1. Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

  2. Lenten Mission

  3. Moscow Conference

  4. Ask Father


The History of Fatima

(Continued From Issue No. 17)

After July 13, the devil realized the importance of these apparitions so he started to attack them with open fury. Just how far he went in his attack even during the apparitions you will see in this article. Although we have published this information before, it seems that we should publish this account now at this point of our continuing history of Fatima. To help you understand how men could so violently oppose Our Lady of Fatima and Her message of maternal love and concern for us we offer here a brief background at the start of this episode.

The message of Fatima is most significant and important for the salvation of souls. However the message of Fatima, and Our Lady’s appearance there, is also very important for the correct ordering of human society in this world. As Our Lady of Fatima pointed out, if mankind would listen to Her message, then the peaceful ordering of individuals, families, cities and countries and in fact the whole world, would be achieved. Such a claim for peace through all levels of society and throughout the whole world could only be achieved if enough individuals at every level of society cooperated in the plan. And this plan could only succeed if it were based on the designs of the Creator of mankind, Who has appointed Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, as King of kings and Lord of lords (Apoc. 19:16). Jesus is King, not only of individuals but also of societies and the whole world. Therefore if this plan of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is Queen of Heaven and of earth, is to work, mankind must acknowledge the sovereign Kingship of Christ over all mankind. Thus one can understand that the prince of this world, as Jesus Christ referred to the devil, would not accept easily the destruction of his kingdom here on earth. Nor would the peace plan from Heaven be accepted by those men, associations and secret societies whose power and ill-gotten riches would be lost if the peace plan from Heaven were put into effect.

Here the Angel of Peace brought Holy Communion to the three shepherd children of Fatima. He taught them to make Holy Hours of Eucharistic Adoration and Reparation and to receive Holy Communion worthily for the purpose of consoling Jesus horribly insulted and outraged by the sins of mankind.

The Angel, in the Third Apparition, said to the children, “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Repair their crimes and console your God.”

The Test

All too soon the Administrator’s plans were made clear. The children would never return to homes and families unless they told the Lady’s secret. And if they did not do so soon, they would suffer a slow and horrible death. “Think that over!” sneered the Administrator, as he locked the three in a large room of his house. “If you have any sense at all, you'll do what I tell you.”

The children looked at one another fearfully. How terrible to die away from home! And the Lady! What about Her? It was almost noon, and She had told them to be at the Cova da Iria…

“Maybe She’ll come to us here,” said Francisco hopefully. But twelve o’clock came and there was no sign of the heavenly one. Jacinta began to cry.

“Our parents will never see us again!” she sobbed. “They’ll never hear any more about us!”

Francisco and Lucia tried to comfort her. “Let’s offer this to Jesus for poor sinners, as the Lady told us to do,” they said. And speaking for all three, Francisco recited the now-familiar words.

“O Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

“And for the Holy Father too!” put in Jacinta, wiping her eyes.

The prayer brought the children some relief. And the Administrator’s wife — a kind and motherly soul — also did what she could to help, bringing food, drink and picture books to the three little prisoners. But the next morning the Administrator burst in upon them with new threats.

“So, good treatment won’t make you talk, eh? Well, we’ll try something else.” And he bundled all three off to the town hall where he and several fellow-atheists spent the morning threatening and scolding.

“Confess that you made up this story about the Lady!”

“We didn’t, sir. She really and truly came.”

“Well, what did She tell you?”

“To say the Rosary every day for the peace of the world, and to make many sacrifices for sinners.”

“What else?”

“The rest is a secret.”

“Nonsense! Even the parish priest doesn’t believe what you say.”

“That’s right. Look, here are some nice shiny gold pieces. Tell us the secret, and you may keep them.”

“We can’t tell the secret for anything in the world.”

Thoroughly angry, the Administrator took the exhausted children back to his house at noon. His wife had prepared a good lunch, which he permitted them to enjoy, but when they had finished he dragged them off to the town hall a second time. Here, after another siege of coaxing and threatening, he announced that their real punishment was about to begin.

“Come along!” he snapped. “We’ve wasted enough time already!”

The town jail was a dismal place, dark and evil-smelling, and the children drew back in dismay as the Administrator stopped before a large cell filled with rough-looking men whose bearded faces bore the stamp of evil.

“Why, we’ve got company!” cried one suddenly, as the heavy barred door opened, then slammed behind the children. “And what company!”

“Yes!” jeered another. “Since when do they send us babies?”

“Oh, but these aren’t babies! They’re pickpockets — good ones. I remember the boy well.”

“That’s right. And I saw one of the girls at the fair in June. Come here, little ones. Tell us how they caught you.”

“Yes. Speak up, children. You’re among friends now.”

Loud laughter greeted this remark, and for a moment the youngsters stood by the door in silent bewilderment. Then Lucia took courage. No, she and her cousins were not pickpockets — or any other kind of criminal. Instead, the three of them were from the country, and they had seen a heavenly Lady three times. On each of Her visits She had asked them to say the Rosary devoutly, and to make many sacrifices for sinners. She had also told them a secret, but as yet they could not share this with anyone.

The prisoners stared in amazement. What nonsense was this? Then one man shook a warning finger at Lucia. “Don’t make the Administrator angry, little girl. He can cause you lots of trouble.”

“Yes,” put in another. “And don’t talk to him about heavenly things. Bother him with some other kind of story.”

Jacinta twisted her hands nervously. “But sir! We never make up any stories!”

“That’s right,” hastened Francisco. “And even if the Administrator leaves us here forever, we can’t say that we never saw the Lady.”

There was something touching in the children’s honest speech and hearing, and in spite of themselves the prisoners were impressed. Suddenly they felt as though a clean breeze had swept through their dismal quarters, bringing with it a certain freshness and cheer. And when Jacinta, still missing her mother, began to cry, there was general consternation.

“Here, here, little one. Everything’s going to turn out all right.”

“Yes. Look. I’ve a harmonica. Suppose we have a song or two.”

“Or maybe a dance. Do you know how to dance, children?”

Jacinta hesitated. “We … we know the fandango.”

“And the vira,” put in Lucia.

“Fine. Then let’s forget our troubles for a bit.”

In a moment the prison cell was quite a different place, echoing to the gay songs and dance rhythms of the Portuguese countryside. One of the men took Jacinta for his partner, and to the accompaniment of the wheezing harmonica, the clapping of hands and stamping of feet, whirled her about the room. But she was so small that presently he had swung her up on his shoulder, continuing the dance alone.

Jacinta’s eyes sparkled as the music grew louder and faster, and everyone joined in song. Then suddenly her face clouded. The Administrator had said that she and her companions must die if they did not tell the Lady’s secret. And surely dancing was no way to prepare for heaven …

“Please put me down!” she begged.

Puzzled, the man looked up. “Why, what’s the matter, little one? Don’t you like dancing?”

“Oh yes! But I’ve had enough.” And taking a medal from her neck, she asked to have it hung on a nail in the wall.

“All right. But why don’t you want to keep on wearing the medal?”

“I … I want to pray. And I can do better if I look at the medal.”

So the man set Jacinta on her feet, then hung the medal on the wall. Immediately the child knelt down — hands folded, eyes raised to the holy symbol. Lucia, Francisco and a few of the prisoners did likewise, and soon the prison cell was echoing to another unusual sound: childish trebles telling the praises of the Blessed Virgin, accompanied by a chorus of deep-pitched voices. Even those who took no part in the little service listened respectfully, for a certain spell had been cast upon the motley group by the young strangers from Fatima. There was no doubt about it, they told themselves. These were remarkable children. They really believed that a heavenly Lady had told them to recite the Rosary, so that God’s anger at a sinful world might be appeased!

However, Francisco was not without a certain distraction. Pausing for a moment in his prayer, he nudged a man standing near him. “Sir, when we pray, we take off our hats,” he whispered.

Abashed, the man removed his battered headpiece and threw it on the floor. At once Francisco picked it up and laid it on a nearby bench. “That’s better,” he said gravely.

The group had barely finished the Rosary when the door suddenly opened and a policeman entered the room. There was a cruel light in his eyes as he looked at the three children. “Come with me!” he barked. “The Administrator is going to give you one last chance to tell the truth.”

Silently the little ones obeyed. But when they arrived at the now-familiar town hall, no one could make them change a word of their story. Life imprisonment, torture, death — none of these dreadful things mattered. What did matter was being true to the Lady.

At his wits’ end, the Administrator finally sprang to his feet and strode toward the children. “Listen!” he roared. “Either tell me what I want to know, or each of you will be fried in oil!”

Instinctively the three drew back. “But sir! We’ve already told you the truth!”

The truth! Listen, you stubborn little fools! I’ve had enough nonsense. There’s a big tank of oil boiling in the yard this very minute, just right to cook the three of you to a crisp. Hurry up, Jacinta. What’s the secret you say the Lady told you?”

Great tears were streaming down the face of the seven-year-old girl. “I can’t tell you, sir.”

“You can’t? We’ll see about that. Guard!”

The door opened, and a very ugly policeman appeared. “Yes, sir?”

“Is the oil ready?”

”Yes, sir. Boiling.”

“Good. Take this one and throw her in.”

“Yes, sir. Right away, sir.”

Francisco looked at Lucia. “What do we care if they kill us?” he murmured. “We’ll go right to Heaven.” Then, taking off his cap: “Let’s say a Hail Mary for Jacinta so she won’t get scared.”

Pale and trembling, Lucia nodded. She was already praying as earnestly as she could.

Presently the door opened a second time and another guard appeared. “Well, that’s one of you fried,” he declared briskly, wiping his hands. “Now, Francisco, it’s your turn. What’s that secret you say the Lady told you?”

The Administrator closed in threateningly. “It’s your last chance, boy. Out with it!”

Francisco shook his head. “I can’t tell you. I can’t tell anyone!”

“Then take him away!” roared the Administrator. “Let him share his sister’s fate!”

Once again the door slammed, and Lucia found herself alone with the Administrator. He looked at her scornfully, “Well, are you going to talk or not?”

The little girl swallowed hard. “No, sir. I’d rather die, too.”

But as the minutes passed, and there was no sound from the hall outside, Lucia’s heart filled with dread. She could not see the beautiful One whom she loved so much, but surely if she prayed to Her … if she asked for strength and courage …

“Dear Lady, please look after me!” she whispered. “Help me to die bravely … like Jacinta and Francisco … without a sound!”

(Continued next issue)