Fatima. Apparition of Our Lady. 13 May 1917
From the Fourth Memoir (1941-12-08)
13 May 1917
High up on the slope in the Cova da Iria, I was playing with Jacinta and Francisco at building a little stone wall around a clump of furze. Suddenly we saw what seemed to be a flash of lightning.
“We’d better go home,” I said to my cousins, “that’s lightning; we may have a thunderstorm.”
“Yes, indeed!” they answered.
We began to go down the slope, hurrying the sheep along towards the road. We were more or less half-way down the slope, and almost level with a large holmoak tree that stood there, when we saw another flash of lightning. We had only gone a few steps further when, there before us on a small holmoak, we beheld a Lady all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun, and radiated a light more clear and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it.
We stopped, astounded, before the Apparition. We were so close, just a few feet from her, that we were bathed in the light which surrounded her, or rather, which radiated from her. Then Our Lady spoke to us:
“Do not be afraid. I will do you no harm.”
“Where are you from?”
“I am from Heaven.”
“What do you want of me?”
“I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the 13th day, at this same hour. Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards, I will return here yet a seventh time.”
“Shall I go to Heaven too?”
“Yes, you will”
“She will go also.”
“He will go there too, but he must say many Rosaries.”
Then I remembered to ask about two girls who had died recently. They were friends of mine and used to come to my home to learn weaving with my eldest sister.
“Is Maria das Neves in Heaven?”
“Yes, she is.”
(I think she was about 16 years old).
“She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.”
(It seems to me that she was between 18 and 20 years of age).
“Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?”
“Yes, we are willing.”
“Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”
As she pronounced these last words “...the grace of God will be your comfort”, Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then, moved by an interior impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts:
“O most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!”
After a few moments, Our Lady spoke again:
“Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.”
Then she began to rise serenely, going up towards the east, until she disappeared in the immensity of space. The light that surrounded her seemed to open up a path before her in the firmament, and for this reason we sometimes said that we saw heaven opening.
I think that I have already explained in my account of Jacinta, or else in a letter, that the fear which we felt was not really fear of Our Lady, but rather fear of the thunderstorm which we thought was coming, and it was from this that we sought to escape. The Apparitions of Our Lady inspired neither fear nor fright, but rather surprise. When I was asked if I had experienced fear, and I said that we had, I was referring to the fear we felt when we saw the flashes of lightning and thought that a thunderstorm was at hand. It was from this that we wished to escape, as we were used to seeing lightning only when it thundered.
Besides, the flashes of lightning were not really lightning, but the reflected rays of a light which was approaching. It was because we saw the light, that we sometimes said we saw Our Lady coming; but, properly speaking, we only perceived Our Lady in that light when she was already on the holmoak tree. The fact that we did not know how to explain this, and that we wished to avoid questions, caused us to say sometimes that we saw her coming, and other times that we did not. When we said we saw her coming, we were referring to the approach of the light, which after all was herself. And when we said we did not see her coming, we were referring to the fact that we really saw Our Lady only when she was on the holmoak.