The Church in Exile and The Three Days of Darkness
Jun. 9, 2017
“Perhaps it should be explained here that for all their troubles in their native Aljustrel, the children were not without some unconditional support from this time on. Among the most zealous and faithful converts to the truth of Fatima, was Senhora Maria dos Santos Carreira, who died in 1949. For long years before we knew her, the name Carreira had given place to one by which she is more widely remembered, Maria da Capelinha (Maria of the Chapel). And like the good Ti Marto, father of Jacinta and Francisco, she will be our witness many times.
“On their way to the Cova da Iria, on that 13th of June, others who were either curious or devout, joined the procession of the children. Some had travelled ambitious distances afoot, and waiting at the place where now the gate to the sanctuary stands, were a group of women, among them our friend, Maria da Capelinha, who has given us this account:
“I had decided once and for all to go to the Cova da Iria on the thirteenth of June. On the evening before I said to my children: ‘What if we don’t go to the festa of St. Anthony tomorrow but to the Cova da Iria instead?’ ‘What for?’ they answered. ‘No, we’d rather go to the festa.’ Then I turned to my crippled boy, John. ‘Do you want to go to the festa or with me?’ ‘With you, mother,’ he said.
“So on the following day, before the others started for the festa, I came here with my John, who hobbled along on a stick. When we got here there wasn’t a soul about, and we went to the roadside where the children would come along. After a while a woman from Loureira arrived and was very surprised to see me there, as she thought I was ill in bed. She asked me:
“ ‘What are you doing here?’
“ ‘The same as you!’
“She sat beside me and shortly after a man from Lomba da Egua arrived, and the conversation we had was much the same as before. Then came some women from Boleiros, and I asked them if they had come away from the festa. ‘People laughed at us,’ they said, ‘but we didn’t take much notice.’ We’ve come to see what happens here, and on whose side the laugh will be.’
“Then more people came and at last, about 11 o’clock, the children to whom our Lady had appeared, with some little friends and people from quite far away, Torres Novas or Outeiro, I can’t remember which. We all went to the holm oak, and Lucia stopped about three yards in front of it, and looked toward the east. It was very quiet, and then I asked her: ‘Which is the oak tree where our Lady appeared?’ ‘This one,’ she said, putting her hand on it.
“It was a bush about three feet high, a new strong sapling. It was very well shaped with regular branches. Lucia went a little further away and began looking again in the direction of Fatima, and then went again into the shade of a big tree. It was very calm and still. Lucia sat down near the trunk, and Jacinta and Francisco sat on either side.
“Those who had come a long way began to eat lunch and offered some to the children, who each accepted an orange which, however, they didn’t eat. I can still see the three of them with the oranges in their hands. Then a girl from Boleiros began to read aloud from a book of prayers which she had brought. As I was ill and feeling weak and tired, I asked Lucia if she thought our Lady would be long in coming. ‘She won’t be long now,’ was her reply and she watched for the first sign of the Lady’s arrival. Meanwhile the Rosary had been said, and just as the girl from Boleiros was beginning the Litany, Lucia interrupted suddenly, explaining there would not be time to continue. She stood up now and called out to Jacinta: ‘Don’t you see the lightning? Our Lady must be coming!’ The three children ran for the holm oak tree, while the rest of us hurried after them, and knelt down on the stony ground. I watched Lucia raise her hands, as though in prayer. We heard her speak to someone who, if there at all, was not visible. There was only one mysterious effect to support our impression of another presence there. We heard something buzzing like a small, small voice, but could not understand what it was trying to say.
“But to Lucia, to Jacinta, and to Francisco, there was no mystery. Now, as once before, their total senses were surrendered to the Lady from heaven. She stood on the topmost branches of the little oak, gazing on them – maternal, loving, understanding, and yet, in a manner hard to explain, touched with exquisite sadness.
“ ‘Please tell me, Madam,’ Lucia begged, ‘what it is that you want of me?’
“ ‘I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month,’ the Lady said. ‘I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. And after each one of the mysteries, my children, I want you to pray in this way: O my Jesus, forgive us and deliver us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.* I want you to learn to read and write, and later I will tell you what else I want of you.’"
* “By Lucia’s interpretation, this refers to the souls in the greatest danger of condemnation. The prayer itself, in Portuguese, is as follows: O meo Jesus, perdoai-nos, livrai nos do fogo do inferno; levai todas as almas para o ceu, especialmente as que mais precisarem.
[Dear Readers, there are two versions of the “O my Jesus” prayer which have received the Imprimatur, which indicate different words from our Lady. This is certainly troubling, but whether one prays the prayer for the conversion of sinners (“lead all souls to Heaven . . .”) or the prayer for the release of souls in Purgatory (“have mercy on the souls in Purgatory . . .”) please realize that it is lawful to say either version, without any scruples, due to the fact that they are both Imprimatured and published before 1958.]
“Stunned though she was by the radiant light and beauty of the Lady, Lucia was not timid. As she has made so clear in her memoirs, the presence of the Queen of Heaven seemed to invite, rather than restrict, communication. Lucia interceded then for an afflicted person whose cause had been recommended to her, and the Lady replied that if this person was converted, she would be cured within the year. Now Lucia asked the question closest to her own heart: ‘Will you take us to heaven?’
“ ‘Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you will remain a little longer, since Jesus wishes to make me known and loved on earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.’ " **
** “This is the first secret of the Fatima apparitions that Lucia revealed to her confessor. ‘On December 17th, 1927,’ she has disclosed, ‘I prayed to our Lord, asking how I could be obedient to my confessor in regard to certain graces if, among them, was the secret of our Lady. Jesus, in a clear voice, permitted me to hear these words: ‘My daughter, write what your confessor commands you to write, and also all that the Blessed Virgin revealed in the apparitions in reference to devotion to her Immaculate Heart. The rest of the secret you must continue to conceal.’
“ ‘Must I remain in the world alone?’ Lucia asked.
“ ‘Not alone, my child, and you must not be sad. I will be with you always, and my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God.’
“It was at this moment (Lucia has written), that our Lady opened her hands and communicated to us once again the great light in which she was surrounded. In the light, we could see ourselves, and it was just as if we were submerged in God Himself. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light that represented heaven, and I was in the light which poured out over the earth. Our Lady’s right hand rested near a heart encircled with piercing thorns. And we understood clearly that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary that called for reparation from men for all of the sins that have sorrowed our Savior and His Mother.
“Now, as in all apparitions, only Lucia spoke directly to the Lady. Jacinta, as before, was able to hear and to see the Lady with facility equal to her cousin’s, whereas Francisco, absorbed like the others with the vision, could hear nothing. Why this was so, we have no idea, since God dispenses His gifts for reasons of His own." *
* “Another report from our friend, Maria da Capelinha, may illuminate our Lady’s relations with the children of Aljustrel. ‘One day,’ she said, ‘I met Jacinta and Lucia, and asked Lucia why it was that our Lady spoke only with her, but not with her cousin. ‘It’s because Jacinta’s tongue-tied,’ Lucia told me. ‘If she would only speak to our Lady, I know our Lady would speak to her.’ Jacinta then looked at us both, and all she did was smile.
“To conclude this story of the second apparition, we will again quote Maria da Capelinha, who was there, and who has faithfully given us her complete impressions:
“When our Lady left the tree, Lucia got up very quickly and, with her arm stretched out, cried: ‘Look, there she goes! There she goes!’ We saw nothing except a little cloud a few inches from the tree which rose very slowly and went backwards, toward the east, until we could see it no more. Some people said: ‘I can still see it; it’s still there . . .’ until at last no one could see it anymore.
“The children stayed, silently looking in that direction, until at last Lucia said: ‘There, now we can’t see her anymore. She has gone back into heaven, the doors are shut!’ We then turned toward the miraculous tree, and what was our admiration and surprise to see that the shoots at the top, which had been standing upright before, were now all bent toward the east, as if someone had stood upon them. Then we began to pull off twigs and leaves from the top of the tree, but Lucia told us to take them from the bottom where our Lady had not touched them. I then noticed a beautiful spray of rosemary growing near, and took a piece of that, too, as a souvenir.
“Somebody suggested that we should pray the Rosary again before going home, but others who had come a long way said that we could say the Litany now, and the Rosary on the way back to Fatima. There was someone there who had a concertina, but I don’t remember hearing him play. After the Litany we all went back to Fatima with the children, praying as we went, and we arrived back when the St. Anthony procession was just starting. People saw us arrive, and asked us where we had come from. We replied, from the Cova da Iria, and that we were very glad we had gone there.”
[Source: pp. 70-75, The True Story of Fatima, by John de Marchi, I.M.C., Imprimatur 1952].
"We declare, say, define and proclaim to every human creature that they by necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff ." - Decree of Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam,Nov. 18, 1302, ex cathedra