Fatima. Rosary. 4th Memoir
I. FRANCISCO’S CHARACTER
4. Impressions of the First Apparition
Afterwards, we told Francisco all that Our Lady had said. He was overjoyed and expressed the happiness he felt when he heard of the promise that he would go to Heaven. Crossing his hands on his breast, he exclaimed, “Oh, my dear Our Lady! I’ll say as many Rosaries as you want!” And from then on, he made a habit of moving away from us, as though going for a walk. When we called him and asked him what he was doing, he raised his hand and showed me his Rosary. If we told him to come and play, and say the Rosary with us afterwards, he replied:
“I’ll pray then as well. Don’t you remember that Our Lady said I must pray many Rosaries?”
When we arrived at our pasturage a few days after Our Lady’s first Apparition, he climbed up to the top of a steep rock, and called out to us:
“Don’t come up here; let me stay here alone.”
“All right.” And off I went, chasing butterflies with Jacinta. We no sooner caught them than we made the sacrifice of letting them fly away, and we never gave another thought to Francisco. When lunch time came, we missed him and went to call him:
“Francisco, don’t you want to come for your lunch?”
“No, you eat.”
“And to pray the Rosary?”
“That, yes, later on. Call me again.”
When I went to call him again, he said to me:
“You come up here and pray with me.” We climbed up to the peak, where the three of us could scarcely find room to kneel down, and I asked him:
“But what have you been doing all this time?”
“I am thinking about God, Who is so sad because of so many sins! If only I could give Him joy!
8. Francisco in Prision
… In prison, he was quite courageous, and tried to cheer up Jacinta when she felt most homesick. While we were saying the Rosary in prison, he noticed that one of the prisoners was on his knees with his cap still on his head. Francisco went up to him and said: “If you wish to pray, you should take your cap off.” Right away, the poor man handed it to him and he went over and put it on the bench on top of his own.
11. Francisco, the Little Moralist
I accepted his proposal, and once I had made my decision, nobody else thought of organizing any such gathering. God’s blessing was with us. Those friends of mine, who until then sought me out to have me join in their amusements, now followed my example, and came to my home on Sunday afternoons to ask me to go with them to pray the Rosary in the Cova da Iria.
15. Francisco’s Love and Zeal
One day, we were just outside Aljustrel, on our way to the Cova da Iria, when a group of people came upon us by surprise around the bend in the road. In order the better to see and hear us, they set 163 Jacinta and myself on top of a wall. Francisco refused to let himself be put there, as though he were afraid of falling. Then, little by little, he edged his way out and leaned against a dilapidated wall on the opposite side. A poor woman and her son, seeing that they could not manage to speak to us personally, as they wished, went and knelt down in front of Francisco. They begged him to obtain from Our Lady the grace that the father of the family would be cured and that he would not have to go to the war. Francisco knelt down also, took off his cap and asked if they would like to pray the Rosary with him. They said they would, and began to pray.
Very soon, all those people stopped asking curious questions, and also went down on their knees to pray. After that, they went with us to the Cova da Iria, reciting a Rosary along the way. Once there, we said another Rosary, and then they went away, quite happy.
The poor woman promised to come back and thank Our Lady for the graces she had asked for, if they were granted. She came back several times, accompanied not only by her son but also her husband, who had by now recovered. They came from the parish of S. Mamede, and we called them the Casaleiros.
16. Francisco’s Illness
Jacinta and I spent almost the whole of that day at his bedside. As he was already unable to pray, he asked us to pray the Rosary for him.
II. THE STORY OF THE APPARITIONS
1. Apparitions of the Angel
My three companions from Casa Velha, by name Teresa Matias and her sister Maria Rosa, and Maria Justino, were with me on the southern slope of the Cabeço. We were just about to start praying the Rosary when I saw, poised in the air above the trees that stretched down to the valley which lay at our feet, what appeared to be a cloud in human form, whiter than snow and almost transparent. My companions asked me what it was. I replied that I did not know. This happened on two further occasions, but on different days.
It seems to me that the third Apparition must have been in October, or towards the end of September, as we were no longer returning home for siesta.
As I have already written in my account of Jacinta, we went one day from Pregueira (a small olive grove belonging to my parents) to the Lapa, making our way along the slope of the hill on the side facing Aljustrel and Casa Velha. We said our Rosary there and the prayer the Angel had taught us at the first Apparition. While we were there, the Angel appeared to us for the third time.
3. The 13th of May, 1917
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.”
4. The 13th of June, 1917
As soon as Jacinta, Francisco and I had finished praying the Rosary, with a number of other people who were present, we saw once more the flash reflecting the light which was approaching (which we called lightning). The next moment, Our Lady was there on the holmoak, exactly the same as in May.
“What do you want of me?” I asked.
“I wish you to come here on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. Later, I will tell you what I want.”
5. The 13th of July, 1917
A few moments after arriving at the Cova da Iria, near the holmoak, where a large number of people were praying the Rosary, we saw the flash of light once more, and a moment later Our Lady appeared on the holmoak.
“What do you want of me?” I asked.
“I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only she can help you.”
I then made some requests, but I cannot recall now just what they were. What I do remember is that Our Lady said it was necessary for such people to pray the Rosary in order to obtain these graces during the year. And she continued:
“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially whenever you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
“When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.”
6. The 13th of August, 1917
“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.”
7. The 13th of September, 1917
At last, we arrived at the Cova da Iria, and on reaching the holmoak we began to say the Rosary with the people. Shortly afterwards, we saw the flash of light, and then Our Lady appeared on the holmoak.
“Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolours and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices. He does not want you to sleep with the rope on, but only to wear it during the daytime.”
8. The 13th of October,1917
On the way, the scenes of the previous month, still more numerous and moving, were repeated. Not even the muddy roads could prevent these people from kneeling in the most humble and suppliant of attitudes. We reached the holmoak in the Cova da Iria. Once there, moved by an interior impulse, I asked the people to shut their umbrellas and say the Rosary. A little later, we saw the flash of light, and then Our Lady appeared on the holmoak.
“What do you want of me?”
“I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honour. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.”
III. FURTHER RECOLLECTIONS OF JACINTA
1. A Wonderful Cure
On our way to the house, a girl about twenty years old came out to meet us. Weeping, she knelt down, and begged us to enter her house and say at least one Hail Mary for the recovery of her father, who for three years had been unable to take any rest, on account of continual hiccoughs. In such circumstances, it was impossible to resist. I helped the poor girl to her feet. As it was already late into the night, and we were finding our way along by the light of lanterns, I therefore told Jacinta to remain there, while I went on ahead to pray the Rosary with the people, promising to call for her on my return. She agreed. When I came back I, too, went into the house. I found Jacinta sitting on a chair, facing a man who was also seated. He was not so very old but he looked emaciated, and he was weeping with emotion. Some persons were gathered around him, members of his family, I should think. On seeing me Jacinta got up, said goodbye and promised that she would not forget him in her prayers. Then we returned to Senhora Emilia’s house.
Early next morning, we set out for Olival, and only came back three days later. When we reached Senhora Emilia’s house, there we found the happy girl accompanied by her father. He now looked much better, and had lost all trace of nervous strain and extreme weakness. They came to thank us for the grace they had received for, they said, he was no longer troubled by the annoying hiccoughs.
She prayed the Rosary with them, and counselled them not to commit sin, and so avoid offending the Lord our God and going to hell. Some of them spent whole mornings and afternoons with her, and seemed very happy in her company. But once they had left her presence, they did not dare to go back in the trusting way so natural to children. Sometimes they came in search of me, begging me to go in with them, or they waited for me outside the house, or else they waited at the door until my aunt or Jacinta herself invited them in to see her. They seemed to like her and to enjoy her company, but they felt themselves held back by a certain shyness or respect that kept them somewhat at a distance.
3. Jacinta, Model of Virtue
One Sunday, my friends from Moita, Maria, Rosa and Ana Caetano, and Maria and Ana Brogueira, came after Mass to ask my mother to let me go and spend the day with them. Once I received permission, they asked me to bring Jacinta and Francisco along too. I asked my aunt and she agreed, and so all three of us went to Moita. After dinner, Jacinta was so sleepy that her little head began to nod. Mr. José Alves sent one of his nieces to go and put her to bed. In just a short while, she fell fast asleep. The people of the little hamlet began to gather in order to spend the afternoon with us. They were so anxious to see Jacinta that they peeped in to see if she were awake. They were filled with wonder when they saw that, although in a deep sleep, she had a smile on her lips, the look of an angel, and her little hands joined and raised towards heaven. The room was soon filled with curious people. Everyone wanted to see her, but those inside were in no hurry to come out and make room for the others. Mr. José Alves, his wife and his nieces all said:
“This must be an angel.”
Overcome, as it were, with awe, they remained kneeling beside the bed until, about half-past four, I went to call her, so that we could go and pray the Rosary in the Cova da Iria and then return home. Mr. José Alves’ nieces are the Caetano girls mentioned above.