Flora Cantábrica

Matias Mayor





  1. Her Natural Characteristics .
  2. Her Sensitiveness ……
  3. Her Love for the Crucified Saviour …
  4. Her Delicate Sensibility …..
  5. She Looks and Learns …
  6. Jacinta, the Little Shepherdess ..
  7. The First Apparition …
  8. Reflecting on Hell ….
  9. Conversion of Sinners …
  10. Family Opposition ..
  11. Love for the Holy Father ..
  12. In Prison at Ourém …
  13. The Rosary in Jail …..
  14. And Finally… the Dance


, 1. Her Natural Characteristics




Before the happenings of 1917, apart from the ties of relationship

that united us, no other particular affection led me to prefer

the companionship of Jacinta and Francisco to that of any other

child. On the contrary, I sometimes found Jacinta’s company quite

5 Despite her inadequate schooling, Lucia had quite a talent for poetry, andwrote various poems.disagreeable, on account of her oversensitive temperament.


slightest quarrel which arose among the children when at play was

enough to send her pouting into a corner – ‘tethering the donkey’,

as we used to say. Even the coaxing and caressing that children

know so well how to give on such occasions, were still not enough

to bring her back to play; she herself had to be allowed to choose

the game, and her partner as well. Her heart, however, was well

disposed. God had endowed her with a sweet and gentle character

which made her at once lovable and attractive.

I don’t know why, but Jacinta and her brother Francisco had a

special liking for me, and almost always came in search of me

when they wanted to play. They did not enjoy the company of the

other children, and they used to ask me to go with them to the well

down at the bottom of the garden belonging to my parents.

Once we arrived there, Jacinta chose which games we were

to play. The ones she liked best were usually ‘pebbles’ and ‘buttons’,

which we played as we sat on the stone slabs covering the

well, in the shade of an olive tree and two plum trees. Playing ‘buttons’

often left me in great distress, because when they called us in

to meals, I used to find myself minus my buttons. More often than

not, Jacinta had won them all, and this was enough to make my

mother scold me. I had to sew them on again in a hurry. But how

could I persuade Jacinta to give them back to me, since besides

her pouty ways she had another little defect: she was possessive!

She wanted to keep all the buttons for the next game, so as to

avoid taking off her own! It was only by threatening never to play

with her again that I succeeded in getting them back!

Not a few times, I found myself unable to do what my little

friend wanted.



One of my older sisters was a weaver and the other a seamstress,

and both were at home all day. The neighbours, therefore,

used to ask my mother if they could leave their children in my parents’

yard, while they themselves went out to work in the fields. The

children stayed with me and played, while my sisters kept an eye

on us. My mother was always willing to do this, although it meant

considerable waste of time for my sisters. I was therefore charged

with amusing the children, and watching to see that they did not fall

into the pool in the yard. Three large figtrees sheltered the children

from the scorching sun. We used their branches for swings, and an

old threshing floor for a dining room. On days like these, when

Jacinta came with her brother to invite me to go with them to our

favourite nook, I used to tell them I could not go, because my mother

had ordered me to stay where I was. Then, disappointed but resigned,

the two little ones joined in our games. At siesta time, my

mother used to give her children their catechism lessons, especially

when Lent was drawing near, for as she said:

“I don’t want to be ashamed of you, when the priest questions

you on your catechism at Easter time.”

All the other children, therefore, were present at our catechism

lessons and Jacinta was there as well.



  1. Her Sensitiveness


One day, one of these children accused another of improper

talk. My mother reproved him very severely, pointing out that one

does not say such nasty things, because they are sinful and displease

the Child Jesus; and that those who commit such sins and

don’t confess them, go to hell. Little Jacinta did not forget the lesson.

The very next time the children came, she said:

“Will your mother let you go today?”


“Then I’m going with Francisco over to our yard.”

“And why won’t you stay here?”

“My mother doesn’t want us to stay when those other children

are here. She told us to go and play in our own yard. She doesn’t

want me to learn these nasty things, which are sins and which the

Child Jesus doesn’t like.”

Then she whispered in my ear:

“If your mother lets you, will you come to my house?”


“Then go and ask her.”

And taking her brother by the hand, she went home.

Speaking of Jacinta’s favourite games, one of them was ‘forfeits’.

As Your Excellency probably knows, the loser has to do whatever

the winner tells him. Jacinta loved to send the loser chasing

after butterflies, to catch one and bring it to her. At other times, she

demanded some flower of her own choosing. One day, we were

playing forfeits at my home, and I won, so this time it was I who told


her what to do. My brother was sitting at a table, writing. I told her to

give him a hug and a kiss, but she protested:

“That, no! Tell me to do some other thing. Why don’t you tell

me to go and kiss Our Lord over there?”

There was a crucifix hanging on the wall.

“Alright”, I answered, “get up on a chair, bring the crucifix over

here, kneel down and give Him three hugs and three kisses: one

for Francisco, one for me, and the other for yourself.”

“To Our Lord, yes, I’ll give as many as you like”, and she ran to

get the crucifix. She kissed it and hugged it with such devotion that

I have never forgotten it. Then, looking attentively at the figure of

Our Lord, she asked:

“Why is Our Lord nailed to a cross like that?”

“Because He died for us.”

“Tell me how it happened”, she said.


  1. Her Love for the Crucified Saviour


In the evenings my mother used to tell stories. My father and

my older sisters told us fairy stories about magic spells, princesses

robed in gold and royal doves. Then along came my mother with

stories of the Passion, St. John the Baptist, and so on. That is how

I came to know the story of Our Lord’s Passion. As it was enough

for me to have heard a story once, to be able to repeat it in all its

details, I began to tell my companions, word for word, what I used

to call Our Lord’s Story. Just then, my sister 6 passed by, and noticed

that we had the crucifix 7 in our hands. She took it from us and

scolded us, saying that she did not want us to touch such holy

things. Jacinta got up and approached my sister, saying:

“Maria, don’t scold her! I did it. But I won’t do it again.”

My sister caressed her, and told us to go and play outside,

because we left nothing in the house in its proper place. Off we

went to continue our story down at the well I have already mentioned.

As it was hidden behind some chestnut trees and a heap of

stones and brambles, we chose this spot some years later for our

more intimate talks, our fervent prayers, and to tell you everything,


our tears as well – and sometimes very bitter tears they were. We

mingled our tears with the waters of the same well from which we

drank. Does not this make the well itself an image of Mary, in whose

Heart we dried our tears and drank of the purest consolation?

But, let us come back to our story. When the little one heard

me telling of the sufferings of Our Lord, she was moved to tears.

From then on, she often asked me to tell it to her all over again. She

would weep and grieve, saying:


“Our poor dear Lord! I’ll never sin again! I don’t want Our Lord

to suffer any more!”


  1. Her Delicate Sensibility


Jacinta also loved going out at nightfall to the threshing floor

situated close to the house, there she watched the beautiful sunsets,

and contemplated the starry skies. She was enraptured with

the lovely moonlit nights. We vied with each other to see who could

count the most stars. We called the stars Angels’ lamps, the moon

Our Lady’s lamp and the sun Our Lord’s. This led Jacinta to remark


“You know, I like Our Lady’s lamp better; it doesn’t burn us up

or blind us, the way Our Lord’s does.”

In fact, the sun can be very strong there on summer days, and

Jacinta, a delicate child, suffered greatly from the heat.


  1. She looks and learns


As my sister belonged to the Sodality of the Sacred Heart of

Jesus, every time a children’s solemn Communion came round,

she took me along to renew my own. On one occasion my aunt

took her little daughter to see the ceremony, and Jacinta was fascinated

by the ‘angels’ strewing flowers. From that day on, she sometimes

left us when we were playing, and went off to gather an apron

full of flowers. Then she came back and strewed them over me,

one by one.

“Jacinta, why on earth are you doing that?”

“ I’m doing what the little angels do: I’m strewing you with


Every year, on a big feast, probably Corpus Christi, my sister

used to prepare the dresses for the children chosen to represent

the angels in the procession. They walked beside the canopy, strewing

flowers. I was always among the ones chosen, and one day

after my sister had tried on my dress, I told Jacinta all about the

coming feast, and how I was going to strew flowers before Jesus.

The little one begged me to ask my sister to let her go as well. The

two of us went along to make our request. My sister said she could

go, and tried a dress on Jacinta. At the rehearsals, she explained

how we were to strew the flowers before the Child Jesus.

“Will we see Him?” asked Jacinta.


“Yes,” replied my sister, “the parish priest will be carrying Him.”

Jacinta jumped for joy, and kept on asking how much longer

we had to wait for the feast. The longed-for day arrived at last, and

Jacinta was beside herself with excitement. The two of us took our

places near the altar. Later, in the procession, we walked beside

the canopy, each of us with a basket of flowers. Wherever my sister

had told us to strew the flowers, I strewed mine before Jesus, but in

spite of all the signs I made to Jacinta, I couldn’t get her to strew a

single one. She kept her eyes fixed on the priest, and that was all.

When the ceremony was over, my sister took us outside the church

and asked:

“Jacinta, why didn’t you strew your flowers before Jesus?”

“Because I didn’t see Him.”

Jacinta then asked me:

“But did you see the Child Jesus?”


“Of course not. Don’t you know that the Child Jesus in the

Host can’t be seen? He’s hidden! He’s the one we receive in Communion!”

“And you, when you go to Communion, do you talk to Him?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Then, why don’t you see Him?”

“Because He’s hidden.”

“I’m going to ask my mother to let me go to Communion too.”

“The parish priest won’t let you go until you’re ten years old.” 8

“But you’re not ten yet, and you go to Communion!”

“Because I knew the whole catechism, and you don’t.”

After this, my two companions asked me to teach them the

catechism. So I became their catechist, and they learned with exceptional

enthusiasm. But though I could always answer any questions

put to me, when it came to teaching, I could only remember a

few things here and there. This led Jacinta to say to me one day:

“Teach us some more things; we know all those.”

I had to admit that I could remember things only when people

questioned me on them, and I added:

“Ask your mother to let you go to the church to learn your


The two children, who so ardently desired to receive the ‘Hidden

Jesus’ as they called Him, went to ask their mother, and my

aunt agreed. But she rarely let them go there, for she said:

“The church is a good way from here, and you are very small.

In any case, the priest won’t give you Holy Communion before you’re

ten years old.”

Jacinta never stopped asking me questions about the Hidden

Jesus, and I remember how, one day, she asked me:

“How is it that so many people receive the little Hidden Jesus

at the same time? Is there one small piece for each person?”

“Not at all! Don’t you see that there are many Hosts, and that

there is a Child Jesus in every one of them!”

What a lot of nonsense I must have told her!


  1. Jacinta, the Little Shepherdess


I was old enough now to be sent out to mind our sheep, just as

my mother had sent her other children at my age. My sister Carolina

9 was then thirteen, and it was time for her to go out to work. My

mother, therefore, put me in charge of our flock. I passed on the

news to my two companions, and told them that I would not be

playing with them any more; but they could not bring themselves to

accept such a separation. They went at once to ask their mother to

let them come with me, but she refused. We had no alternative but

to accept the separation. Nearly every day after that, they came to

meet me on my way home at dusk. Then we made for the threshing

floor, and ran about for a while, waiting for Our Lady and the An-

gels to light their lamps – or put them, as we used to say, at the

window to give us light. On moonless nights, we used to say that

there was no oil for Our Lady’s lamp!

Jacinta and Francisco found it very hard to get used to the

absence of their former companion. For this reason, they pleaded

with their mother over and over again to let them, also, Iook after

their sheep. Finally my aunt, hoping perhaps to be rid of such persistent

requests, even though she knew the children were too small,

handed over to them the care of their own flock. Radiant with joy,

they ran to give me the news and talk over how we could put our

flocks together every day. Each one was to open the pen, whenever

their mother decided, and whoever reached the Barreiro first

was to await the arrival of the other flock. Barreiro was the name of

a pond at the bottom of the hill. As soon as we met at the pond, we

decided where we would pasture the flock that day. Then off we’d

go, as happy and content as if we were going to a festival.

And now, Your Excellency, we see Jacinta in her new life as a

shepherdess. We won over the sheep by sharing our lunch with

them. This meant that when we reached the pasture, we could play

at our ease, quite sure that they would not stray far away from us.

Jacinta loved to hear her voice echoing down in the valleys. For

this reason, one of our favourite amusements was to climb to the

top of the hills, sit down on the biggest rock we could find, and call

out different names at the top of our voices. The name that echoed

back most clearly was ‘Maria’. Sometimes Jacinta used to say the

whole Hail Mary this way, only calling out the following word when

the preceding one had stopped re-echoing.

We loved to sing, too. Interspersed among the popular songs

– of which, alas! we knew quite a number – were Jacinta’s favourite

hymns: ‘Salve Nobre Padroeira’ (Hail Noble Patroness), ‘Virgem

Pura’, (Virgin Pure), ‘Anjos, Cantai Comigo’, (Angels, sing with me).

We were very fond of dancing, and any instrument we heard being

played by the other shepherds was enough to set us off. Jacinta,

tiny as she was, had a special aptitude for dancing.

We had been told to say the Rosary after our lunch, but as the

whole day seemed too short for our play, we worked out a fine way

of getting through it quickly. We simply passed the beads through

our fingers, saying nothing but “Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary…”

At the end of each mystery, we paused awhile, then simply said

 “Our Father” and so, in the twinkling of an eye, as they say, we had

our Rosary finished!

Jacinta also loved to hold the little white lambs tightly in her

arms, sitting with them on her lap, fondling them, kissing them, and

carrying them home at night on her shoulders, so that they wouldn’t

get tired. One day on her way back, she walked along in the middle

of the flock.

“Jacinta, what are you doing there,” I asked her, “in the middle

of the sheep?”

“I want to do the same as Our Lord in that holy picture they

gave me. He’s just like this, right in the middle of them all, and He’s

holding one of them in His arms.”


  1. The First Apparition


And now, Your Excellency, you know more or less how Jacinta

spent the first seven years of her life, right up to that 13th day of

May 1917, which dawned bright and fair like so many others before

  1. That day, by chance – if in the designs of Providence there can

be such a thing as chance – we chose to pasture our flock on

some land belonging to my parents, called Cova da Iria. We chose

the pasture as we usually did, at the Barreiro I have already mentioned.

This meant we had to cross a barren stretch of moorland to

get there, which made the journey doubly long. We had to go slowly

to give the sheep a chance to graze along the way, so it was almost

noon when we arrived. I will not delay here to tell you what happened

that day, because Your Excellency knows it well already,

and therefore it would be a waste of time. Except for the sake of

obedience, my writing this seems a waste of time to me as well.

For I cannot see what good Your Excellency can draw from it all,

unless it could be that you will become better acquainted with

Jacinta’s innocence of life.


Before beginning to tell Your Excellency what I remember of

this new period of Jacinta’s life, I must first admit that there were

certain aspects of Our Lady’s apparitions which we had agreed

not to make known to anybody. Now however, I may have to speak

about them in order to explain whence Jacinta imbibed such great

love for Jesus, for suffering and for sinners, for whose salvation

she sacrificed herself so generously. Your Excellency is not una45

ware that she was the one who, unable to contain herself for joy,

broke our agreement to keep the whole matter to ourselves. That

very afternoon, while we remained thoughtful and rapt in wonder,

Jacinta kept breaking into enthusiastic exclamations:

“Oh, what a beautiful Lady!”

“ I can see what’s going to happen,” I said, “you’ll end up saying

that to somebody else.”

“No, I won’t,” she answered “don’t worry.”

Next day, Francisco came running to tell me how she had told

them everything at home the night before. Jacinta listened to the

accusation without a word.

“You see, that’s just what I thought would happen.” I said to her.

“There was something within me that wouldn’t let me keep

quiet,” she said, with tears in her eyes.

“Well, don’t cry now, and don’t tell anything else to anybody

about what the Lady said to us.”

“But I’ve already told them.”

“And what did you say?”

“ I said that the Lady promised to take us to Heaven.”

“To think you told them that!”

“Forgive me. I won’t tell anybody anything ever again!”


  1. Reflecting on Hell


That day, when we reached the pasture, Jacinta sat thoughtfully

on a rock.

“Jacinta, come and play.”

“I don’t want to play today.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m thinking. That Lady told us to say the Rosary

and to make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. So from now

on, when we say the Rosary we must say the whole Hail Mary and

the whole Our Father! And the sacrifices, how are we going to

make them?”

Right away, Francisco thought of a good sacrifice:

“Let’s give our lunch to the sheep, and make the sacrifice of

doing without it.”

In a couple of minutes, the contents of our lunchbag had been

divided among the sheep. So that day, we fasted as strictly as the


most austere Carthusian! Jacinta remained sitting on her rock, looking

very thoughtful, and asked:

“That Lady also said that many souls go to hell! What is hell,


“lt’s like a big deep pit of wild beasts, with an enormous fire in

it – that’s how my mother used to explain it to me – and that’s

where people go who commit sins and don’t confess them. They

stay there and burn for ever!”

“And they never get out of there again?“


“Not even after many, many years?”

“No! Hell never ends!”

“And Heaven never ends either?”

“Whoever goes to Heaven, never leaves it again!”

“And whoever goes to Hell, never leaves it either?”

“They’re eternal, don’t you see! They never end.”

That was how, for the first time, we made a meditation on Hell

and eternity. What made the biggest impression on Jacinta was

the idea of eternity. Even in the middle of a game, she would stop

and ask:

“But listen! Doesn’t hell end after many, many years, then?”

Or again:

“Those people burning in hell, don’t they ever die? And don’t

they turn into ashes? And if people pray very much for sinners,

won’t Our Lord get them out of there? And if they make sacrifices

as well? Poor sinners! We have to pray and make many sacrifices

for them!”

Then she went on:

“How good that Lady is! She has already promised to take us

to Heaven!”


  1. Conversion of Sinners


Jacinta took this matter of making sacrifices for the conversion

of sinners so much to heart, that she never let a single opportunity

escape her. There were two families in Moita 10 whose chil-

10 At that time it was a small village to the north of the Cova da Iria about 1 km

from the place of the Apparitions

dren used to go round begging from door to door. We met them

one day, as we were going along with our sheep. As soon as she

saw them, Jacinta said to us:

“Let’s give our lunch to those poor children, for the conversion

of sinners.”

And she ran to take it to them. That afternoon, she told me she

was hungry. There were holm-oaks and oak trees nearby. The

acorns were still quite green. However, I told her we could eat them.

Francisco climbed up a holm-oak to fill his pockets, but Jacinta

remembered that we could eat the ones on the oak trees instead,

and thus make a sacrifice by eating the bitter kind. So it was there,

that afternoon, that we enjoyed this delicious repast! Jacinta made

this one of her usual sacrifices, and often picked the acorns off the

oaks or the olives off the trees.

One day I said to her:

“Jacinta, don’t eat that; it’s too bitter!”

“But it’s because it’s bitter that I’m eating it, for the conversion

of sinners.”

These were not the only times we fasted. We had agreed that

whenever we met any poor children like these, we would give them

our lunch. They were only too happy to receive such an alms, and

they took good care to meet us; they used to wait for us along the

road. We no sooner saw them than Jacinta ran to give them all the

food we had for that day, as happy as if she had no need of it

herself. On days like that, our only nourishment consisted of pine

nuts, and little berries about the size of an olive which grow on the

roots of yellow bell-flowers, as well as blackberries, mushrooms,

and some other things we found on the roots of pine trees – I can’t

remember now what these were called. If there was fruit availabie

on the land belonging to our parents, we used to eat that.

Jacinta’s thirst for making sacrifices seemed insatiable. One

day a neighbour offered my mother a good pasture for our sheep.

Though it was quite far away and we were at the height of summer,

my mother accepted the offer made so generously, and sent me

there. She told me that we should take our siesta in the shade of

the trees, as there was a pond nearby where the flock could go

and drink. On the way, we met our dear poor children, and Jacinta

ran to give them our usual alms. It was a lovely day, but the sun

was blazing, and in that arid, stony wasteland, it seemed as though

it would burn everything up. We were parched with thirst, and there

wasn’t a single drop of water for us to drink! At first, we offered the

sacrifice generously for the conversion of sinners, but after midday,

we could hold out no longer.

As there was a house quite near, I suggested to my companions

that I should go and ask for a little water. They agreed to this, so I

went and knocked on the door. A little old woman gave me not only

a pitcher of water, but also some bread, which I accepted gratefully.

I ran to share it with my little companions, and then offered the

pitcher to Francisco, and told him to take a drink.

“ I don’t want to.” he replied.


“I want to suffer for the conversion of sinners.”

“You have a drink, Jacinta!”

“But I want to offer this sacrifice for sinners too.”

Then I poured the water into a hollow in the rock, so that the

sheep could drink it, and went to return the pitcher to its owner.

The heat was getting more and more intense. The shrill singing of

the crickets and grasshoppers coupled with the croaking of the

frogs in the neighbouring pond made an uproar that was almost

unbearable. Jacinta, frail as she was, and weakened still more by

the lack of food and drink, said to me with that simplicity which

was natural to her:

“Tell the crickets and the frogs to keep quiet! I have such a

terrible headache.”

Then Francisco asked her:

“Don’t you want to suffer this for sinners?”

The poor child, clasping her head between her two little hands,


“Yes, I do. Let them sing!”


  1. Family Opposition


In the meantime, news of what had happened was spreading.

My mother was getting worried, and wanted at all costs to make

me deny what I had said. One day, before I set out with the flock,

she was determined to make me confess that I was telling lies, and

to this end she spared neither caresses, nor threats, nor even the


broomstick. To all this she received nothing but a mute silence, or

the confirmation of all that I had already said. She told me to go

and let out the sheep, and during the day to consider well that she

had never tolerated a single lie among her children, and much less

would she allow a lie of this kind. She warned me that she would

force me, that very evening, to go to those people whom I had

deceived, confess that I had lied and ask their pardon.

I went off with my sheep, and that day my little companions

were already waiting for me. When they saw me crying, they ran up

and asked me what was the matter. I told them all that had happened,

and added:

“Tell me now, what am I to do? My mother is determined at all

costs to make me say that I was Iying. But how can I?”

Then Francisco said to Jacinta:

“You see! It’s all your fault. Why did you have to tell them?”

The poor child, in tears, knelt down, joined her hands, and

asked our forgiveness:

“I did wrong,” she said through her tears, “but I will never tell

anything to anybody again.”

Your Excellency will probably be wondering who taught Jacinta

to make such an act of humility? I don’t know. Perhaps she

had seen her brothers and sisters asking their parents’ forgiveness

before going to Communion; or else, as I think myself, Jacinta was

the one who received from Our Lady a greater abundance of grace,

and a better knowledge of God and of virtue.

When the parish priest 11 sent for us some time later, to question

us, Jacinta put her head down, and only with difficulty did he succeed

in getting a word or two out of her. Once outside, I asked her:

“Why didn’t you answer the priest?”

“Because I promised you never to tell anything to anybody


One day she asked:

“Why can’t we say that the Lady told us to make sacrifices for



“So they won’t be asking what kind of sacrifices we are making.”



My mother became more and more upset at the way things

were progressing. This led her to make yet another attempt to force

me to confess that I had lied. One morning early, she called me

and told me she was taking me to see the parish priest, saying:

“When you get there, go down on your knees, tell him that

you’ve lied, and ask his pardon.”

As we were going past my aunt’s house, my mother went inside

for a few minutes. This gave me a chance to tell Jacinta what

was happening. Seeing me so upset, she shed some tears and


“I’m going to get up and call Francisco. We’ll go and pray for

you at the well. When you get back, come and find us there.”

On my return, I ran to the well, and there were the two of them

on their knees, praying. As soon as they saw me, Jacinta ran to

hug me, and then she said:

“You see! We must never be afraid of anything! The Lady will

help us always. She’s such a good friend of ours!”

Ever since the day Our Lady taught us to offer our sacrifices to

Jesus, any time we had something to suffer, or agreed to make a

sacrifice, Jacinta asked:

“Did you already tell Jesus that it’s for love of Him?”

If I said I hadn’t, she answered:

“Then I’ll tell Him,” and joining her hands, she raised her eyes

to heaven and said:

“Oh Jesus, it is for love of You, and for the conversion of sinners!”


  1. Love for the Holy Father


Two priests, who had come to question us, recommended that

we pray for the Holy Father. Jacinta asked who the Holy Father

was. The good priests explained who he was and how much he

needed prayers. This gave Jacinta such love for the Holy Father

that, every time she offered her sacrifices to Jesus, she added:

“and for the Holy Father.” At the end of the Rosary, she always said

three Hail Marys for the Holy Father, and sometimes she would



“How I’d love to see the Holy Father! So many people come

here, but the Holy Father never does!” 12

In her childish simplicity, she supposed that the Holy Father

could make this journey just like anybody else!

One day, my father and my uncle 13 were summoned to appear

next morning with the three of us before the Administrator 14.

“I’m not going to take my children,’’ announced my uncle, “nor

present them before any tribunal. Why, they’re not old enough to be

responsible for their actions, and besides all that, they could never

stand the long journey on foot to Vila Nova de Ourém. I’ll go myself

and see what they want.”

My father thought differently:

“As for my girl, I’m taking her! Let her answer for herself; I don’t

understand a thing about this.”

They all took advantage of this occasion to frighten us in every

way they could. Next day, as we were passing by my uncle’s house,

my father had to wait a few minutes for my uncle. I ran to say goodbye

to Jacinta, who was still in bed. Doubtful as to whether we

would ever see one another again, I threw my arms around her.

Bursting into tears, the poor child sobbed:

“If they kill you, tell them that Francisco and I are just the same

as you, and that we want to die too. I’m going right now to the well

with Francisco, and we’ll pray hard for you.”

When I got back at night fall, I ran to the well, and there were

the pair of them on their knees, leaning over the side of the well,

their heads buried in their hands, weeping bitterly. As soon as they

saw me, they cried out in astonishment:

“You’ve come then? Why, your sister came here to draw water

and told us that they’d killed you! We’ve been praying and crying

so much for you!”



  1. In Prison at Ourém


When, some time later, we were put in prison, what made

Jacinta suffer most, was to feel that their parents had abandoned

them. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she would say:

“Neither your parents nor mine have come to see us. They

don’t bother about us any more!”

“Don’t cry,” said Francisco, “we can offer this to Jesus for sinners.”

Then, raising his eyes and hands to heaven, he made the offering:

“O my Jesus, this is for love of You, and for the conversion of


Jacinta added:

“And also for the Holy Father, and in reparation for the sins

committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

After being separated for awhile, we were reunited in one of

the other rooms of the prison. When they told us they were coming

soon to take us away to be fried alive, Jacinta went aside and stood

by a window overlooking the cattle market. I thought at first that

she was trying to distract her thoughts with the view, but I soon

realized that she was crying. I went over and drew her close to me,

asking her why she was crying:

“Because we are going to die,” she replied, “without ever seeing

our parents again, not even our mothers!”

With tears running down her cheeks, she added:

“I would like at least to see my mother.”

“Don’t you want, then, to offer this sacrifice for the conversion

of sinners?”

“I do want to, I do!”

With her face bathed in tears, she joined her hands, raised her

eyes to heaven and made her offering:

“O my Jesus! This is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners,

for the Holy Father, and in reparation for the sins committed

against the Immaculate Heart of Mary!”

The prisoners who were present at this scene, sought to console


“But all you have to do,” they said, “is to tell the Administrator the

secret! What does it matter whether the Lady wants you to or not!”

“Never!” was Jacinta’s vigorous reply, “I’d rather die.”



  1. The Rosary in Jail


Next, we decided to say our Rosary. Jacinta took off a medal

that she was wearing round her neck, and asked a prisoner to

hang it up for her on a nail in the wall. Kneeling before this medal,

we began to pray. The prisoners prayed with us, that is if they knew

how to pray, but at least they were down on their knees. Once the

Rosary was over, Jacinta went over to the window, and started

crying again.

“Jacinta,” I asked, “don’t you want to offer this sacrifice to Our


“Yes, I do, but I keep thinking about my mother, and I can’t help


As the Blessed Virgin had told us to offer our prayers and sacrifices

also in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate

Heart of Mary, we agreed that each of us would choose

one of these intentions. One would offer for sinners, another for the

Holy Father and yet another in reparation for the sins against the

Immaculate Heart of Mary. Having decided on this, I told Jacinta to

choose whichever intention she preferred.

“I’m making the offering for all the intentions, because I love

them all.”


  1. And Finally… the Dance


Among the prisoners, there was one who played the concertina.

To divert our attention, he began to play and they all started singing.

They asked us if we knew how to dance. We said we knew the

‘fandango’ and the ‘vira’. Jacinta’s partner was a poor thief who,

finding her so tiny, picked her up and went on dancing with her in

his arms! We only hope that Our Lady has had pity on his soul and

converted him!


Now, Your Excellency will be saying: “What fine dispositions

for martyrdom!” That is true. But we were only children and we

didn’t think beyond this. Jacinta dearly loved dancing, and had a

special aptitude for it. I remember how she was crying one day

about one of her brothers who had gone to the war and was reported

killed in action. To distract her, I arranged a little dance with

two of her brothers. There was the poor child dancing away as she


dried the tears that ran down her cheeks. Her fondness for dancing

was such, that the sound of some shepherd playing his instrument

was enough to set her dancing all by herself. In spite of this, when

Carnival time or St. John’s Day festivities came round, she announced:

“I’m not going to dance any more.”

“And why not?”

“Because I want to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord.”






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