Flora Cantábrica

Matias Mayor

Fatima, English.16,28.6.22




  1. His Spirituality ..
  2. Natural Inclinations …
  3. Francisco Sees the Angel ..
  4. Impressions of the First Apparition ..
  5. Impressions of the Second Apparition .
  6. Francisco Strengthens Lucia’s Courage .
  7. Impressions of the Third Apparition ..
  8. Francisco in Prision …
  9. Impressions of the Last Apparitions ..
  10. Anecdotes and Popular Songs ..
  11. Francisco, the Little Moralist ..
  12. Francisco, Lover of Solitude and Prayer .
  13. Francisco Sees the Devil …….
  14. Francisco and His Feathered Friends .
  15. Francisco’s Love and Zeal ..
  16. Francisco’s Illness opular Songs ..
  17. Francisco’s Holy Death .
  18. Popular Songs …


  1. His Spirituality


I am going to begin then, Your Excellency, by writing what God

wills to bring to my mind about Francisco. I hope that Our Lord will

make him know in Heaven what I am writing about him on earth, so

that he may intercede for me with Jesus and Mary, especially during

these coming days.

The friendship which bound me to Francisco was just one of

kinship 4, and which increased with the graces Heaven deigned to

grant us.

Apart from his features and his practice of virtue, Francisco

did not seem at all to be Jacinta’s brother. Unlike her, he was neither

capricious nor vivacious. On the contrary, he was quiet and

submissive by nature.

When we were at play and he won the game, if anyone made

a point of denying him his rights as winner, he yielded without

more ado and merely said: “You think you won? That’s alright! I

don’t mind!”

He showed no love for dancing, as Jacinta did; he much preferred

playing the flute while the others danced.

In our games he was quite lively; but few of us liked to play

with him as he nearly always lost. I must confess that I myself did

not always feel too kindly disposed towards him, as his naturally

calm temperament exasperated my own excessive vivacity. Sometimes,

I caught him by the arm, made him sit down on the ground

or on a stone, and told him to keep still; he obeyed me as if I had

real authority over him. Afterwards, I felt sorry, and went and took

him by the hand, and he would come along with me as good-hu139

mouredly as though nothing had happened. If one of the other children

insisted on taking away something belonging to him, he said:

“Let them have it! What do I care?”

I recall how, one day, he came to my house and was delighted

to show me a handkerchief with a picture of Our Lady of Nazaré

on it, which someone had brought him from the seaside. All the

children gathered round him to admire it. The handkerchief was

passed from hand to hand, and in a few minutes it disappeared.

We looked for it, but it was nowhere to be found. A little later, I

found it myself in another small boy’s pocket. I wanted to take it

away from him, but he insisted that it was his own, and that someone

had brought him one from the beach as well. To put an end to

the quarrel, Francisco then went up to him and said: “Let him have

it! What does a handkerchief matter to me?” My own opinion is

that, if he had lived to manhood, his greatest defect would have

been his attitude of ‘never mind!’

When I was seven and began to take our sheep out to pasture,

he seemed to be quite indifferent. In the evenings, he waited

for me in my parents’ yard, with his little sister, but this was not out

of affection for me, but rather to please her. As soon as Jacinta

heard the tinkling of the sheep bells, she ran out to meet me;

whereas Francisco waited for me, sitting on the stone steps leading

up to our front door. Afterwards, he came with us to play on the

old threshing floor, while we watched for Our Lady and the Angels

to light their lamps. He eagerly counted the stars with us, but nothing

enchanted him as much as the beauty of sunrise or sunset. As

long as he could still glimpse one last ray of the setting sun, he

made no attempt to watch for the first lamp to be lit in the sky.

“No lamp is as beautiful as Our Lord’s,” he used to remark to

Jacinta, who much preferred Our Lady’s lamp because, as she

explained, “it doesn’t hurt our eyes.” Enraptured, he watched the

sun rays glinting on the window panes of the homes in the neighbouring

villages, or glistening in the drops of water which spangled

the trees and furze bushes of the serra, making them shine like so

many stars; in his eyes these were a thousand times more beautiful

than the Angels’ lamps.

When he persisted in pleading with his mother to let him take

care of the flock and therefore come along with me, it was more to

please Jacinta than anything else, for she much preferred Francis140

co’s company to that of her brother John. One day his mother, already

quite annoyed, refused this permission, and he answered

with his usual tranquility: “Mother, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s Jacinta

who wants me to go.” He confirmed this on yet another occasion.

One of my former companions came to my house to invite me to go

with her, as she had a particularly good pasturage in view for that

day. As the sky was overcast, I went to my aunt’s house to enquire

who was going out that day, Francisco and Jacinta,or their brother

John; in case of the latter, I preferred the company of my former

companion. My aunt had already decided that, as it looked like

rain, John should go. But Francisco went to his mother again, and

insisted on going himself. He received a curt and decided “No”,

whereupon he exclaimed:

“It’s all the same with me. It is Jacinta who feels badly about it.”


  1. Natural Inclinations


What Francisco enjoyed most, when we were out on the mountains

together, was to perch on the top of the highest rock, and sing

or play his flute. If his little sister came down to run races with me,

he stayed up there entertaining himself with his music and song.

The song he sang most often went like this:


I love God in Heaven,

I love Him, too, on earth,

I love the flowers of the fields,

I love the sheep on the mountains.

I am a poor shepherd girl,

I always pray to Mary;

In the midst of my flock

I am like the sun at noon.

Together with my lambkins

I learn to skip and jump;

I am the joy of the serra

And the lily of the vale.


He always took part in our games when we invited him, but he

seldom waxed enthusiastic, remarking: “I’ll go, but I know I’ll be the

loser.” These were the games we knew and found most entertaining:

pebbles, forfeits, pass the ring, buttons, hit the mark, quoits,

and card games such as the bisca game, turning up the kings,

queens and knaves, and so on. We had two packs of cards; I had

one and they had the other. Francisco liked best to play cards, and

the bisca was his favourite game.


  1. Francisco Sees the Angel


During the Apparition of the Angel, he prostrated like his sister

and myself, carried away by the same supernatural force that moved

us to do so; but he learned the prayer by hearing us repeat it, since,

he told us, he heard nothing of what the Angel said.

Afterwards, when we prostrated to say that prayer, he was the

first to feel the strain of such a posture; but he remained kneeling

or sitting, and still praying, until we had finished. Later he said: “I

am not able to stay like that for a long time, like you. My back aches

so much that I can’t do it.”

At the second Apparition of the Angel, down by the well, Francisco

waited a few moments after it was over, then asked:

“You spoke to the Angel. What did he say to you?”

“Didn’t you hear?”

“No. I could see that he was talking to you. I heard what you

said to him; but what he said to you, I don’t know.”

As the supernatural atmosphere in which the Angel left us,

had not yet entirely disappeared, I told him to ask Jacinta or myself

next day.

“Jacinta, you tell me what the Angel said.”

“I’ll tell you tomorrow. Today I can’t talk about it.”

Next day, as soon as he came up to me, he asked me:

“Did you sleep last night? I kept thinking about the Angel, and

what he could have said.”

I then told him all that the Angel had said at the first and second

Apparitions. But it seemed that he had not received an understanding

of all that the words meant, for he asked:


“Who is the Most High? What is the meaning of: ‘The Hearts of

Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications’?…”

Having received an answer, he remained deep in thought for a

while, and then broke in with another question. But my mind was

not yet free, so I told him to wait until the next day, because at that

moment I was unable to speak. He waited quite contentedly, but he

did not let slip the very next opportunity of putting more questions.

This made Jacinta say to him:

“Listen! We shouldn’t talk much about these things.”

When we spoke about the Angel, I don’t know what it was that

we felt.

“I don’t know how I feel,” Jacinta said. “I can no longer talk, or

sing, or play. I haven’t strength enough for anything.”

“Neither have I,” replied Francisco, “but what of it? The Angel

is more beautiful than all this. Let’s think about him.”

In the third Apparition, the presence of the supernatural made

itself felt more intensely still. For several days even Francisco did

not venture to speak. Later he said:

“ I love to see the Angel, but the worst of it is that, afterwards,

we are unable to do anything. I couldn’t even walk. I don’t know

what was the matter with me.”

In spite of that, after the third Apparition of the Angel, it was he

who noticed that it was getting dark, and who drew our attention to

the fact, and thought we should take our flocks back home.

Once the first few days were over and we had returned to normal,

Francisco asked:

“The Angel gave you Holy Communion, but what was it that he

gave to Jacinta and me?”

“ It was Holy Communion, too” replied Jacinta, with inexpressible

joy. “Didn’t you see that it was the Blood that fell from the


“ I felt that God was within me, but I did not know how!”

Then, prostrating on the ground, he and his sister remained

for a long time, saying over and over again the prayer of the Angel

“ Most Holy Trinity…”

Little by little, the atmosphere of the supernatural faded away,

and by the 13th of May, we were playing with almost as much enjoyment

and freedom of spirit as we had done before.


  1. Impressions of the First Apparition


The Apparition of Our Lady plunged us once more into the

atmosphere of the supernatural, but this time more gently. Instead

of that annihilation in the Divine Presence, which exhausted us

even physically, it left us filled with peace and expansive joy, which

did not prevent us from speaking afterwards of what had happened.

However, with regard to the light communicated to us when Our

Lady opened her hands, and everything connected with this light,

we experienced a kind of interior impulse that compelled us to

keep silent.

Afterwards, we told Francisco all that Our Lady had said. He

was overjoyed and expressed the happiness he felt when he heard

of the promise that he would go to Heaven. Crossing his hands on

his breast, he exclaimed, “Oh, my dear Our Lady! I’ll say as many

rosaries as you want!” And from then on, he made a habit of moving

away from us, as though going for a walk. When we called him

and asked him what he was doing, he raised his hand and showed

me his rosary. If we told him to come and play, and say the rosary

with us afterwards, he replied:

“I’ll pray then as well. Don’t you remember that Our Lady said

I must pray many rosaries?”

He said to me on one occasion: “I loved seeing the Angel, but

I loved still more seeing Our Lady. What I loved most of all was to

see Our Lord in that light from Our Lady which penetrated our hearts.

I love God so much! But He is very sad because of so many sins!

We must never commit any sins again.”

I have already said, in the second account about Jacinta, how

he was the one who gave me the news that she had broken our

agreement not to say anything. As he shared my opinion that the

matter should be kept secret, he added sadly: “As for me, when my

mother asked me if it were true, I had to say that it was, so as not to

tell a lie.”

From time to time, he said: “Our Lady told us that we would

have much to suffer, but I don’t mind. I’ll suffer all that she wishes!

What I want is to go to Heaven!”

One day, when I showed how unhappy I was over the persecution

now beginning both in my family and outside, Francisco tried

to encourage me with these words:


“Never mind! Didn’t Our Lady say that we would have much to

suffer, to make reparation to Our Lord and to her own Immaculate

Heart for all the sins by which They are offended? They are so

sad! If we can console them with these sufferings, how happy we

shall be!”

When we arrived at our pasturage a few days after Our Lady’s

first Apparition, he climbed up to the top of a steep rock, and called

out to us:

“Don’t come up here; let me stay here alone.”

“All right.” And off I went, chasing butterflies with Jacinta. We

no sooner caught them than we made the sacrifice of letting them

fly away, and we never gave another thought to Francisco. When

lunch time came, we missed him and went to call him:

“Francisco, don’t you want to come for your lunch?”

“No, you eat.”

“And to pray the Rosary?”

“That, yes, later on. Call me again.”

When I went to call him again, he said to me:

“You come up here and pray with me.”

We climbed up to the peak, where the three of us could scarcely

find room to kneel down, and I asked him:

“But what have you been doing all this time?”

“I am thinking about God, Who is so sad because of so many

sins! If only I could give Him joy!” 5

One day, we began to sing in happy chorus about the joys of

the serra:


Ah! tra lala, la la

Tra lala, la la

La la la!

In this life everything sings,

And who sings better than I?

The shepherdess out on the serra,

Or the maid a-washing in the stream!

5 It may well be said that Francisco had the gift of highest contemplation.


There’s the merry chirp of the goldfinch

That comes to awaken me,

As soon as the sun arises,

The brambles come alive with his song.

The screech owl cries at night

Seeking to frighten me,

The girl in the moonlight sings

As she gaily shucks the corn.

The nightingale in the meadow

Spends the whole day long in song,

The turtle dove sings in the wood,

Even the cart squeaks out a song!

The serra is a rock-strewn garden

Smiling happily all the day long,

Sparkling with gleaming dew drops

That glisten on the mountain side!

We sang it right through once, and were about to repeat it,

when Francisco interrupted us: “Let’s not sing any more. Since we

saw the Angel and Our Lady, singing doesn’t appeal to me any



  1. Impressions of the Second Apparition


At the second Apparition on June 13th, 1917, Francisco was

deeply impressed by the light which, as I related in the second

account, Our Lady communicated to us at the moment when she

said: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which

will lead you to God.” At the time, he did not seem to grasp the

significance of what was happening, perhaps because it was not

given to him to hear the accompanying words. For this reason, he

asked later:

“Why did Our Lady have a Heart in her hand, spreading out

over the world that great light which is God? You were with Our

Lady in the light which went down towards the earth, and Jacinta

was with me in the light which rose towards heaven!”


“That is because you and Jacinta will soon go to Heaven,” I

replied, “while I, with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, will remain for

some time longer on earth.”

“How many years longer will you stay here?” he asked.

“I don’t know. Quite a lot.”

“Was it Our Lady who said so?”

“Yes, and I saw it in the light that she shone into our hearts.”

Jacinta confirmed the very same thing, saying:

“It is just like that! That’s exactly how I saw it too!”

He remarked sometimes:

“These people are so happy just because you told them that

Our Lady wants the Rosary said, and that you are to learn to read!

How would they feel if they only knew what she showed to us in

God, in her Immaculate Heart, in that great light! But this is a secret;

it must not be spoken about. It’s better that no one should

know it.”

After this Apparition, whenever they asked us if Our Lady had

said anything else, we began to give this reply: “Yes, she did, but

it’s a secret.” If they asked us why it was a secret, we shrugged our

shoulders, lowered our heads and kept silent. But, after the 13th of

July, we said: “Our Lady told us we were not to tell it to anybody,”

thus referring to the secret imposed on us by Our Lady.


  1. Francisco Strengthens Lucia’s Courage


In the course of this month, the influx of people increased considerably,

and so did the constant questionings and contradictions.

Francisco suffered quite a lot from all this, and complained to his

sister, saying:

“What a pity! If you’d only kept quiet, no one would know! If

only it were not a lie, we could tell all the people that we saw nothing,

and that would be the end of it. But this can’t be done!”

When he saw me perplexed and in doubt, he wept, and said:

“But how can you think that it is the devil? Didn’t you see Our

Lady and God in that great light? How can we go there without you,

when it is you who do the talking?”

That night after supper he came back to my house, called me

out to the old threshing floor, and said:

“Look! Aren’t you going tomorrow?”


“ I’m not going. I’ve already told you I’m not going back there

any more.”

“But what a shame! Why is it that you now think that way?

Don’t you see that it can’t be the devil? God is already sad enough

on account of so many sins, and now if you don’t go, He’ll be sadder

still! Come on, say you’ll go!”

“ I’ve already told you I’m not going. It’s no use asking me.” And

I returned abruptly to the house.

A few days later, he said to me: “You know, I never slept at all

that night. I spent the whole time crying and praying, begging Our

Lady to make you go!”


  1. Impressions of the Third Apparition


In the third Apparition, Francisco seemed to be the one on

whom the vision of hell made the least impression, though it did

indeed have quite a considerable effect on him. What made the

most powerful impression on him and what wholly absorbed him,

was God, the Most Holy Trinity, perceived in that light which penetrated

our inmost souls. Afterwards, he said:

“We were on fire in that light which is God, and yet we were

not burnt! What is God?… We could never put it into words. Yes,

that is something indeed which we could never express! But what

a pity it is that He is so sad! If only I could console Him!…”

One day, I was asked if Our Lady had told us to pray for sinners,

and I said she had not. At the first opportunity, while the people

were questioning Jacinta, he called me aside and said:

“You lied just now! How could you say that Our Lady didn’t tell

us to pray for sinners? Didn’t she ask us to pray for sinners, then?”

“For sinners, no! She told us to pray for peace, for the war to

end. But for sinners, she told us to make sacrifices.”

“Ah! That’s true. I was beginning to think you had lied.”


  1. Francisco in Prison


I have already described how Francisco spent the day praying

and weeping, perhaps even more upset than I was, when my father

received an order to present me before the Administrator at Vila


Nova de Ourém 6. In prison, he was quite courageous, and tried

to cheer up Jacinta when she felt most homesick. While we were

saying the Rosary in prison, he noticed that one of the prisoners

was on his knees with his cap still on his head. Francisco went up to

him and said: “If you wish to pray, you should take your cap off.”

Right away, the poor man handed it to him and he went over and put

it on the bench on top of his own.

During Jacinta’s interrogation, he confided to me with boundless

joy and peace: “If they kill us as they say, we’ll soon be in

Heaven! How wonderful! Nothing else matters!” Then after a moment’s

silence he added: “God grant that Jacinta won’t be afraid.

I’m going to say a Hail Mary for her!” He promptly removed his cap

and prayed. The guard, seeing him praying, asked him:

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying a Hail Mary so that Jacinta won’t be afraid.”

The guard made a scornful gesture and let him go ahead.

One day, after our return from Vila Nova de Ourém, we began

to be aware of the presence of the supernatural all around us, and

to feel that we were about to receive some heavenly communication.

Francisco at once showed his concern over Jacinta’s absence.

“What a pity it would be,” he exclaimed, “if Jacinta did not get

here in time!”

He begged his brother to go quickly and get her, adding:

“Tell her to run here.”

After his brother had left us, Francisco said:

“Jacinta will be very sad if she doesn’t arrive in time.”

After the Apparition, his sister wanted to stay there the whole

afternoon, so he said: “No! You must go home, because Mother

didn’t let you come out with the sheep.” And to encourage her, he

went back to the house with her.

In prison, when we noticed that it was already past midday,

and that they would not let us go to the Cova da Iria, Francisco


“Perhaps Our Lady will come and appear to us here.”

On the following day, he could not hide his distress, and almost

in tears, he said:

“ Our Lady must have been very sad because we didn’t go to

the Cova da Iria, and she won’t appear to us again. I would so love

to see her!”

While in prison, Jacinta wept bitterly, for she was so homesick

for her mother and all the family. Francisco tried to cheer her saying:

“Even if we never see our mother again, let’s be patient! We

can offer it for the conversion of sinners. The worst thing would be

if Our Lady never came back again! That is what hurts me most.

But I offer this as well for sinners.”

Afterwards, he asked me:

“Tell me! Will Our Lady not come and appear to us any more?”

“I don’t know. I think she will.”

“I miss her so much!”

The Apparition at Valinhos was, therefore, a double joy for him.

He had been tormented by the fear that she would never return. He

told me later:

“Most likely, she didn’t appear on the 13th, so as to avoid

going to the Administrator’s house, maybe because he is such a

bad man.”


  1. Impressions of the Last Apparitions


After the 13th of September, when I told Francisco that in October

Our Lord would come as well, he was overwhelmed with joy.

“Oh, how wonderful! I’ve only seen Him twice, and I love Him so

much!” 7 From time to time, he asked:

“Are there many days left till the 13th? I’m longing for that day

to come, so that I can see Our Lord again.” Then he thought for a

moment, and added:

“But listen! Will He still be so sad? I am so sorry to see Him

sad like that! I offer Him all the sacrifices I can think of. Sometimes,

I don’t even run away from all those people, just in order to make


After October 13th, he said to me:

“I loved seeing Our Lord, but I loved still more seeing Him in

that light where we were with Him as well. It’s not long now, and

7 He refers to the Apparitions in June and July. They saw Our Lord in the

mysterious light which Our Lady communicated to them.


Our Lord will take me up close to Him, and then I can look at Him


One day, I asked him:

“When you are questioned, why do you put your head down

and not want to answer?”

«Because I want you to answer, and Jacinta too. I didn’t hear

anything. I can only say that I saw. Then, supposing I said something

you don’t want me to say?”

Every now and then, he went off and left us without warning.

When we missed him, we went in search of him, calling out his

name. He answered from behind a little wall, or a shrub or a clump

of brambles, and there he was on his knees, praying.

“Why didn’t you tell us so that we could come and pray with you?”

“Because I prefer to pray alone.”

In my notes on the book called ‘Jacinta’, I’ve already related

what happened on a piece of land known as Varzea. I don’t think I

need to repeat it here.

On our way to my home one day, we had to pass by my godmother’s

house. She had just been making a mead drink, and called

us in to give us a glass. We went in, and Francisco was the first to

whom she offered a glassful. He took it, and without drinking it, he

passed it on to Jacinta, so that she and I could have a drink first.

Meanwhile, he turned on his heel and disappeared.

“Where is Francisco?” my godmother asked.

“I don’t know! He was here just now.”

He did not return, so Jacinta and I thanked my godmother for

the drink and went in search of Francisco. We knew beyond a

shadow of a doubt that he would be sitting on the edge of the well

which I have mentioned so often.

“Francisco, you didn’t drink your glass of mead! My godmother

called you so many times, and you didn’t appear!”

“When I took the glass, I suddenly remembered I could offer

that sacrifice to console Our Lord, so while you two were taking a

drink, I ran over here.”


  1. Anecdotes and Popular Songs


Between my house and Francisco’s lived my godfather

Anastacio, who was married to an older woman whom God had


not blessed with children. They were farmers and quite well-off, so

they didn’t need to work. My father was overseer of their farm and

had charge of the day labourers. In gratitude for this, they showed

a special liking for me, particularly my godfather’s wife, whom I

called my godmother Teresa. If I didn’t call in during the day, I had

to go and sleep there at night, because she couldn’t get along

without her little «sweetmeat», as she called me.

On festive occasions, she delighted in dressing me up with

her gold necklace and heavy earrings which hung down below my

shoulders, and a pretty little hat decorated with immense feathers

of different colours and fastened with an array of gold beads. At the

“festas”, there was no one better turned out than I, and how my

sisters and my godmother gloried in the fact! The other children

crowded round me to admire the brilliance of my finery. To tell the

truth, I myself greatly enjoyed the “festa”, and vanity was my worst

adornment. Everybody showed liking and esteem for me, except a

poor orphan girl whom my godmother Teresa had taken into her

home on the death of her mother. She seemed to fear that I would

get part of the inheritance she was hoping for, and indeed she

would not have been mistaken, had not Our Lord destined for me a

far more precious inheritance.

As soon as the news of the Apparitions got around, my godfather

showed unconcern, and my godmother was completely opposed

to it all. She made no secret of her disapproval of such “inventions”,

as she called them. I began, therefore, to keep away

from her house as much as I could. My disappearance was soon

followed by that of the groups of children who so often gathered

there, and whom my godmother loved to watch singing and dancing.

She treated them to dried figs, nuts, almonds, chestnuts, fruit,

and so on.

One Sunday afternoon, I was passing near her house with

Francisco and Jacinta, when she called out to us: “Come in, my

little swindlers, come! You’ve not been here for a long time!” Once

inside, she lavished her usual attentions on us. The other children

seemed to guess we were there, and began to come along as well.

My kind godmother, happy at seeing us all gathered in her house

once again after such a long space of time, heaped delicacies upon

us, and wanted to see us sing and dance.

“Come on,” we said, “what will it be, this one, or that?”


My godmother made the choice herself. It was “Congratulations

without illusions”, a part song for boys and girls:


You are the sun of the sphere,

Do not deny it your rays!

These are the smiles of springtime,

Ah! change them not into sighs!

Congratulations to the maiden,

Fragrant as the dewy dawn,

Smiling, you anticipate

The caressing of another morn.

The year is rich in flowers,

Rich in fruits and every good!

And may the year that dawns

Be rich in hopes for you!

These hopes are the best of gifts,

Our warmest wishes for you!

Place them upon your brow,

They’re the finest crown of all!

If the past was lovely,

The future will be so too!

Greetings for the year now gone,

For the year to come as well!

In this merry banquet of life,

Charming Atlantic flower,

The gardener and the garden fair

Are lauded in gladsome song!

Your heart is yearning for the flowers

That bloom on your native soil,

For your home and its purest loves

That entwine around your heart!



Do you think it right, good sir,

When the topsail veers in sight,

That Berlenga and the Carvoeiro 8 – Ah! –

Extinguish their lighthouse beams?

But the sea is lashed to fury:

An everlasting swirling main!

Each night is a howling turmoil

That leads to a watery grave.

Gloomy sandbanks of Papoa, 8

Estelas and Farilhões!

What tragedy ever re-echoes

In the crash of the foaming waves!

Each rugged reef in these waters

Is a grim presage of death!

Every wave chants a doleful dirge

Each cross recalls a wreck!

Then, how can you be so cruel

And put out your light that is life

Way out on the darkened waters

Guiding boats securely ashore.


I no longer shed any tears

When I speak of our farewell,

My hesitating took but a moment – Ah! –

My loss lasts all life through.

8 Dangerous cliffs on the Atlantic coast of Portugal.


Go and tell heaven to arrest

The flowing torrent of its grace,

Let the flowers wilt and wither

They no longer bespeak your care

Go, I am too disconsolate

My sanctuary all in mourning,

High up in the towering steeple

The bronze bell tolls out death.

But you leave me sad and lonely

In the churchyard grey and grim,

Carved out on the black of your tombstone

I leave my eternal laments.

This garden today is so bare,

But once all smiling and gay,

No care did it lack before,

’Twas the gardener who left it to die.

I trust in Providence bestowing

Tender caresses to come!

Hopefully prepared for everyone,

All who leave the homely nest.


  1. Francisco, the Little Moralist


The women of the neighbourhood no sooner heard the lively

singing than they came over to join us, and at the end they asked

us to sing it through again. Francisco, however, came up to me and

said: “Let’s not sing that song any more. Our Lord certainly does

not want us to sing things like that now.” We therefore slipped away

among the other children, and ran off to our favourite well.

To tell the truth, now that I have just finished writing out the

song under obedience, I cover my face with shame. But Your Excellency,

at the request of Rev. Dr. Galamba, has seen fit to order

me to write down the popular songs that we knew. Here they are

then! I do not know why they are wanted, but for me it is enough to

know that I am thus fulfilling God’s will.


Meanwhile, it was getting near Carnival time, in 1918. The boys

and girls met once again that year to prepare the usual festive

meals and fun of those days. Each one brought something from

home – such as olive oil, flour, meat, and so on – to one of the

houses, and the girls then did the cooking for a sumptuous banquet.

All those three days, feasting and dancing went on well into

the night, above all on the last day of the Carnival.

The children under fourteen had their own celebration in another

house. Several of the girls came to ask me to help them organize

our “festa”. At first, I refused. But finally, I gave in like a

coward, especially after hearing the pleading of José Carreira’s

sons and daughter, for it was he who had placed his home in Casa

Velha at our disposal. He and his wife insistently asked me to go

there. I yielded then, and went with a crowd of youngsters to see

the place. There was a fine large room, almost as big as a hall,

which was well suited for the amusements, and a spacious yard for

the supper! Everything was arranged, and I came home, outwardly

in a most festive mood, but inwardly with my conscience protesting

loudly. As soon as I met Jacinta and Francisco, I told them what

had happened.

“Are you going back again to those parties and games?” Francisco

asked me sternly. “Have you already forgotten that we promised

never to do that any more?”

“ I didn’t want to go at all. But you can see how they never

stopped begging me to go; and now I don’t know what to do!”

There was indeed no end to the entreaties, nor to the number

of girls who came insisting that I play with them. Some even came

from far distant villages – from Moita came Rosa, Ana Caetano and

Ana Brogueira; from Fatima, the two daughters of Manuel Caracol;

from Boleiros (Montelo), the two daughters of Manuel da Ramira,

and two of Joaquim Chapeleta as well; from Amoreira, the two Silva

girls; from Currais, Laura Gato, Josefa Valinho, and several others

whose names I have forgotten; besides those who came from Boleiros

and Lomba da Pederneira, and so on; and this quite apart

from all those who came from Eira da Pedra, Casa Velha, and Aljustrel.

How could I so suddenly let down all those girls, who seemed

not to know how to enjoy themselves without my company, and

make them understand that I had to stop going to these gatherings

once and for all? God inspired Francisco with the answer:


“Do you know how you could do it? Everybody knows that Our

Lady has appeared to you. Therefore, you can say that you have

promised her not to dance any more, and for this reason you are

not going! Then, on such days, we can run away and hide in the

cave on the Cabeço. Up there nobody will find us!”

I accepted his proposal, and once I had made my decision,

nobody else thought of organizing any such gathering. God’s blessing

was with us. Those friends of mine, who until then sought me

out to have me join in their amusements, now followed my example,

and came to my home on Sunday afternoons to ask me to go

with them to pray the Rosary in the Cova da Iria.


  1. Francisco, Lover of Solitude and Prayer



Francisco was a boy of few words. Whenever he prayed or

offered sacrifices, he preferred to go apart and hide, even from

Jacinta and myself. Quite often, we surprised him hidden behind a

wall or a clump of blackberry bushes, whither he had ingeniously

slipped away to kneel and pray, or “think”, as he said, “of Our Lord,

Who is sad on account of so many sins.”

If I asked him: “Francisco, why don’t you tell me to pray with

you, and Jacinta too?”

“ I prefer praying by myself,” he answered, “so that I can think

and console Our Lord, Who is so sad!”

I asked him one day:

“Francisco, which do you like better – to console Our Lord, or

to convert sinners, so that no more souls will go to hell?”

“I would rather console Our Lord. Didn’t you notice how sad

Our Lady was that last month, when she said that people must not

offend Our Lord any more, for He is already much offended? I would

like to console Our Lord, and after that convert sinners so that they

won’t offend Him any more.”

Sometimes on our way to school, as soon as we reached

Fatima, he would say to me:

“Listen! You go to school, and I’ll stay here in the church, close

to the Hidden Jesus. It’s not worth my while learning to read, as I’ll

be going to Heaven very soon. On your way home, come here and

call me.”


The Blessed Sacrament was kept at that time near the entrance

of the church, on the left side, as the church was undergoing

repairs. Francisco went over there, between the baptismal font and

the altar, and that was where I found him on my retum.

Later, when he fell ill, he often told me, when I called in to see

him on my way to school: “Look! Go to the church and give my love

to the Hidden Jesus. What hurts me most is that I cannot go there

myself and stay awhile with the Hidden Jesus.”

When I arrived at his house one day, I said goodbye to a

group of school children who had come with me, and I went in

to pay a visit to him and his sister. As he had heard all the noise,

he asked me:

“Did you come with all that crowd?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Don’t go with them, because you might learn to commit sins.

When you come out of school, go and stay for a little while near the

Hidden Jesus, and afterwards come home by yourself.”

On one occasion, I asked him:

“Francisco, do you feel very sick?”

“I do, but I’m suffering to console Our Lord.”

When Jacinta and I went into his room one day, he said to us:

“Don’t talk much today, as my head aches so badly.”

“Don’t forget to make the offering for sinners,” Jacinta reminded


“Yes. But first I make it to console Our Lord and Our Lady, and

then, afterwards, for sinners and for the Holy Father.”

On another occasion, I found him very happy when I arrived.

“Are you better?”

“No. I feel worse. It won’t be long now till I go to Heaven. When

I’m there, I’m going to console Our Lord and Our Lady very much.

Jacinta is going to pray a lot for sinners, for the Holy Father and for

you. You will stay here, because Our Lady wants it that way. Listen,

you must do everything that she tells you.”

While Jacinta seemed to be solely concerned with the one

thought of converting sinners and saving souls from going to hell,

Francisco appeared to think only of consoling Our Lord and Our

Lady, who had seemed to him to be so sad.



  1. Francisco Sees the Devil


How different is the incident that I now call to mind. One day

we went to a place called Pedreira, and while the sheep were browsing,

we jumped from rock to rock, making our voices echo down in

the deep ravines. Francisco withdrew, as was his wont, to a hollow

among the rocks.

A considerable time had elapsed, when we heard him shouting

and crying out to us and to Our Lady. Distressed lest something

might have happened to him, we ran in search of him, calling

out his name.

“Where are you?”

“Here! Here!”

But it still took us some time before we could locate him. At

last, we came upon him, trembling with fright, still on his knees,

and so upset that he was unable to rise to his feet.

“What’s wrong? What happened to you?”

In a voice half smothered with fright, he replied:

“It was one of those huge beasts that we saw in hell. He was

right here breathing out flames!”

I saw nothing, neither did Jacinta, so I laughed and said to him:

“You never want to think about hell, so as not to be afraid; and

now you’re the first one to be frightened!”

Indeed, whenever Jacinta appeared particularly moved by the

remembrance of hell, he used to say to her:

“Don’t think so much about hell! Think about Our Lord and

Our Lady instead. I don’t think about hell, so as not to be afraid.”

He was anything but fearful. He’d go anywhere in the dark

alone at night, without the slightest hesitation. He played with lizards,

and when he came across any snakes he got them to entwine

themselves round a stick, and even poured sheep’s milk

into the holes in the rocks for them to drink. He went hunting for

foxes’ holes and rabbits’ burrows, for genets, and other creatures

of the wilds.


  1. Francisco and His Feathered Friends


Francisco was very fond of birds, and could not bear to see

anyone robbing their nests. He always kept part of the bread he


had for his lunch, breaking it into crumbs and spreading them out

on top of the rocks, so that the birds could eat them. Moving away a

little, he called them, as though he expected them to understand him.

He didn’t want anyone else to approach, lest they be frightened.

“Poor wee things! You are hungry,” he said, as though conversing

with them. “Come, come and eat!”

And they, keen-eyed as they are, did not wait for the invitation,

but came flocking around him. It was his delight to see them flying

back to the tree tops with their little craws full, singing and chirping

in a deafening chorus, in which Francisco joined with rare skill.

One day we met a little boy carrying in his hand a small bird

that he had caught. Full of compassion, Francisco promised him

two coins, if only he would let the bird fly away. The boy readily agreed.

But first he wished to see the money in his hand. Francisco ran all

the way home from the Carreira pond, which lies a little distance

below the Cova da Iria, to fetch the coins, and so let the little prisoner

free. Then, as he watched it fly away, he clapped his hands for

joy, and said: “Be careful! Don’t let yourself be caught again.”

Thereabouts, lived an old woman called Ti Maria Carreira,

whose sons sent her out sometimes to take care of their flock of

goats and sheep. The animals were rather wild, and often strayed

away in different directions. Whenever we met Ti Maria in these

straits, Francisco was the first to run to her aid. He helped her to

lead the flock to pasture, chased after the stray ones and gathered

them all together again. The poor old woman overwhelmed Francisco

with her thanks and called him her dear guardian angel.

When we came across any sick people, he was filled with compassion

and said: “ I can’t bear to see them, as I feel so sorry for

them! Tell them I’ll pray for them.”

One day, they wanted to take us to Montelo to the home of a

man called Joaquim Chapeleta. Francisco did not want to go. “I’m

not going, because I can’t bear to see people who want to speak

and cannot.” (This man’s mother was dumb).

When Jacinta and I returned home at nightfall, I asked my

aunt where Francisco was.

“How do I know!” she replied. “I’m worn out looking for him all

afternoon. Some ladies came and wanted to see you. But you two

were not here. He vanished, and never appeared again. Now you

go and look for him!”


We sat down for a bit on a bench in the kitchen, thinking that

we would go later to the Loca do Cabeço, certain that we would

find him there. But no sooner had my aunt left the house, than his

voice came from the attic through a little hole in the ceiling. He had

climbed up there when he thought that some people were coming.

From this vantage point he had observed everything that happened,

and told us afterwards:

“There were so many people! Heaven help me if they had ever

caught me by myself! What ever would I have said to them?”

(There was a trap-door in the kitchen, which was easily reached

by placing a chair on a table, thus affording access to the attic.)


  1. Francisco’s Love and Zeal


As I have already said, my aunt sold her flock before my mother

disposed of ours. From then onwards, before I went out in the morning,

I let Jacinta and Francisco know the place where I was going

to pasture the sheep that day; as soon as they could get away, they

came to join me.

One day, they were waiting for me when I arrived.

“Oh! How did you get here so early?”

“ I came,” answered Francisco, “because – I don’t know why –

being with you didn’t matter much to me before, and I just came

because of Jacinta; but now, I can’t sleep in the morning as I’m so

anxious to be with you.”

Once the Apparitions on each 13th of the month were over, he

said to us on the eve of every following 13th:

“Look! Early tomorrow morning, I’m making my escape out

through the back garden to the cave on the Cabeço. As soon as

you can, come and join me there.”

Oh dear! There I was, writing things about his being sick and

near to death, and now I see that I have gone back to the happy

times we had on the serra, with the birds chirping merrily all around

  1. I ask your forgiveness. In writing down what I can remember, I

am like a crab that walks backwards and forwards without bothering

about reaching the end of its journey. I leave my work to Dr.

Galamba, in case he can make use of anything in it, though I suppose

he will find little or nothing.


I return, therefore, to Francisco’s illness. But, first, I will tell you

something about his brief schooling. He came out of the house one

day and met me with my sister Teresa, who was already married

and living in Lomba. Another woman from a nearby hamlet had

asked her to come to me about her son who had been accused of

some crime which I no longer remember, and if he could not prove

his innocence he was to be condemned, either to exile or to a term

of some years imprisonment. Teresa asked me insistently, in the

name of the poor woman for whom she wished to do such a favour,

to plead for this grace with Our Lady. Having received the message,

I set out for school, and on the way, I told my cousins all

about it. When we reached Fatima, Francisco said to me:

“Listen! While you go to school, I’ll stay with the Hidden Jesus,

and I’ll ask Him for that grace.”

When I came out of school, I went to call him and asked:

“Did you pray to Our Lord to grant that grace?”

“Yes, I did. Tell your Teresa that he’ll be home in a few days’


And indeed, a few days later, the poor boy returned home. On

the 13th, he and his entire family came to thank Our Lady for the

grace they had received.

On another occasion I noticed, as we left the house, that Francisco

was walking very slowly:

“What’s the matter?” I asked him. “You seem unable to walk!”

“I’ve such a bad headache, and I feel as though I’m going

to fall.”

“Then don’t come. Stay at home!”

“l don’t want to. I’d rather stay in the church with the Hidden

Jesus, while you go to school.”

Francisco was already sick, but could still manage to walk a

little, so one day I went with him to the cave on the Cabeço, and to

Valinhos. On our return home, we found the house full of people. A

poor woman was standing near a table, pretending to bless innumerable

pious objects: rosary beads, medals, crucifixes and so on.

Jacinta and I were soon surrounded by a crowd of people who

wanted to question us. Francisco was seized upon by the would-be

‘blesser’, who invited him to help her.

“l could not give a blessing,” he replied very seriously, “and

neither should you! Only priests do that.”


The little boy’s words went round the crowd like lightning, as

though spoken by some loud-speaker, and the poor woman had to

make a quick departure amid a hail of insults from the people, all

demanding back the objects they had just handed over to her.

I already related in my account of Jacinta, how he managed to

go one day to the Cova da Iria; how he wore the rope and then

handed it back to me; how he was the first, on a day when the heat

was suffocating, to offer the sacrifice of not taking a drink; and how

he sometimes reminded his sister about suffering for sinners, and

so on. I presume, therefore, that it is not necessary to repeat these

things here.

One day, I was by his bedside, keeping him company. Jacinta,

who had got up for a while, was there too. Suddenly, his sister Teresa

came to warn us that a veritable multitude of people were coming

down the road, and were obviously looking for us. As soon as she

had gone out, I said to Francisco: “AIright! You two wait for them

here. I’m going to hide.”

Jacinta managed to run out behind me, and we both succeeded

in concealing ourselves inside a barrel which was overturned just

outside the door leading to the back garden. It was not long before

we heard the noise of people searching the house, going out through

the garden and even standing right beside the barrel; but we were

saved by the fact that its open end was turned in the opposite direction.

When we felt that they had all gone away, we came out of our

hiding place, and went to rejoin Francisco, who told us all that had


“There were so many people and they wanted me to tell them

where you were, but I didn’t know myself. They wished to see us

and ask us lots of things. Besides that, there was a woman from

Alqueidão, who wanted the cure of a sick person and the conversion

of a sinner. I’ll pray for that woman, and you pray for the others

– there’s such a lot of them.”

Shortly after Francisco’s death, this woman came to see us,

and asked me to show her his grave. She wished to go there and

thank him for the two graces for which she had asked him to pray.

One day, we were just outside Aljustrel, on our way to the Cova

da Iria, when a group of people came upon us by surprise around

the bend in the road. In order the better to see and hear us, they set


Jacinta and myself on top of a wall. Francisco refused to let himself

be put there, as though he were afraid of falling. Then, little by little,

he edged his way out and leaned against a dilapidated wall on the

opposite side. A poor woman and her son, seeing that they could

not manage to speak to us personally, as they wished, went and

knelt down in front of Francisco. They begged him to obtain from

Our Lady the grace that the father of the family would be cured and

that he would not have to go to the war. Francisco knelt down also,

took off his cap and asked if they would like to pray the Rosary with

him. They said they would, and began to pray. Very soon, all those

people stopped asking curious questions, and also went down on

their knees to pray. After that, they went with us to the Cova da Iria,

reciting a Rosary along the way. Once there, we said another Rosary,

and then they went away, quite happy.

The poor woman promised to come back and thank Our Lady

for the graces she had asked for, if they were granted. She came

back several times, accompanied not only by her son but also her

husband, who had by now recovered. They came from the parish

of S. Mamede, and we called them the Casaleiros.


16.Francisco’s Illness


While he was ill, Francisco always appeared joyful and content.

I asked him sometimes:

“Are you suffering a lot, Francisco?”

“Quite a lot, but never mind! l am suffering to console Our

Lord, and afterwards, within a short time, I am going to Heaven!”

“Once you get there, don’t forget to ask Our Lady to take me

there soon as well.”

“That, I won’t ask! You know very well that she doesn’t want

you there yet.”

The day before he died, he said to me:

“Look! I am very ill; it won’t be long now before I go to Heaven.”

“Then listen to this. When you’re there, don’t forget to pray a

great deal for sinners, for the Holy Father, for me and for Jacinta.”

“Yes, I’ll pray. But look, you’d better ask Jacinta to pray for

these things instead, because I’m afraid I’ll forget when I see Our

Lord. And then, more than anything else I want to console Him.”


One day, early in the morning, his sister Teresa came looking

for me.

“Come quickly to our house! Francisco is very bad, and says

he wants to tell you something.”

I dressed as fast as I could and went over there. He asked his

mother and brothers and sisters to leave the room, saying that he

wanted to ask me a secret. They went out, and he said to me:

“ I am going to confession so that I can receive Holy Communion,

and then die. I want you to tell me if you have seen me

commit any sin, and then go and ask Jacinta if she has seen me

commit any.”

“You disobeyed your mother a few times,’’ I answered, “when

she told you to stay at home, and you ran off to be with me or to go

and hide.”

“That’s true. I remember that. Now go and ask Jacinta if she

remembers anything else.”

I went, and Jacinta thought for a while, then answered:

“Well, tell him that, before Our Lady appeared to us, he stole a

coin from our father to buy a music box from José Marto of Casa

Velha; and when the boys from Aljustrel threw stones at those from

Boleiros he threw some too!”

When I gave him this message from his sister, he answered:

“I’ve already confessed those, but I’ll do so again. Maybe, it is

because of these sins that I committed that Our Lord is so sad! But

even if I don’t die, I’ll never commit them again. I’m heartily sorry for

them now.” Joining his hands, he recited the prayer: “O my Jesus,

forgive us, save us from the fire of hell, lead all souls to Heaven,

especially those who are most in need.”

Then he said: “Now listen, you must also ask Our Lord to forgive

me my sins.”

“I’ll ask that, don’t worry. If Our Lord had not forgiven them

already, Our Lady would not have told Jacinta the other day that

she was coming soon to take you to Heaven. Now, I’m going to

Mass, and there I’ll pray to the Hidden Jesus for you.”

“Then, please ask Him to let the parish priest give me Holy


“I certainly will.”

When I returned from the church, Jacinta had already got up

and was sitting on his bed. As soon as Francisco saw me, he asked:


“Did you ask the Hidden Jesus that the parish priest would

give me Holy Communion?”

“I did.”

“Then, in Heaven, I’ll pray for you.”

“You will? The other day, you said you wouldn’t!”

“That was about taking you there very soon. But if you want

me to pray for that, I will, and then let Our Lady do as she wishes.”

“Yes, do. You pray.”

“Alright. Don’t worry, I’ll pray.”

Then I left them, and went off to my usual daily tasks of lessons

and work. When I came home at night, I found him radiant

with joy. He had made his confession, and the parish priest had

promised to bring him Holy Communion next day.

On the following day, after receiving Holy Communion, he said

to his sister:

“ I am happier than you are, because I have the Hidden Jesus

within my heart. I’m going to Heaven, but I’m going to pray very

much to Our Lord and Our Lady for them to bring you both there


Jacinta and I spent almost the whole of that day at his bedside.

As he was already unable to pray, he asked us to pray the

Rosary for him. Then he said to me:

“ I am sure I shall miss you terribly in Heaven. If only Our Lady

would bring you there soon, also!”

“You won’t miss me! Just imagine! And you right there with

Our Lord and Our Lady! They are so goodl”

“That’s true! Perhaps, I won’t remember!”

And now I add: “Perhaps he did forget! But never mind!”


  1. Francisco’s Holy Death


That night I said goodbye to him.

“Goodbye, Francisco! If you go to Heaven tonight, don’t forget

me when you get there, do you hear me?”

“No, I wont forget. Be sure of that.” Then, seizing my right hand,

he held it tightly for a long time, looking at me with tears in his eyes.

“Do you want anything more?” I asked him, with tears running

down my cheeks too.


“No!” he answered in a low voice, quite overcome.

As the scene was becoming so moving, my aunt told me to

leave the room.

“Goodbye then, Francisco! Till we meet in Heaven, goodbye!…”

Heaven was drawing near. He took his flight to Heaven the

following day in the arms of his heavenly Mother 9. I could never

describe how much I missed him. This grief was a thorn that pierced

my heart for years to come. It is a memory of the past that echoes

forever unto eternity.

’Twas night: I lay peacefully dreaming

That on this festive longed-for day

Of heavenly union, the Angels above

Vied with us here in holy emulation!

What golden crown beyond all telling,

What garland of flowers garnered here below

Could equal the crown heaven was offering

Angelic beauty, all earthly longing stilled.

The joy, the smile, of our loving Mother

In the heavenly realms, he lives in God

Ravished with love, with joys surpassing,

Those years on earth were so swift, so fleeting…



  1. Popular Songs


As Dr. Galamba has asked for the words of popular songs, I

have already written some of them in the course of my account of

Francisco. Before I embark on another subject, I am going to put

down some more of these songs here, so that His Reverence may

choose among them, if perchance he may be able to make use of

them for whatever purpose he has in mind.




Mountain maid, mountain maid,

With eyes of chestnut hue,

Who gave you, sweet mountain maid

Such charms beyond compare?

Such charms beyond compare!

I’ve never seen the like!

Mountain maid, mountain maid

Look kindly on me,

Look kindly on me,

Mountain maid, mountain maid,

Look kindly on me!

Mountain maid, mountain maid

With billowing skirt,

How come, sweet mountain maid,

So elegant you are?

So elegant you are,

I’ve never seen the like!

(Repeat chorus as above)

Mountain maid, mountain maid,

In the rosy flush of youth

Who gave you, sweet mountain maid

That bloom beyond compare?

That bloom beyond compare,

I’ve never seen the like!


Mountain maid, mountain maid,

All bedecked in gold,

Who gave you, sweet mountain maid

Your gaily twirling skirt?

Your gaily twirling skirt, I’ve never seen the like!




If you go up to the serra,

Go with easy tread!

Take care not to lose your foothold

And fall down a deep ravine,

And fall down a deep ravine.

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