I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all the grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits (Ecclesiasticus 24: 24-26).
February 22, 2017 The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter
The 13th day of June has been for a very long time a very important day for Portuguese Catholics. It is the Festa of Saint Anthony of Lisbon, known to most of the rest of the world as Saint Anthony of Padua. The great saint was born in Portugal so the Portuguese have always claimed him as their own. He only made it to Italy after his course was diverted when he sought to head for North Africa to preach the Gospel to the Muslims. In any case word had gone out far and wide in the regions surrounding the childrens’ native Aljustrel after the Apparition of May 13, 1917. And the news that another appearance of the Virgin Mary could be expected on Saint Anthony’s Day attracted believers and pilgrims, scoffers, and those who were just plain curious.
William Thomas Walsh describes the scene when Lucia returned home from tending the sheep early in the morning of June 13, 1917 in his 1947 work Our Lady of Fatima as follows:
Leaving the boy in charge of the sheep, she hurried home and found men and women from various places far and near -from Minde near Tomar, from Carrascos, from Boleiros. For the story of the May apparition had somehow spread all over the mountains. Many believed it; others were merely curious to see what would happen; and quite a number had taken the trouble to get up before dawn dawn and walk over the hills to accompany the children to the Cova da Iria…
It was about eleven o’clock when the child finally left home, with the strangers fanning out on either side of her.
He then describes the scene leading up to the Apparition as follows with a woman named Maria Carreira, who would later go on to play a big role in the development of devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, asking Lucia how long it would be until Our Lady arrived:
“No, Senhora, not very long,” replied Lucia, scanning the eastern sky.
They all said five decades of the Rosary. This done, the pious girl from Boleiros started the Litany of Our Lady. Lucia interrupted her, remarking that there would not be time. Then, arising from the ground, she cried,
“Jacinta, there comes Our Lady! There is the light!”
To describe Our Lady’s appearance on June 13, 1917 I will be using for the most part the account rendered by Sister Lucia in Volume IV of her memoirs, but the paragraph spoken by Our Lady that starts with “Yes. I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon.” I took from Appendix I where she gives a more complete account of the promise of Our Lady:
As soon as Jacinta, Francisco and I had finished prying the Rosary, with a number of other people who were present, we saw once more the flash reflecting the light which was approaching (which we called lightning). The next moment, Our Lady was there on the holmoak, exactly the same as in May.
“What do you want of me?” I asked.
“I wish you to come here on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. Later, I will tell you what I want.”
I asked for the cure of a sick person.
“If he is converted, he will be cured during the year.”
“I would like to ask you to take us to heaven.”
“Yes. I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. But you are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to to those who embrace it, and these souls will be loved by God, like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.”
“Am I to stay here alone?” I asked, sadly.
“No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
As Our Lady spoke these last words, she opened her hands and for the second time, she communicated to us the rays of that same immense light. We saw ourselves in this light, as it were, immersed in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which rose towards heaven, and I in that which was poured out on the earth. In front of the palm of Our Lady’s right hand was a heart encircled by thorns which pierced it. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity, and seeking reparation.
Let your heart meditate on that scene for a moment. Pray the Rosary every day. Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage. For the conversion of the Jewish people, the conversion of the Muslim peoples. These are her children too. Make reparation for the outrages committed against the Immaculate Heart of your Mother.