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.”

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