On May 13, 1917, while I was playing with Jacinta and Francisco on the top of the ascent of Cova da Iria, building a little wall of stones around a thicket, suddenly we saw a flash like lightning. “We should go home,” I told my cousins. “That was lightning. It is possible it will thunder.”
“Yes,” they replied.
And we began to go down the ascent, driving the sheep in the direction of the road. When we were more or less at the middle of the ascent near a big ilex tree, we noticed more lightning, and as soon as we went a little farther, we saw ahead of us, over a holm oak, a Lady dressed all in white, more brilliant than the sun dispensing light, clearer and more intense than a crystal cup full of crystalline water penetrated by the rays of the most glaring sun. We stopped, surprised by the apparition. We were so close that we stood within the radiance which surrounded her and reached a distance of perhaps five feet.
Then our Lady said, “Don’t be afraid, I won’t hurt you!”
“Where does your Excellency come from?” I asked.
“I am from Heaven.”
“And what is it you want of me?”
“I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the thirteenth day at this same hour. Then I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards, I will return here a seventh time.”
“And shall I go to Heaven, too?”
“Yes, you will.”
“Also, but he will have to say many Rosaries!”
Then I remembered to ask about two girls who had died recently. They were friends of mine and used to go to my house to learn weaving from my oldest sister.
“Is Maria das Neves now in Heaven?” I asked.
“Yes, she is.”
I think she was about 16 years old.
“She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.”
I think she was about 18 or 20 years old when she died.
“Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings that He may be pleased to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?”
“Yes, we do.”
“Then you will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.” As she spoke these last words, she opened her hands for the first time, and from the palms came two streams of light so intense that they penetrated our breasts and reached the most intimate parts of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who is that Light, more clearly than in the best of mirrors. Then, forced by an interior impulse, we went down on our knees, and we repeated intimately, “O most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
Some moments later, our Lady added, “Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and end of the war.” Immediately after this, she began to rise, serenely going up towards the east until she disappeared in the immensity of the distance. The light which surrounded her was going ahead of her as though it was in charge of making way through the massive stars. This is why sometimes we said we had seen the Heavens open.
It seems to me that I already explained in the writing about Jacinta or in a letter that the fear we experienced was not exactly of our Lady, but of the thunderstorm we supposed was to come. It was from the thunderstorm we wanted to escape. The apparitions of our Lady induced neither fear nor fright, but surprise. When I was asked if I had felt fear and I answered, “Yes,” I meant the fear I had of the lightning and thunderstorm I supposed was at hand. It was from these things we wanted to escape since we used to see lightning only when it thundered. The lightning also was not exactly the usual lightning, but the flash of one light that was approaching.
Seeing such a flash was the reason we sometimes said we saw our Lady coming, but properly, we only discerned our Lady in that light when she was just over the ilex tree. Because we didn’t know to explain ourselves and to avoid more and more questions, we sometimes said we saw her coming but really we meant we saw her approaching in that flash that at last was she. And when we said we didn’t see her coming, we meant we didn’t see the figure of our Lady until she was already over the ilex tree.
Second Apparition (June 13, 1917)
After I had finished the Rosary with Jacinta, Francisco, and some people who were present, we again saw the flash of the approaching light that we called lightning and immediately afterwards we saw our Lady over the holm oak just like in May.
“What does your Excellency want of me,” I asked.
“I want you to come here on the thirteenth day of the coming month, to recite the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. I will tell you later what I want.”
I asked for the cure of a certain sick person.
“If he is converted, he will be cured during the year.”
“I should like to ask you to take us to Heaven.”
“Yes, Jacinta and Francisco I will take soon, but you will remain here for some time yet. Jesus wishes to make use of you to have me acknowledged and loved. He wishes to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart.”
“I stay here alone?” I asked sorrowfully.
“No, daughter. Do you suffer a great deal? Don’t be discouraged, I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the road that will lead you to God.”
With these last words, she opened her hands, and for the second time, she showed to us the immense light that streamed from them. In it, we saw ourselves as if submerged in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in the part of this light which went up toward Heaven, and I in that which spread itself over the ground. Before the palm of the right hand of our Lady was a heart encircled by thorns which seemed to have pierced it. We understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity, who wishes reparation.
Here you have, your Excellency (i.e., Bishop José Alves Correia da Silva), what we meant when we said our Lady had revealed a secret in June. Our Lady didn’t order this time that we keep it secret, but we felt that God had inspired us to do so.
Third Apparition (July 13, 1917)
Some moments after we arrived at Cova da Iria, near the holm oak amongst a big crowd of people, when we were praying the Rosary, we saw the radiance of light and afterwards, our Lady over the holm oak.
“What do you want of me?” I asked.
“I want you to come here on the thirteenth day of the coming month, and to continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of our Lady of the Rosary to obtain the peace of the world and the end of the war. For she alone will be able to help.”
“I wish to ask you to tell us who you are and to perform a miracle so that everyone will believe that you appeared to us!”
“Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I wish, and I will perform a miracle that everyone will see in order to make them believe.”
Here I made some requests that I don’t remember exactly. What I remember is that our Lady said it was necessary to say the Rosary to obtain graces during the year. And she went on, “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: ‘Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’ “
When the Lady spoke these last words, she opened her hands as she had in the two months before. The radiance seemed to penetrate the ground, and we saw something like a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were the demons and the souls, as if they were red hot coals, transparent and black or bronze colored, with human forms, which floated about in the conflagration, borne by the flames which issued from it with clouds of smoke falling on all sides as sparks fell in great conflagrations without weight or equilibrium, among shrieks and groans of sorrow and despair that horrify and cause people to shudder with fear. It must have been when I saw this sight that I cried out, “Alas!” which people say they heard.
The devils were distinguished by horrible and loathsome forms of animals, frightful and unknown, but transparent like black coals that have turned red hot. Frightened, and as if we were appealing for help, we raised our eyes to our Lady who said with tenderness and sadness:
“You saw hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If they do what I will tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. The war is going to end. But if they do not stop offending God, another even worse war will begin in the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays. If they listen to my requests, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will scatter her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and it will be converted and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of Faith will always be kept. Tell this to no one. Francisco, yes, you may tell him. When you say the Rosary, say after each mystery, ‘O my Jesus, pardon us and deliver us from the fire of hell. Draw all souls to heaven, especially those in most need.’ “
After a short period of silence, I asked, “Do you want nothing more of me?”
“No, today I want nothing more of you.” And as usual, she began to arise towards the east and disappeared in the immense distance of the firmament.
Fourth Apparition (August 19, 1917)
I now proceed to the apparition which, in my opinion, took place on the fifteenth day of August at nightfall. (note: The memory of Sister Lúcia failed here. This apparition took place on the 19th of August.) I didn’t yet know how to tell the days of the month, therefore it is possible that I am wrong about this date, but I keep in my memory the fact that it took place on the same day we came back from Vila Nova de Ourem.
I was shepherding with Francisco and his brother John at a place called Valinhos, and I felt that something supernatural was coming and was about to surround us. I suspected that our Lady might appear, and feeling sorry about Jacinta missing this apparition, we asked her brother John to run and look for her. As he said, “No,” I offered him two vintens (i.e., a very small amount of money) and he went running. In the meantime, Francisco and I saw a flash of light that we called lightning, and shortly after Jacinta arrived, we saw our Lady over a holm oak.
“What is it you want of me?”
“I want you to continue to go to Cova da Iria on the thirteenth day and to continue to recite the Rosary every day. In the last month, I will perform the miracle so that all shall believe.”
“What do you want me to do with the money that the crowd left in the Cova da Iria?”
“Let them make two portable stands. Carry one of them with Jacinta and two other girls dressed in white, and let Francisco carry the other one with three other boys. The money on the two portable stands is for the feast of the Lady of the Rosary, and that which is left over is for the support of the chapel which they are going to have built.”
“I want to ask for the cure of some people.”
“Yes, I will cure some during this year.”
And then in a more sad way, the Lady said, “Pray, pray a great deal, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because they have no one to sacrifice and pray for them.” And as usual, she began to rise toward the east.
Fifth Apparition (September 13, 1917)
It was only with great difficulty that we could walk through the crowds. The roads were jammed with people. They all wanted to see and talk with us. There was no human respect in that crowd. Many of them, even ladies and gentlemen, broke through the pressing crowd who jammed around us, and knelt before us, asking us to present their needs to our Lady.
Others, unable to get near, would shout: “For the love of God, ask our Lady to cure my son, who is lame!” “Ask her to cure mine, who is blind!” “And mine, who is deaf!” “And to bring my husband and my son home from the war!” “And to convert a sinner for me!” “To give me health, for I have tuberculosis!” And so on.
There appeared all the miseries of poor humanity in that place, and some even shouted from the tops of trees and walls where they had climbed to see us pass.
Saying “yes” to some, giving a hand to others to help them out of the dust of the earth, we managed to move along, thanks to some gentlemen who went ahead opening a passage for us through the multitudes.
Now when I read in the New Testament such enchanting scenes of the passage of our Lord through Palestine, I remember those that our Lord made me a witness to when I was so young, on those poor routes and roadways from Aljustrel to Fátima and to Cova da Iria, and I give thanks to God, offering Him the faith of our good Portuguese people. And I think, “If these people so humbled themselves before three poor children only because they had been granted mercifully the grace of speaking with the Mother of God, what would they not do if they saw before them Jesus Christ Himself?”
However, all of this was not supposed to be here. This was more an absent-mindedness of the writing pen which wandered off in a direction I didn’t want, alas, patience! Another worthless thing! I won’t try to erase it so as not to destroy the notebook.
Finally, we arrived at Cova da Iria, near the holm oak, and we began to say the Rosary with the people. A while later, we saw the flash of light, and afterward, our Lady over the ilex tree.
“Continue to say the Rosary,” she said, “to bring about the end of the war. In October, our Lord will come also, and our Lady of Sorrows, and our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus, to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices, but He does not wish you to sleep with the rope. Wear it only during the day.”
“They have begged me to ask you many things: the cure of some sick persons, of a deaf-mute.”
“Yes, some I will cure, others not. In October, I will perform the miracle so that all will believe.” And she began to arise and disappeared in the same manner as before.
The Last Apparition (October 13, 1917)
We left home very early in the morning, anticipating the delays on the way. The crowd was massive, and it was raining a heavy downpour. My mother, fearing that this might be the last day of my life, with her heart lacerated by the uncertainty of what might happen, decided to go with me.
On the way, we encountered the same scenes as in the month before, but more numerous and touching. Not even the quagmire of roads impeded those people from kneeling down in a very humble and beseeching position. When we arrived at Cova da Iria, near the holm oak, driven by an inner impulse, I asked the people to put down their umbrellas to pray the Rosary. Shortly after that, we saw the flash of light, and afterwards, our Lady over the holm oak.
“What do you want of me?”
“I want to tell you to have them build a chapel here in my honor; I am the Lady of the Rosary. Let them continue to say the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.”
“I have many things to ask of you. The cure of some sick persons, the conversion of some sinners, etc.”
“Some, yes, others, no. It is necessary that they amend their lives, and ask pardon for their sins.”
Her face became graver as she continued, “Let them offend our Lord no more, for He is already much offended.”
And opening her hands, she made the light emerging from them ascend to where the sun ought to be. And while she was arising, her own radiance continued, shining towards the sun.
(for testimonies about the Miracle of the Sun: https://www.ewtn.com/fatima/sixth-apparition-of-our-lady.asp)
Here you have, your Excellency, the reason why I shouted that they should look at the sun. My purpose was not to bring the attention of the crowd to the sun, because I didn’t notice them. I wasn’t even aware of their presence. I did so, moved by an inner force which impelled me to act thus. When our Lady disappeared in the immense distance of the sky, next to the sun we saw Saint Joseph holding the Child Jesus and our Lady dressed in white with a blue mantle. Saint Joseph and the Child seemed to be blessing the world, making the Sign of the Cross. Shortly after this vision had vanished, I saw our Lord and our Lady who reminded me of our Lady of Sorrows. Our Lord was blessing the world just the same way as Saint Joseph. This vision vanished too, and it seemed to me I again saw our Lady dressed as our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Here, your Excellency, is the story of the apparitions of our Lady, at Cova da Iria in 1917. At any time when for any reason I had to talk about them, I tried to do so with as few words as possible, in the hope of keeping for myself those more intimate parts that were so hard for me to reveal, but because they belong to God and not to me, and since He asks me now [for] them through your Excellency, here they are: I return what does not belong to me. To the best of my knowledge, I am not keeping anything to myself. I think that the only things lacking are a few small details pertaining to the graces I asked. Because they were merely material things, I did not pay too much attention to them, and maybe that is the reason why they did not stay so vividly in my mind. And besides this, there were so many! So many! Maybe because of the preoccupation I had in remembering the countless graces that I was to ask of our Lady, I understood by error that the war would finish on the thirteenth day.
Quite a few people have been astonished by the memory that God gave me. In this manner, through His infinite goodness, quite favored in every respect. This is natural, for supernatural things stay in the mind in such a way that it is almost impossible to forget them. At least the meaning of the thing is never forgotten as well.