August 19, 1917, a break in the pattern

The six apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima all occurred on the 13th of each month, except for the one in August. This was because the Administrator of the district of Ourem was a Mason. Not just any Mason, the crude and brutal Arturo Oliveira Santos was the founder-president of the Masonic Lodge of Vila Nova de Ourem and the publisher of the local newspaper. As such, he wielded a tyrannical power in his district and, concerned about the  rising fervor of the area’s Catholics in response to the apparitions, he determined to nip the phenomena in the bud.

First, the Administrator summoned the children and their fathers to an interrogation at the Town Hall of Vila Nova de Ourem on August 10. Ti Marto refused to allow Francisco and Jacinta to be interrogated, and decided to answer for them, stating that, if necessary, he would be imprisoned for them. But Lucia’s father, Antonio dos Santos, complied and brought her to be questioned. He stated, “If she’s lying, it’s a good thing that she should be punished for it.”

Once before the authorities, Lucia was of course, brutally bullied and threatened, while her father did nothing to intervene. This lack of support caused Lucia much suffering. Her words in this regard speak volumes for her sanctity:

“I HAVE THE HAPPINESS OF SUFFERING MORE! What made me suffer most, was the indifference shown me by my parents. This was all the more obvious, since I could see how affectionately my aunt and uncle treated their children. I remember thinking to myself as we went along: ‘How different my parents are from my uncle and aunt. They risk themselves to defend their children, while my parents hand me over with the greatest indifference, and let them do what they like with me! But I must be patient’, I reminded myself in my inmost heart, ‘since this means I have the happiness of suffering more for the love of You, O my God, and for the conversion of sinners.’ This reflection never failed to bring me consolation.”

When Lucia returned home after the grueling ordeal, she raced to the old well to see Francisco and Jacinta, who had agreed to pray for her. She found them crying bitterly, and they explained to her that Lucia’s sister had come by earlier to tell them that she had heard that Lucia had been killed by the authorities.

Although he had so far been unable to succeed in suppressing the little shepherds, the Administrator determined to kidnap them rather than allow another “hoax” appearance. And so, on the 13th, the Administrator tricked the children and brought them to Ourem.

The details of the kidnapping and Oliveira Santos’ actions make a laughable melodrama now, but at the time, they were terrifying to the children. More details can be found at Fatima.org, but for here we simply state that the children, although frightened by finding themselves locked in jail with rough prisoners and threatened with death by being boiled in oil, seized the opportunity to obey the Angel’s request and make reparation. When Jacinta began to cry, Francisco encouraged her,”Don’t cry, we can offer this to Jesus for sinners”, Then he prayed out loud, “O my Jesus, this is for love of You, and for the conversion of sinners.” Jacinta then added: “And also for the Holy Father, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

The prisoners who were in the cell with them tried to comfort them, “But all you have to do, they said, is tell the Administrator the secret! What does it matter whether the Lady wants you to or not!”

Jacinta’s reply is an inspiration for us, “Never! I’d rather die!” she stated firmly. The children then knelt and prayed the Rosary. Lucia tells us in her Memoir that the prisoners all knelt and prayed with them and even those who did not know how at least knelt down reverently. Ah, but that was long ago, wasn’t it? And now even the humble Bishop of Rome will not kneel for Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

After their Rosary, one of the prisoners took out his concertina and began to play a lively tune. before long they were all dancing, as Lucia tells us. “Jacinta’s partner was a poor thief who, finding her so tiny, picked her up and went on dancing with her in his arms!”

In the midst of this happy interlude, a guard appeared, who in a fearsome voice called out to Jacinta: “The oil is boiling now: tell the secret, if you don’t want to be burned!” In a small voice, Jacinta replied, “I can’t.” “So you can’t, eh? Then I’ll make you able to! Come!”

During Jacinta’s interrogation, Francisco confided to Lucia with boundless joy and peace: “If they kill us as they say, we’ll soon be in Heaven! How wonderful! Nothing else matters!” After a thoughtful pause, Francisco continued, “May God grant that Jacinta not be afraid. I will say an Ave Maria for her!” Then he took off his cap and prayed. The guard, seeing him in this attitude of prayer, asked him: “What are you saying?” “I’m reciting an Ave Maria so Jacinta won’t be afraid.” The guard made a disdainful gesture and let him go on.

After Jacinta, the same terrifying farce was repeated with Francisco, then with Lucia, and each one thought the previous ones already dead. At last, the bully Santos had to admit that the little children had gotten the best of him. They had not budged an inch. The next morning, after one last interrogation, he returned the children to Fatima, on the Feast of the Assumption, dropping them off on the veranda of the presbytery.

Even though the little shepherds were unable to keep their assignation with Our Lady, between 3 and 5 thousand people did come. Here is a brief account:

First, there was a thunderclap, “then came the flash of lightning, and then we began to see a little cloud, very delicate, very white, which stopped for a few moments over the tree and then rose in the air and disappeared. As we looked around us, we noticed the strange thing which we had seen before and were to see in the following months; our faces were reflecting all the colours of the rainbow, pink, red, blue… The trees seemed to be made not of leaves but of flowers; they seemed to be laden with flowers, each leaf seemed to be a flower. The ground came out in colours and so did our clothes. The lanterns fixed to the arch looked like gold.”

As our Good Father is able to use all, even the wiles of the ancient enemy in order to bring forth His good for us, it is no surprise that the Freemason Santos accomplished the opposite of what he had intended. The priest, Father Ferreira became indignant over the abductions and fearing that the faithful would think him a willing partner to Santos, he wrote a letter, which was published widely in the area’s Catholic press.

“As a Catholic priest”, he wrote, “I must refute with all my power the unjust and insidious calumny that has been laid against me, and declare before the whole world that I took no part at all, whether directly or indirectly, in the odious and sacrilegious act which was committed by the sudden kidnapping of the three children in my parish who assert that they have seen Our Lady.” Fr. Ferreira went on in his letter to portray an objective narrative of the facts of the apparitions up until that date. It was this letter that gave the apparition credibility in the eyes of a wide swath of Catholic faithful throughout Portugal and Spain.

On Sunday, August 19, in the early afternoon, the children brought their flocks to a pasture in Valinhos. Lucia began to get the premonition that Our lady was about to appear, and since Jacinta was not with them, she sent Jacinta’s older brother to fetch her. It is an especially touching detail that Our Lady waited until Jacinta arrived before appearing.

In this visit, Our Lady again reiterated that she wanted them to continue coming to the Cova da Iria on the 13th of the month, and continue to pray 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.”

Then looking sad, Our Lady said:

“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.”

Frere Michel de la Trinite remarks on the Administrator’s abduction and Our Lady’s response to it:

“By this public act, 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!”

It may perhaps be profitable to apply Frere Michel’s line of reasoning to those who lead the Church today, who continue to outrage God and insult His Blessed Mother. What do we think God will do? Do you think God is pleased right now, as Pope Francis continues to suppress even faithful contemplative nuns, continues to push the destructive modernist agenda?

But above all, the most significant message of this Fourth Visit was Our Lady’s urgent plea:

“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.”

From Frere Michel:

“But what an astonishing affirmation! The eternal salvation of many souls really depends on our prayers and sacrifices? It is so stupefying that many theologians try to interpret in their own way these disturbing words, to diminish their significance.

“As for ourselves, let us be content to show how this doctrine is in perfect conformity with the purest 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. It is an unfathomable but also 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. An oracle of Deuteronomy already expresses this will of God in all its force: For I am the Lord thy God, a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their children unto the third and fourth generation, to them that hate me, And shewing mercy unto many thousands, to them that love me, and keep my commandments.(Dt. 5, 9-10)

“Although the terrible part of this oracle was mitigated by the words of Ezekiel, who without denying family responsibility makes clear the role of individual responsibility, the second part, on the contrary, was reinforced by the message of the Gospel and the Pauline doctrine of the co-redemption: ‘Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake’, he writes to his dear Colossians, ‘and in my flesh I complete what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ for His body, which is the Church.’ (Col. 1:24) And this co-redemptive power conferred by Christ on the members of His body in favour of their brothers, who are also redeemed has no other measure than unbounded Love and the infinite price of the Blood of Jesus, our only and beloved Saviour: One just soul can obtain pardon for a thousand criminals, the Sacred Heart said to St. Margaret Mary.

“Rather than making unending calculations, vainly seeking to fathom the mysteries of divine predestination and human liberty, to reconcile the role of personal merit and the communion of saints, it is better to imitate the wisdom of the three little seers, who believed in all candour the words of Our Lady: Yes, many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them. And they set themselves courageously to draw out all the consequences that flow from this fact.

The first consequence is that the opposite is also true: Many souls can go to Heaven, thanks to our prayers and sacrifices. Here is an immense field of the apostolate open to every generous soul. Who can say henceforth that his life is useless, ruined, sterile, when the most beautiful, the most useful and the only important supernatural work is proposed to everybody by Our Lady, and with what insistence!

Please, if you have not begun the new Crusade of Rosary and Penance, please consider doing what you can to pitch in! Here is the link to our previous post on it, “The New Rosary Crusade Begins Tomorrow“. Also, I’ve posted the intentions for the Crusade on the sidebar at right.

Thank you, each and every one, for reading.


~ by evensong, for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies!

One thought on “August 19, 1917, a break in the pattern

  1. Mary says:

    Dear Evensong,

    Thank you for your prayers and your blog which has helped my spiritual life beyond doubt.

    JMJ

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