THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT FATIMA VOLUME II
THE SECRET AND THE CHURCH
“I Want to Suffer, to Save Souls from Hell!”
(October 1917 - February 20, 1920)
JACINTA was very different from Francisco in character and temperament. She was even more different in her spiritual physiognomy. What a contrast between the brother and the sister! By a wonderful design of Providence, it seems that each one had the mission of living to the full one of the two complementary aspects of the Message of Our Lady.
TO CONSOLE GOD AND CONVERT SOULS
Francisco, who had a contemplative soul, was fascinated above all by the sadness of God and Our Lady, and what he wanted above all was to have compassion on Their pain, to console Them by his loving prayer. Jacinta also had a tender and affectionate heart, but seized with fright at the sight of so many souls falling into the fire of Hell, she wished to make reparation in every possible way for their crimes, and obtain the grace of their conversion from the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She wanted to save them from eternal damnation at any price: «Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them!» These words of Our Lady confirmed Jacinta in her ideal and primary objective. With an unlimited generosity, she was to give herself over to heroic prayer and sacrifice, for the conversion of sinners.
If Francisco strived to be the consoler of the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Jacinta wanted to be their cooperatrix. Her dominant thought, the thought that haunted her and animated all her supernatural activity, was the salvation of souls, an ardent thirst for their conversion, in short, missionary zeal. In one sentence Sister Lucy summed up this difference in their vocations, which in fact is illustrated on every page of her Memoirs: «While Jacinta seemed to be solely concerned with the one thought of converting sinners and saving souls from going to Hell, Francisco appeared to think only of consoling Our Lord and Our Lady, Who had seemed to him to be so sad.» 1
I. HAUNTED BY ONE THOUGHT: THE SALVATION OF SOULS
We have already quoted 2 some striking passages from the Memoirs, where Sister Lucy recalls how the mind of her little cousin was obsessed, so to speak, by the thought of so many souls in danger of being lost.
What we must show now is how these images of the vision of July 13, which were engraved on her memory forever, incited her to the heroic practice of sacrifice. Sister Lucy observes:
«Some of the things revealed in the Secret made a very strong impression on Jacinta. This was indeed the case. The vision of Hell filled her with horror to such a degree that every penance and mortification was as nothing in her eyes, if it could only prevent souls from going there.» 3
Then Sister Lucy asks:
«How is it that Jacinta, small as she was, let herself be possessed by such a spirit of penance and mortification, and understood it so well? I think the reason is this: firstly, God willed to bestow on her a special grace, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and secondly, it was because she had looked upon Hell, and had seen the ruin of souls who fall therein.» 4
«Jacinta (Sister Lucy goes on to observe) took this matter of making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners so much to heart, that she never let a single opportunity escape her.» 5
SACRIFICES FOR THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS
How can we resist the pleasure of citing some new examples of these numerous sacrifices with which Jacinta would strive to pack her days? 6 The account traced for us by Sister Lucy is so charming, so spontaneous!
“Jacinta never forgot sinners.” «We were playing one day at the well I have already mentioned. Close to it, there was a grape vine belonging to Jacinta’s mother. She cut a few clusters and brought them to us to eat. But Jacinta never forgot her sinners. “ We won’t eat them,” she said, “ we’ll offer this sacrifice for sinners.”
«Then she ran out with the grapes and gave them to the other children playing on the road. She returned radiant with joy, for she had found our poor children, and given them grapes.
«Another time, my aunt called us to come and eat some figs which she had brought home, and indeed they would have given anybody an appetite. Jacinta sat down happily next to the basket, with the rest of us, and picked up the first fig. She was just about to eat it, when she suddenly remembered, and said: “ It’s true! Today we haven’t yet made a single sacrifice for sinners! We’ll have to make this one.” She put the fig back in the basket, and made the offering; and we, too, left our figs in the basket for the conversion of sinners.» 7
“I am not going to dance any more!” «Jacinta dearly loved dancing, and had a special aptitude for it. I remember how she was crying one day about one of her brothers who had gone to the war and was reported killed in action. To distract her, I arranged a little dance with two of her brothers. There was the poor child dancing away as she dried the tears that ran down her cheeks.
«Her fondness for dancing was such that the sound of some shepherd playing his instrument was enough to set her dancing all by herself. In spite of this, when St. John’s Day festivities or carnival time came around (in 1918), she announced: “I’m not going to dance any more.” “And why not?” “ Because I want to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord.”
«Since we were the ones who organised the games for the children, the dances which used to take place on these occasions stopped.» 8
“I am so thirsty, yet I do not want to take a drink!” «Occasionally, also, we were in the habit of offering to God the sacrifice of spending nine days or a month without taking a drink. Once, we made this sacrifice even in the month of August, when the heat was suffocating.
«On these occasions, Jacinta would say: “Our Lord must be pleased with our sacrifices, because I am so thirsty, so thirsty! Yet, I do not want to take a drink. I want to suffer for love of Him.”» 9
« Jacinta’s thirst for making sacrifices seemed insatiable», Lucy remarked. 10 She always made her sacrifices with this thought, a thought which was habitual with her: to suffer for sinners, to make acts of reparation in their place, to substitute herself for them, to obtain for them pardon and the grace of conversion. This untiring zeal for the salvation of souls, pushed even to the point of heroic charity, appears in many subsequent episodes found in the Memoirs:
«When, in a spirit of mortification, she did not want to eat, I said to her: “Listen, Jacinta! Come and eat now.” “ No! I’m offering this sacrifice for sinners who eat too much.”
«When she was ill, and yet went to Mass on a week day, I urged her: “Jacinta, don’t come! You’re not able. Besides, today is not a Sunday!” “ That doesn’t matter. I’m going for sinners who don’t go on a Sunday.”
«If she happened to hear any of those expressions which some people make a show of uttering, she covered her face with her hands and said: “Oh, my God, don’t those people realise that they can go to Hell for saying those things? My Jesus, forgive them and convert them. They certainly don’t know that they are offending God by all this! What a pity, my Jesus! I’ll pray for them.” Then and there, she repeated the prayer that Our Lady had taught us: “O my Jesus, forgive us, deliver us from the fire of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.”» 11
«Jacinta made such sacrifices over and over again, but I won’t stop to tell any more, or I shall never end», Lucy tells us. 12 What a loving and generous heart is revealed to us in such a testimony! And what miracles of grace in a child of seven or eight! Such precociousness assumes a very special predilection on the part of God, which was indeed the child’s lot. In this, as in more than one trait of her character, she resembles Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus.
II. THE CONFIDANTE OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Lucy had remarked previously that in her own opinion, «Jacinta was the one who received from Our Lady a greater abundance of grace, and a better knowledge of God and of virtue.» 13 Although she was indeed the youngest of the three seers, it was she who appeared to enjoy the greatest intimacy with the Most Holy Virgin. When the cycle of the six great public apparitions was completed, Jacinta continued almost uninterruptedly to enjoy supernatural favours, right up until her death.
NEW VISITS FROM THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN
Through the official report which Father Ferreira drew up concerning the events of Fatima, we know that the Blessed Virgin appeared to her at least three times, in the short space of time between October 13, 1917 and August 6, 1918, the date on which the parish priest of Fatima completed his Memoir. According to this report:
«Jacinta affirms that Our Lady appeared to her another three times. The first time was in the church at Fatima, during Mass, on Ascension Thursday. At that time Our Lady taught her how to say the Rosary. The second time was at night, at the door of the cellar, while the whole family was sleeping. The third time, in the house, was above a table; the Blessed Virgin was immobile and silent. Jacinta cried out: “Oh, mother!... There, don’t you see Our Lady from the Cova da Iria? Look!”»
This last apparition was confirmed for the parish priest of Fatima by Olimpia Marto herself, who told Father de Marchi about it many years later. 14 Unfortunately, Lucy tells us nothing about these apparitions in her Memoirs. On the other hand, she tells us about several prophetic visions in which Jacinta was able to contemplate, as though they were a series of animated pictures, certain events announced in the great Secret of July 13, 1917.
PROPHETIC VISIONS ILLUSTRATING THE GREAT SECRET
The vision of the Holy Father insulted and persecuted. In her Memoirs, Lucy tells us: «One day we spent our siesta down by my parents’ well. Jacinta sat on the stone slab on top of the well. Francisco and I climbed up a steep bank in search of wild honey among the brambles in a nearby thicket.
«After a little while, Jacinta called out to me: “Didn’t you see the Holy Father?” “No.” “I don’t know how it was, but I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray much for him.”» 15
This mysterious vision is not easy to interpret correctly. However, we know that it certainly took place after July 13, 1917, since it presupposes that the Secret was already revealed, and indeed before October 1918, when Jacinta and Francisco became sick. We also know that this vision concerns an event announced in the Secret, for Lucy continues her account, and writes:
«I have already told you how, one day, two priests recommended that we pray for the Holy Father, and explained to us who the Pope was. Afterwards, Jacinta asked me: “Is he the one I saw weeping, the one Our Lady told us about in the Secret?” “Yes, he is,” I answered. (And Jacinta, with childlike candour, went on:) “The Lady must surely have shown him also to those priests. You see, I wasn’t mistaken. We need to pray a lot for him.”» 16
This vision must be kept in mind, for it helps us to better understand the corresponding words of the Secret, announcing « persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father», who « will have much to suffer». Has the prophecy been fulfilled? Certain interpreters believed it applied to Pope Pius XII. But as we will explain in Volume III, it seems more probable to us that it concerns the future, just like another vision of Jacinta concerning the Holy Father...
The vision of the war and the Holy Father in prayer. At another time, Lucy says, «We went to the cave called Lapa do Cabeço. As soon as we got there, we prostrated on the ground, saying the prayers that the Angel had taught us. After some time, Jacinta stood up and called to me: “Can’t you see all those highways and roads full of people, who are crying with hunger and have nothing to eat? And the Holy Father in a church praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary? And so many people praying with him?”» 17
Horrible visions of a frightful war, of which the events of 1939-1945 were, alas, only the first phase. We will have occasion to return to this subject. For the great war prophesied in the Secret, of which the nocturnal aurora of January 25-26, 1938, was only a sign announcing that it was at hand, was not so much the German war. It was the pitiless struggle, the unceasing war waged by the Soviet Union to extend to the whole world the hegemony of an atheistic, antireligious and bloody communist regime.
As for the Holy Father «praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary», may we not believe that it concerns the Pope mentioned at the conclusion of the Secret: «In the end... the Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me»? Again Sister Lucy clarifies the point, for this second vision corresponds to an event prophesied in the Secret:
«Some days later, Jacinta asked me: “Can I say that I saw the Holy Father and all those people?” “No. Don’t you see that that’s part of the Secret? If you do, they’ll find out right away!” “All right! Then I’ll say nothing at all.”» 18
The Secret in the life of Jacinta. The striking images contemplated in her recent visions keep the Secret on Jacinta’s mind; the themes of the Secret made a more profound impression on her than on her two companions. Sister Lucy is insistent on this point, showing clearly how the Blessed Virgin wished to make this soul – so young and so delicate, but so sensitive and courageous – the confidante of the most intimate thoughts of Her Heart. The great and dramatic Message of Our Lady was destined for the whole world; and Our Lady willed that this innocent soul, Jacinta, be penetrated with it and live it with such love that she became, as Sister Lucy dares to say, «filled with horror» 19, and was led very quickly, within a few months, to the total gift and sacrifice of her life. Lucy continues:
«As I said in the notes I sent about the book called Jacinta, she was most deeply impressed by some of the things revealed to us in the Secret. Such was the case with the vision of Hell and the ruin of the many souls who go there, or again, the future war with all its horrors, which seemed to be always present in her mind. These made her tremble with fear. When I saw her deep in thought, and asked her: “Jacinta, what are you thinking about?” she frequently replied: “About the war which is coming, and all the people who are going to die and go to Hell! How dreadful! If they would only stop offending God, then there wouldn’t be any war, and they wouldn’t go to Hell!”
«Sometimes, she also said to me: “I feel so sorry for you! Francisco and I are going to Heaven, and you’re going to stay here all by yourself! I asked Our Lady to take you to Heaven, too, but She wants you to stay here for a while longer. When the war comes, do not be afraid. In Heaven, I’ll be praying for you.”» 20
“Poor Holy Father, we must pray much for him!” When Our Lady revealed the future to Jacinta, and let her see the Holy Father persecuted, mocked, abandoned by all, and in tears, Jacinta understood how much he needed prayers. «This gave Jacinta such love for the Holy Father that, every time she offered her sacrifices to Jesus, she added: “And for the Holy Father”. At the end of the Rosary, she always said three Hail Marys for the Holy Father.» 21
It is indeed surprising to observe how much, after the apparition of July 13, the thought of the Holy Father kept constantly coming back to the minds of the three seers. This was one of their major preoccupations, along with solicitude for sinners, and the sight of the terrifying war to come. Why? Undoubtedly because the Pope plays a role of decisive importance in the great prophecy of the Secret: he is already named five times in the published part of the Secret; we may believe that he is mentioned again in the part which has not yet been published.
Let us add that several supernatural communications Sister Lucy was later favoured with, concerning the role of the Holy Father in the great prophecy of the Secret, surely supply us with the context which sheds much light on the visions of Jacinta. 22 But we must not get ahead of ourselves...
Let us merely point out how the things Our Lady confided to her three messengers, and especially Jacinta, turned upside down their life as shepherds, which until then had been so tranquil, joyful, and carefree, From now on the great intentions of Our Lady, so grave, so dramatic, would dominate their days, even while they were at play, immensely enlarging their childish horizons, but throwing a pall over them as well... For all these revelations could not remain without fruit in their souls. Before they could be revealed to the world, the secrets of Our Lady had to engage their humble recipients more and more each day, along the sorrow-laden road of compassion and reparation.
TOWARDS PERFECT IMMOLATION
When, at the end of October, 1918, influenza struck Jacinta, and shortly after Francisco as well, for both of them it was the beginning of the sufferings which would soon lead them to the supreme sacrifice. They knew it. Per crucem ad lucem. Per mortem ad vitam. Instructed by so many extraordinary graces for almost three years, they understood intuitively.
At Arneiro, summer, 1916. Already the Angel Precursor had begun to prepare them. «Above all, he had insistently recommended, accept and bear with submission the sufferings that the Lord will send you.»
May 13, at the Cova da Iria. Well after that, Our Lady had pledged them along the Way of the Cross. She had asked them their acquiescence to a real offering of themselves as victims of reparation for sins. This dialogue, from the very first encounter with Our Lady, affected their entire lives:
«“Are you willing to offer yourselves to God, and bear all the sufferings He will send you, in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners?” “Yes, we are,” Lucy had answered in the name of all three. “Then you win have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”»
After this courageous, voluntary self-oblation, immolation had in fact followed. How many trials they had endured and valiantly bore since that blessed May 13! Not in vain were they given over to suffering, offered as victims of love to console the outraged holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, to convert sinners and make reparation for their crimes. Since that day, how many prayers and sacrifices Jacinta had offered at the well of Arneiro, which had become so dear to them! 23 How many tears had all three shed together at the same well where the Angel had promised them that they would have so much to suffer! 24
Francisco and Jacinta, already strongly committed to the Way of the Cross, were near the final stage of the journey. It was at this point that the Blessed Virgin came to let them know this, to renew their fervour. Let us now follow Sister Lucy’s account of this apparition, which undoubtedly took place in the final days of 1918, or in January, 1919.
« OUR LADY CAME TO SEE US»
«Jacinta did improve somewhat, however. She was even able to get up, and could thus spend her days sitting on Francisco’s bed.
«On one occasion, she sent for me to come and see her at once. I ran right over.
«“Our Lady came to see us”, Jacinta said. “She told us She would come to take Francisco to Heaven very soon, and She asked me if I still wanted to convert more sinners. I said I did. She told me I would be going to a hospital where I would suffer a great deal; and that I am to suffer for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for love of Jesus. I asked if you would go with me. She said you wouldn’t, and that is what I find hardest. She said my mother would take me, and then I would have to stay there all alone!”» 25
On another day, Jacinta was more precise; she confided to her cousin: «Our Lady wants me to go to two hospitals, not to be cured, but to suffer more for love of Our Lord and for sinners.» 26
Sister Lucy avows: «I do not know Our Lady’s exact words in these apparitions to Jacinta alone, for I never asked her what they were. I confined myself to merely listening to what she occasionally confided in me. In this account, I have tried not to repeat what I have written in the previous one, so as not to make it too long.”» 26a How we regret – even as we admire – this supernatural discretion, which deprives us of knowing the confidences of our Heavenly Mother to Her beloved child!
Yet, we know enough for us to be moved by this predilection of Heaven, which is expressed by the gift of a cross which is heavier and more punishing to bear... But Jacinta had known for a long time that the more she suffered, the more souls she would snatch away from the eternal flames. This was a certain and absolute truth with her. Taught by the infused grace which accompanied the words of the Angel, she had understood «the value of sacrifice, how pleasing it is to God, and how, in return for it, God converts sinners.» 27
And with all her ardour, she gave a generous “yes” to the hardest sacrifice that could have asked of her, a sacrifice which she undoubtedly had never imagined: to suffer and die alone far from her mother, far from her father, and above all far from Lucy, her only confidante and intimate friend, whose presence gave her such comfort such great joy, the only consolation that remained for her. «I told Her yes.» Sister Lucy continues:
«After this, she was thoughtful for a while and then added: “If only you could be with me! The hardest part is to go without you. Maybe the hospital is a big, dark house, where you can’t see, and I’ll be there suffering all alone! But never mind! I’ll suffer for love of Our Lord, to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the conversion of sinners and for the Holy Father.”» 28
It is always the same intentions, the same great themes of the Secret, which habituate and incite her to heroic sacrifice. The same transports of love always come back to her lips: often she would repeat, «Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation! I love the Immaculate Heart of Mary so much!» 29 «Sometimes, as she would kiss a crucifix, she would press it in her hands, saying: “O my Jesus, I love You, and I wish to suffer much for Your love!” How often did she say: “O Jesus! Now You can convert many sinners, because this is really a big sacrifice!”» 30
III. THE SORROWFUL PASSION:
«I WILL SUFFER EVERYTHING SHE WANTS!»
AT ALJUSTREL: OCTOBER 1918 - JUNE 30, 1919
«The sick little girl suffered a great deal. Except for a few days when she was feeling better, Jacinta never left her bed since the final days of October, 1918. After the bronchial pneumonia, pleurisy caused her great suffering. She bore it, however, with a resignation and even a joy which were surprising.» 31
Jacinta made it her business never to complain. This was both out of a delicate consideration for her mother, to keep her from getting worried, and to offer this additional sacrifice, so costly when one is suffering a great deal. From Lucy alone she felt drawn to hide nothing, to tell her about all the graces she had received, and to admit her true sufferings: «My chest hurts so much, but I’m not saying anything to my mother. (Jacinta confided.) I want to suffer for Our Lord, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Holy Father and for the conversion of sinners.» 32
“I do not want to upset her.” One day, when my aunt had been asking me many questions, Jacinta called me to her and said: “I don’t want you to tell anybody that I’m suffering, not even my mother; I do not want to upset her.”
«When her mother looked sad at seeing the child so ill, Jacinta used to say: “Don’t worry, mother. I’m going to Heaven, and there I’ll be praying so much for you.”
«Or again: “Don’t cry. I’m all right.” If they asked her if she needed anything, she answered: “No, I don’t, thank you.” Then when she had left the room, she said: “I’m so thirsty, but I don’t want to take a drink. I’m offering it to Jesus for sinners.” 33
«One morning, when I went to see her, she asked me: “How many sacrifices did you offer to Our Lord last night?” “Three. I got up three times to recite the Angel’s prayers.” “Well, I offered Him many, many sacrifices. I don’t know how many there were, but I had a lot of pain, and I made no complaint.”» 34
“This cord had three knots and was somewhat stained with blood.” «A few days after falling ill, she gave me the rope she had been wearing, and said: “Keep it for me; I’m afraid my mother may see it. If I get better, I want it back again!” This cord had three knots and was somewhat stained with blood. I kept it hidden until I finally left my mother’s home. Then, not knowing what to do with it, I burned it, and Francisco’s as well.» 35
The glass of milk. We must be careful not to imagine that for the saints, acts of virtue or sacrifices are always easy, or that they are accomplished without effort or pain. No, sacrifice is never natural! Jacinta experienced this to a certain extent – she who had been so lively, even capricious. She was also, occasionally, taken by surprise. In this regard, Lucy preserves for us a precious recollection:
«On another occasion, her mother brought her a cup of milk and told her to take it. “I don’t want it, mother”, she answered, pushing the cup away with her little hand. My aunt insisted a little, and then left the room, saying: “I don’t know how to make her take anything; she has no appetite.”
«As soon as we were alone, I asked her: “How can you disobey your mother like that, and not offer this sacrifice to Our Lord?” When she heard this, she shed a few tears which I had the happiness of drying, and said: “I forgot this time.”
«She called her mother, asked her forgiveness, and said she’d take whatever she wanted. Her mother brought back the cup of milk, and Jacinta drank it down without the slightest sign of reluctance. Later, she told me: “If you only knew how hard it was to drink that!”» 36
From then on, there was no lack of opportunities to renew this sacrifice which cost her so much. Lucy records this anecdote as well:
«Her mother knew how hard it was for her to take milk. So, one day, she brought her a fine bunch of grapes with her cup of milk, saying: “Jacinta, take this. If you can’t take the milk, leave it there, and eat the grapes.” “No, mother, I don’t want the grapes; take them away, and give me the milk instead. I’ll take that.” Then, without showing the least sign of repugnance, she took it. My aunt went happily away, thinking her little girl’s appetite was returning.
«She had no sooner gone than Jacinta turned to me and said: “I had such a longing for those grapes and it was so hard to drink the milk! But I wanted to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord.”» 37
How can we not be stupefied, moved with wonder by the untiring generosity of this poor child, so sorely tried by sickness, and who taxed her imagination to devise new, voluntary sacrifices in addition to the torments she was already suffering! Lucy writes:
«One morning, I found her looking dreadful, and I asked her if she felt worse. “Last night”, she answered, “I had so much pain, and I wanted to offer Our Lord the sacrifice of not turning over in bed, therefore I didn’t sleep at all.”» 38
The hardest sacrifice: loneliness. According to the testimony of everyone who knew her, Jacinta had a loving, sensitive and affectionate heart. She also felt a strong attachment for Lucy and her brother, an attachment which only increased during the happy days of the spring of 1916, when the Angel appeared to them at the Cabeço. The following year, the great Secret, of which they alone were the recipients, was to seal their friendship: «Tell the Secret to no one», Our Lady had concluded. «Francisco, yes, you may tell him.» Since that time, this bond forged by the Blessed Virgin Herself, by making them Her three confidants, and the subsequent supernatural friendship, had been their comfort and help in all their trials.
For Jacinta, in the sufferings of her illness, the presence and companionship of her two close friends had become her sweetest consolation. Her loving heart realised this, and already she would at times make an effort to give up this last source of happiness, so as to offer the sacrifice. Here is Sister Lucy’s account:
«Apart from school or the small tasks I was given to do, I spent every free moment with my little companions...
«Whenever I visited Jacinta’s room first, she used to say: “Now go and see Francisco. I’ll make the sacrifice of staying here alone.”
«One day when I arrived, she asked: “Did you make any sacrifices today? I’ve made a lot. My mother went out, and I wanted to go and visit Francisco many times, and I didn’t go.”» 39
“I’ll suffer as much as they want.” In the first few days of April, 1919, when Francisco felt more and more seriously ill, and felt his end approaching, his little sister left him some recommendations for Heaven. Lucy was there, and she recalls and relates to us the words of her companion: «Give all my love to Our Lord and Our Lady, and tell Them that I’ll suffer as much as They want for the conversion of sinners and in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.» 40 While she recalled the last apparition of Our Lady, Jacinta renewed her own courageous “fiat”: yes, she wished to stay on earth longer, to suffer more and thus save a greater number of sinners.
On April 4, 1919, Francisco left this world. As for Jacinta, she was riveted to her bed by illness, and could not even attend the ceremony of burial. This separation was extremely hard for her, Lucy wrote: «She suffered keenly when her brother died. She remained a long time buried in thought, and if anyone asked her what she was thinking about, she answered: “About Francisco. I’d give anything to see him again!” Then her eyes brimmed over with tears.» 41
“It is the hidden Jesus! I love Him so much!” Jacinta suffered from another separation as well. Before her illness, while she was going to school, «at playtime she loved to pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament». She liked «to be alone for a long time with the Hidden Jesus and talk to Him»; and how it bothered her to be interrupted by strangers who followed her even there, to ask her questions! 42
Now Lucy alone was able to pay a visit to Jesus in the Tabernacle: «One day, when I stopped by on my way to school, Jacinta said to me: “Listen! Tell the Hidden Jesus that I love Him very much, that I really love Him very much indeed.” At other times, she said: “Tell Jesus that I send Him my love, and long to see Him.”» 43
Sister Lucy also mentions this charming trait which manifests better than anything else what limpid faith she had in the real, concrete Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and what ardent love she bore Him: «Sometimes, on returning from church, I went in to see her, and she asked me: “Did you receive Holy Communion?” And if I answered in the affirmative, she said: “Come over here close to me, for you have the Hidden Jesus in your heart.”» 44
Her great worry, in going to the hospital which Our Lady had foretold to her, was that she could not receive Communion there:
«On another occasion, I brought her a picture of a chalice with a host. She took it, kissed it, and radiant with joy she exclaimed: “It is the Hidden Jesus! I love Him so much! If only I could receive Him in church! Don’t they receive Holy Communion in Heaven? If they do, then I will go to Holy Communion every day. If only the Angel would go to the hospital to bring me Holy Communion again, how happy I would be!”» 45
Indeed, although she was now over eight years old, Father Ferreira, not listening to the recent specifications of Saint Pius X, continued to be inflexible: in the summer of 1918, he still had not granted the little seer the favour of approaching the Holy Table. 46
The Lord, however, is free with His gifts, and to respond to the love of a soul which desired Him with such ardour, He gave Himself to her spiritually, and gave her the grace to feel His Divine Presence:
«I don’t know how it is! But I feel Our Lord within me. I understand what He says to me, although I neither see Him nor hear Him, but it is so good to be with Him!» 47
Another time she said: «I so like to tell Jesus that I love Him! Many times, when I say it to Him, I seem to have a fire in my heart, but it doesn’t burn me.» 48
Again, moved by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the same ardent affections of love continually returned to her lips: «I love Our Lord and Our Lady so much, that I never get tired of telling Them that I love Them.» 49
AT THE HOSPITAL OF OUREM: JULY 1 - AUGUST 31, 1919
During the month of June, the doctor noticed that the disease was getting the upper hand, and it was difficult to give Jacinta all the attention she needed at the house. He advised the Marto parents to send her to St. Augustine’s hospital, at Vila Nova de Ourem. The prophecy of Our Lady was about to be fulfilled... and so Jacinta departed, «knowing that she was going not to be cured, but to suffer». 50
«In the first few days of July, Mr. Marto took in his arms the emaciated body of his daughter, placed her as best he could upon his donkey, and conducted Jacinta to Vila Nova de Ourem. There the sick child was given intensive treatment, but with no result.» 51
During her two month stay at the hospital, Jacinta suffered much, and more than anything else she suffered from the cruel loneliness. According to Sister Lucy:
«When her mother went to see her, she asked if she wanted anything. She told her that she wanted to see me. This was no easy matter for my aunt, but she took me with her at the first opportunity.
«As soon as Jacinta saw me, she joyfully threw her arms around me, and asked her mother to leave me with her while she went to do her shopping. Then I asked her if she was suffering a lot. “Yes, I am. But I offer everything for sinners, and in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Then, filled with enthusiasm, she spoke of Our Lord and Our Lady: “Oh, how much I love to suffer for love of Them, just to give Them pleasure! They greatly love those who suffer for the conversion of sinners.”
«The time allotted for the visit passed rapidly, and my aunt arrived to take me home. She asked Jacinta if she wanted anything. The child begged her mother to bring me with her next time she came to see her.» 52
Vila Nova de Ourem is about nine miles away from Aljustrel and it was not an easy trip. Nevertheless, Sister Lucy informs us, «my good aunt, who loved to make her little daughter happy, took me with her a second time. I found Jacinta as joyful as ever, glad to suffer for the love of Our Good God and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for sinners and the Holy Father. That was her ideal, and she could speak of nothing else.» 53
LAST MONTHS AT ALJUSTREL: AUGUST 31, 1919 - JANUARY 21, 1920
At the end of the month of August, since the treatment showed no result, and since the Marto family could not afford the cost of hospital treatment, it was decided that the child would come back to the house.
«Her side had an open wound, which had to be dressed every day. But in the rustic hamlet of Aljustrel, they lacked the necessary equipment for such delicate treatment. The wound became infected, and the pus flowed over the poor child’s chest, as she grew weaker each day.» 54
“... She always had a fever, her face inspired pity.” Regarding the pitiful state of the seer, shortly after her return from the hospital, we have the moving testimony of Mrs. Maria da Cruz Lopes, who visited Aljustrel in September. She wrote:
«The illness was wasting away her poor body and as she was wrapped in a white woollen robe, this fragile, emaciated little figure reminded us of birds who ruffle their wings to fly to milder climates. She was alone, with a modest and recollected air. I gave her two tenths of a peseta, which she accepted.» 55
As for Canon Formigao, who saw her on October 13, 1919, his account is even sadder:
«Will Jacinta die? Accompanied by her mother, she arrives here. Both of them are in intense mourning over the death of Francisco... The child is like a skeleton. Her arms are frighteningly thin. Since she left the hospital of Vila Nova de Ourem, where she was treated for two months, without any results, she always has a fever. Looking at her moves one to pity.
«Poor child! Only last year full of life and health, and now already like a wilted flower, with one foot in the grave! After an attack of tuberculosis and broncho-pneumonia, pleurisy wastes away her weakened body. Only appropriate treatment in a good sanatorium might perhaps save her. But her parents, although they are not completely indigent, nevertheless cannot afford such expenses.» 56
“Will Our Lord be pleased?” Not content with the cruel sufferings caused by her illness, Jacinta did not wish to relax one bit her usual practices of heroic prayer and penance. Had she dispensed with them, she would have feared displeasing Jesus...
Like Lucy, Jacinta was in the habit of reciting often the prayers of the Angel, even during the night. Like the Angel, the girls would prostrate themselves on the ground, in the spirit of humility and adoration. In spite of her state of extreme weakness, Jacinta strived to remain faithful to this practice. She confided to Lucy:
«“When I’m alone, I get out of bed to recite the Angel’s prayer. But now I’m not able to touch the ground any more with my head, because I fall over; so I only pray on my knees.”
«One day, I had the opportunity of speaking to the Vicar (Father Faustino Jacinto Ferreira, dean of Olival). His Reverence asked me about Jacinta and how she was. I told him what I thought about her condition, and afterwards related what she had said to me about being unable to touch the ground when she prayed. His Reverence sent me to tell her that she was not to get out of bed in order to pray, but that she was to pray lying down, and then only as long as she could do so without getting tired. I delivered the message at the very first opportunity. “And will Our Lord be pleased?” she asked. “He is pleased”, I replied. “Our Lord wants us to do whatever the Reverend Vicar says.” “That’s all right, then. I won’t get up any more.”» 57
The trial of interrogations. «What distressed her most (Lucy assures us) were the frequent visits and questioning on the part of many people who wanted to see her, and whom she could no longer avoid by running off to hide.» 58
«Jacinta had to undergo detailed and exhausting interrogations. She never showed the slightest impatience or repugnance, but simply told me later: “My head aches so much after listening to all those people! Now that I cannot run away and hide, I offer more of these sacrifices to Our Lord.”»
Most of her visitors left profoundly edified by her behaviour, which was always «calm and patient, without the least complaint or importuning». Many people remarked that they felt «something supernatural» 59 about her. And the pious pilgrims were not the only ones to experience the inexplicable sweetness of this presence...
The radiance of a soul living in the presence of God. Lucy also tells us that sometimes the neighbours would come to do some sewing in her room. They would sit down, and at times remain for long hours. «They seemed happy to be there.»
«“I’ll work a little beside Jacinta,” they would say; “I don’t know what it is about her, but it is good to be with her”...
«When people asked her questions, she answered in a friendly manner, but briefly. If they said anything which she thought improper, she promptly replied: “Don’t say that; it offends the Lord Our God.”
«If they related something unbecoming about their families, she answered: “Don’t let your children commit sin, or they could go to Hell.” If it concerned grown-ups, “Tell them not to do that, it is a sin, they are offending Our Lord God, and then they could be damned.”» 59a
As we can see, the thought of Hell never left her, and her obsession with the salvation of souls always remained alive.
“She taught them the Our Father and the Hail Mary.” One day Jacinta confided to Lucy: «If only I could put into everybody’s heart the fire I have in my breast, which makes me burn with such love for the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary!» In her simplicity, and to the extent she could, Jacinta did strive to make these Hearts known and loved. In a charming passage, Lucy relates how Jacinta extemporaneously taught catechism to her little companions who felt such a mysterious attraction towards her, combining with their affection for her a reserve and respect which «kept them somewhat at a distance» from her:
«When I went to visit her during her illness, I often found a large group waiting at the door, hoping to be able to come in with me and see her. They seemed to be held back by a certain sense of respect. Sometimes, before I left, I asked her: “Jacinta, do you want me to tell some of them to stay here with you and keep you company?’’ “Oh, yes! But just the ones who are smaller than myself.” Then they all vied with each other, saying: “I’ll stay! I’ll stay!”
« After that, she entertained them by teaching them the Our Father, the Hail Mary, how to bless themselves, and to sing. Sitting on her bed or, if she was up, on the floor of the living room, they played “pebbles”, using crab apples, chestnuts, sweet acorns, dried figs and so on, all of which my aunt was only too happy to supply, so that her little girl might enjoy the children’s company.
« 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 outside the door until my aunt or Jacinta herself invited them in to see her. They seemed to like her and enjoy her company, but they felt themselves held back by a certain shyness or respect that kept them somewhat at a distance.» 60
A terrible secret. Jacinta continued to live by the thought of the terrible chastisements predicted in the great Secret, prophetically revealed to her. This was undoubtedly the wish of the Most Holy Virgin, who had willed to make such a pure, sensitive and ardent soul Her own confidante. Lucy reports:
«One day, I went to Jacinta’s house to spend a little time with her. I found her sitting on her bed, deep in thought. “Jacinta, what are you thinking about?” “About the war that is coming. So many people are going to die, and almost all of them are going to Hell! Many homes will be destroyed, and many priests will be killed.”
«“Look, I am going to Heaven, and as for you, when you see the light which the Lady told us would come one night before the war, you run up there too.” “Don’t you see that nobody can just run off to Heaven!” “That’s true, you cannot! But don’t be afraid! In Heaven I’ll be praying hard for you, for the Holy Father, for Portugal, so that the war will not come here, and for all priests.”» 61
Hell, the war, the coming persecutions against priests and the Holy Father, the sacrifices which she offered to Jesus to convert sinners and make reparation for their faults – these were so many secrets which Jacinta could open up only to Lucy, whose presence therefore became more and more precious to Jacinta, and even indispensable. With her alone, she could speak about what was closest to her heart. According to Lucy:
«One day my aunt made this request: “Ask Jacinta what she is thinking, when she covers her face with her hands and remains motionless for such a long while. I’ve already asked her, but she just smiles and does not answer.”
«I put the question to Jacinta. “I think of Our Lord”, she replied, “Of Our Lady, of sinners, and of... (and she mentioned certain parts of the Secret). I love to think.”
«My aunt asked me how she answered. I just smiled. This led my aunt to tell my mother what had happened. “The life of these children is an enigma to me”, she exclaimed, “I can’t understand it!” And my mother added: “Yes, and when they are alone, they talk nineteen to the dozen. Yet however hard you listen, you can never catch a single word! I just can’t understand all this mystery.”» 62
The flowers of the cabeço. In addition to the advice and exhortations she received from Lucy, and the grave and confidential matters they discussed concerning their secrets in these last days spent at Aljustrel, Jacinta drew comfort and consolation as well from the presence of her older cousin. As good Olimpia observed, «When Lucy came in, joy and sunshine entered my house.» 63
In a life so hard, so full of trials as our seers experienced, it is a pleasure to find charming incidents like the following one. In a wonderful fashion, it demonstrates their freshness of soul, their spontaneity, and also their hearts of gold. Lucy tells us:
«Whenever I could, I loved to go to the Cabeço to pray in our favourite cave. Jacinta was very fond of flowers, and coming down the hillside on the way home, I used to pick a bunch of irises and peonies, when there were any to be found, and take them to her, saying: “Look! These are from the Cabeço!”» 64
As Jacinta took the flowers with joy, would she recall the happy days of 1917, when in the evening she used to walk down the road to meet Lucy, who would be on her way home with the sheep? With what joy she used to greet her friend then! Beaming with happiness, she would walk before Lucy, strewing flower petals she herself had gathered. 65
But now, Jacinta was never ever again to see the blessed hollow of the Cabeço or the many varieties of lilies and other flowers which grew on the side of the hill!
«Sometimes, her face bathed with tears, she would say: “I will never return there again! Neither to Valinhos nor to the Cova da Iria’ That makes me so sad!” “But what does it matter, if you go to Heaven to see Our Lord and Our Lady?’’ “That’s true”, she answered. Then she would be content in her thoughts, as she would pick the flowers from her bouquet, and count the petals of each one.» 66
For them also, their days were numbered, and the hour of the final and most painful sacrifice approached...
IV. THE SUPREME SACRIFICE: «I WILL DIE ALL ALONE!»
A NEW APPARITION OF OUR LADY
As a compassionate mother, Our Lady Herself wished to prepare Her child for the final act of self-renunciation. In December, 1919, She came to announce to her that the hour had come... Lucy writes:
«Once again, the Blessed Virgin deigned to visit Jacinta, to tell her of new crosses and sacrifices awaiting her.
«She gave me the news saying: “She told me that I am going to Lisbon to another hospital; that I will not see you again, nor my parents either, and after suffering a great deal, I shall die alone. But She said I must not be afraid, since She Herself is coming to take me to Heaven.”
«She hugged me and wept: “I will never see you again! You won’t be coming to visit me there. Oh please, pray hard for me, because I am going to die alone!”» 67
“I will die all alone!” Poor child! From then on, this terrible prophecy was to obsess her, to the point of making her feel a veritable agony. Sister Lucy gives us a poignant account of the anguish which then came over her:
«Jacinta suffered terribly right up to the day of her departure for Lisbon. She kept clinging to me and sobbing: “I’ll never see you again! Nor my mother, nor my brothers, nor my father! I’ll never see anybody ever again! And then, I’ll die all alone!”» 68
If at least she could be sure that she would be able to receive Holy Communion! But no, not yet being admitted to the Holy Table, Jacinta feared being deprived of It. «Will I die alone without receiving the Hidden Jesus? Oh, if only Our Lady would bring Him to me when She comes to take me!» she exclaimed. «To die alone» – nothing frightened her more. She reminds us of Saint Joan of Arc, who more than anything else feared dying by fire! But like Saint Joan, Jacinta was ready to suffer everything. One day, Lucy tried to distract her: “Don’t think about it”, I advised her one day. “Let me think about it”, she replied, “for the more I think, the more I suffer, and I want to suffer for love of Our Lord and for sinners.”» 69 Then, to regain her courage, she would recall the promise of Our Lady: soon, she would be in Heaven!
“Our Lady will come to find me, to take me to Heaven.” Lucy, who was well acquainted with the secrets of her heart, was able to find the words which consoled her the most:
«Shortly before she went to Lisbon, at one of those times when she felt sad at the thought of our coming separation, I said to her: “Don’t be upset because I can’t go with you. You can then spend all your time thinking of Our Lady and Our Lord, and saying many times over those words you love so much: My God, I love You! Immaculate Heart of Mary, Sweet Heart of Mary, etc.” “Yes, indeed”, she eagerly replied, “I’ll never get tired of saying those until I die! And then, I can sing them many times over in Heaven!”» 70
To keep from getting too frightened over the approaching separation, Jacinta kept repeating: «But it doesn’t matter; Our Lady will come to find me to take me to Heaven.»
«One day (Lucy reports) I asked her: “What are you going to do in Heaven?” “I’m going to love Jesus very much, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, too. I’m going to pray a lot for you, for sinners, for the Holy Father, for my parents and my brothers and sisters, and for all the people who have asked me to pray for them...”
«When her mother looked sad at seeing the child so ill, Jacinta used to say; “Don’t worry mother. I’m going to Heaven, and there I’ll be praying so much for you!”» 71
Like Saint Therese, Jacinta had resolved to «spend her Heaven doing good on earth.»
Towards heaven... but in faith. «I’m going to Heaven», she would say resolutely to console her mother or comfort herself. Yet we know that it was much more an act of faith than the expression of a sweet hope, felt from within. No, for the time being, just as Jesus was in His agony, she found herself plunged into darkness. Lucy relates:
«On one occasion, I found her clasping a picture of Our Lady to her heart, and saying, “O my dearest Heavenly Mother, do I have to die all alone?” The poor child seemed so frightened at the thought of dying alone!
«I tried to comfort her, saying: “What does it matter if you die alone, so long as Our Lady is coming to fetch you?” “It’s true, it doesn’t matter, really. I don’t know why it is, but I sometimes forget Our Lady is coming to take me. I only remember that I’ll die without having you near me.”» 72
As young as Jacinta was, Our Lady wanted her also to pass through this terrible night which the Saints went through, to follow more closely their Spouse in agony. It was when her soul was deprived of all consolation, frightened at the thought of the sufferings at hand, that there sprung from her soul the purest, the most heroic, and the most meritorious affections of love. Lucy recalls:
«At times, she kissed and embraced a crucifix, exclaiming: “O my Jesus! I love You, and I want to suffer very much for love of You!”
«How often did she say: “O Jesus! Now you can convert many sinners, because this is really a big sacrifice!”» 73
THE UNEXPECTED INTERVENTION OF DOCTOR LISBOA
The Marto parents, having seen that the treatment at the hospital of Vila Nova de Ourem was in vain, judged that it was useless to send their daughter to another hospital.
And yet, suddenly, in a completely unexpected manner, the prophecy of Our Lady was fulfilled to the letter. In mid-January of the year 1920, a renowned doctor of Lisbon, Dr. Lisboa, 74 decided to visit Fatima with his spouse. As he passed through, he desired to pay a visit to Father Formigao, then a professor at the seminary of Santarem. The latter decided to accompany them to Aljustrel. 75
The doctor himself described this visit:
«After a visit to the Cova with Lucy, in whose company we prayed the Rosary with unforgettable faith and devotion, we returned to Fatima, where we spoke to Jacinta and the mothers of the two seers...
«Little Jacinta was very pale and thin, and walked with great difficulty... When I censured them for their lack of effort to save their daughter, they told me that it was not worth while, because Our Lady wished to take her, and that she had been interned for two months in the local hospital without any improvement in her condition. I replied that Our Lady’s will was certainly more powerful than any human efforts and that in order to be certain that She really wished to take Jacinta, they must not neglect any of the normal aids of science to save her life.
«Impressed by my words, they went to ask the advice of Father Formigao, who supported my opinion in every respect. It was therefore arranged on the spot that Jacinta should be sent to Lisbon and treated by the best doctors in one of the hospitals of the capital.» 76
HER LAST VISIT TO THE COVA DA IRIA
Certain that she was leaving Fatima forever, Jacinta asked her mother to take her one last time to the Cova da Iria. Like her poor child, the mother was extremely weakened, a real “abyss of misery’’, as Ti Marto said. She did not have the strength to take Jacinta on foot, so Jacinta went on a donkey. Olimpia herself recalled to Father de Marchi this last pilgrimage of the little seer to the place of the apparitions:
«When we arrived at the Carreira pool, Jacinta got off the donkey and began to say the Rosary alone. She picked a few flowers for the chapel.
«When we arrived we knelt down and prayed a little in her own way. “Mother”, she said when she got up, “when Our Lady went away She passed over those trees, and afterwards She went into Heaven so quickly that I thought She would get Her feet caught!”» 77
A HEARTRENDING GOODBYE: JANUARY 21, 1920
«The day came at last when she was to leave for Lisbon. It was a heartrending farewell. For a long time, she clung to me with her arms around my neck, and sobbed: “We shall never see each other again! Pray a lot for me, until I go to Heaven. Then I will pray a lot for you...”
«“Never tell the Secret to anyone, even if they kill you. Love Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary very much, and make many sacrifices for sinners!”...» 78
Then it was time to leave. Antonio, the eldest of the family, accompanied them. Olimpia had this to recall:
«During the journey (by train) Jacinta stood nearly all the time by the window looking through the glass. In Santarem, a woman came to the train and gave her some candy, but Jacinta wouldn’t eat anything.
«We knew nobody in Lisbon and it was for this reason that Baron Alvaiazere and my husband had arranged for some ladies to meet us. They were to recognise us by the white handkerchiefs tied to our arms. Jacinta, whom I was carrying in my arms, had a handkerchief in her left hand.» 79
What an adventure! Good Olimpia had never taken a train before, and of course she knew nothing of Lisbon. On their arrival, they saw the three ladies who had come to meet them, just as arranged. But now came the first disappointment: the person who had promised to let the seer stay with her before going to the hospital, no doubt because of Jacinta’s miserable state, finally refused. The little girl was exhausted, pus was flowing from the wound in her side, and it gave a nauseous odour. To agree to take care of her was a rough task and a grave responsibility.
Off they went, therefore, in search of other lodgings:
«We went to various houses but nobody would take us in. When we were nearly tired out from walking, we came to the house of a good woman who opened her doors to us and could not have given us a better welcome. I stayed there with Jacinta for over a week and then went back to Fatima.» 80
JACINTA STAYS WITH MOTHER GODINHO: JANUARY 21 - FEBRUARY 2, 1920
Jacinta was finally accepted in an orphanage called “Our Lady of Miracles”, located at 17 Rua de Estrela. It was named after a chapel next door, consecrated under this title. The foundress and directress, Maria of the Purification Godinho, was a former Claretian postulant of Lisbon. 81 Gathered around her were some young women who were living as religious since 1913, although without the habit and official recognition.
Mother Godinho was a good, pious woman, without learning. Later on she said: «I saw what an angelic creature the Blessed Virgin had sent me. For a long time I had desired to see the privileged children to whom Our Lady had appeared. I was far from imagining that one day my poor abode would house Jacinta, the youngest of the three.» 82 Thus, Mother Godinho was full of esteem for her little visionary, and also very proud of the honour which had been granted her.
Finally, to be able to receive Communion and confess! In the religious atmosphere of the house, Jacinta quickly found herself at ease, notwithstanding her great timidity. Then – an unexpected favour – finally she could attend Mass and receive communion almost every day! Indeed Mother Godinho herself had to take the happy initiative of seeing to the communion of the little seer, who had been preparing for it for so long, and with such ardour! Olimpia recalled that:
«She was carried in my arms, or in the arms of the Superior, when she went to the altar of the chapel and the Communion Table.
«I remember how one day, before returning to the orphanage, she said to me: “Mother, I want to go to confession.” And so we went, although dawn had not yet broken, to the church at Estrela... My Jesus! What a great church!... When we came out, the child was very consoled and kept repeating: “Oh, mother! What a good Father! What a good Father!... He asked me so many things!”... I would sure like to know what the priest asked her! But the things of confession are not to be spoken about.” 83
The testimony of Mother Godinho. At this stage in our account, we must open a brief critical parenthesis. On many, many occasions Mother Godinho spoke of the actions and gestures of little Jacinta. Very often, unfortunately, she was the only witness of these things. The prolixity and bewildering character of several of the statements she attributes to the seer have justly evoked some scepticism on the part of well informed critics. Father Alonso declared in 1971: «Mother Godinho attributed so many things to Jacinta that it is impossible that the child could really have said all that!» 84
However, while he does point out that the declarations of Mother Godinho are not always perfectly credible, the Fatima expert remarks that it would be unjustified to reject indiscriminately her testimony as a whole. Many actions and gestures which she attributes to Jacinta seem taken from real life and correspond quite well to her character, such as Lucy has described it for us. 85
That being said, let us resume our account.
“She spoke with such authority!”... In the orphanage, Mother Godinho recalled, there were twenty or twenty-five children:
«Jacinta was friendly with them all but she preferred the company of a little girl about her own age to whom she would give little sermons. It was delightful to hear them, and, hidden behind the half-open door, I witnessed many of these conversations. “You mustn’t lie or be lazy or disobedient, and you must bear everything with patience for love of Our Lord if you want to go to Heaven.” She spoke with such authority! It wasn’t at all like a child!...» 86
“Our Lady does not want people to talk in church!” «In the house (Mother Godinho reports) there was a room which overlooked the chapel. She would go there, and from that spot she could see the Tabernacle, without anybody noticing her prayer. Her attitude of recollection and fervour, especially her eyes, fixed with love upon the Tabernacle, were very impressive.» 87
From that location, however, Jacinta could see what was going on in the nave of the chapel. «She remarked that several people did not have the necessary attitude of recollection, and she said to me: “Godmother – (this was how the children addressed the directress) – these people should not be allowed to behave this way before the Blessed Sacrament. In church, we must be tranquil and not talk... Our Lady does not want people to talk in church!”» 88
New visits of Our Lady. Let Mother Godinho be heard once more: «During the time she was in my house she must have received a visit from Our Lady more than once. I remember on one occasion she said: “Please move, dear godmother, I am waiting for Our Lady!”, and her face took on a radiant expression.» 89
What words were exchanged then between the Blessed Virgin and her confidante? We are almost completely ignorant. Let us however note the only indication Lucy gives us in the Memoirs: «From Lisbon, she sent word that Our Lady had come to see her there; She had told her the day and hour of her death. Finally Jacinta reminded me to be very good.» 90
TRANSFER TO THE HOSPITAL: FEBRUARY 2, 1920
During this time, Doctor Lisboa looked into getting the child into a hospital. However, he encountered an unforeseen obstacle: good Olimpia, no doubt moved to pity by the lamentable state of her daughter, was obstinately opposed to an operation. Here is Ti Marto’s account:
«I was not at Lisbon to take care of Jacinta with her illness. I was not needed there, but I was needed here. Everything I did for the child, I did by means of the Baron, who was so good to me. 91
«In the beginning of one week, he asked me to come and see him: Canon Formigao, he said, has received a letter from Lisbon. There are difficulties over there. Olimpia wants to know nothing about it. They wrote to see if there was not some way to stop her opposing what they wanted to do. The letter said these country people are so stupid that they don’t even want a good deed done for them.
«We both started laughing, and I told him: “Oh, Baron, that really is true! As for myself, Baron, I am of the opinion that we must do everything these good people wish for my little Jacinta.”
«So I wrote to my wife: “I believe it’s not necessary that you remain there. You can do so, on the condition that you neither embarrass nor torment these good people who wish to do us some good.”» 92
Olimpia, therefore, had to silence her maternal apprehensions and give in. On February 2, 1920, Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus, Jacinta left “Our Lady of Miracles” for the hospital of Dona Estefania, where she occupied bed no. 38 in the children’s ward. For Jacinta it was a new and sorrowful separation. Besides, didn’t she know that the operation would do no good? «It’s all useless (she kept repeating); Our Lady came to tell me I would die soon.» 93 No matter, she had to consent to this new sacrifice: at the hospital, she would no longer have the presence of the Hidden Jesus, and the comfort of receiving Him every day into her soul.
And then her loneliness increased, because at this time at Aljustrel, other children of the family were sick, and they needed the attention of their mother. Called back by her husband and seeing that the surgery was delayed, Ti Olimpia decided to return to Fatima. On February 5, she left her poor child for good. 94
Granted, every day Mother Godinho and some women friends came to visit her, but for a child barely ten years old, nothing could replace her mother’s presence. And thus the prophecy of Our Lady was fulfilled: Jacinta found herself all alone in a great hospital, to die there.
“Patience! We must suffer if we want to go to Heaven!” «Purulent pleurisy, and osteitis of the seventh and eighth left ribs.» Such was the diagnosis of Jacinta by Doctor Castro Freire, who welcomed her to the hospital.
«On February 10th, Jacinta’s operation took place at his hands. She suffered greatly, for they could not give her chloroform because of her extreme weakness, and they had to make do with a local anaesthetic, which was applied very imperfectly in those times. Nevertheless, she suffered even more from the humiliation of seeing all her clothes removed. Mother Godinho, who remained with her until the time of the operation, tells us that the little one cried a great deal at seeing herself in the hands of the doctors like this.
«The result of the operation, carried out by Dr. Castro Freire, assisted by Dr. Elvas, at first appeared encouraging. Two ribs were extracted from her left side, leaving a wound as wide as a hand. This caused her great suffering, and the pain was revived every time the wound had to be dressed. However, her only cry was: “Aie! Aie!... Oh! Our Lady!” She would add: “Patience! We must all suffer to get to Heaven!”» 95
At some date we do not know, Mr Marto came to visit his “Jacintinha”. But he could not, alas, remain very long with her. At Aljustrel, his family needed him and he too had to resign himself to leaving her to her solitude and sufferings. However, as a good mother, the Blessed Virgin took pity on Her child and came soon to lighten her trial...
“She has taken all my sufferings away.” Three days before dying, Jacinta declared to Mother Godinho: «Listen, godmother, I’m no longer in pain! (The night before she had confided that she was suffering great pains.) Our Lady appeared to me again. She told me that She would come to take me soon and that I wouldn’t suffer any more.» 96 And in fact, from that day she did not show any more signs of suffering. Dr. Lisboa wrote in his report:
«As a matter of fact, right after this apparition in the middle of the hospital room, all her sufferings disappeared, and she was able to distract herself by looking at pious images, one of which was Our Lady of Sameiro, which was later offered to me as a souvenir of Jacinta. The child said that this image reminded her the most of the Virgin such as She appeared to her.» 97
From now on, the place where Our Lady appeared again, at the foot of her bed, became a sacred spot for her. When Mother Godinho sat there, the seer would exclaim: «Not there, godmother, that’s where Our Lady was!» 98 One of the nurses purposely stood there, just to see her reaction. Jacinta didn’t dare to say anything, “but her face took on such an expression of pain that I felt I could not remain there”, the nurse told Father de Marchi. 99
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20: SHE DIES ALL ALONE
A few days after the operation, Dr. Lisboa, full of hope for his patient’s chances, wrote to Mr. Marto and the Baron of Alvaiazère, telling them that everything had gone well.
Jacinta, however, knew the day and hour of her death. 100 Here is Dr. Lisboa’s report:
«On the evening of that 20th of February, at about six o’clock, Jacinta said that she felt worse and wished to receive the sacraments.
«The parish priest, Dr. Pereira dos Reis, was called and he heard her confession about eight o’clock that night. I was told that Jacinta had insisted that the Blessed Sacrament be brought to her as Viaticum but that Father Reis had not concurred because she seemed fairly well. He promised to bring her Holy Communion in the morning. Jacinta again asked for Viaticum, saying that she would die shortly.
«And indeed, around half past ten that night, she died peacefully, but without having received Holy Communion.» 101
Everything was accomplished. The prophecy of Our Lady had been fulfilled: Jacinta died alone, without parents or friends, and without anyone to attend her in her last moments. 102 She was even deprived of the supreme comfort: the sweet Presence of Jesus in the Host, which she had so long desired for that supreme moment – and it had been refused her. What a sacrifice! Once again she could repeat: «O Jesus, now You can convert many sinners, because I suffer a great deal!»
The two long and lonely hours which elapsed between her confession and her death – what were they like? This is a secret of her soul, a soul thirsting for the salvation of sinners, and of her heart, a heart burning with love for Jesus and Mary... But we can be certain of one thing: Our Lady surely kept Her promise; She Herself came to fetch Her child, to introduce her, finally, into the infinite beatitude of Heaven!
« I WILL RETURN TO FATIMA... BUT AFTER MY DEATH»
Here is Dr. Eurico Lisboa’s account of the events which followed the death of the little seer:
«When I was told what had occurred during the night I spoke to Dona Amelia Castro, who came every day to my consulting room for treatment to her eyes, and she obtained from certain members of her family a white First Communion dress used by poor children, and money to buy a blue silk sash. Jacinta was thus laid out in Our Lady’s colours according to her wish.
«As soon as her death became known, various people sent money for the expenses of the funeral which was fixed for the following day, Sunday, at noon, the body to be taken to one of the cemeteries of Lisbon.
«When the coffin left the hospital mortuary, it occurred to me that it might be wiser to have the body deposited in some special place, in case the apparitions should later be confirmed by the ecclesiastical Authorities or the general incredulity on the subject be overcome. I therefore proposed that the coffin containing Jacinta’s body be deposited in the church of the Holy Angels until its removal to some vault could be arranged.
«I then went to see my good friend, Father Reis, the parish priest who, however, balked at the idea of the body remaining in his church owing to certain difficulties. However, with the help of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, some of whose members happened to be in the sacristy at the time, Father Reis was persuaded to give his permission to let the body remain there. Soon afterwards it arrived and was placed humbly on two stools in a corner of the sacristy.
«The news spread rapidly and soon a sort of pilgrimage of believers in Fatima began, the faithful bringing their Rosaries and statues to touch Jacinta’s dress and pray by her side. All this profoundly disturbed Father Reis who was averse to his church being used for what might well be a false devotion, and he protested energetically by both word and action, thereby surprising those who knew him as a most kind and courteous priest.
«It had finally been decided that the body should be taken to a vault in Vila Nova de Ourem, and matters were accordingly arranged. This however involved a delay of two days, the funeral being fixed for Tuesday at four o’clock from the Holy Angels Church to the Rossio station, and from thence by train to Vila Nova de Ourem.
«Meanwhile the body remained in the open coffin, which again caused serious anxiety to Father Reis, who feared an intervention on the part of the sanitary authorities, and he continued to be worried by the stream of visitors, which he only avoided by locking the coffin in an office.
«At last Father Reis, in order to avoid the responsibility of the open coffin and the pilgrims, deposited the body in the confraternity room above the sacristy and handed the key to the firm of undertakers, Antonio Almeida and Co., who had been hired for the funeral. Mr. Almeida remembers to this day, and in great detail, what took place on that occasion.
«In order to satisfy the innumerable requests to visit the body, he remained in the church all day on February 23, accompanying each group of pilgrims – whose numbers were strictly limited – to the room above, in order to avoid any unseemliness which might occur.
«He was deeply impressed by the respect and devotion with which the people approached and kissed the little corpse on the face and the hands.» 103
“A PLEASANT PERFUME.” Here let the witness himself, Mr. Almeida speak. He writes:
«I feel as though I can still see this little angel. Lying in her casket, she seemed to be alive, with her lips and cheeks a beautiful rosy colour. I have seen many dead people, young and old, but I have never seen anything like her... The most obstinate unbeliever would not have been able to doubt. Think of the odour corpses often give off, which cannot be borne without repugnance! Yet the little girl was dead for three and a half days, and the odour she exhaled was like a bouquet of various flowers...» 104
Doctor Lisboa continues:
«On Tuesday, February 24, at eleven o’clock in the morning, the body was placed in a leaden coffin, which was soldered. Apart from the solderer, present were Mr. Almeida, the parish authorities and some ladies including Dona Maria de Jesus de Oriol Pena, who declared to several persons who can still witness to it today, that the perfume exhaled by the body at the moment the coffin was closed was very pleasant, like that of sweet-smelling flowers, a very singular fact given the purulent character of the illness and the prolonged time the body had remained in the open air. The funeral service took place the afternoon of the same day. The body was accompanied by a large crowd on foot (up to the train station), in the rain. The casket was deposited in the family vault of the Baron of Alvaiazere, at Vila Nova de Ourem.» 105
Two weeks later, on September 12, 1935, Bishop da Silva ordered the transfer of Jacinta’s body to the cemetery of Fatima. When the coffin was opened, all the assistants were astonished to observe that the face of the seer had remained perfectly intact. Again, on May 1, 1951, on the occasion of the final inhumation in the basilica, it could be observed that Jacinta’s face was still perfectly recognisable.
In expressing our wish that the Church soon grant her the glory of canonisation, 106 we can already make our own the beautiful prayer which Sister Lucy addresses to her at the beginning of her Memoirs:
«Swift through the world
You went a-flying,
In deepest suffering
Forget not my plea
And prayer to you:
Be ever my friend
Before the throne
Of the Virgin Mary!
O lily of candour,
Up there in Heaven
You live in glory,
O seraphim of love,
With your little brother,
At the Master’s Feet
Pray for me.» 107
TESTIMONY ON THE SANCTITY OF JACINTA
THE TESTIMONY OF SISTER LUCY
«What did people feel when they were around Jacinta?» Canon Galamba asked Sister Lucy. In her Fourth Memoir, Sister Lucy answers this at length, and with great psychological finesse.
“A holy person who seems to be in continual communication with God.” «What I myself usually felt was much the same as anyone feels in the presence of a holy person who seems to be in continual communication with God. Jacinta’s demeanour was always serious and reserved, but friendly. All her actions seemed to reflect the presence of God in a way proper to people of mature age and great virtue. I never noticed in her that excessive frivolity of childish enthusiasm for games and pretty things, so typical of small children. This, of course, was after the apparitions; before then, she was the personification of enthusiasm and caprice! I cannot say that the other children gathered around her as they did around me. This was probably due to the fact that she did not know as many songs or stories with which to teach and amuse them, or perhaps that there was in her a seriousness far beyond her years.
«If in her presence a child, or even a grown-up, were to say or do anything unseemly, she would reprimand them, saying: “Don’t do that, for you are offending the Lord Our God, and He is already so much offended!”
«If, as sometimes happened, the child or adult answered back, and called her a “pious Mary” or a plaster saint, or some other such thing, she would look at them very seriously and walk away without a single word. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why she did not enjoy more popularity.» 1
« THIS MUST BE AN ANGEL!»
«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. 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 pray the Rosary in the Cova da Iria and then return home.» 2
THE PRAYERS OF A SAINT
At the church of Fatima. When Jacinta was going to school, after October 1917, «at playtime she loved to pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. “They seem to guess”, she complained. “We are no sooner inside the church than a crowd of people come asking us questions! I wanted so much to be alone for a long time with the Hidden Jesus and talk to Him, but they would never let us!”
«It was true, the simple country folk never left us alone. With the utmost simplicity, they told us about all their needs and their troubles. Jacinta showed the greatest compassion, especially when it concerned some sinner, saying: “We must pray and offer sacrifices to Our Lord, so that he will be converted and not go to Hell, poor man!”» 3
Three Hail Marys to obtain a healing. «Again, a poor woman afflicted with a terrible disease met us one day. Weeping, she knelt before Jacinta and begged her to ask Our Lady to cure her. Jacinta was distressed to see a woman kneeling before her, and caught hold of her with trembling hands to lift her up. But seeing this was beyond her strength, she too knelt down and said three Hail Marys with the woman. She then asked her to get up, and then assured her that Our Lady would cure her. After that, she continued to pray daily for that woman, until she returned some time later, to thank Our Lady for her cure.» 4
“She never forgot her soldier.” «On another occasion, there was a soldier who wept like a child. He had been ordered to leave for the front, although his wife was sick in bed and he had three small children. He pleaded that either his wife would be cured or that the order would be revoked. Jacinta invited him to say the Rosary with her, and then said to him: “Don’t cry. Our Lady is so good!... She will certainly grant you the grace you are asking.”
«From then on, she never forgot her soldier. At the end of the Rosary, she always said one Hail Mary for him. Some months later, he appeared with his wife and his three small children, to thank Our Lady for the two graces he had received. Having come down with fever on the eve of his departure, he had been released from military service, and as for his wife, he said she had been miraculously cured by Our Lady.» 5
A case of bilocation? On another occasion Sister Lucy records this astounding episode: «An aunt of mine called Victoria was married and lived in Fatima. She had a son who was a real prodigal. I do not know the reason, but he left his father’s house, and no one knew what had become of him. In her distress, my aunt came to Aljustrel one day, to ask me to pray to Our Lady for this son of hers. Not finding me, she asked Jacinta instead, who promised to pray for him. A few days later, he suddenly returned home, asked his parents’ forgiveness, and then went to Aljustrel to relate his sorry story.
«He told us that, after having spent all that he had stolen from his parents, he wandered about for quite a while like a tramp until, for some reason I have now forgotten, he was put in jail at Torres Novas. After he had been there for some time, he succeeded in escaping one night and fled to the remote hills and unfamiliar pine groves. Realising he had completely lost his way, and torn between the fear of being captured and the darkness of a stormy night, he found that his only recourse was prayer. Falling on his knees, he began to pray. Some minutes had passed, he affirmed, when Jacinta appeared to him, took him by the hand and led him to the main road which runs from Alqueidao to Reguengo, making a sign for him to continue in that direction. When morning dawned, he found himself on the road to Boleiros. Recognising the place where he was, he was overcome with emotion and directed his steps straight home to his parents.
«Now what he declared, was that Jacinta had appeared to him, and that he had recognised her perfectly. I asked Jacinta if it was true that she had gone there to guide him. She answered that she had not, that she had no idea at all of the location of the pine woods and hills where he had been lost. “I only prayed and pleaded very much with Our Lady for him, because I felt so sorry for Aunt Victoria.” That was how she answered me. How, then, did it happen? I don’t know. Only God knows.» 6
THE TESTIMONY OF THE SURGEON: « A VERY COURAGEOUS CHILD.»
Here is the testimony of Dr. Castro Freire, who operated on Jacinta at the hospital of Dona Estefania at Lisbon:
«“I was already a specialist in paediatrics and professor when I met Jacinta at the hospital of Dona Estefania, where I was practicing. She arrived at the hospital in very serious condition, with a face very marked by suffering; her purulent pleurisy was followed by pneumonia. She had two decayed ribs, at least the left one, I believe. It seems to me that she also had a problem with one of the bones of her forearm, but I am not very sure... The operation consists in opening a fissure large enough for the drainage of pus and to dry the rib areas.”
«When asked the question: “In your opinion, Doctor, under those circumstances would such an operation be painful?” he answered: “Very painful, for several reasons. Jacinta had already suffered a great deal from the illness itself before coming to the hospital, and even at the hospital when she was waiting to be operated on; there was no general anaesthesia; and a local anaesthetic is much more painful when there is inflammation of the tissues. There is also the fact that it was a long operation... Jacinta impressed me as a very courageous child, because when a cavity is opened, a local anaesthetic is far from suppressing all pain... The only words I heard her pronounce during the operation were these: Aie! Jesus! Aie! My God! After the operation I continued to follow her progress for a certain time; I checked the state of her dressings; it was very painful to change them... At a given moment, shortly before her death, she was transferred to another service.”
«When asked: “Can Jacinta’s patience be considered heroic?” the doctor answered: “Certainly, especially if we consider everything she suffered, the manner in which she suffered, and the fact that she was only a child, for as we know, an adult has more capacity for suffering than a child.”
«To the question, “Would you be happy, doctor, if Jacinta were declared Blessed and a Saint of the Church?” he answered: “That would be a great joy for me, considering the heroism demonstrated by this child.”» 7
A MESSAGE OF OUR LADY FOR CANON FORMIGAO
Among all the statements, prophecies and secrets attributed by Mother Godinho to our little seer during her brief stay at Lisbon, the message addressed to Canon Formigao merits special consideration, because of its solid guarantees of authenticity.
We know that during her last days, Jacinta insistently requested several times that the Reverend Doctor Manuel Formigao be called to her side, affirming that Our Lady had appeared to her and had given her a message to transmit to him. A letter of Mother Godinho written February 19, 1920, the day before Jacinta’s death, gives clear testimony regarding this insistent request of the little seer. Unfortunately, the revered priest, to whom Jacinta had also desired to go to confession, could not be freed from his occupations in time, and when he arrived at Lisbon, the seer had already been dead for several days. Shortly before dying, however, she had communicated to Mother Godinho the message of Our Lady, so that Canon Formigao could be informed anyway.
Mother Godinho spoke with the priest face to face, and told him what Jacinta had said. Just as during the interrogations, Canon Formigao took notes on the spot, and reviewed them a few days later. Here is the essence of the text, written at the end of February, 1920:
«The revelation which, according to Jacinta de Jesus Marto, the Most Holy Virgin made to her when she was at Lisbon, shortly before her death and which, since I could not receive personally, as she so strongly desired, her “godmother”, Maria of the Purification Godinho – a lady whom I am assured is worthy of belief – transmitted to me for her part and by order of Our Lady (...). What is written below is so to speak the free translation, but still the most exact rendering, of the communication of the seer:
«Our Lord is very angry over the sins and crimes which are committed in Portugal. For this reason a terrible cataclysm of the social order menaces our country, especially the city of Lisbon. It seems that a civil war of an anarchist or communist character will break out, accompanied by plundering, killing, arson, and all sorts of devastation. The capital will become a real image of Hell. At the moment when the Divine Justice, so offended, inflicts such a frightful chastisement, let all those who can flee from this city. This chastisement here predicted, must be made known little by little, with proper discretion.» 1
It is a terrible prophecy. Everything in it however is clear and easily understood. The danger evoked here was fulfilled to the letter in Madrid, in 1936 2. We ourselves have every reason to believe, as later revelations of Sister Lucy imply, that Portugal also might have undergone a civil war, along with the Bolshevik terror. But the prophecy was conditional, and, in perfect harmony with the rest of the message, the Blessed Virgin at the same time offers us the means to prevent the chastisement: as we will see later on, it turns out to be the consecration of Portugal to Her Immaculate Heart, but also – indeed first of all – reparation, for these two requests always go together at Fatima.
As Jacinta indeed explained the words of the Blessed Virgin, «if there were souls who would do penance and make reparation for the offences done to God, and works of reparation were instituted to make satisfaction for crimes, the chastisement would be prevented...» 3
An efficacious warning. These words, which harmonise so well with the revelations received by Sister Lucy, were to have a great effect with an elite group of chosen souls: from these words they drew the inspiration for a life completely devoted to reparation, to satisfy the requests of Our Lady. At Fatima, and nowhere else, we have five congregations of women whose spirituality is directly oriented in this sense: among others, the “Missionary Sisters of Reparation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus”, the “Servants of Mary of Reparation”, the “Claretian Sisters of Reparation”, and the “Missionaries of Reparation of the Holy Face”. 4
But the message of Our Lady was addressed by name to Canon Formigao, and he was the first to recognise a call from Heaven to found a work corresponding to this request. In 1934, he wrote that this thought of the need for reparation seemed to him the most profound reason for the marvellous events which took place at the Cova da Iria: «Individual faults and collective iniquities cried to Heaven for vengeance, and the Most Holy Virgin had difficulty holding back the arms of Her Blessed Son, ready to unloose the blows of Divine Justice on those who openly and fearlessly defied the wrath of the Most High...
«It was then that a handful of chosen souls offered themselves generously to the Lord... May it please God not to let the barbarian hordes of Muscovite communism subvert Christian institutions, annihilating lives, defiling souls, and transforming all of Portugal into an immense sea of blood and carnage, and a vast and horrible field of debris and smoking ruins!» 5 These words are especially remarkable as they were written before the Spanish Civil War broke out.
After having intimately collaborated in the work of Dona Luisa Andaluz in 1934, Canon Formigao founded a special institute, “Congregation of Sisters of Reparation of Our Lady of Sorrows of Fatima”, with the goal of fulfilling the ideal of reparation according to the Message of Fatima. Canonically approved on August 15, 1949, the new congregation developed rapidly. As of 1986, it numbered eight houses in Portugal and one in Germany. At the Cova da Iria, the nuns ensure that there is perpetual adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament exposed in the chapel of the hospital, located behind the Capelinha.
What admirable fecundity in the message of Our Lady, which the little seer on her deathbed passed on to the priest destined to put it in practice.
« IF THEY ONLY KNEW WHAT ETERNITY WAS!»
Among the innumerable “logia’’ or sayings which Mother Godinho attributed to Jacinta, a few others came to be added in passing years, with reasonable probability of authenticity; Canon Formigao records them in his book of 1927, “The Great Miracles of Fatima”. Canon Formigao collected these sayings shortly after the death of Jacinta, and they undoubtedly correspond (if not word for word) to things the little seer really said. As a matter of fact, we know through Sister Lucy how frightened Jacinta was by the thought of so many souls falling into Hell. 6
«Among the visitors and nurses were many who offended Jacinta by their over-decorative dress, often immodest as well. Pointing out certain necklaces and other forms of jewellery, Jacinta would say: “What is it all for? If they only knew what eternity was!” And of some doctors who appeared to be unbelievers: “Poor things! If they knew what awaited them!”
«The seer affirmed that Our Lady had revealed to her that “the sins which lead the most people to Hell are sins of the flesh; that people must give up luxury and impurity, that they must not remain obstinate in sin, and that they must do penance. It seems that as she said this, Our Lady looked very sad, for the child added: “Oh, I feel so bad for Our Lady! I feel so bad for Her!”» 7
AN APOCRYPHAL MESSAGE
«THE SECRET OF MOTHER GODINHO» (APRIL 25, 1954)
We have seen how “the secret” reserved for Canon Formigao concerns a very precise object, and was passed on to the intended recipient immediately. If we consider the way it was transmitted, the content, as well as the undeniable fruits of grace it engendered, it comes to us with solid guarantees of credibility. 1 The same is not the case for the two other secrets which Mother Godinho claims she received from Jacinta, on the part of the Most Holy Virgin.
A nonexistent secret. Regarding the secret supposedly destined for Dr. Lisboa, which Mother Godinho herself said she was unaware of, Father Alonso puts forward a very plausible hypothesis: Jacinta, who was sick at the hospital of Lisbon, asked insistently for a visit from “Senhor Doutor”... but this expression was frequently used by the little seers to designate... Dr. Formigao! Thus it may have been a simple mistake in the names, Jacinta in reality having no secret for Dr. Lisboa. 2
“The secret of Mother Godinho.” That leaves only the famous secret supposedly destined for Mother Godinho herself, known to us only by the letter she wrote to Pope Pius XII, on April 25, 1954. When it began to be partially divulged, around the year 1970, this secret caused quite a stir: did it not predict frightful cataclysms for the year 1972? An announcement of future events predicted for a precise date always makes a great impression. Moreover, several Portuguese authors took this text very seriously. In 1971, Father Messias Dias Coelho published the integral text of it once again, with a commentary which tended to favour its authenticity. 3
Let us point out that at the same time, Father Alonso did not have any qualms about giving a decidedly opposing opinion. During the Third International Seminar on Fatima, from August 17 to 22, 1971, he was asked several times about this subject:
«“There is talk concerning a text of Jacinta for the year 1972. What should we think of it?” Response: “This text exists. It has been published twice by the revue Mensagem de Fatima, but it does not merit critical confidence.” Question: “Where is the original of Mother Godinho’s letter to the Pope? What is its content?” Response: “The letter is at Lisbon. As for its content, it is hard to say because the letter is long, but in general it deals with eschatological things. Finally, it is said that there will be a great calamity in the world in 1972.” Question: “Is it true that the year 1972 will be a year of great disasters? The texts speak of this date and no other.” Response: “This comes from Mother Godinho, but she attributes so many things to the seer that it is impossible that she really said all that.”» 4
Events have proven the Fatima expert right. The fateful year 1972 went by without anything to verify the prophecy objectively. That might have settled the matter, and we could let this document fall back into the oblivion it merits, as Father Alonso seems to have wished. However, since we propose to give “the whole truth about Fatima”, it seems necessary, to get to the bottom of the matter, to quote the entire text and present a point by point critical commentary. 5
« Prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, the humble and obscure Mother Mary of the Purification Godinho, who for forty years has worked at the foundation of an order of Franciscan Sisters, Claretians of expiation, beseeches Your Holiness to deign to give her and her sisters, who have been present at the foundation of this order, the necessary authorisation to realise their ideal, cherished for so many years and anxiously hoped for.
« For many years, I have been director of the orphanage of Our Lady of Miracles, at 17 Rua de Estrela, Lisbon, Portugal, and I am ever hopeful of the realisation of this ideal. I have lived in community with some women who have a decided vocation for the religious life, regulating their entire life and actions according to the rule of Saint Claire and Mother “Mary da Costa”, a rule we have all observed since 1916 without interruption; we have combined the active life with the contemplative life, and consequently we are not cloistered, although we very much wish we could be. And all the women who feel a true calling and wish to embrace the religious state in this community must be daughters of a legitimate marriage, they must be Catholics, they must give up everything they have in the world, they must be chaste and virgins both in soul and body, they must be humble and obedient, and practice all forms of charity, they are bound to observe silence, and they must always, day and night, apply themselves to perpetual adoration.»
In this introduction we have the essence of the letter. It is perfectly clear, while the rest of the letter is confused, incoherent and disorderly. In 1954, Mother Godinho desired to obtain directly from the Holy Father what her bishop, Cardinal Cerejeira, had always refused her, in spite of her repeated fervent requests: canonical recognition of the nascent religious community gathered around her. But does not this text alone suffice to justify the refusal of the Patriarch of Lisbon? Clearly, whatever her good intentions might have been, Mother Godinho possessed neither the clear-sightedness, or instruction, or any other qualities necessary to claim the role of Foundress of a great religious order.
Here there would have been nothing more than the banal and rather frequent case of a new foundation not approved by the Church, if Mother Godinho had not had, in 1920, the merit of sheltering the little seer of Fatima. And due to the fortuitous absence of Canon Formigao, she had the additional honour of passing on to him the message the Blessed Virgin gave him through Jacinta. Such had been the role of Mother Godinho, and this admittedly entitles her to a certain amount of respect. But to go from that to attributing to herself the heavenly mission, comparable to the mission of Canon Formigao, of founding a congregation of Sisters of reparation – this is quite a jump... Indeed we see how in her ideal of religious life, Mother Godinho in the final analysis attributes the idea to the Blessed Virgin Herself, through the mediation of Jacinta. Now, very curiously, she goes on to mingle with the idea of this congregation prophetic considerations of worldwide significance:
« I am the godmother of Jacinta Marto, the seer of Fatima, who made me privy to the following secret, which I have kept religiously for many years, but now as I feel death approaching, I wish to communicate it to Your Holiness. Under oath I guarantee that what I say expresses purely and simply what I heard from her, and which forms my secret. Here is the essential part. “Mother, tell the Holy Father that the world is troubled and Our Lady can no longer hold back the arm of Her beloved Son, Who is very offended by the sins committed in the world. If, however, the world decides to do penance, She would come to its aid again, but if not, chastisement would infallibly fall upon it, for its lack of obedience to the Holy Father.»
Is this last phrase the echo of an authentic revelation of Jacinta? If this were the case, it would be the only time Our Lady of Fatima developed this thought. For in none of the revelations which Sister Lucy received later on do we find a similar diagnosis for the cause of the chastisements threatening us. Heaven insists only on the offences against the Most Holy Virgin, and especially, as we will see, on the disobedience of the Pastors of the Church to the great designs of God in favour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 6
This mention of disobedience towards the Holy Father, on the other hand, appears closely related to what seems to be the dream, the idée fixe of Mother Godinho: a most intimate union of her community – which by the very fact would assume an exorbitant importance – with the Holy Father, or with the Vatican, directly, so as to compensate for the coldness and lack of understanding by the Cardinal Patriarch.
« Jacinta then asked me to tell the Holy Father and His Excellency, the Bishop of Leiria, that the house I occupy at Fatima ought to be called “the House of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima”, and that the sisters of this order, after their approval, were to take the name of “Claretian Sisters of Mother Mary da Costa”, and that they would keep united to the Vatican to prepare for the year 1972, because the sins of impurity, vanity, and excessive luxury would bring great chastisements to the world, which would cause great suffering to the Holy Father. “Poor Holy Father!” she would say.»
What a deluge of prophecies! At the moment these words were supposed to have been uttered by Jacinta, there was no building at the Cova da Iria except the tiny “Capelinha”. Mother Godinho had no house. There was no Bishop of Leiria yet, for the diocese still did not have a titular named for it. Nor do we grasp the necessity of informing the Holy Father of such insignificant details. Let us pass over the great cataclysm predicted for 1972. Let us likewise pass over the causes of the chastisement invoked here, concerning which Sister Lucy has never mentioned a word. As for the union of the Claretian Sisters of Mother Godinho with the Vatican for 1972, it was impossible, and for good reason. Indeed in 1960, when Mother Godinho died, the Cardinal Patriarch ordered the few religious living with her (all of whom, by the way, wanted to be in charge), to request admission into another community, or resume civil life. Thus the prophecy was not fulfilled at all.
« I could hardly believe these things; but Jacinta insisted, saying: “Godmother, tell the Holy Father that Our Lady wishes this work to be the apple of the Holy Father’s eye, try therefore to talk to him about it ”; and among other things she said: “Our Lady wants there to be at the Cova da Iria a house for Her, the Mother of God, and that the Sisters who go there imitate Her virtues, and expiate for the sins committed in other religious houses (sic).” Among other things Our Lady told the seer: “In this house there will be rigorous silence, only what is absolutely necessary will be said, and nothing more; nothing will be done without permission of His Holiness, and the religious who live there under Our Lady’s roof will imitate the virtues of the Heavenly Mother; they will have no contact with the world and they will live a very retired life, and it will behove them to pray particularly for the Holy Father, uniting all their penitential practices to the Vatican, for the intention of...” 7
« I, a Sister of Saint Francis, Maria of the Purification, to whom the seer Jacinta revealed these things, understood nothing of these things, but it seems to me that she meant that wars would stop in the world only when men also finished (sic).
« At this moment I said to Jacinta that the Holy Father knew very well what he had to do and that Our Lord and Our Lady would inspire him so that it would be superfluous for me to tell him what the seer related to me. But she went on talking, and she said that the triumph of Our Lord still had to come, but beforehand there would be many tears, because in the world His Holy Will is not being accomplished. And she told me that she was distraught at not knowing how to express it better, but she wanted to try anyway: “ There is a secret of Heaven and another of the earth, and the latter is frightening, it already seems like the end of the world and in this cataclysm everything will be isolated from Heaven, which will become as white as snow.”»
Let us say unequivocally: it would be a waste of time to make heads or tails of these words. Mother Godinho goes on, continuing to jumble everything together:
« Our Lady said that we must pray much and perform many “mortifications of the senses” (give up many things) because this is very pleasing to Our Lord, that we must love Our Lord with all our heart and respect priests because they are the salt of the earth, and their duty is to show souls the way to Heaven. She also recommended often to the seer that I do nothing without the permission of the Holy Father and the Most Reverend Bishop of Leiria, and that she (Jacinta) ask me to tell Your Holiness, among other things, that Our Lady appeared to me here at the orphanage several times, and that she also appeared to the seer, before the latter went to the hospital of D. Estefania, and at this moment Jacinta felt such harmony that it seemed to her that she was already in the presence of God, and already enjoyed eternal glory for all eternity.»
This last paragraph is decisive: Mother Godinho herself also supposedly saw the Blessed Virgin! Whoever wishes to believe this may do so. But in any case, what a curious way of letting us know. Instead of simply saying: “I saw the Blessed Virgin, who gave me such or such a mission,” Mother Godinho wraps herself once more in the cloak of Jacinta: the Most Holy Virgin asked Jacinta to ask Mother Godinho to tell the Holy Father that Mother Godinho had herself seen the Holy Virgin several times in her house on Rua de Estrela, just as Jacinta had several times seen Her! What a mess!
« This long but loyal exposition which I have made, being concluded, the humblest of your servants casts herself at the feet of Your Holiness as she kisses your ring, full of respect.
Mother Maria of the Purification Godinho April 25, 1954»
The authentic document... For clarity’s sake let us point out that this document is not a fake, as certain authors affirmed. We know in fact that Mother Godinho had made a copy of her letter to Pope Pius XII. In July, 1983, we received firsthand the testimony of a priest who shortly before the death of Mother Godinho had this copy in his hand and recopied it exactly. He confirmed to us that the published version is perfectly identical with the original. 8
... of an apocryphal “secret”. That being said, following Father Alonso, and as another Fatima expert who knew Mother Godinho well advised us, «we have reason to be critical». Fatima rests upon unquestionable facts and testimony. The declarations of Mother Godinho, on the contrary, upon examination appear groundless.
1) The visions. There is no solid reason to take seriously the claim of Mother Godinho that she herself saw the Most Holy Virgin in 1920. An apparition which took place precisely when Jacinta was in her house. An apparition concerning which she tells us not a thing. The only guarantee put forward for this apparition is that Our Lady supposedly expressly willed that the Pope be informed. Let us be permitted to ask: Why? When Mother Godinho reports this event to the Holy Father, in such a rambling formula, at the age of seventy-six and thirty-four years after the event, we have every reason to believe she is making it up. No doubt this is unconscious. For a simple internal criticism of the letter shows that at the time Mother Godinho wrote it, she did not enjoy perfect psychic equilibrium. It is useless to explain this away, as does Father Messias Dias Coelho, by her total lack of culture. She knew how to read and write, and we find under her pen a good number of themes borrowed from what she had read, whether from Fatima or from other subjects. Saint Bernadette knew even less than Mother Godinho, and Saint Joan of Arc even less. Their testimony sparkles with good sense, intelligence, and the clear thinking of peasant folk. The same can be said of Sister Lucy in her Memoirs, which trace an extraordinarily lively, coherent and down-to-earth portrait of Jacinta.
2) « My secret» for the Holy Father. The confusion and imprecision of the secret Mother Godinho supposedly was given to transmit to the Holy Father – the total absence of clarity which she attributes, in passing, to Jacinta herself – is a clear sign that it is a subjective elaboration. Moreover, here is another telltale sign: if we reread the letter, we see that she has nothing to reveal to the Pope which really concerns him, still less anything to ask of him. Except one thing: recognition of the institute of Mother Godinho, because «the Blessed Virgin wishes this work to be the apple of the Holy Father’s eye.»
3) The apocalyptic prophecies. This, of course, is what drew attention to this letter before 1972. Since this date passed without them being verified, there is no longer any motive to give them the least credit. It is regrettable that this or that Portuguese author continues to present these texts as an integral part of the message of Fatima. 9
4) The mission to become a foundress. As for the mission of founding a new religious congregation, which Mother Godinho claims to have received from Our Lady through Jacinta, this also is surely an illusion. Subsequent events themselves have demonstrated that. Charged with making known to another the mission she believed she had, did not Mother Godinho come to believe, little by little, that this mission came to her from Heaven as well? This supposed “secret” and this “mission” she claims in her letter, are they not a simple copy of those of Canon Formigao? In any case it seems that, by a process well known to psychologists, in this letter Mother Godinho came to transpose her own ideal of religious life, her own thoughts and imaginings, her own resolute desire to have a religious house at the Cova da Iria like the others – that is, she transposed her own thoughts onto the will of the Blessed Virgin as passed on by Jacinta.
Conclusion: On her deathbed at the hospital in Lisbon, Jacinta received from the Most Holy Virgin one and only one “secret”: the one destined for Canon Formigao. “The secret of Mother Godinho” appears to us an apocryphal text, a subjective construction elaborated from this authentic message which did not concern her. Under her pen, and in her imagination, diverse recollections are mingled in inextricable fashion: the plausible together with the incredible. 10
Of course, it is quite deplorable that the message of Fatima, so clear and limpid, of which Sister Lucy is the faithful and sure depositary, be saddled with this pseudo-message. Like a parasite, there is always the risk that it harm the living organism from which it lives. But did not Saint Francis have his Fioretti, more or less fantasy-ridden, and did not Our Lord Himself have the apocryphal Gospels? It is sufficient to be aware of these things and use a prudent criticism. In the final analysis, these regrettable adjuncts bring out more clearly by way of contrast, the supernatural character of the authentic Message of Fatima. The authentic message is proven by striking miracles and clear prophecies which were all fulfilled. We need only recall, for example, the way the great miracle of October 13 was predicted three months in advance, the prophecy of Russia’s role in spreading its errors and stirring up wars, the prediction of the Second World War, or the special protection enjoyed by Portugal. Among others, these are all so many sure guarantees which permit us to distinguish the perfectly credible statements from those which are not.
(1) IV, p. 144.
(2) Cf. supra, p. 40-48.
(3) III, p. 109; cf. p. 114.
(4) IV, p. 109.
(5) I, p. 30.
(6) Cf. our Vol. I, p. 244-247.
(7) I, p. 40-41.
(8) I, p. 36-37.
(9) I, p. 31.
(10) I, p. 31.
(11) III, p. 111.
(12) I, p. 41.
(13) I, p. 33.
(14) Témoignages sur les Apparitions, p. 243. Written in response to a request of Msgr. Vidal of November 3, 1917, completed on August 6, 1918, the Ferreira report was not passed on to the patriarchate of Lisbon until April 18, 1919.
(15) III, p. 112-113.
(16) III, p. 113. Cf. I, p. 34; II, p. 83.
(17) III, p. 113. In a copy of this text intended for Father Gonçalves, Lucy gives this other version: «... so many roads, so many paths full of dead people, losing their blood?» (FCM, p. 77.)
(18) III, p. 113.
(19) III, p. 109.
(20) III, p. 114.
(21) I, p. 34. In her Second Memoir, Sister Lucy reports this other memory: «I have already told Your Excellency in the account I have written about my cousin, how two holy priests came and spoke to us about His Holiness, and told us of his great need of prayers. From that time on, there was not a prayer or sacrifice that we offered to God which did not include an invocation for His Holiness. We grew to love the Holy Father so deeply, that when the parish priest told my mother that I would probably have to go to Rome to be interrogated by His Holiness, I clapped my hands with joy and said to my cousins: “Won’t it be wonderful if I can go and see the Holy Father!” They burst into tears and said: “We can’t go, but we can offer this sacrifice for him.”» II, p. 83.
This text should not fool us: if Sister Lucy insists on the visit of the two priests who explained to them who the Pope was, it is because she had not yet revealed the great Secret. On the contrary, in her Third Memoir, she clearly shows that it was the Secret, and Jacinta’s visions, that made them understand how the Pope needed their prayers. «Poor Holy Father, Jacinta exclaimed immediately after her vision, we must pray very much for him!» (III, p. 113.)
(22) In 1936, Our Lord spoke to his confidante, concerning the Pope and the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, this sentence heavy with meaning: «The Holy Father! Pray a great deal for the Holy Father! He will do it, but it will be late.» (Letter to Father Gonçalves, May 18, 1936, Documentos, p. 413.)
In a letter to Father Aparicio on March 2, 1945, Sister Lucy clearly implies that the Holy Father’s great sufferings announced by the Secret, and no doubt by Jacinta’s vision also, still concerned the future: she writes, «Over there (in Brazil) do they pray for the Holy Father? It is necessary to pray unceasingly for His Holiness. Days of great torment and affliction still await him.» (Doc., p. 449.)
(23) I, p. 37.
(24) I, p. 23; cf. our Vol. I, p. 74-77.
(25) I, p. 42.
(26) II, p. 101.
(27) Cf. our Vol. I, p. 81.
(28) I, p. 42.
(29) II, p. 112; I, p. 39.
(30) I, p. 45.
(31) De Marchi, p. 262.
(32) II, p. 94; cf. I, p. 43.
(33) I, p. 45.
(34) II, p. 94.
(35) II, p. 96; cf. our Vol. I, p. 246.
(36) I, p. 41-42.
(37) II, p. 95; cf. I, p. 41-42.
(38) II, p. 97.
(39) I, p. 41-42. Is it necessary to stress that our three seers were too humble, too self-forgetful to seek, by these almost incessant mutual disclosures, recognition of their self-worth by glorying in their sacrifices? We see quite the contrary, in the little remarks they made to one another; they had but one purpose: to encourage each other to better practice Our Lady’s great requests, and their common commitments to Her.
But in addition to this supernatural emulation, the Holy Spirit, who without any doubt was moving them interiorly to this great openness of soul between themselves, also had a greater design: that of making known one day, to a multitude of souls, “the little way of spiritual childhood” chosen by Our Lady for Her three messengers. Their simple, childlike manner of offering the Immaculate Heart of Mary innumerable little sacrifices would have the value of an example.
Like Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, who also always seemed to be boasting of her slightest acts of virtue, our three seers had received a charism: that of teaching, through example, the practice of a spiritual way.
(40) I, p. 43.
(41) I, p. 43.
(42) I, p. 38.
(43) I, p. 41.
(44) III, p. 117.
(46) In spite of the contrary testimony of Mr. Marto, who believes he remembered that Jacinta was admitted to communion beginning in May 1918, it appears certain that she never received communion at the church of Fatima. Cf., in De Marchi, Father Simonin’s notes, p. 243-244, 275. Does Ti Marto confuse her here with the first communion of one of his daughters older than Jacinta? It is possible.
(47) III, p. 117.
(48) I, p. 39.
(50) II, p. 101.
(51) De Marchi, p. 263.
(52) I, p. 43. On the subject of Jacinta’s patience, the apparently dissonant testimony of Dr. Preto must be mentioned here. In 1946, during the course of an audience he had with her, Father Jongen made the objection to Sister Lucy: «“In your Memoirs, you speak of Jacinta’s patience during her illness. However, Dr. Preto, who took care of her at the hospital of Ourem, told me that Jacinta had no more patience than the other children.” “I don’t know. When I saw her, she was always joyful and full of courage.” “The same doctor recalls that Jacinta reacted strongly when he made her suffer.” “Well”, the Sister said, smiling, “do you find that so unusual for a child?”...» (Quoted by De Marchi, p. 343.)
These answers are full of good sense. In effect, two remarks are necessary: first of all, we would like to know the disposition of the above-mentioned doctor towards the little seer, for his objectivity is not necessarily above all suspicion.
In addition, the lack of precision of the testimony needs to be stressed: the seer reacted strongly when he made her suffer. What does that mean? Did he imagine that a nine-year-old child – because she had seen the Holy Virgin – was going to behave with stoic impassivity when he removed the dressing from the open wound in her side?
The astonishing thing, on the contrary, is that instead of being all absorbed by her sufferings, the little seer, immediately afterwards, thought of offering them in sacrifice.
(53) I, p. 43.
(54) De Marchi, p. 265.
(56) Quoted by J.M. Alonso, O Dr. Formigao, homem de Deus, p. 296-297 (Ediçoes Santuario, Fatima, 1979).
(57) II, p. 95.
(58) I, p. 44.
(59) IV, p. 185-186.
(60) IV, p. 184-185.
(61) III, p. 113. The seer’s prayer really was heard since, miraculously, neither the war in Spain nor the Second World War reached “The Land of Holy Mary”.
(62) I, p. 44.
(63) Quoted by De Marchi, p. 255.
(64) II, p. 95.
(65) I, p. 37.
(66) II, p. 96; cf. I, p. 44.
(67) I, p. 44-45.
(68) I, p. 45.
(69) I, p. 45.
(70) III, p. 114-115.
(71) I, p. 45.
(72) I, p. 45-46.
(73) I, p. 45.
(75) In a long report written at the request of the Bishop of Leiria, Dr. Lisboa wrote down all his recollections dealing with the final weeks of the little seer. This text is an important document widely used by Fatima historians.
(76) Quoted by De Marchi, p. 270-271.
(77) p. 272.
(78) I, p. 46; cf. De Marchi, p. 272.
(79) Quoted by De Marchi, p. 273.
(80) Ibid. In fact, Olimpia remained at Lisbon for two weeks, and did not return to Aljustrel until February 5.
(81) Born in 1877, she died at Lisbon on June 24, 1960, in her orphanage.
(82) De Marchi, p. 276.
(83) De Marchi, p. 276.
(84) Declaration made during the Third “International Fatima Seminar”. Ephemerides Mariologicae, 1972, p. 438.
(85) Out of concern for historical exactitude, in the present account we shall retain only the statements of Mother Godinho which are completely plausible and raise no difficulty, reserving for later the deeper examination of the complex and delicate critical problem raised by the innumerable statements – sentences, prophecies and secrets – attributed by her to Jacinta during the latter’s brief stay at Lisbon.
(86) De Marchi, p. 277.
(87) Declarations of Mother Godinho to an official interrogation. Quoted by Barthas, Il était trois petits enfants, p. 199.
(88) De Marchi, p. 276.
(89) De Marchi, p.277.
(90) I, p. 46.
(91) Referring to the Baron of Alvaiazere. The Baron, a stupefied witness of the solar miracle (cf. our Vol. I, p. 339-340), had become the most intimate and effective friend of Ti Marto. With Canon Formigao, he organised the journey and hospitalisation of Jacinta, while helping defray the expenses involved.
(92) De Marchi, p. 274.
(93) p. 282.
(94) Alonso, O Dr. Formigao, p. 269.
(95) De Marchi, p. 284. In an appendix we will quote Dr. Freire’s testimony.
(96) Formigao, Les grandes merveilles, p. 112.
(97) Quoted by De Marchi, p. 285. Cf. our Vol. I, p. 16.
(98) Formigao, op. cit., p. 112.
(99) P. 285.
(100) Although she contented herself with repeating to her entourage that Our Lady would come to look for her soon, her surprising attitude on this evening of February 20 proves that she knew more about it, and indeed knew the precise hour of her departure for Heaven.
(101) Quoted by De Marchi, p. 286.
(102) Father De Marchi notes that the young nurse Aurora Gomes was present at her death. But it is not astonishing, if this was the case, that she did not relate for us any words, any gesture of the little seer during the two long hours separating the moment when she made her confession, still perfectly lucid, and the instant when she left this earth? Father Castelbranco states that Jacinta «expired alone, during a brief absence of the nurse» (Le Prodige inouie de Fatima, p. 168. Cf. also Femando Leite in Jacinta: «Nobody was present at her final moments»).
Be that as it may, it is certain that Jacinta had no loved ones near her who could support her by their affectionate presence and prayers.
(103) Report of Dr. Lisboa.
(104) De Marchi, p. 289.
(105) Lisboa report, quoted by De Marchi, p. 287-291.
(106) Jacinta and Francisco of Fatima will undoubtedly be the first little children who are not martyrs to be declared saints by the Church. Indeed up to the present, the competent Roman Congregation “consigned to the archives” all processes concerning children who were not martyrs, given the fact that it seemed difficult to establish the heroicity of their virtues.
The question was recently examined at Rome, and was decided in the affirmative by Msgr. Casieri, an official of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Opened in 1949 and transmitted to the Vatican In 1979, the beatification processes of the two Fatima seers are thus well on their way, especially since both have already accomplished more miracles than is required by the procedure in force (cf. on this subject the many articles appearing in Les voyants de Fatima, bulletin for the causes of beatification of Francisco and Jacinta published by vice-postulator, Father Luis Kondor, SVD. Vice Postulaçao, Rua. S. Pedro 9, Apart. 6. P. 2496 Fatima Codex, Portugal).*
(107) I, p.20.
* EDITOR’S NOTE: On May 13, 1989, the Vatican took the first step towards beatifying the children, declaring them “Venerable”, and on May 13, 2000, the children were beatified by Pope John Paul II.
(1) IV, p. 183-184.
(2) IV, p. 186-187.
(3) I, p. 38.
(4) I, p. 39-40.
(5) I, p. 40.
(6) IV, p. 175-176.
(7) Quoted by Bishop Cosme do Amaral, present Bishop of Leiria, in his sermon of April 4, 1982. Les voyants de Fatima, January-April, 1982.
(1) Alonso, O Dr. Formigao, p. 269-270.
(2) See further on, p. 412.
(3) Testimony of Mother Godinho, Alonso, O Dr. Formigao, p. 278-279.
(4) Cf. Geraldes Freire, O Segredo de Fatima, p. 110-111. Ed. do Santuario de Fatima. 1978.
(5) Voz da Fatima, March 3, 1934, quoted by Alonso, O Dr. Formigao, p. 275.
(6) The chapter devoted to the account of Jacinta’s death, from which the passage we are going to quote is excerpted, had already appeared in 1921, in Os episodios maravilhosos de Fatima, and before that, in an article of the review A Guarda of June 5, 1920. The article was written then by Dr. Alberto Diniz da Fonseca using Dr. Formigao’s notes taken shortly after the seer’s death, between February and April, 1920 (cf. Alonso, Historia da Literatura sobre Fatima, p. 14).
(7) Les grandes merveilles de Fatima, French edition, p. 112-113.
(1) Read the entirety of Father Alonso’s critical demonstration, O Dr. Formigao, p. 267-301.
(2) What Happened at Fatima, p. 10.
(3) Mensagem de Fatima, September-October, 1971.
(4) Eph. Mar., 1972, p. 432-438.
(5) Mother Godinho’s letter to Pope Pius XII was published in extenso in Mensagem de Fatima (September-October, 1971), and then by the German review Bote von Fatima in January, 1972.
(6) Cf. Part II, Chap. VII, «They did not want to heed My request.»
(7) Here four nations are named which the editors of the letter, publishing it before 1972, had believed it necessary to omit.
(8) Cf. also the testimony of Father Dias Coelho, Bote von Fatima, February 1972, p. 12.
(9) Cf. Geraldes Freire, O Segredo de Fatima, 1978 (p. 105-108). The author, moreover, quotes from it only a few chosen excerpts, and being drawn out of their context, which takes away their whole value, they serve him – for lack of anything better! – as arguments against the traditionalists!
(10) If at the end of her testimony, when she writes her letter to Pope Pius XII, Mother Godinho no longer offers any guarantee of credibility, no doubt the same negative critical judgment cannot be passed uniformly on all her older testimony. Let us point out, however, that she was not questioned during the diocesan process of Fatima. She was only questioned later, in 1934 and 1935 (cf. Alonso, Eph. Mar., 1969, p. 307).