considerable surprise at the memory that God has deigned to give me. In this matter indeed I have, through His infinite goodness, been quite favored in every respect. Where supernatural things are concerned, this is not to be wondered at, for these are imprinted on the mind in such a way that it is almost impossible to forget them. At least, the meaning of what is made known is never forgotten, unless it be that God also wills that this too be forgotten.
A Wonderful Cure
Furthermore, Rev. Galamba has asked me to write down any other favour that may have been obtained by means of Jacinta. I have given the matter some thought and can recall only two instances. I spoke of Senhora Emilia in the second account of Jacinta. The first time that this kind of lady came to take me to the priest's house in Olival, Jacinta went there with me. When we reached the village where that good widow lived, it was already night. In spite of this, news of our arrival quickly spread abroad, and Senhora Emilia's house was soon surrounded by a crowd of people. They all wanted to see us, question us, ask for graces, and so on.
It happened that a certain devout woman from a little village nearby was accustomed to recite the Rosary in her own home, in company with any of the neighbours who wished to join her. She, therefore, invited us to go and pray the Rosary in her house. We sought to excuse ourselves, explaining that we were going to say it with Senora Emilia, but she spoke so insistently that there was nothing to do but to yield to her request. When the news went round that we were going there, crowds of people hurried to the good woman's house in the hope of securing a good place. This was all the better for us, since we found the road comparatively free.
On our way to the house, a girl about twenty years old came out to meet us. Weeping, she knelt down, and begged us to enter her house and say at least one Hail Mary for the recovery of her father, who for three years had been unable to take any rest, on her account of continual hiccoughs. In such circumstances, it was impossible to resist. I helped the poor girl to her feet. As it was already late into the night, and we were finding our way along by the light of lanterns, I therefore told Jacinta to remain there, while I went on ahead to pray the Rosary with the people, promising to call for her on my return. She agreed. When I came back I, too, went into the house. I found Jacinta sitting on a chair, facing a man who was also seated.
He was not so very old but he looked emaciated, and he was weeping with emotion. Some persons were gathering around him, members of his family, I should think. On seeing me Jacinta got up, said goodbye and promised that she would not forget him in her prayers. Then we returned to Senora Emilia's house. Early next morning, we set out for Olival, and only came back three days later. When we reached Senora Emilia's house, there we found the happy girl accompanied by her father. He now looked much better, and had lost all trace of nervous strain and extreme weakness. They came to thank us for the grace they had received for, they said, he was no longer troubled by the annoying hiccoughs.
The Prodigal Son
The other favour was received by an aunt of mine called Vitoria, who was married and lived in Fatima. She had a son who was a real prodigal. I do not know the reason, but he left his father's house, and no one knew what had become of him. In her distress, my aunt came to Aljustrel one day to ask me to pray to Our Lady for this son of hers. Not finding me, she asked Jacinta instead, who promised to pray for him. A few days later, he suddenly returned home, asked his parents' forgiveness, and then went to Aljustrel to relate his sorry story.
He told us that, after having spent all that he had stolen from his parents, he wandered about for quite a while like a tramp until, for some reason I have now forgotten, he was put in jail at Torres Novas. After he had been there for some time, he succeeded in escaping one night and fled to the remote hills and unfamiliar pine groves. Realizing he had completely lost his way, and torn between the fear of being captured and the darkness of a stormy night, he found that his only recourse was prayer. Falling on his knees, he began to pray. Some minutes had passed, he affirmed, when Jacinta appeared to him, took him by the hand and led him to the main road which runs from Alqueldao to Reguengo, making a sign for him to continue in that direction. When morning dawned, he found himself on the road to Boleiros. Recognizing the place where he was, he was overcome with emotion and directed his steps straight home to his parents.
Now what he declared was that Jacinta had appeared to him, and that he had recognized her perfectly. I asked Jacinta if it was true that she had gone there to guide him. She answered that she had not, that she had no idea at all of the location of the pine woods and the hills where he had been lost. “I only prayed and pleaded very much with Our Lady for him because I felt so sorry for Aunt Vitoria”. That was how she answered me. How then, did it happen? I don't know. Only God knows.
Notes On FR. Fonseca's Book
prologue Now, Your Excellency, it is time to comment on the book Our Lady of Fatima by Rev. Fr. Luis Gonzaga Aires de Fonseca S J. Rev D Galamba told me to make a note of anything which I found in the book that was not quite exact. I have only found a few small details, which are hardly worth mentioning. But as there is question of writing book, and as Your Excellency so desires it, I shall note these things down to prevent them being repeated.
In Chapter 11, page 18 it says, A small piece of uncultivated ground. Wholly uncultivated , no. In the Cova we grew maize, potatoes, beans, wheat, etc. - whatever was being sown at the time. The slope which goes up to the spot where we happened to be playing, was criss-crossed by numerous tracks and furrows, leaving only one path way. On the extreme left on the way up, these tracks were formed by rows of holmoaks, both large and small all growing at random, and which together with the furze bushes formed dense thickets, making it difficult to get through. Taking the pathway on the right side going down, we went towards the large holmoak tree, and thus the small one was well to the left of us.
A little further back, in the same paragraph, it stated 'the second flash rooted us to the spot where we were'. This also is inexact. We saw it when we were half way down the slope which runs from the place of the Apparitions to the top of the hill, just before we reached the big holmoak. We kept on going until we came face to face with Our Lady on the small holmoak.
On the same page 19, it also says 'Amazed, they wished to flee'. This is also incorrect. I think I have already explained this in another account. As soon as we saw Our Lady, we never gave another thought to running away. Our Lady does not cause fear, but only surprise, peace and joy. When we said we had been afraid, we were referring to the fear we felt at the thought of a coming thunder storm, and that was why we wanted to run. I think that when Our Lady told us not to be afraid, She wanted to calm our fears of the thunder storm that we supposed was coming, for we were used to seeing lightening only when there was a storm. In our ignorance, we were as yet unable to distinguish between the flash of light and the lightening.
Chapter 11, page 20, says 'Almost the same length as the dress' I think this 'almost' should be eliminated because it was the same length. In the same Chapter 11, page 21, it says 'what have You come to do here'? I do not remember asking that question. Chapter 111, page 29 states: 'She then confided a secret to them and strictly forbade them to reveal it.' As I have already said above in my account of the Apparitions, in this particular month it was we ourselves who wished to keep the light and its effect secret. It was in the following month that the secret was imposed on us by Our Lady.
In the account of the Apparitions which the writer gives here, there are some small details that it seems to me quite useless to point out, since I have already written everything exactly as it happened. Furthermore, some of these details spring from the manner of expression used by the writer. Chapter V page 45 says 'Crying from fear'. Jacinta wept in prison because she missed her mother and her family, but she did not cry during the interrogation.
Chapter V page 46 says, 'The boy followed him crying'. He did not cry. Chapter V page 47 states 'They went running to the Cova da Iria.' We only went to the Cova Da Iria after the Apparition in Valinhos, some days later. Chapter V11, page 60 says 'The dress has gold lines'. It had no lines at all. When Francisco said that he was perhaps referring to the undulating effect of the light surrounding the dress. Chapter V11 Page 64 says 'Small earrings'. I didn't see any earrings. I remember a golden cord which like a brilliant sunbeam, seemed to border her mantle. It was reflected in the space left by the mantle as it fell from the head to the shoulders, shimmering in the light which enveloped Our Lady's whole person in undulating variations, which momentarily gave the impression of small earrings. I must have been referring to this when I gave that reply.
Chapter V11 page 66, give these words, 'Could you not at least tell it to your Confessor? She seemed somewhat puzzled and remained silent.' I was perplexed and did not know how to reply, because I kept several things secret which I was not forbidden to reveal. But I thank God who inspired my questioner to go on with the interrogation. I remember how I breathed again.
Chapter V11 page 73 says, 'Is
this how you fulfill the order that Our Lady gave you?' I kept silence,
not wishing to put the blame on my mother, who at that time had not yet
allowed me to go to school. At home, they said it was out of vanity that
I wanted to learn to read. Until then, hardly any girls learned to read.
The school was just for boys. It was only later that a school was opened
in Fatima for girls.
Interrogation By The Author Antero De Figueiredo
Chapter X111, page 58, states in the note. 'Rev. Mother Monfalim was present at all the authors interviews with Sister Dores'. This is not true. Only Dr. Antero de Figueiredo's daughter, who accompanied him, was present. Mother Monfalim, who was then my Provincial Superior, was in Tuy. From there, she wrote me a letter which she sent, unsealed by Dr. Antero de Figueiredo to Pontevedra, where I then was. There the interrogation took place, and it was one of those difficult interrogations that God has made me undergo.
In this letter, Rev. Mother Provincial ordered me to answer with sincerity, truthfulness and simplicity, everything that Dr. Antero de Figueiredo wished to ask me. She requested that I offer to God this act of obedience. Before handing me the letter, he read it. The order given me, that under obedience I was to answer everything with sincerity, pleased him; he judged that he could therefore, put to me any question whatsoever that his mind might advise. As if that were not enough, he had his daughter's head beside him, ready to conjure up more questions.
For my part, I was not slow in realizing how far he intended to go with his interrogation. I asked myself if I would now have to reveal my most intimate secrets, those which I had so far kept with such great care, and reveal them moreover to a lay man, who seemed to me not only to know nothing about the spiritual life, but not even to understand the bare essentials of the practice of the Christian life. To avoid making rash judgments and in order to be sure on how things stood, I tried to phrase my answers precisely in such away as to draw from him an admission of the truth. In fact he was deeply moved, and confessed more than once with tears streaming down his cheeks, the black spot of his sorry life. Afterwards, I regretted having given occasion for such sad avowals, but it was then too late. In spite of begging him not to make known to me such things, of which I knew little or nothing, his emotional state was such that he could not refrain from doing so, and I had to resign myself to listen to it all.
Meanwhile I was thinking 'Have I to manifest my intimate secrets to this man? Impossible!' And what about obedience? I don't know!' The local Mother Superior had received orders to be present at the interrogation. But, not wanting such a responsibility, she had excused herself owing to lack of time, and had withdrawn. I then asked to leave the room for a moment, and I went to place my doubts before her and ask her advice. Mother Superior replied that in view of Mother Provincial's order she didn't know how to advise me.
I then asked to speak to the confessor but he was absent, and nobody knew when he was due to return. I went to the chapel. I offered a brief prayer to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady and then returned to the parlor once more. The interrogation began again, and it was of such a kind as to draw out of me all that I kept locked within my heart. But the repugnance I felt at the thought of revealing it only increased, and the struggle between this and the doubt as to whether or not obedience obliged me to reveal grew stronger and stronger. I soon discovered that the good man sought to study me in depth.
The first and second day over, we reached the third day of the interrogation, and I became more and more perplexed. On the afternoon of the third day, it seemed that God willed to grant me a ray of His light. From the parlor I heard a voice in the hallway, that of a Jesuit Priest whom I had known in Tuy. Rev. Dr. Herrera. Without loss of time, I asked to leave the room for a moment, and made my way to Mother Superior to ask permission to speak to him. Right then, I wanted nothing further from His Reverence than he would tell me how far obedience obliged me to manifest myself.
But God wanted sacrifice! Did He not also find Himself alone in the Garden of Olives? And is He not still alone in so many abandoned Tabernacles? We must keep Him company and remain at His side, not only in the breaking of the bread, but also in the drinking of the chalice. It was certainly through this dispensation of the Almighty that Rev. Mother Superior refused me permission to speak to the venerable Jesuit priest. With a heart even heavier than when I left, I went back to the parlor. The interrogation continued becoming more and more detailed every moment. The fourth day came, still darker than the three preceding ones. There was already considerable discontent in the community. A lot of work needed to be done in the house and there was I doing nothing! As far as they could see, I was having a fine time in the parlor, and therefore making no effort to bring the visit to a speedy conclusion.
Mother Superior was already showing how displeased she was, also had they been able to read my heart. O my God, they would have seen how greatly I would have preferred, had I been given the choice, a brush with which to scrub the house rather than the padded chair on which they saw me so comfortably seated! But we must not let the breath of creatures dull the mirror that shines brightly in the sight of God. And then I must confess were it not for the word, Obedience, that Mother Provincial put in her letter, the interrogator would have had to return home on the very first day with his list of questions just the same as he had brought it, as indeed had happened to him the previous year.
'What am I to do?' I asked myself, without being able to arrive at any decision. The interrogation seemed to be still very far from coming to an end. God be thanked, I found that a trust worthy messenger was going straight to Tuy that very afternoon. I hastily wrote down on a piece of paper the main difficulties facing me and sent it to Rev. Mother Provincial, begging the favor of an urgent reply by telephone. The following morning at nine o'clock, Mother Lemos, the Mistress of Novices, gave the answer over the phone on behalf of Mother Provincial. “You can keep silent” she said: about everything you do not wish to make known. Do not send the interrogator away, but rather give a satisfactory answer to all his questions, however long the interrogation might last.”
Good! On the strength of this reply, I began the fifth day, with my spirit no longer clouded over. Why worry about the external conflicts instigated by the devil, as long as I had in my soul the inner certainty that I was fulfilling God's will, as known to me through obedience? The interrogation continued for several days more. At it's close, I followed the advice of our confessor, who had just returned that very day, and firmly told the interrogator that he was absolutely forbidden to publish or make known anything whatsoever of all that I had told him, without the express approbation of your Excellency and the Rev. Mother Provincial.
The good gentleman was by no means pleased with such a proposition, and did everything he could to persuade me to revoke it. I saw that I would be obliged to take a firm stand. Strengthened, however, by the Devine Holy Spirit, I stood firm right to the end. You know now, Your Excellency, what happened during Dr. Antero de Figueiredo's interrogation. As you can see, this was the time I felt most keenly that God alone was with me.
During the interrogation, there was yet another doubt that tormented me, and that was the absence of any authorization on the part of Your Excellency. I asked myself: “did Rev. Mother provincial ask the Bishop's permission before she gave me this order? Would his Excellency be happy to have me subjected to such an interrogation without his authorization? and what about the order His Excellency gave me that I am not to speak about these things?” It was because of all these doubts that I wrote a full account of the whole affair to Your Excellency. The good Lord was pleased to permit that I received no answer to my letter, and I therefore left the whole matter in God's hands.
Chapter V11, page 77, reads as follows: 'The little shepherd arrived, rather better dressed than usual. The little girls wore sky blue dresses, with white veils and wreaths of flowers on their heads etc.' I think that this is incorrect. I seem to recall that a lady did indeed appear and she wished to dress us up like that, but we refused. What I do remember well about that particular day is that I arrived home without my plaits, which I wore down to my waist, and that my mother was most upset when she saw that I had even less hair than Francisco. Who stole my plaits? I don’t know.
Amid the crush of such a multitude, there was no lack of scissors or thieving hands. It was easy enough to loose my kerchief, even if in fact it wasn't stolen. Already, in the two previous months, quite a lot of my plaits had been snipped off! Nothing is my own, so what of it! Everything belongs to God. May he dispose all as best pleases Him.
Chapter 1X, page 87, says,' Will our Lady appear again? I don't expect she will,' I was referring to the apparitions on the 13th,in the form they had taken in the preceding months. It was in the sense that I understood the question.
There is another question also that has often been put to me, and to which I gave no answer other than silence or a smile. Dr. Antero de Figueredo asked this question several times, I answered in as few words as possible. He was completely at a loss to understand my manner of acting, and that was what I wanted.
Almost all who questioned me were most impressed by the fact that even while I was being interrogated, I lowered my eyes and concentrated my thoughts in such a way that I seemed to pay no attention to the question that was being put to me. At times, people even repeated their question, thinking that I had not heard it. I told Dr. Antero de Figueiredo that I was recalling what had happened with regard to the subject on which he had questioned me. And indeed that was true. But the real motive behind my action was that I was seeking, in the depths of my conscience and with the help of the Holy Spirit, an answer which, without revealing the reality, would still be in accordance with the truth.
Jacinta's Reputation for Sanctity
There remains one more question of Dr. Galamba's, which I have yet to answer: 'How did people feel when they were in Jacinta's presence?' It is not easy to reply, for, ordinarily, I do not know what goes on within other people, and therefore I do not know how they feel. This means that I can only say what I feel myself, and describe ant exterior manifestation of other people's feelings.
Jacinta, reflection of God
What I myself usually felt was much the same as anyone feels in the presence of a Holy person who seems to be in continual communication with God. Jacinta’s demeanor was always serious and reserved, but friendly. All her actions seemed to reflect the presence of God in the way proper to people of mature age and great virtue. I never noticed in her that excessive frivolity or childish enthusiasm for games and pretty things, so typical of small children. This, of course, was after the apparitions; before then, she was the personification of enthusiasm and caprice!
I cannot say that the other children gathered around her as they did around me. This was most probably due to the fact that she did not know as many songs or stories with which to teach and amuse them, or perhaps that there was in her a seriousness far beyond her years. If in her presence a child, or even a grown up, were to say or do anything unseemly, she would reprimand them, saying 'Don't do that, for you are offending the Lord our God, and He is already so much offended!'
If, as sometimes happened, the child or adult answered back, and called her a 'pious Mary' or a plaster Saint, or some other such thing, she would look at them very seriously and walk away without saying a single word. Perhaps this was one of the reasons she did not enjoy more popularity. If I was with her, dozens of children would gather round us in no time; but if I went away, she would soon find herself all alone. Yet when I was with her, they seemed to delight in her company. They would hug and kiss her in the affectionate way of innocent children. They loved to sing and play with her, and sometimes begged me to go and look for her when she had not come out to play. If she told them that she did not want to come because they were naughty, they promised to be good if only she would come out: 'Go and get her, and tell her we promise to be good if she'll come.'
When I went to visit her during her illness, I often found a large group waiting at the door, hoping to be able to come in with me and see her. They seemed to be held back by a certain sense of respect. Sometimes, before I left, I asked her, Jacinta, do you want me to tell some of them to stay here with you and keep you company? 'Oh, yes! But just the ones smaller than myself.' Then they all vied with each other, saying,' I'll stay! I'll stay! After that, she entertained them by teaching them the Our Father, Hail Mary, how to bless themselves, and to sing. Sitting on her bed or, if she was up, on the floor of the living room, they played 'pebbles', using crab apples, chestnuts, sweet acorns, dried figs and so on, all which my aunt was only too happy to supply, so that her little girl might enjoy the children's company.
She prayed the Rosary with them, and counseled them not to commit sin, and so avoiding offending the Lord our God and going to hell, and seemed very happy in her company. but once they had left her presence, they did not dare to go back in the trusting way so natural to children. Sometimes they came in search of me, begging me to go in with them, or they waited for me outside the house, or they waited at the door until my aunt or Jacinta herself invited them in to see her. They seemed to like her and enjoy her company, but they felt themselves held back by a certain shyness or respect that kept them somewhat at a distance.
Jacinta Model Of Virtue
Grown-ups also went to visit her. They showed clearly how much they admired her demeanor, which was always the same, always patient, without being in the least demanding or complaining. Whatever the position in which she was lying when her mother left her, this was how she remained. If they asked her whether she felt better, she answered: “I'm just the same,” or “I think I'm worse, thank you very much.” There was an air of sadness about her, as she lay silent in the presence of visitors. People stayed sitting by her bedside for long periods at a stretch, and looked as though they felt happy to be there. It was there also that Jacinta had to undergo detailed and exhausting interrogations. She never showed the slightest impatience or repugnance, but merely told me later: “My head aches so much after listening to all those people! Now that I cannot run away and hide, I offer more of these sacrifices to Our Lord.”
The neighbours sometimes brought along clothes they were making, so that they could sit and sew by her bedside. “I'll work a little beside Jacinta,” they would say; “I don't know what it is about her, but it is good to be with her.” They brought their little ones along too. The children amused themselves by playing with Jacinta, and their mothers were thus left free to do their sewing. When people asked her questions, she answered in a friendly manner, but briefly.
If they said anything which she thought was improper, she promptly replied: “Don't say that; It offends the Lord our God.” If they related something unbecoming about their families, she answered: “Don't let your children commit sin, or they could go to hell.” If there were grown-ups involved, she said: “Tell them not to do that, for it is a sin. They offend the Lord our God, and later they could be damned.” People who came to visit us from a distance, either out of curiosity or from devotion, seemed to sense something supernatural about Jacinta. At times, when they came to my house to speak to me, they remarked: “We've just been talking to Jacinta and Francisco; when with them we feel that there is something supernatural about them.” Sometimes, they went so far as to want me to explain why they felt like that. As I did not know, I simply shrugged my shoulders and said nothing. I have often heard people commenting on this.
One day, two priests and a gentleman came to my home. While my mother was opening the door and inviting them to come in and sit down, I climbed into the attic to hide. My mother, after showing them in, left them alone, while she went into the yard to call me. In the meantime, the good gentleman were discussing the matter: “We'll see what this one will tell us.” “What impressed me,” remarked the gentleman, “was the innocence and sincerity of Jacinta and her brother. If this one does not contradict herself, I'll believe. I don't know what it is I felt in the presence of those two children!” “It's as though one feels something supernatural in their presence,” added one of the priests. “It did my soul good to talk to them.”
My mother did not find me, and the good gentleman had to resign themselves to taking their departure without having been able to speak to me. “Sometimes,” my mother told them, “she goes off to play with other children, and nobody can find her.” “We're very sorry! We greatly enjoyed talking to the two little ones, and we wanted to talk to your little girl as well; but we shall come back another time.”
One Sunday, my friends from Moita, Maria, Rosa and Ana Caetano, and Maria and Ana Brogueira, came after Mass to ask my mother to let me go and spend the day with them. Once I received permission, they asked me to bring Jacinta and Francisco along too. I asked my aunt and she agreed, and so all three of us went to Moita.
After dinner, Jacinta was so sleepy that her little head began to nod. Mr. Jose Alves sent one of his nieces to go and put her to bed. In just a short while, she fell fast asleep. The people of the little hamlet began to gather in order to spend the afternoon with us. They were so anxious to see Jacinta that they peeped in to see if she were awake.
They were filled with wonder when they saw that, although in a deep sleep, she had a smile on her lips, the look of an angel, and her little hands joined and raised to towards heaven. The room was soon filled with curious people. Everyone wanted to see her, but those inside were in no hurry to come out and make room for the others.
Mr. Jose Alves, his wife and his nieces all said: “This must be an angel.” Overcome, as it were, with awe, they remained kneeling beside the bed until, about half-past four, I went to call her, so that we could all go and pray the Rosary in the Cova da Iria and then returned home. Mr. Jose Alves' nieces are the Caetano girls mentioned above.
Francisco was Different
In contrast to Jacinta, Francisco was quite different. He had an easy manner, and was always friendly and smiling, playing with all the children without distinction. He did not rebuke anybody. All he did was to go aside, whenever he saw anything that was not as it should be. If he was asked why he went away, he answered: “Because you're not good,” or “Because I don't want to play any more.”
During his illness, the children ran in and out of his room with the greatest, freedom talked to him through the window and asked him if he was feeling better, and so forth. If he was asked whether he wanted some of the children to stay with him and keep him company, he used to say that he preferred not, as he liked to be alone. He would say to me sometimes: “I just like having you here, and Jacinta too.” When grown-ups came to see him, he remained silent, only answering when directly questioned, and then in as few words as possible. People who came to visit him, whether they were neighbours or strangers, often spent long periods sitting by his bedside, and remarked: “I don't know what it is about Francisco, but it feels so good to be here!”
Some women from the village commented on this one day to my aunt and my mother, after having spent quite a long time in Francisco's room: “It's a mystery one cannot fathom! They are children just like any others, they don't say anything to us, and yet in their presence one feels something one can't explain, and that makes them different from all the rest.” “It seems to me that when we go into Francisco's room, we feel just as we do when we go into a church,” said one of my aunt's neighbours, a woman named Romana, who apparently did not believe in the Apparitions. There were three others in this group also: the wives of Manuel Faustino, Jose Marto and Jose Silva.
I am not surprised that people felt like that, being accustomed to find in everyone else only the preoccupation with material things which goes with an empty, superficial life. Indeed, the very sight of these children was enough to lift their minds to our heavenly Mother, with whom the children were believed to be in communication; to eternity, for they saw how eager, joyful and happy they were at the thought of going there; to God, for they said that they loved Him more than their own parents; and even to hell, for the children warned them that people would go there if they continued to commit sin. Externally, they were, so to speak, children like all others.
But if these good people, so accustomed to the material side of life, had only known how to elevate their minds a little, they would have seen without difficulty that, in these children, there was something that marked them out as being different from all others. I have just remembered something else connected with Francisco, and I am going to relate it here. A woman called Mariana, from Casa Velha, came one day into Francisco's room. She was most upset because her husband had driven their son out of the house, and she was asking for the grace that her son will be reconciled with his father. Francisco said to her in reply: “Don't worry. I'm going to heaven very soon, and when I get there I will ask Our Lady for that grace.” I do not recall just how many days remained before he took his flight to heaven, but what I do remember is that, on the very afternoon of Francisco's death, the son went for the last time to ask pardon of his father, who had previously refused it because his son would not submit to the conditions imposed.
The boy accepted everything that the father demanded, and peace reigned once again in that home. The boy's sister, Leocadia by name, later married a brother of Jacinta and Francisco and became the mother of their niece, whom Your Excellency met in Cova da Iria when she was about to enter the Dorotheans.
I think, Your Excellency, that I have written everything that you have asked of me for now. Up to this, I did all I could to conceal the more intimate aspects of Our Lady's Apparitions in the Cova da Iria. Whenever I found myself obliged to speak about them I was careful to touch on the subject very lightly, to avoid revealing what I wanted so much to keep hidden. But now that obedience has required this of me, here it is!
I am left like a skeleton, stripped of everything, even of life itself, placed in the National Museum to remind visitors of the misery and nothingness of passing things. Thus despoiled, I shall remain in the Museum of the world, reminding all who pass, not of misery and nothingness, but of the Divine Mercies.
May the Good God and the Immaculate Heart of Mary deign to accept the humble sacrifices that they have seen fit to ask of me, in order to vivify in souls the spirit of faith, confidence and love.
Tuy, 8th December, 1941
FIFTH MEMOIR J + M.
To the Rector of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima I received your letter, Reverend Father, dated 23 November 1988, in which you ask me to better describe the image of my father, since what I wrote in this regard in the Memoirs is so incomplete and you wish to make our home a place of reflection about the family. For this reason, I am willing, because I remember my parents as admirable examples of a Christian family, united in faith, hope and love. It is true, that the picture I give, in the Memoirs, is very inadequate because I wrote amidst several difficulties- lack of time and of the necessary conditions to render it better by rereading and correcting it. And, then, they were published without my previous knowledge. But what can be done? I offer my sacrifice to God, hoping that from everything, He may draw forth His own Glory.
In the same letter, Your Reverence asks insistently for a response to your questionnaire sent by means of our Provincial Fr Jeremias Carlos Vechina, and which was given to me by His Reverence on 31st October 1986 with the recommendation to respond as soon as it was possible. Because, at the time it was not possible for me to undertake this work, I placed it in the bottom of a drawer, where it has remained until now.
Seeing that, Your Reverence had to come here on April 14 1988, to deal with matters concerning the home of my parents, you repeated, with insistence, your request for a response to your questionnaire. On October 20, 1988, our present Provincial Fr Pedro Lourenco Ferreira, at your request I think, advised me not to defer doing this work, believing it to be for the glory of God. In view of all these insistent requests and recommendations, above all, those of my Superiors in which I always see a sign of the will of God- I spoke about the matter with our Mother Prioress who considered it very carefully and decided to dispense me from assisting at some of the Community exercises, so that I would be able to dedicate the time to this work.
Therefore, believing this to be the will of God, and because it is what Your Reverence needs more speedily, I am going to begin by describing the portrait of my father, trusting in the maternal protection of Our Lady. The responses to your questionnaire will be made afterwards, but, for now, I must say that to some- those referring to the Apparitions - I cannot reply without authorization from the Holy See, unless you would like to ask for this permission and obtain it. Otherwise, I will go ahead, leaving these questions blank. I am going to begin the story about my father, responding to question number 16 on your questionnaire. And may God assist me, and may my father, who sees me from Heaven, take my hand again, as he did when I was a child guiding it and teaching me to trace my on my forehead the sign of the Redeeming Cross of Christ Our Savior.
My Father, Before the Apparitions
“Was there anyone thought of as rich in the village of Aljustrel? And why?” Yes, there was the family Santos. It was a large Christian and practicing Catholic family. They lived near the Family Ferreira Rosa, to whom the houses belonged: and from whom the Sanctuary recently purchased, for a museum, the one which was my parents- comprising the house, patio and kitchen garden beyond the well. From there onwards, this family owned a great extension of properties in the direction of Montelo, Our Lady of Ortiga, Fatima, Valinhos, Cabeco, Charneca and Cova da Iria. My father's aunt (1). She lived, I'm not sure for how long, with her two unmarried brothers, who when they died made her the heir of all their goods, thus she had two times more than all the other brothers and sisters.
It was my father, who while he lived, cultivated our lands together with hers, ploughing, sowing and reaping. She employed three laborers and a maid called Inacia. The men worked in the field under my father's direction. One of the servants was a young boy of 12 or 13 years of age. He pastured a small flock of sheep which belonged to aunt Teresa: some 15 or 20 sheep, like ours all white and large of the Marina breed, very productive of offspring, wool and milk. When my father required that this boy go to help in the field work, he ordered the two flocks combined and taken altogether to pasture. He ordered the same when he had to plough some fields with grass, so that the two flocks at the same time as they were grazing, would manure the land. One of those days the boy went to help in the field work, by walking ahead of the oxen as they ploughed, cutting the grass and gathering the food for the animals. Upon returning home that night, the two flocks of sheep gave no trouble in being separated, because of their instinct for the water which they had in their troughs and for their own food, each one ran to their own pen, chewing the cud through the night, so that on the following day they gave better and more abundant milk.
Aunt Teresa afterwards married one of the workmen, Anastacio Vieria. He was a very good friend of my father's and thus they continued, sharing between the two of them the farming tasks that had to be done. They had no children. when I was born, my father invited Uncle Anastacio to be my godfather at Baptism, something he and my aunt Teresa accepted with great pleasure. They asked my parents to give me to them, so they could bring me up as their own child and adopt me, but this my parents did not want. However they did allow them to take me to their home whenever they wished, which happened frequently, always with the hope of fulfilling their desire. My godmother Teresa said that it was also to relieve my mother, for in her charity, she was at this time, she was raising a little orphan, who had been left without a mother at birth.
Despite of the Santos family being of a peaceable nature and the Ferreura Rosa family being of a more expansive type, playing the harmonium and the guitar, arranging festas and dances- this still persisted during my childhood, and I referred to it slightly in the Memoirs - various members of the Santos family married those of the Ferreira Rosa family; among them my father and his sister Olymphia who became the mother of the servants of God, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. Aunt Olympia in her first marriage, became the wife of my mother's brother, Jose Ferreira Rosa, who after having been in Mozambique, returned from there bringing savings sufficient to allow him to restore the home of his parents, giving it the form that it has today, and to build for himself, when he married aunt Olympia, the home where the Servants of God, Francisco and Jacinta Marto were born. He died eight years after the marriage, leaving as heirs to his home and other possessions, his young wife who received two half and his two orphaned children, Antonio and Manuel dos Santos Ferreria Rosa, who received the other half.
The Ferreira Rosa family distinguished itself by the practice of charity. My mother's aunt, Maria Isabel Ferreira (Rosa) taught children to read in the house which the Sanctuary eventually purchased as a museum. It must have been with her that my mother learned: my sister Teresa and my brother Manuel. She was unable to teach the other nieces and nephews, who were younger perhaps because of illness. I did not know her but I heard her spoken of with deepest affection, esteem and veneration, especially by my mother.
When I was small we still had an old wooden chest in our casarona, where, it was said, my great-grandmother hid her when during the French invasion, General Junot wished to kidnap her. This aunt of my mother gathered abandoned children to care for them and afterwards place them in the homes of good families who would love them and help them through life. She died unmarried, in the home of my grandparents, which afterwards my mother inherited. From my parents, I became the heir of this home and had the pleasure of donating it to Our Lady for Her Sanctuary of Fatima, in the hope that it may be for the glory of God, of Our Lady and the spiritual happiness of our pilgrim brothers and sisters who go there and enjoy seeing things as they were in former times. I believe that it was due to this aunt of mine, that it became the custom for the children of the region to come to play on our patio, together with me, and that the mothers came to leave their smallest children while they went about their different tasks. I have already referred to this in the memoirs.
My father loved to see the children in our house, and when it happened that he was at home, he amused them by telling them stories and playing with them. My father was very diligent about taking his children to the Baptismal font. One day I heard my mother speaking to Dr. Formigao in an interview. He was asking her about the date of my birth. My mother answered: “We say that it is on the 22nd of March, because she was registered as having been born on that day, but, in fact this is not the case. she was born on the 28th of March 1907. It was Holy Thursday; in the morning, I went to Holy Mass to receive Holy Communion, thinking I would return in the afternoon to visit the Blessed Sacrament, but it was not to be, since on that afternoon she was born. (Only then did I know the actual date of my birth. This is not surprising, because in Fatima, at that time, no one attached any importance to ones birthday, it was not a feast; therefore it was not something of which we spoke.)
Meanwhile, as she is registered as being born on the 22nd, we continue to say that this is her birthday. Right away her father made arrangements for her Baptism. It was not convenient for him the following week, because of his work, but, as it was required that the parents bring the child for baptism on the eighth day after birth - otherwise they would have to pay a fine - her father decided to give the date of her birth as the 22nd, so that the Parish Priest would baptize her on Holy Sunday, which was the 30th of the same month.” He invited as godmother for my baptism, a young neighbour, a goddaughter of my mother. She was happy to accept and went to ask permission of her father. It was the custom in those times, that young girls could not take any responsibility without their parents’ permission. Her father asked her what name they were going to give the child. She told him that it was Maria Rosa, because the mother already had four daughters and none of them had this name, which was hers; she was also called Maria Rosa and an infant who had already preceded me, whom God had already taken to Heaven, had been named Maria Rosa. Her father responded: “No! You must call her Lucia! If that is not so, I will not permit you to be the godmother”.
She went to tell my parents, who surprised asked: “But where did your father get such a name?” However out of courtesy, they agreed that I should be named Lucia. Thus by the grace of God, I was baptized on Holy Saturday, 30th of March 1907, when the bells of the Parish Church announced the Resurrection of the Lord. (At that time there was no civil register, it was only in the Parish Church). My father was of a calm nature, kindly and joyful; he liked music and festas and dances. So that even though the Santos family was of a different nature, he adapted very well to the ways of the Ferreira Rosa family. Her had no disputes with anyone, neither with the family nor with strangers.
He loved to please everyone and see everyone happy. For example, that little patch of land with fig trees, within our grounds, going towards the well, and which the Sanctuary purchased, it was my father who gave it to a certain family, because they lamented not having a fig tree near their home from which to gather figs to eat. Neither my father nor my mother wished that any poor person should go away from our door without something. If my father was at home, it was he who gave; if not it was my mother, if it was neither one or the other it was the older son or daughter, who would give the alms. To me - as the youngest - it happened often, because my sisters, in order not to interrupt their work, would send me, and this made me very happy. And, what was it we gave? Sometimes, a handful of potatoes; other times a bowl of kidney beans or of chick peas; other times a little olive oil was poured into small jars that they carried; or even piece of bread with sheep's cheese or a bowl of sweet olives for them to eat.
At times my mother, when she went to a salting board to fetch the meat for the family meal, would bring something extra, and put it in a drawer of the kitchen table, folded in a cabbage leaf and say: “Leave this here; it is for the poor beggar who appears asking for alms.” Whenever there was meat left from the family meal, my mother placed it between two slices of bread, and put it on a small earthenware plate in the drawer, saying: “Leave this here: it is for the first person who comes along asking for alms.”
I recall here what happened one day; my father was at home, sitting on the steps of a stairway which led to the attic, shelling beans. My mother was seated opposite, leaning against the corner of firewood, peeling potatoes. I was still very small, so I was playing outside on the patio, which was closed by a large gate made of wooden slats. I saw near the gateway a poor beggar asking for alms. I ran into the house and said to my father: “There's a poor man outside begging for alms.” My father got up, went to the fireplace, and with his pen knife cut the string of black pudding they were hanging up to dry, and holding it up in his hand, he asked my mother: “Look here, may I give this to that poor man? Do we need it?” My mother replied: “Yes, you can. What we give to the poor has never left us in need.”
My father very pleased went out to the gate to give the pudding to the poor man. Seeing it he raised his hands in prayer and prayed an Our Father and a Hail Mary. While the poor man prayed, my father remained in front of him, standing with his head uncovered. When the beggar had finished, he said “May the Lord grant good fortune to you and to your little girl.” My father answered: “Goodbye my brother, until the next time!” And he went into the house again. I ran after my father and said to my mother: “The poor man prayed for father and me, so that God may give us good fortune.” My mother replied: “And for me nothing?” I did not know what to say. Then my father said: “For you also, because you and I are one, everything that is mine is yours and our children's.” My mother responded: “Then it’s alright!” And the two of them remained in their humble work and friendly conversation, while I returned to the patio to play and watch for anymore beggars who might come asking for alms.
Certainly at that time I did not understand the full meaning of this event, but it made an impression on me and I did not forget it. Today, however, I understand its great moral and spiritual value. Often, at nightfall, the poor came asking for a place to rest. We always gave them somewhere to lie down. We shared our supper with them; they prayed the grace after meals with us which my father intoned and then the Rosary, if it was a day on which it was prayed. Afterwards, during winter, while my mother tidied the kitchen, my sister worked on the loom and at the sewing, while my brother foddered the animals, giving them the final ration of the day. My father used to cut the chestnuts and sweet acorns, putting them on the embers to roast, so that they could eat them at nightfall while they worked to the sound of guitars, of fados, and popular songs and ballads of lengthy verses, which the poor folk would sing if they happened to be blind.
Or, if it was summer time, we went to the threshing floor, where there was always something to do - if it was not the day for husking - peeling, by moon- light and by the light of the lanterns hanging on the poles near by, the broad beans, kidney beans, peas, chick peas or lupin, which were kept for seed and sifting the seed from the cabbages, lettuces, turnips, etc. all the while taking in the cool air which was so refreshing. Our house was like a house for everyone, it had a door where all knocked and at which were all attended. Sometimes they came to ask for bread, if we had any, so that we could lend them one or two loaves, because they had finished theirs and it was not yet the day of baking a new batch. My mother always had some. “Go and take it, it's there!”
In the summer, they came to ask for pitchers of water, because their wells and cisterns were dry, and to go and fetch it from a new spring was so far away. My mother and my father, if he had happened to be home, would always say yes, giving them the key to the cover of the well. My parents always kept the well closed with an iron padlock, so that no insects or animals, or children who were playing there would fall in- and saying: “Go there, and fill your pitchers.”
And God blessed it, because the water of our well never failed. Other times they came to ask, if we had any onions left which we could spare, because theirs had run out and those of the new harvest were still very small and it was a pity to gather them so early. “Go ahead” - answered my mother, or my father, if he was home - “to the baking room and take what you need.” My parents had them hanging on string from beams of wood on the roof of the baking room. And so it went on.... Thus all were our friends who were at the service of all.
One day my sister Maria dos Anjos said to my mother: “Why do you bake such large batches of bread? Afterwards we won’t eat it all and it just gets hard!” My mother replied: “So that we have some over to give to those who come and ask; and later on what ever is left can be cut into slices, toasted in the oven and used in the weary horse soup or fried so that everyone can eat it quite well.”
Frequently, they came to ask my mother if she would go to their homes, because someone was ill. My mother left everything and went, leaving whatever had to be done to any of my older sisters, who were at home. I recall one day, on which my godmother Teresa was in our house, talking with my mother. A small boy came, the son of my aunt Prazeres - theirs was the first house on the left side of our home, going towards Casa Velha - to ask my mother if she would go to his house, because his mother was ill. My mother quickly got up to go. My godmother Teresa told her: “well my dear, you'll wear yourself out wanting to attend to everyone!” My mother replied: “never mind, I help others and God helps me.” If it happened to be at night that they came to call my mother, it was my father who got up to go and help.
Afterwards, he brought the message to my mother and, while she was dressing, he lit the lantern, so that she would not stumble or fall along the way. When the influenza epidemic came in 1918, only my parents, my brother Manuel, my sister Gloria and I were at home. It seems to me that my sister Carolina was in Leiria. The epidemic struck almost all the people. My mother and my sister Gloria went, from house to house, caring for the sick. One day, my uncle Ti Marto warned my father that he should not permit my mother or his daughters to go to the homes of the sick to treat them, because it was an epidemic which was contagious and we might also get sick.
That evening, upon arriving, my father forbid my mother and his daughters to go to the homes of the sick to treat them. My mother listened, in silence to all that my father said and then responded: “Look you have a good point. Its just as you say. But, look here, how can we leave those people to die, without anyone there to give them a glass of water? It would be better if you came with me to see how these people are, and, then, if it's all right to leave them alone” And pointing to a large pot which she had hanging on a chain from the chimney, over the fire in the fireplace, she said: “Do you see that pot? It's full of chickens. Some are not ours; I brought them from the homes of the sick because ours were not enough for everyone. They're cooking in order to make a broth and I have over there, the small pots which I brought from their homes already, in which to carry them. If you would like to come with me, you could help carry the baskets with the pots of broth and, at the same time, you will be able to see for yourself and then we can decide what has to be done.”
My father agreed. They filled the pots with broth and they went out together, each one with two baskets, one in each hand. A little later, my father returned with a baby in a little baby basket and said to my sister Gloria and to me: “Take care of this child. The parents are both in bed with fever and are not able to look after him.” He went out again, and a little later returned with two more children, who were already able to walk but still could not take care of themselves, and he said: “Take care of these two also, they do nothing but cry at their parents bedside, and they both have fever and are not able to care for them.”
And so he brought more. I don't remember how many. The next day they came to say that in my Aunt Olympia's house also, they were all in bed with the fever. My parents went their also to care for them. Then, in time, everybody got better, but four of them always remained with some traces of the fever which weakened them one after the other, in a few years these four died Francisco, Jacinta, Florinda and Teresa. In those days my parents did nothing except go from house to house, to treat the sick. My father and my brother Manuel also cared for the animals that were in their pens bleating with hunger and they brought the milk to give to the sick and the children. To these they also gave soups made of softened bread in chicken broth, to the older ones mince meat in the chicken broth, with rice and the same was given to the sick who were getting better.
The need was so great, that my parents did not hesitate to allow me to spend some nights in the home of a widow who lived alone with her son, who was in the last stages of Tuberculosis. In this way she would be able to rest, knowing that she had an eleven year old girl there, who could take a glass of water or bowl of broth to her son, or who would call her should he need something else. I don't remember the name of this woman or of her son, but I do recall the house. It was between the home of my Aunt Olympia and the blacksmith's. In order to enter one had to climb a stone stairway which led from the street. The young patient spent the night sitting in bed, propped up on pillows struggling to breathe. At times I went to the kitchen to fetch the fan and waved it before his face, to try to give him a little air. When he saw me there, he was so pleased, that he would say that those were the best nights he spent.
Some people also warned my father that it was foolish to allow me to go to that house because I might catch the disease. My father replied: “God will not repay me with evil for the good that I do Him!” And so it happened! My father's trust was not confounded, because today I am almost 82 years old and yet I have not felt even the slightest trace of that disease!
One day, I heard a conversation which my mother was having with the Father Vicar of Olival who asked her about my father. My mother said: “He was always a good Christian, practicing Catholic and a good worker, even as a youth. Therefore I liked him very much and we were married. He was always very faithful to his religious duties and to his state, and a very good friend to me and the children. When I told him that God was going to grant us a seventh child, he responded ' Don't be troubled! It is one more blessing from God. Therefore there will be no lack of bread in the drawer nor oil in the pot”
On Sundays and Holy days of obligation, my father went with the whole family to assist at Holy Mass - almost always at the midday Mass. We rested a little longer in the morning, took care of the animals, put the house in order, left the dinner prepared, and went altogether, well rested and without preoccupation's.
When I was still very small, my father carried me in his arms or seated me on his shoulder. When we arrived at Church, he handed me to my mother, because at that time, the men were separated from the women in the choir and in the sanctuary. On returning, after Mass, he likewise came home with the family. My older sister went in front, each one speaking with their fiancé who waited for them in the church yard; my parents were the last couple who followed behind, talking also with my godfather Anastacio, my godmother Teresa, my uncles and the other people who joined them, and along the way they bid us farewell at their own homes, saying 'Good bye, until we meet again”.
The others continued on their way and, upon arriving at our house, they said goodbye with the same Adeus and proceeded further on. It was the same for my sister's friends: they bid us farewell, to return later on at mid-afternoon, to continue their conversations. We entered the house, ate our dinner, and while my mother, and some of my sisters, tidied the kitchen, the others and my brother took care of the animals. If it was good weather, my father sat on a stone bench, which was on the patio, at the kitchen doorway, playing cards and talking with my uncles and the others; my sisters dispersed in pairs, to the shade of the fig trees, talking with their fiancés; my mother, with my godmother Teresa, aunts and other neighbours, sat on the small steps which we climbed from the side of the road, to enter our house. While some rocked their babies to sleep they were at the same time, conversing and watching their older children who were playing on the road, running up and down amusing themselves with their children's games and, at times, imitating the processions which they had seen, singing Litany's of the saints etc.
At sunset when the bells of the Church rang for the Angelus, my father got up and with him, all the others. Removing his cap, my father led the three Hail Mary's to which they responded. Then, quite content, they said goodbye, each one going to his own home to have their evening meal and rest. For they had spent the Lord's day well and in His grace, having fulfilled His law and were thus ready to carry on with their labors the following day.
And the friends of my sisters and the other young girls who came there, left also, some passing over the serra in the direction of the hamlets; others walking along the paths, in the direction of Santa Catarina, passing near the Cova da Iria, which at that time was no more than a deserted field, where maize and potatoes grew in the hollow, with olive trees on the slope, which produced a fine olive oil, the holm oak trees which bore the sweet acorns for both animals and men; the strawberry-tree which produced berries used for making aguardente ( a home made potent liquor); hay and grass, food for the animals; and the brushwood, for the farm yard pens. And they went along paths yet further away, playing their harmoniums and guitars, singing and hoping to return on the following Sunday.
After supper, my father intoned the thanksgiving, prayed the Rosary- for it was not a day on which we did evening work - and went to rest, since at dawn of the following day he would have to rise early, in order to resume his week day work. My father and my brother, were the ones who slaughtered the pigs of my godfather Anastacio and ours also; singing them; washing them and hanging them, to drain off, until the next day. Afterwards they broke them off into sections, cutting the meat into pieces, leaving separated, in earthen ware pans, those which were to be placed on the salting board, those which were to made in to sausages, those to be consumed fresh and that which was to be shared with people who had none. These persons, those to whom it was given, were the Parish Priest; also a little old man who lived alone in a tiny house close to the house of my Aunt Olympia, the mother of Jacinta, another lame and crippled man, who also lived alone three houses away, on the left hand side going toward Fatima; and old woman, who also lived alone in a small house next to the blacksmith's shop on the left side, coming towards our house and the widow of Uncle Agostinho who also lived alone, since the death of her husband. I was then sent to take our little gift to these people.
There was a small white wicker basket in our house, in which my father told me I had come from heaven with flowers. It was only used when they dressed me as a little angel, to walk in the processions carrying it with flowers, to strew before Our Lord, and also to carry our gifts to the poor and to our friends. On Christmas Eve, after supper, while we waited until it was time to go to Midnight Mass, we stayed near the fire - place, making the filhoses. While my mother and sisters stretched out the dough and laid it flat in the boiling oil, my father with a large iron fork, would turn them over and remove them to an earthenware pan, placing them inside a sieve to drain.
At the exact hour, we went to midnight Mass, bringing the wicker basket with the gift of the fihoses that I carried up to the infant Jesus, when I went to venerate His image after Mass, and again, on Christmas morning, to the persons mentioned above. Our flock was, usually of some 20 or 30 sheep. In the spring they doubled, or even tripled, because many of the sheep had double offspring. My father killed the male lambs for food for the family, and used the milk for breakfast and making cheese. The ewes were allowed to be nourished and to grow, but as soon as they begun to eat, they were separated, in order to use the milk for the same purpose. And, when they had grown large, my father chose the best to provide continuity to the flock; and those left over, with the older and tired sheep he sold.
It was my father who killed the foxes, hares, genets and rabbits which he hunted with skill, placing the traps on the large flat stones, he skinned them and prepared them for my mother to cook; he hung the skins on the branches of the fig tree, so they could be sold to the mule drivers who would be passing by. When the bells of the Parish Church rang out the evening Angelus, my father stopped his work. Removing his cap, he prayed the three Hail Mary's and came home. While he waited for supper - if it was good weather (if it was not he waited by the hearth) he sat on a stone bench which was on the patio, leaning against the wall of the kitchen with me on his knees, he amused himself by telling me stories, and teaching me to sing local songs, fados and popular songs of ten stanzas or four line verses, etc.
My mother was there at her work. From time to time she came over to us and said: “What are you teaching this little one! If only you would teach her doctrine!” Then my father would say: “Let’s do as your mother wishes!” And he took hold of my little hand, teaching me to trace the sign of the Cross on my forehead, mouth and heart. Afterwards he would teach me to pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, the Creed, how to prepare for Confession, the Act of Contrition, the Commandments of God, etc. Later on when we were altogether at supper, he made me repeat what I had learned and, quite content; he turned to my mother and said: “Do you see! It was I who taught her.” My mother, smiling, replied: “You are indeed a good man. May you always be so!” My father answered: “God has given me the best woman in the world!” This is what made me believe that my mother was the best in the world and, when the other children came to our patio to play with me, I used to ask them: “Is your mother good? My mother is the best in the world!”
Sometimes in the evening, he took me to the threshing floor and we sat down on the stone seats, to enjoy the cool breeze, which was so pleasant there. And then, pointing to Heaven, he would say to me: “Look, up above, its Our Lady's and Angels: the moon is the lamp of Our Lady, the stars are the lamps of the Angels, which they and Our Lady light and place in the windows of Heaven, in order to light up our way at night. The sun which you see come up every day, over there, at the back of the serra, is Our Lord's lamp which He lights up every day to keep us warm and so that we can see in order to do our work.” Because of this, I used to tell the other children that the moon was Our Lady's lamp, the stars the lamp of the Angels and the sun the lamp of Our Lord.
There on the threshing- floor, he continued to teach me the truths of the faith, to sing and to dance. From time to time, my mother and my older sisters - those who were at home - came to peep through the branches of the fig trees and, laughing they would say: “She looks like a little spinning top, with her tiny arms in the air, trying to imitate all the movements she sees father making.” And my mother would come, with a cup of refreshment made of honey prepared with cool water taken from the well at the last moment so that my father could drink it with his little spinning top. And she also sat down at my father's side, talking joyfully and laughing feeling so content.
My father also used to tell me that, when there was a thunder storm it was our Heavenly Father scolding men because of their sins. One day, my father was working near the well. I was there playing near him. Suddenly the weather began to grow dark, to thunder and rain. My father threw down the hoe, grasped hold of me and ran to the house. Once at home I asked him: “Its our Heavenly Father scolding someone. Who has sinned, was it you father, or other people?” My father responded: “It was I and others also. Lets pray to St Barbara, to deliver us from thunder and lightening!” And he knelt down with my mother and my older sisters who were at home, in front of a crucifix which was on the wall of the outside room, to pray Our Fathers and Hail Mary's.
On rainy days, when he was unable to go to the fields to work, my father was at home, where he would cut the fire wood to the exact size for use in the oven and the fire place and then put in stacks on the patio to dry. Afterwards he put it away in the shed, and in the oven room, in order to keep it dry so that it would burn without smoking. If he happened to be home, on the days on which my mother was baking bread, he helped her to put the wood in the oven. When it was already hot, he took the ashes outside, cleaned the oven and, while my mother molded the bread, he placed it with a baking- shovel into the oven to bake.
If my sister Maria dos Anjos had a lot of work, he sat at the weaver's shuttle filling the spools for the loom. If he saw my mother carrying the pitchers, he took them from her hand and went to the well to fetch the water. He did the same with the pails of food for the animals, taking it to them and looking after them. My mother said that, when the new babies were born and they cried during the night, it was my father who got up to attend to them and carried them to her bed so she could give them a little milk without having to get up herself.
One day, I went to the rabbit burrow, I caught a tiny rabbit and took him outside to play with him on the patio, but I did not hold on to it very well and the little rabbit ran away from me. I went to tell my mother and she scolded me, saying I was naughty and disobedient, because she had told me many times already that I was not to go the rabbit burrow. Then I asked: “You say that I am bad, father says I came from Heaven in a wicker basket with flowers. So then are there bad things in Heaven also?” My mother replied: “Well, yes, the demons were angels who were in Heaven, but because they were bad, God put them out and now they go about, tempting everyone. As for you, He sent you here below, to see if you'll be good, so as to be able to return there.”
And I replied: “But I don't remember!” “But of course not” responded my mother, “because you were a sleep and you are very forgetful.” That night, when my father came home, I told him what my mother had said to me and he replied: “Very well, but don't be worried! That's for when you are older; as for now, you are very small. Therefore you still have a lot of time to become good.” It seems that he guessed rightly, because I am nearly 82 years old and still going along here, in the hope of being good in order to go to Heaven.
But, as Jesus Christ has said that only God is good. He will have to take me there, in His mercy, without waiting for me to be good. I just finished revealing - with deep emotion - what I was able to recall of the life of my father, in the bosom of his family, approximately up to the time of the Apparitions.
By that time, more or less, my two older sisters had married and left home to go and set up their own homes. With this our house was like a desert. The young girls who came to learn weaving and sewing, stopped coming, because my sisters who used to teach them, were no longer there. The children who came to our patio, to play with me, also did not come anymore because I spent the day in the field with my sheep. Only a small group of neighbours came to wait for me, as evening fell, in order to spend the last hours of day light together with me, and on our threshing floor, to watch out for Our Lady and the Angels to come to light their lamps and place them in the windows of Heaven, to light up the way for us.
This marvelous threshing floor - which they tell me has been destroyed - how I wish that Father Rector would order it restored, not only as a remembrance of my parents, where they enjoyed the fresh air of the serene summer nights, teaching me to raise my eyes to Heaven, where Our Lord is Our Lady and the Angels who watch over us and help us on our paths through life, but also for the children of that time, especially the servants of God Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who used to run there to join me, waiting and watching for when Our Heavenly Mother would come with the Angels to light their lamps and place them in the windows of Heaven to light the way for us.
It is true, this is a little child's perception, but it teaches us to lift our gaze to Heaven, where we know that God Our Father is, the Blessed Mother whom He gave us and watches over us, and the Angels that He created and destined to guide us and lead us on the paths of life.
During The Apparitions
The Apparitions came to pass. While my mother was so distressed, my father maintained an attitude of faith and trust. When my mother became even more upset, judging everything to be a hoax my father said: “Don't be upset! We do not know if it is true, but we also do not know if it is a lie. Let’s wait and see.”
When he saw the harvest lost in the Cova da Iria, he said: “For this year all is lost, but, in October, if the Lady stops coming, the people will stop going there also, and we can return to cultivate it as before.” When after the Apparitions, he saw that the people continued to go there, and the property was lost, he said: “If it was Our Lady who appeared there, she will help us get along without the Cova da Iria.” Also during the Apparitions - it must have been towards the end of July - one day, as evening fell, my father arrived home, called me and said to me: “Look, now you're going to tell me the truth, whether you saw that Lady in the Cova da Iria or not.
Don't be afraid to say that you didn't see Her, or if you said that for a joke and right away all the people believed - or simply that you lied. There are many persons in the world who tell lies; don't be afraid to say so if you did. Then the people will stop going the Cova da Iria and everything will be finished.” I answered: “I know. But if I saw, how can I say that I did not see? And the lady says to continue to come every month, until October”. My father got up and we went home.
The next day, after supper my father said to me: “While your mother and your sisters straighten the kitchen, you come a long with me to the threshing floor.” We went. My father sat on one side of the stone seats that was there, made me sit at his side and said to me: “Tomorrow morning very early, you go with the sheep to the Cova da Iria. I'm going with you”. I replied: “I'm just sorry for Jacinta, because I'm sure her mother will not let her go so early.” My father answered: “That's not so important. Go and tell Aunt Olympia that, very early tomorrow morning, you are going with our sheep to the Cova da Iria. Jacinta and Francisco, if they wish, can go there later.
Tell her that you are going there early because it is so far away and that you want to come home earlier because of the heat; and that if people come wanting to speak to you, your mother will tell them to go there to find you, since your sisters are very busy and cannot go, and take your place.” I went to give the message to my Aunt who answered: “Very well; but for now say nothing to Jacinta, so she'll not be crying. I'll tell her in the morning.”
On the following day, my father called me very early in the morning. I got up and we had our breakfast, while my mother took the milk from the sheep, then we went out by way of the wasteland so as to avoid meeting people along the way. We could hardly see. When we arrived at the Cova da Iria, the first sign of day break began to appear behind the serra, in the direction of Aljustrel.
We crossed over the road and descended the slope, between the olive trees, guiding the sheep along the narrow way in a zig zag fashion - since one could not descend straight down - to the Cova. There my father saw that in fact, everything had been trampled on and eaten by the animals. From the crop sown that year, which was corn, no profit at all would be gained. And he said: “We've lost twenty measures of grain, along with the kidney beans and the pumpkins which were planted in between. Patience!”
We left the sheep in the Cova, to take advantage of the grass which still remained on the edges, and we climbed the hillside in front, along side the great holm-oak tree. On top, behind the spot where one now finds the Basilica, there was a piece of flat land, with some holm-oak and olive trees between which my father used to sow, in alternating years wheat, chick-peas or rye etc. There things were not so spoiled but the tops of the trees were already eaten away by animals, just like those on the hill side. My father saw this and said: “Indeed we can expect no harvest from here. Perhaps there may be only some olives, acorns, or berries that could be saved from the tree tops.”
He saw the little stone wall that we were making when we saw the reflection of the light from Our Lady - which we thought was lightening - and we descended the slope by the side of the large holm - oak tree, at the front of which, a little below, was the small holm - oak where Our Lady appeared.
My father approached it, looked at it and asked: “It is here that the Lady appears?” “Yes it is” I replied. “How many more times is the Lady to come?” “Until October” I answered. “If the Lady does not return afterwards, the people will also stop coming and next year we will return to cultivate the Cova da Iria as before.” And he asked: What do people come here to do?” I replied “They come to pray the Rosary and they all want me to pray with them.” “well now,” said my father “You pray the Rosary with me also” “Yes I will pray.” My father knelt with me, before the little holm - oak tree, and we prayed the Rosary.
When we had finished, my father got up and said: “Now you stay here with the sheep. I'm going to see your brother who is working on the moor land. When the day begins to get too hot, you are to go home with the sheep.” And I remained alone - I don't know if I cried - in that lonely field, where I heard only the tinkling of the sheep bells, the chirping of the little birds, hopping on the treetops and the crowing of the cocks in the Moita hen-houses.
By midmorning, two groups of people arrived there. The first one came from the direction of Moita and Santa Catarina. Hardly had I finished praying the Rosary with this group, when another appeared, coming from Montelo and from the direction of Minde. I prayed another Rosary with them also. And then, with my sheep I went home, since the heat was already so intense. My father also came home to eat supper. Afterwards, he told my mother all that he had seen. For that year, he told her, we could count on nothing from the Cova da Iria; everything was destroyed. But he continued: “If it is Our Lady who appears there, She will help us!”
My mother continued: “Our Lady? If only it was Our Lady! Who can tell us that it's Our Lady? Not at all! It's evil, it's the devil who has come into our home. We were so happy and now we cannot get rid of all these people, constantly knocking on the door, wanting to see and speak with our little girl; and unless we go and fetch her, they won't go away. If at least you would come home, you could help send them away.”
“But”, my father answered, “I don't know what to say to them and I cannot be rude to them, by sending them away from here. So that's why I don't come.” It happened that, many people took advantage of the evening, at the end of the day's work, to come to our house, in order to find out what was going on. I don't know, but perhaps my mother may not have been completely mistaken, that, partly, it could also have been the devil who was furious, and wished to hinder the good which the Message came to bring to the world.
What cost my father more and made him avoid being there, instead of coming home at night as soon as he had finished his work, as was his custom, was to find the house continually invaded by strangers, asking impertinent, curious and even - very often - misleading questions, from which he did not know how to get away.
A few days before the 13th of August, Ti Marto and my father were notified to appear at the Administration Office of Villa Nova de Ourem, with their children. My uncle, Ti Marto said: “I'm not taking my children. I'm not going to bring such small children before a tribunal.” My father said: “I'm taking my daughter, because I understand nothing about these things.”
The following morning, in the company of Ti Marto, he took me to Villa Nova de Ourem. My father and Ti Marto went on foot. I went riding on the back of a donkey, from which I fell about three times, not because I was not used to riding but because I was falling asleep, due to the sound of my father and Ti Marto conversing and of the slow, easygoing pace of the donkey. But the falls did not hurt me because I only tumbled down towards the front. And my father came running, to set me once again on top of the donkey and to exhort me to be careful not to fall.
At the office of the Administration, the Administrator questioned my father and my uncle Ti Marto, to whom was given a strong rebuke for not having brought his children, as he had been told to do. He questioned me also, wanting me to tell him the secret. Seeing that he couldn't get anything from me, he dismissed us and in the afternoon we returned home.
At home, my father, always serene and tranquil, recounted what had happened to my mother and the family. He only said: “I lost a day's work because of this. Patience! If it is Our Lady who appears, she will help us.” It was a sign of his unfailing confidence in the protection of Our Lady. He showed the same trust, when some days later, they took us prisoners to Villa Nova de Ourem, Francisco, Jacinta and myself. My father said: “I am not worried about them; they cannot do any harm to children that age. And if it is Our Lady who appears to them, She will protect them.”
On the 13th of October, because the rumour was spreading that, at the moment of the apparitions in the Cova da Iria, they were going to throw a bomb and that we would all die there, my parents, for the first and last time, wished to accompany me, saying: “If she is going to die, we want to die also at her side.” And they left the house with me, but, on the way, I lost sight of them, amidst the multitude of people who crowded around me. (*)
(*) “That is, my mother, for my father managed to break through me from the crowd and take me by the hand up to the little holm-oak tree.”(Author's note in letter of 16 April 1989)
After The Apparitions
When after the Apparitions, my father began to see that the people, instead of ceasing to go there - as he hoped - went more and more in greater numbers, transforming that site into a sacred place, of faith, prayer and confidence in the maternal protection of the Mother of God, He said: “We've lost the Cova da Iria forever.
We can no longer count on the produce of that land but if it is the work of God He will help us to get along without it.” When they came to say that the people were leaving money near the little holmoak tree where Our Lady had appeared which was collected and left for him in compensation for the loss of the land, he said: “God forbid that I should keep this money! It doesn't belong to me. It belongs to Our Lady! Neither do I want anyone in my family to keep as much as five cents of that mother! As for the loss of the land it is Our Lady who will repay me and She will help us.”
It was thus that Senora Maria Carreira - who got the name of Ti Maria da Capelinha” - began to keep the money so that it would not be stolen. Later on they went to ask my father's permission to build a little Chapel of Apparitions (Capelinha). He not only gave the authorization, he wanted to contribute, giving for that purpose twenty square meters of land with a strip of land for access from the road to the site of Capelinha. He thought in the beginning, of putting up an iron fencing as a barrier, which the people could not cross over, thus allowing him to continue to cultivate the land which remained. But, then he realized that the multitudes could not be held back, and therefore it was useless.
The number of persons flowing continually to our home, wishing to see me and to speak with me, was greater than ever. My mother did not know what to do! She discussed the situation with my father, to see what solution they could find. She was not able to go constantly to the field to get me, nor did she have anyone to send to take my place, and then people would not go away without my coming to attend to them and to go to Cova da Iria to pray the Rosary with them. And people from every part came from far and near, rich and poor, priests, learned and simple people from the villages, many with their sick who were so pitiful!
My father suggested selling the sheep. My mother replied: “I already thought of that. But how can we get along with out the products of the sheep? The wool that we use there at home and that which we sell, the pigs that are killed each year for the sustenance of the family, the hogs and sheep which are sold to help with expenses of the house, the milk and the cheese! And now we no longer have the produce of the Cova da Iria!
How can we manage without all that?” My father responded: “Perhaps with what cultivate in those other fields, we might be able to make up what we have lost here and there. We can try it, if afterwards we find that we cannot make ends meet without the sheep, we can buy them again. And the little one could start going to school.
The first school for girls has just been opened in Fatima - and you can tell those who come wishing to see her and speak with her, that she is in school and that they can find her there; then the teacher may do as she thinks best, and you will feel relieved. God will help us! As many sacrifices as we make, we will never be able to repay God for the grace of sparing us from the influenza epidemic which did not enter our home, nor did He allow any of the children who were here during those days to become ill.”
Because of the fuss that there was in the village against the Parish Priest, in which my father did not wish to be involved, but which left him with a bad impression, he stopped making his Easter duty, as was his custom, and kept away from the Parish Priest, no longer confessing to him. But he did not stay away from the Church; he continued to go to Holy Mass every Sunday and on Holy days. He went instead to Vila Nova de Ourem for confession, and each year he went to confession and Holy Communion.
(Authors note: when in the Memoirs, I say “Because we had already lost some of the lands, the means of subsistence began to grow scare’s in our house” I wished to refer to the loss of the Cova da Iria and the lack of sheep products. My explanation was very incomplete, due to lack of time and the conditions conductive to re reading it and correcting it.) for the feast of Our Lady of Ortiga, in order to gain the jubilee indulgence. He went there in the last year of his life, and took me with him, a few days before his death.
Afterwards, we went to supper at the home of my sister Teresa, who lived near there, in a place called Lomba. And she hardly expected that it would be the last time she would speaking to our father or see him alive! And so it is, this mortal life, in which we find ourselves it disappears like smoke, which vanishes in the air.
Happily, my father accomplished well his mission on earth. He fell sick on 30th July 1919. My mother called for a doctor who diagnosed it as a case of double pneumonia. He prescribed treatment but the medicines were of no avail. On the following morning, feeling somewhat worse, my father asked my mother if she would send for the priest, to make confession and receive the last Sacraments. My mother warned him that, very likely, she would only be able to find the parish priest.
“Don't worry about that!” answered my father: it doesn't matter, as long as it is a priest!” My mother sent for the priest, but the parish priest delayed, thinking it was not an urgent case, and my father died in the arms of my mother and of his sister Olympia, repeating, repeating the ejaculations which they were suggesting to him and which were used at the time in such cases; “Jesus, Mary, Joseph save my soul which belongs to you!” “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, by the merits of Your Life, Passion, Death on the Cross!” Father into Your Hands I commend my spirit!”
Thus I feel entirely at peace, with respect to the eternal salvation of my father, certain that the Lord received His beautiful soul, into the arms of His infinite Mercy and presented him into the full possession of the immense Being of God, Our Father.
As I write this, I am recalling
the story of King David, who in spite having been such a great sinner -
was chosen by God, to have among his descendants, St Joseph, Our Lady and
Jesus Christ, Son of David - Hosanna, to the Son of David! The One Who
said He had come to save sinners, because it is not the healthy who need
the doctor but, indeed, it is the sick.
letter to Rev. Fr Luciano Guerra
J + M
To Rev. Fr Luciano Guerra
In response to the letter of Your Reverence of 23 November 1988, I am sending the description of that - with the deepest sentiments - I recall about my father. I hope that something will be of use in fulfilling the wishes of Your Reverence. With regard to the clock, which was in my parents home, I received a letter from my niece Maria Rosa, who is living in Brazil, saying that she already gave it to her sister Preciosa, who also lives in Brazil.
She is thinking of coming here next Summer in order to bring. They say that the casement is not the same any more because their mother - my sister Gloria - seeing that the original one was so old, substituted it for another which she ordered to be made. It is a pity but now there is nothing to be done.
I also have three objects - very small - which were from our home. I don't know if they interest you, if so I have already asked permission to give them to you. One in the Imitation of Christ which my mother sent to me at Porto when I was in school there, along with another book which she used to read to us. But this one the superior did not give to me.
She told me that in school I could not read it, but she would give it to me when I left, but until today. I suppose it could have been the Missao Abreviada, by the appearance and being a book with which I was already familiar, but as I only saw in the hands of the superior and did not see the title, I cannot be sure. The Imitation of Christ I have always carried with me. It is now very old, but it's the same one.
The other two objects are: two crochet needles, those with which my mother taught me when I was still a child. One is made of metal and I used it to make lace for underclothing. The other is of bone, which I used for making woolen garments for warmth in winter. Jacinta began to work with these, because she wanted to learn and so I taught her.
And very soon, she was making the narrow lace quite well. The needle made of bone has no large hook now but I worked with the small one up until a short time ago. I have always kept these with me, as a remembrance of my mother and of Jacinta, but as there are many of these here in the house, if I should need one, I won't miss them. That is all for today. In union of prayers.
Sr. Maria Lucia
J. + M.
To the Rector of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima
The two crochet needles included here are the ones with which my mother and my two older sisters, Maria and Teresa, taught me to crochet, when I was still a child. With the metal one, the Servant of God, Jacinta also learned. Seated near me, she saw me crocheting and asked me to teach her, and while I was working with the needle made of bone, making woolen garments, I loaned her the metal one and taught her to decorate underclothing, which she was able to do quite well.
I have always carried them and
kept them with me, as a remembrance of my mother and of my childhood, along
with the Imitation of Christ, which my mother sent to Porto for me when
I was in school there. It is with love and devotion that I now, - with
the permission of our Mother Prioress - detach myself from these humble
objects and offer them to Our Lady for Her Sanctuary of Fatima, to place
in the house belonging to my parents, and which today is Hers, for the
glory of God and joy of our pilgrim brothers and sisters. May they always
give praise and glory to God and to Our Lady.
J. + M.
To the rector of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima
I beg your pardon since I am only now responding to your letter of 16 March 1989. Time did not allow me to do otherwise. As to your note in reference to what I have written about my father, in the last period of his life, Your Reverence says: “Since you made reference to the crisis which your father passed through, people may consider that it would be well to refer to that crisis in this Memoir.”
I always try - as much as possible - not to repeat what I have already said elsewhere in order to save time and to avoid what seems unnecessary to me. Thus, the content of the last manuscript seemed to me sufficient to explain and complete the statement in the Memoirs, since the result had seemed to be so inadequate.
Despite the great mystery of human weakness, my father never went to excess, to the point of losing his balance, nor failed in the awareness of his duties as a Christian and practicing Catholic, always maintaining the dignity of his personality as head and father of the family, faithful to his matrimonial promises, friend of his wife and children, preserving peace and serenity in his home.
Finally, I recall the holy King David who, in spite of having been so great a sinner, because he repented, did penance and changed his life, was chosen by God so that from among his decedents would be born St. Joseph, Our Lady and Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Thus, I believe that what counts more in the sight of God is not so much the sin as the humble repentance with which we ask pardon along with the sincere intention of never again offending the Lord.
In their regard, I am remembering what St. Irenæus tells us: “It is in the weakness of man that God manifests His power.” Yes, only God is great and powerful, above all in His merciful love! To Him be our gratitude, praise and love.
Because of your letter, I re-read
the manuscript about my father and verified that, on page 20, paragraph
6, it would be well to add, at the end of the sentence, a note to clarify
the meaning of what I say there: “That is, my mother, for my father managed
to break through the crowd and take me by the hand up to the little holmoak
tree.” And may God help us with the maternal protection of the Immaculate
Heart of Mary.
J + M
Carmelo of St. Teresa, Coimbra, 10-12-1951
To His Excellency The Bishop (D. Jose Alves Correia da Silva) I am grateful for the two letters of Your Excellency, the first of which crossed with one of my own. I received also pictures of Jacinta and the cloth for the relics. As soon as they are ready, I shall send them as you wish, and if Your Excellency desires more, you have only to send us the pictures, on which we put the relic and then we will send them back. We usually put the seal of our Order on the back with it's emblem. I do not know if Your Excellency has one of the Diocese or of the Sanctuary. If you have and prefer that we use that one, in your kindness could you please send it to us.
Now, Your Excellency, I ask your permission to clarify something that seems to me necessary for the glory of God. Some have spoken to me of a film, which was being spread, I believe in Portugal, Spain and America, and according to what they have told me, the picture they give of my father is false and, besides being false, it is not edifying to souls, nor for the glory of God. According to what was told to me, they picture my father miserably intoxicated, selling the Cova da Iria bit by bit, greedily running away with a bag of money etc. etc. Now, nothing of this it true.
Your Excellency and the priests appointed by you at the Sanctuary know very well that my father not only sold absolutely nothing of the Cova da Iria, but, neither he nor his wife nor any of his daughters nor his son, kept anything at all of the money which the people left in their faith near the Holm-oak tree, and this, in spite of being on his land, which, from the time of the Apparitions was rendered useless for producing anything, making what, until then was cultivated there, a grave loss to the family sustenance. To a rich family, this would not have been a great loss, but to the poor even a little is a big loss.
As for the drinking, again thanks be to God, it was not as they say, nor as Fr. De Marchi wrote in the first edition of his book, A Lady More Brilliant than the Sun. If my father did sometimes drink a little more than those who drank nothing, he never carried it to the point of creating disorder at home, nor of ill treating his wife and children. He was a sincere and honest man and, although he died within 24 hours of double pneumonia, he left his family neither weighed down in debt nor with the burden of any troublesome business.
If it is true that some years passed without his having made his Easter duty in the Parish, because of a disagreement that he had with the Parish Priest and he did not stop going every year, to Our Lady of Ortiga, on her feast day and there he confessed and received Holy Communion in order to gain the Jubilee Indulgence.
And he said that he did this because there he could choose another confessor instead of the Parish Priest and he did not have to go to the sacristy to recite his doctrine. Even in the last year of his life, he went there and took me with him, and after receiving Holy Communion went to eat at the home of my sister Teresa, who was already married and lived in a near by place called Lomba. He went also to Mass on Sundays. Usually, he carried me with him and when we arrived at the Church he climbed the steps to the choir, where the men assisted at Mass, and sent me to join my mother who was in the body of the Church, with the other women.
It was after Mass, in the company of his friends, that he delayed longer coming home, and at night, when he came from work and went to give an account to my godfather Anastacio of how things were going on in their fields (as he took care of both ours and theirs), he remained longer talking and in the tavern, and came home late; with that my mother, so used to seeing him at home at suppertime and spending the evening working joyfully in the bosom of the family, was distressed.
For my mother in her uprightness of spirit, this was indeed a great fault. I have referred to this in one of the writings which you requested of me, but perhaps I did not know how to express myself very well. The hard times our family went through just then, or at least the lack of former abundance was due to various things and circumstances, among them - and one of the principal causes - was the Apparitions.
The Cova da Iria, as I said, left quite a need in our family's livelihood; moreover, it was my mother, and not my father as Dr. Walsh states erroneously in his book, who decided to sell the flock because of the many people who sought me and, who were so insistent in wanting to speak with me, that they were offended if they were not satisfied.
It was for this reason, and not for any other that my mother sold the flock - because otherwise, one of my sisters would have to lose a day's work at home in order to replace me in the field - and the produce of the flock was also that my two older sisters married. One was a weaver and the other seamstress and therefore, they had also helped very much with the income from their work.
Added to this, there was the great perplexity of my mother with regard to the Apparitions, which more than anything else was the cause of her trouble and lamentation.
Please excuse this explanation
but I thought it was called for in the interests of Justice and charity,
and because of the veneration and respect in which I hold the memory of
my father. With gratitude to Your Excellency, I humbly and respectfully
kiss your holy ring and ask your blessing. With the greatest respect and
Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, I.C.D.
The text which follows is a document written by Sister Lucia, in the third person, towards the end of 1927, at the request of her spiritual director, Rev. Fr. P. Aparicio, S.J. Shortly after this apparition, which took place in her cell on the 10th of December, 1925, Sister Lucia wrote out a first account of it, which she herself later destroyed. This present document, therefore, is a second account.
It is exactly the same as the first, except for the fact that she added the introductory paragraph, dated 17th of December, 1927, in which she explained how she received authorization from heaven to make known part of the secret.
We have entitled this document: “Text of the great promise of the Heart of Mary”. Truly, it is the expression of the merciful and gratuitous Will of God, offering us a sure and easy way of salvation, given that it is supported by the most Sound catholic tradition concerning the saving efficacy of Mary's intercession.
This text tells us the conditions
required in order to respond to Our Lady's appeal for the Five First Saturdays
of the month, in reparation for the injuries committed against the Heart
of Mary. Nor should this deeper intention of reparation to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary ever be forgotten.
Text of the great promise of the Heart of Mary, in the apparition at Pontevedra, Spain
J. M. J.
On December 17th, 1927, she went before the tabernacle to ask Jesus how she should comply with what had been asked of her, that is, to say if the origin of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was included in the Secret that the most holy Virgin had confided to her.
Jesus made her hear very distinctly these words: “My daughter, write what they ask of you. Write also all that the most holy Virgin revealed to you in the Apparition, in which She spoke of this devotion. As for the remainder of the Secret, continue to keep silence.”
What was confided on this subject in 1917, is as follows: She asked for them to be taken to heaven, and the most holy Virgin answered: “Yes. I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. But you are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and these souls will be loved by God, like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.”
On December 10th, 1925, the most holy Virgin appeared to her, and by her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was a child. The most holy Virgin rested her hand on her shoulder, and as she did so, she showed her a heart encircled by thorns, which she was holding in her other hand. At the same time, the Child said: “Have compassion on the Heart of your most holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.”
Then the most holy Virgin said: “Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at very moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”
On February 15th,1926, the Infant Jesus appeared to her again. He asked her if she had already spread the devotion to His most holy Mother. She told Him of the confessor's difficulties, and said that Mother Superior was prepared tp propagate it, but that the confessor had said that she, alone, could do nothing. Jesus replied: “It is true that your Superior alone can do nothing, but with my grace, she can do all.”
She placed before Jesus the difficulty that some people had about confessing on Saturday, and asked that it might be valid to go to confession within eight days. Jesus answered: “Yes, and it could be longer still, provided that, when they receive Me, they are in state of grace and have intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” She then asked: “My Jesus, what about those who forget to make this intention?” Jesus replied: “They can do so at their next confession, taking advantage of the first opportunity to go to confession.”
Some days later, Sister Lucia wrote down a full account of this apparition, which was sent to Msgr. Manuel Pereira Lopes, afterwards Vicar General of the Diocese of Porto, who had been Lucia's confessor during her stay at Vilar do Oporto. This unpublished document was Inserted by Rev. Dr. Sebastiao Martins dos Reis in his entitled: “A life in the service of Fatima” cf. pp 336-357.
On the 15th 9of February 1926, I was very busy at my work, and was not thinking of this at all. I went to throw out a pan full of rubbish beyond vegetable garden, in the same place where, some months earlier, I had met a child. I had asked him if he knew the Hail Mary, and he said he did, whereupon I requested him to say it so that I could hear him. But, as he made no attempt to say it by himself, I said it with him three times over, at the end of which I asked him to say it alone. But as he remained silent and was unable to say the Hail Mary alone, I asked him if he knew where the Church of Santa Maria was, to which he replied that he did. I told him to go there everyday and to say this: O my heavenly Mother, give me your Child Jesus! I taught him this, and then left him.
On the 15th of February, 1926, going there as usual. I found a child who seemed to me to be the same one whom, I had previously met, so I questioned him: “Did you ask our Heavenly Mother for the Child Jesus?” The child turned to me and said: “And have you spread through the world what our heavenly Mother requested of you?”
With that, he was transformed into a resplendent Child. Knowing then that it was Jesus, I said: “My Jesus, you know very well what my confessor said to me in a letter that I read to You. He told me that it was necessary for this vision to be repeated, for further happenings to prove its credibility, and he added that Mother Superior, on her own could do nothing to propagate this devotion.”
“It is true your Superior alone can do nothing, but with my grace she can do all. It is enough that your confessor gives you permission and that your Superior speak of it, for it to be believed, even without people knowing to whom it has been revealed.” “But my confessor said in the letter that this devotion is not lacking in the world, because there are many souls who receive You on the First Saturdays, in honour of Our Lady and of the Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary.”
“It is true, my daughter, that many souls begin the First Saturdays, but few finish them, and those who do complete them do so in order to receive the graces that are promised thereby. It would please me more if they did Five with favor and with the intention of making reparation to the Heart of you heavenly Mother, then if they did Fifteen, in a tepid and indifferent manner....”
The text of this Appendix is not a document in Sister Lucia's own handwriting, but it has all the guarantees of authenticity, seeing that it was her spiritual director, at this time Rev. Fr. Jose Bernardo Goncalves, S. J., who transcribed it directly and literally from Seer's notes. The vision to which this text refers was granted to Sister Lucia on the 13th of June, 1929, in the chapel of her convent at Tuy, Spain.
The text begins with an account of the vision of the Most Holy Trinity, together with Our Lady showing her Heart, as in the Apparitions of June and July of 1917. The promise she had made then was now realized, and sister Lucia heard the Blessed Virgin ask for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart under certain well defined conditions. Has this Consecration already been carried out? The text itself, in the final paragraph, tells us that it has not, and speaks of the terrible consequences which result there from.
Text of the request for the consecration of Russia
Rev. Fr. Goncalves sometimes came to our chapel to hear confessions. I went to confession to him and, as I felt at ease with him, I continued to do so for the three years that he remained here as Assistant to the Fr. Provincial.
It was at this time that Our Lady informed me that the moment had come in which she wished me to make known to Holy Church her desire for the Consecration of Russia, and, and her promise to convert it. The communication was as follows: 13-6-1929. I had sought and obtained permission from my superiors and confessor to make a Holy Hour from eleven o' clock until midnight, everything Thursday to Friday. Being alone one night, I knelt near the altar rails in the middle of the chapel and, prostrate, I prayed the prayers of the Angel. Feeling tired, I then stood up and continued to say the prayers with my arms in the form of a Cross.
The only light was that of the Sanctuary lamp. Suddenly the whole chapel was illuminated by a supernatural light, and above the altar appeared a Cross of light, reaching to the ceiling. In a brighter light on the upper part of the Cross, could be seen the face of a man and his body as far as the waist; upon his breast was a dove of light, nailed to the Cross I could see another man. A little below the waist I could see a large host suspended in the air, onto which drops of blood were falling from the face of Jesus Crucified and from the wound in His side.
These drops ran down on to the host and fell into the chalice. Beneath the right arm of the Cross was Our Lady and in Her hand was Her Immaculate Heart (It was Our Lady of Fatima, with Her Immaculate Heart in Her left hand, without a sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames). Under the left arm of the Cross, large letters as if of crystal clear water which ran down upon the altar, formed these words: “Grace And Mercy”.
I understood that it was the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity which was shown to me, and I received lights about this mystery which I am not permitted to reveal. Our Lady then said to me: “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. There are so many souls whom the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I have come to ask reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray:”
I gave an account of this to the confessor who asked me to write down what Our Lady wanted done. Later in an intimate communication, Our Lord complains to me, saying: “They did not wish to heed My request. Like the King of France they will repent and do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church: the Holy Father will have much to suffer.”
Note: Here Our Lady says in union with all Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia.... The consecration in this way has not been fulfilled as some Bishops refused to do this. In the Memoir Lucia describes Our Lady as saying the Holy Father to Consecrate....here more is requested (1929) Although previous note still applies....where Lucia says the consecration was sufficient.
Please do note that this prediction has come true and Russia had already spread her errors before any form of consecration was made. King of France....... In 1689, one year before the death of St Margaret Mary...the Saint tried by various means to have King Louis 1V to engrave the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the royal flags, to build a temple in His honour: the King to consecrate Himself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; and to pledge his authority before the Holy See to have a Mass in honor of the sacred of Heart of Jesus.
This was Jesus' own request through the Saint to the King. It seems the knowledge never reached the King....Only a century later did the latter King of France respond.
“Now the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing; that you may abound in Hope, and in the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13).
“Charity is patient, is kind: Charity...beareth all things, Believeth all things, Hopeth all things, endureth all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 7).
“Now Faith is the substance of things to be Hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not” (Hebrews 11:1).
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