Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids to call from the highest places in the town, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” (Proverbs 9:1-4)
April 5, 2017 The Memorial of Saint Vincent Ferrer
This Apparition did not occur on the 13th of August because… well the children were in prison. Portugal was in 1917 in the grips of an intensely anti-Catholic government that had taken power in a 1910 revolution and closely identified itself and its polices with the radical Jacobins who had seized power in France and murdered its monarch while despoiling the Church in that country during the 1790s. Quite a stir had been created by reports of Our Lady appearing to these three children in May and June, but July was the last straw for the Administrator of Ourém, Artur de Oliveira Santos who was a public Freemason and out to do anything and everything he could to stamp out the renewed faith among the people of his district because of these Apparitions.
When asked what Our Lady told them on July 13th the children simply replied that it was a secret: it would be decades before Lucia would write, and only in obedience to the Bishop of Leira, some of what the children were told that day and even now we still don’t know everything. However once word of a secret got out, well you know how that goes. Artur de Santos thought that secrets were his business so he kidnapped the children under the pretext of giving them a ride to the Cova da Iria for the Apparition on August 13th and held them in jail for two nights, threatening them with all manner of torture to get them to tell him the secret. They didn’t tell him, and the public outcry about the kidnapping forced him to release the children, Lucia last of all on August 15th.
In the meantime witnesses reported that something did happen in the Cova da Iria on the 13th: there were signs of Our Lady’s being there, but she did not speak. Obviously she knew what had happened to the children but she had promised to be there that day so she came to fulfill her word. She did eventually appear to the children on August 19 in a place called Valinhos. Lucia states in the memoir from which I am about to quote that she was of the opinion, at the time she wrote this description, that it was on the 15th but she acknowledged that she may have been confused about the date and other witnesses placed it on the 19th. Here is Lucia’s description of the Apparition in the Fourth Volume of her Memoir published as part of the 1998 work Fatima in Lucia’s own words:
I was accompanied by Francisco and his brother John. We were with the sheep in a place called Valinhos, when we felt something supernatural approaching and enveloping us. Suspecting that Our Lady was about to appear to us, and feeling sorry lest Jacinta might miss seeing her, we asked her brother to go and call her. As he was unwilling to go, I offered him two small coins, and off he ran.
Meanwhile, Francisco and I saw the flash of light, which we called lightning. Jacinta arrived, and a moment later, we saw Our Lady on a holmoak tree.
“What do you want of me?”
“I want you to continue going to the Cova da Iria on the 13th, and to continue praying the Rosary every day. In the last month, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.”
“What do you want done with the money that the people leave in the Cova da Iria?”
“Have two litters made. One is to be carried by you and Jacinta and two other girls dressed in white; the other one is to be carried by Francisco and three other boys. The money from the litters is for the “festa” of Our Lady of the Rosary, and what is left over will help towards the construction of a chapel that is to be built here.”
“I would like to ask you to cure some sick persons.”
“Yes, I will cure some of them during the year.”
Then, looking very sad, Our lady said:
“Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.”
And she began to ascend as usual towards the east.
Pray the Rosary every day. Pray. Pray very much. Make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell because no one who will sacrifice themselves and pray for them. Pray and keep watch.