The Fourth Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima: Valinhos

Part III[1]

In my previous article we saw that the three children were kidnapped, imprisoned and interrogated by the Administrator of Ourém on August 13 and held for two days. He intended to personally terrorize them into revealing the Secret. The children survived their horrific ordeal in Ourém, but they missed out on seeing Our Lady in August. Or did they?

The Apparition of Our Lady

In the afternoon of the following Sunday (August 19), Lucia and Francisco, along with his older brother John, went to Valinhos (the property of one of Lucia’s uncles) to pasture their sheep there. It was only about 200 yards from the tiny hamlet of Aljustrel, where the three child seers and their families lived. Jacinta was not with them, because she was being treated for the lice she had picked up while in jail. [2]

Just before four o’clock, Lucia observed the usual phenomena which always preceded the arrival of Our Lady: the sudden cooling of the air, the paling of the sun, and the typical flash of light. The children had already been having a premonition that they were to experience the supernatural again. Now Our Lady was about to come and Jacinta was not there!

As Sister Lucia recounted years later in her Fourth Memoir:

“I felt something supernatural approaching and enveloping us. Suspecting that Our Lady was about to appear to us, and feeling sorry that Jacinta was not there to see Her, we asked her brother John to go look for her.” [3]

However, John was unwilling to go; he wanted to see Our Lady. So Lucia gave him one coin to get Jacinta, and promised him another when they returned. Thus motivated, John ran off to find and bring his sister.

Just as John and Jacinta arrived at Valinhos, Lucia and Francisco saw a second flash of light. A moment later, Our Lady appeared on a holm-oak tree (one slightly taller than that at the Cova da Iria). It was as if Our Lady had patiently waited for Jacinta to come. Here is Lucia’s account of her dialogue with Our Lady:

“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 work a miracle so that all may believe. If you had not been taken away to the city, the miracle would have been even greater. Saint Joseph will come with the Child Jesus, to give peace to the world. Our Lord will come to bless the people. Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows will also come.

“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 feast 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,] Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.[4]

Following this, Our Lady began to ascend towards the east as usual.

The Scented Branch

Afterwards, Jacinta broke off the small branch on which Our Lady had stood. John and Lucia stayed at Valinhos with the sheep while Francisco and Jacinta rushed home with the precious branch to tell their parents of the unexpected visit of Our Lady.

As they passed Lucia’s house, her mother (Maria Rosa) and sister were at the door with some neighbors. Jacinta, all excited, rushed up to Lucia’s mother and told her that they had just seen Our Lady. Lucia’s mother did not believe her, so Jacinta then showed the branch.

“‘Give it to me. Let me see.’ Jacinta gave the branch to Lucia’s mother. The mother’s face showed great surprise as she put the branch to her nose. ‘What does this smell of?’ she said, continuing to smell it. ‘It is not perfume, it’s not incense nor perfumed soap; it’s not the smell of roses nor anything I know but it is a good smell.’ The whole family gathered and each wanted to hold the branch and smell the beautiful odor. …

“From that moment, Lucia’s mother and her whole family began to modify their
opposition towards the apparitions. Jacinta then took the branch and hurried home to
show it to her own mother and father.”[5]

When Jacinta got home, her mother was not there so she showed the little branch only to her father. He later recounted that “[a]s she came in I sensed a magnificent fragrance which I could not explain. … I smelled it [the little branch] but the odor had gone.”[6]

It is interesting to note that although the children had broken off the small branch at Valinhos, they did not approve of when the people had stripped the holm oak at the Covia da Iria of its foliage and broke off the small branch which Our Lady’s robe had touched.

“It was out of character for any of the three children to take a branch from a tree graced by the beautiful Lady. They often reproached people for removing leaves from the holm oak at the Cova da Iria. Was it simply childish inconsistency that led Jacinta to remove the branch from the tree at Valinhos? Or was it a heavenly impulse, the branch being a message to Maria Rosa from Our Lady? In either case, Maria Rosa’s attitude toward Lucia changed noticeably after this incident.” [7]

The Mother of God Offended

If you had not been taken away to the city, the miracle would have been even greater.”

As Frère Michel tells us in his seminal work, The Whole Truth About Fatima:

“By this public act,[8] acting in the name of the authority he held over a tiny part of the nation, he had affronted and outraged the Mother of God. Thus he contributed to drawing down upon his country a just divine punishment. Without this odious act, shamelessly committed by the competent public authority, would the great miracle of October 13 have been seen in all of Portugal? It is quite possible. What a lesson! What terrible responsibility for the unworthy authorities who deprive their people of the choice graces with which God wishes to fill them![9] (emphasis mine)

What a lesson indeed! What terrible responsibility for secular authorities – and even more so for ecclesiastical authorities! What about in our own time when bishops in dioceses throughout our country close churches, suspend Masses and all the sacraments – including Extreme Unction – and sometimes without even being told to do so by the government authorities, as they did in 2020 during the COVID-19 “pandemic.” How about when the Pope does the same thing for the Vatican, Rome, and throughout Italy?

Our Lady Asks to Be Honored

Concerning this request of Our Lady, Frère Michel explains:

“The Blessed Virgin, always modest and moderate in Her demands, requested that there be solemnized the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which is celebrated on October 7. She asked for very little: let them make two litters which would be carried in procession by the seers themselves, aided by other children like them. Let us remark however, that if the parish priest of Fatima had granted Her request, however small it was, this would nevertheless have been a beginning of an official recognition of the apparitions … This would only take place in 1918.”[10]

Obviously, this request of Our Lady was too much to ask for, in the eyes of the local Church authority.

Make Sacrifices for Sinners

Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.

These final words pronounced by Our Lady, while looking very sad, were certainly the ones which made the most profound impression on the three children. Here we see an affirmation that the eternal salvation of many souls really depends on our prayers and sacrifices! This is in perfect conformity with Catholic tradition. Pope Pius XII firmly recalls this truth in Mystici Corporis:

“There is an awesome mystery that we can never sufficiently meditate on: the salvation of many souls depends on the prayers and voluntary penances of the members of the Body of Christ.”[11]

As Frère Michel notes: “It is an unfathomable but also an admirable mystery, that such a close communion associates all the members of the human family with one another, for their salvation or for their loss.”[12] Thus, following the apparition of August 19, the three children strove to find new ways to make sacrifices to offer to Jesus, “for His love, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

In her memoirs, Sister Lucia provided several accounts of the sacrifices they made, which included: giving their lunches to poorer children while they themselves, in their hunger, ate bitter acorns from oak trees; giving away their water even though they were parched with thirst; and tying a rope around their waists, which often caused them to suffer terribly (either because of the thickness or roughness of the rope, or because sometimes they tied it too tightly).[13]

Regarding the children making reparation for the offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it is interesting to note the providential coincidence that Our Lady appeared at Valinhos on August 19, which is also the feast day of St. John Eudes, the first great Doctor of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.[14]


In Our Lady’s apparition at Valinhos, She stressed the importance of obedience to Her requests, the ramifications of offending Her, and the great importance of praying and making sacrifices for sinners, as well as demonstrating Her motherly love.

We need very much help from Heaven. Only Our Lady of Fatima can help us. We must heed the Message of Fatima given by Her on July 13, 1917, It is the only solution to the crises of our times!

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

[1] Sources: Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol. I: Science and the Facts, (Buffalo, Immaculate Heart Publications, 1989), pp. 233-246; Mark Fellows, Sister Lucia: Apostle of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, Chapter 16, pp. 77-79; Father John de Marchi, The True Story of Fatima, Ch. VII, pp. 42-44.
[2] Mark Fellows, op. cit., p. 77.
[3] Frère Michel, op. cit., p. 234.
[4] Fourth Memoir, pp. 166-167; cited in Mark Fellows, op. cit., pp. 77-79; and Frère Michel, op. cit., pp. 235, 253 (footnote 50). Also, here Our Lady is teaching the children to pray for the health of souls rather than of bodies.
[5] The True Story of Fatima, p. 44.
[6] Ibid. Since Our Lady did not need to work a miracle to prove Her apparitions to Jacinta’s father, who had always believed in them, he therefore did not smell the unexplained fragrance on the branch. He did not need to see a sign from Our Lady as evidence that Jacinta was telling the truth, whereas Lucia’s parents did. God usually provides signs only to those who need to see (or smell) something in order to believe. We have the case in the Gospel where Our Lord, after His Resurrection, invited the Apostle Thomas (who doubted) to touch His wounds; whereas, He did not allow Mary Magdalene (who believed) to touch Him at all.
[7] Mark Fellows, op. cit., p. 78.
[8] The public act of the Administrator of Ourém personally kidnapping the three children on the morning of August 13 so that they would not be at the Cova da Iria when Our Lady appeared there later that day.
[9] Frère Michel, op. cit., pp. 239-240.
[10] Frère Michel, op. cit., p. 241.
[11] Frère Michel, op. cit., p. 242.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Frère Michel, op. cit., pp. 244-246.
[14] Frère Michel, op. cit., p. 254 (footnote 62).

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