Flora Cantábrica

Matias Mayor

Archivo del 19 junio, 2022


19 junio, 2022 Autor: admin



  1. A Mysterious Presage in 1915


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 9. 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

  1. 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 10. On the following day, we

set out in the direction of a hill known as the Cabeço. We went up

the northern slope. Valinhos, 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.

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,” and 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

disgust: “Childish nonsense!” 11


  1. Apparitions of the Angel in 1916


After some time, we returned with 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 is it that you girls say you saw over there?”

11 These indistinct apparitions of the Angel were probably meant to prepare

Lucia for the future.


“ I don’t know, Mother. I don’t know what it is!”

Some people started making fun of us. My sisters, recalling

that for some time after my First Communion I had been quite abstracted,

used to ask me rather 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.

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 I 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 slope of the hill

that I have already mentioned. This property was called Chousa

Velha. Soon after our arrival, about midmorning, 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 godfather Anastácio. 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’m not sure whether

we said it that day in the way I have already described to Your

Excellency, saying just the word Hail-Mary and Our-Father on each

bead, so great was our eagemess to get 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 12. 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

sometimes 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 13, and summer came, when we had to go

home for siesta. One day, we were playing on the stone slabs of

the well down 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 Angel Guardian, 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 the Pregueira. The sheep could

only scramble over these rocks with great difficuity.

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 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 14. Leaving the chalice suspended in

the air, the Angel knelt down beside us and made us repeat three


“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 15, 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.


  1. Trouble at Home


Here I am, Your Excellency, at the end of my three years as a

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 16. When this most zealous

priest learned that such a pagan custom as endless 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 the 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,” replied my mother. “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 is 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

16 His proper name was Fr. Manuel Marques Ferreira. He died in January, 1945.


the loss of some of our property 17. 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 take 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 round the

fire at night time, waiting for my father to come in to supper, my

mother would look at her daughters’ empty places and exclaim

with profound sadness: “My God, where has all the joy of our home

gone?” Then, resting her head on a little table beside her, she would

burst into bitter 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 Angel’s 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, usually,

was 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 couldn’t 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 as 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 were 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 in 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 in 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, afraid of being left alone and 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.


  1. 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 that 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 wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins

by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of


“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 festivities 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

Iria, and talk to that Lady!” On the day itself nobody said a 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 Iria. But the sun was no sooner up than my brother came to call

  1. 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 18. They wished to accompany me

to the Cova da Iria. I told them that it was early as yet, and invited

them to go with me to the 8 o’clock Mass. After that, I returned

home. These good people waited for me out in the yard, in the

shade of our fig trees.

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 11 o’clock, I left home and called at my uncle’s house,

where Jacinta and Francisco were waiting for me. Then we set off

for the Cova da Iria, in expectation of 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 to compel

me, as she put it, to admit that I had 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 Iying,




and she used to chastise severely any one of us who told an untruth.

“ I’ve seen to 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 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 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 my sacrifice. It was on this very day that, in addition to what I

have already narrated, Our Lady, as though guessing what was

going on, said to me:

“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.”

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.”


  1. Lucia’s Doubts and Temptations 19


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, the 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 him 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 also took my mother’s 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 along behind my mother, who did not address

one 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 to 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 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 this crowd running to the Cova da Iria, just to pray in front

of a holm oak bush!”

Without more ado, she knocked on the door. The good priest’s

sister 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 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 even 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.”


  1. 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 then 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’s 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 wouldn’t be better to say that I had been Iying, 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 paralysed with fear that I couldn’t

sleep any more 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’s 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. Let Jacinta and Francisco do as they

like; I’m not going back to the Cova da Iria any more.” 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 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’m afraid 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 me 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 neighbour’s

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 you are, 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


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 lighted 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 fervour, she said to us:

“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times to Jesus,

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 committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”


  1. Lucia’s Mother has her 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


“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 of 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


“ I don’t know,” she answered. “lt 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 be only 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


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 that you lied.”

Without another word, we climbed the stairs, and the good

priest received us in his study with the greatest kindness 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!”

  1. The Administrator’s 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 Vila Nova de Ourém. 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 to say 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


My parents thought the very opposite.

“ My daughter is going. Let her answer for herself. As for me, I

understand nothing of these things. If she’s Iying, it’s a good thing

that she should be punished for it.”

Very early next morning 20, they put me on a donkey and off I

went, accompanied by my father and uncle. I fell off the donkey

three times along the way. I think I have already told Your Excellency

how much Jacinta and Francisco suffered that day, thinking that I

20 The day was the 11th of August.


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

again to retum to the Cova da Iria. To attain his end, he spared

neither promises, nor even threats. Seeing that he was getting nowhere,

he dismissed me, protesting however, that he would achieve

his end, even if this 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.


  1. 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 had been unable to cultivate

anything at all. Everything 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, now,” 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 woodpile 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 l feel for

her! Truly, she was right to judge me unworthy of such a favour,

and therefore to think I was Iying.

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 had 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.


  1. Lucia’s First Spiritual Director


It seems to me that it was in the course of this month 21 that

Rev. Dr. Formigão 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 by 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 to Our Lord: “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?”


  1. Imprisonment at Ourém


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 recommend their petitions

to us, so that we could transmit 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, an order came from the Administrator, telling

me to go to my aunt’s 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 have 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 or 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 22.

What happened next, is also known to Your Excellency; therefore

I will not delay here to describe this either. Once again, the

most Blessed Virgin recommended to us the practice of mortification,

and ended 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.”



  1. 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 waists 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 across 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 because we sometimes tied it too 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 this

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 walls

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 even 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 defence, 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 that my uncle and aunt, wearied 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 at 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 my 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 for 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

their 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 rumour got

round that the Administrator did really intend to kill us. This led my

aunt, who was married and lived in 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!”


  1. September 13th


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 seems

Our Lord had, a month before, 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 for being 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 to 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 some time, 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


Iying. 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!”


  1. Lucia’s Spirit of Sacrifice


A neighbour took it upon herself one day, why I don’t know, to

remark that some gentlemen 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

gentlemen 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 yet another sacrifice to our good Lord.


  1. A Tall Visitor


If I am not mistaken, it was also during this month 23 that a

young man made his appearance at our home. He was of such tall

stature that I trembled with fear. When I saw that he had to bend

down in order to come through the doorway 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 alone in the company of

this stranger. Then I began to feel tranquil again at the thought that

if he killed me, I would go to see Our Lord and Our 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

with him 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 the 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. l 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 some

time 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



  1. October 13th


Now, Your Excellency, here we are at the 13th of October. You

already know all that happened on that day. 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 us, at the very moment of the Appari98

tion. 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 the 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 that time, still unknown to me. For that reason, I

was as much at ease with any person at all, as I was with my


On the following day, or rather, to be accurate, on the following

days, the questionings 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!”



  1. Questioned by Priests


In the account 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 sacrifice that we offered to

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 that 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 24. 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 that money

for, the money they leave for no purpose whatsoever under that

holmoak, while the church, which is under repairs, cannot be completed

for lack of funds? 25

I understood perfectly why he spoke like that, but what could I

do! If I had been given authority over the hearts of those people, I

would certainly have led them to the parish church, but as I had

not, I offered to 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 26. 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 cousins on the matter:

 “ I don’t know,” I asked them, “ if we are doing wrong by not

telling 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 Iying or not, by saying nothing about the rest.”

“ I don’t know,” replied Jacinta, “that’s 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 practising!

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 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 as to how I was to resolve

my doubt.

A little while later, another priest appeared; he was from

Santarém. 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 this 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 are well aware 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 27. 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,

27 This was Father Faustino.


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 Him 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 Senhora Emilia 28 who lived in a little

hamlet near Olival. She was very devout, and often went to pray at

the Cova da Iria. After that, she used to come to our house and ask

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 though at that 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.


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