The Apparitions of Fatima and the UFO Phenomenon

Joaquim Fernandes, Fina D'Armada Heavenly Lights: The Apparitions of Fatima and the UFO Phenomenon, pg. iii-iv

Foreword by Jacques Vallee

This book is the product of an analysis of perceived "apparitions," whether religious or profane in nature, and their interpretation in a rational, scientific context. Such an effort is long overdue. By bridging the gap between the vast domain of spiritual miracles (illustrated here by the Fatima events of 1917) and the equally immense amount of data recorded by investigators of unidentified flying objects, Joaquim Fernandes and Fina D' Armada have opened an important new avenue of research. In the process, they tell the fascinating story of a global phenomenon that reaches far beyond the boundaries of Portugal and stretches through centuries of passion and puzzlement. The facts they have uncovered bring new light to the age old problem of unexplained aerial phenomena. This neglected area of research is fundamental to our understanding of the physical universe, of human consciousness, and of the role played by spiritual movements in shaping human history.

Consider the statement made by the 3 children of Fatima who, while watching their sheep on May 13, 1917, said they first saw lightning, and then "As we arrived at the middle of the ranch, another flash of lightning struck again, and we saw a lady on on top of an oak tree. We were very frightened at seeing the resplendency that enveloped her." Now compare this statement with the report provided by the Arias family of Nicanor-Olivrea, Argentina, who, on Aug. 31, 1978, were awakened by an intense luminosity outside their house. An egg-shaped object, they said, hovered over a nearby eucalyptus tree. From one edge, the object emitted a circular light. At the end of this beam, they saw "2 bulky beings" that carried, at chest height, a red light that "seemed to run as if falling from a small waterfall." The entities moved in a rigid fashion, like "floating travelers, seated on something".
The burden falls on the scientific commntiy to explain why these seemingly absurd observations arise so often from frightened and sincere witnesses, and how they have such a powerful influence on our belief systems. But what should the professional scientist or the curious amateur do when faced with events that seem to contradict everything we "know" about normal reality?


Perhaps the witnesses are deluded individuals, or liars. Indeed, this accusation was made against the shepherds of Fatima, until the final sighting, when over 60,000 witnesses observed the luminous displays, and the physical effects were such that no one could deny them any longer. The scientific consensus, and the majority view in educated circles, however, still hold that the events in question, must have been "ordinary", and mistakenly observed. This is certainly the most parsimonious assumption.

A second way of interpreting incidents like Fatima is held in respect throughout most of the world. It does not deny the facts but instead carefully reframes them within the structure of dogma and belief. This cosmology assumes that the witnesses were privileged to take part in a miracle, a signal sent uniquely to them from a divine level of spiritual intensity that it would be a folly to try to understand it, blasphemy to challenge the wisdom of its pronouncements. This is the religious path. In this view, God, or his messengers, are so far above the human level that we would display silly human arrogance if we did more than record the events and cower in obedience before them.

For those, who like the authors of this book, refuse to follow either one of these convenient paths, the challenges become enormous. The involve detachment and critical analysis of difficult material; correlation of testimony from many independent parties; and confrontation between two sets of physical descriptions, namely those of religious events, like Fatima, and those of more mundane but equally puzzling unidentified aerial phenomena, like the reports of the Areas family of Argentina. As the authors show, it is in this manner that genuine research can go forward. The result is a new awareness of the complexity of consciousness.

Modern laboratory research has shown that our perceptions are highly vulnerable to changes in our physical environment. They can be altered by drugs, hypnosis and electromagnetic fields. They are shaped by language, culture and education. They are subject to social pressure.

As we enter an age when the functions of the brain can be studied in real-time with sophisticated instruments, academic research is beginning to seriously consider a range of consciousness phenomena that earlier scientists discounted. In this context, percipients of unusual events are becoming participants in a novel and exciting field rich in potential scientific breakthroughs. The authors of this book analyze such events, and they go to establish relevant linkages between various classes of unexplained facts. Their work makes an important contribution to our understanding of the human condition and of the universe in which we live.

"O, mother I saw our lady at Cova da Iria," affirmed Jacinta, upon her return home, on May 13, 1917.

Soon, a lonely and rocky part of the parish of Fatima, where not a single family resided, would become the wellspring of hope for believers, the center of attention for newspapers, and the source of agitation for politicians. Portuguese history found, on that Sunday afternoon, another course, perhaps even a new destiny.

"If the kids saw a woman dressed in white, who else could she be but Our Lady?" asked Antonio dos Santos, as if to himself. Antonio was Lucia's father and the brother of Jacinta and Francesco's mother. The heavenly visitor, however, did not disclose her identity to the little shepherds. Naturally, for a girl named "Jacinta," born into an ancient Celtic civilization, the Blue Lady would be Belisama -- also known as Minerva, goddess of light and fire, forging and craft -- who in that tradition was "The Being of the Flame." For Jacintas who once lived in Syria, Greece, Rome, and Bolivia, she would ahve been one of the other feminine deities who have descended from the sky, such as Astarte, Aphrodite, Venus, and Orejona.

In truth, in 1917, "it could be no other." Lucia, however, the principal seer and the one who dialogued with the "Lady," was not convinced of that. She remained quit. Maria Rosa, her mother, who beleived little in the supernatural, learned of the visitation, and decided to question her daughter about the alleged apparition of the previous day:

"Lucia, I heard it said that you saw Our Lady at Cova da Iria," her mother asked.

"Who told you so?" Lucia answered.

"It was Jacinta's mother, whose daughter told her. Is it true?"

Lucia corrected: "I never said it was our lady rather a small pretty lady. I even asked Jacinta and Francisco (age 9) to say nothing. They could not hold their tongues!"

"A small lady?"

"Yes, mother."

"Then speak up and tell me what the lady told you."

"She told me that we should continue to go there for six consecutive months, on the 13th of each month, and that at the end of that time, she would tell us who she was and what she wanted of us." (also cited in "Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred" By Jeffrey J. Kripal)


"The children always say that the lady appears to them. They don't know who she is. Only after the sixth visit, on October 13th, will she tell them who she is and what she wants."

Once again it is established that while all of Portugal "knew" whom the small lady was who descended at Cova da Iria, the principal players wrestled with their doubts.

September 13th arrived, and Lucia dialogued with the heavenly apparition. Two weeks later on the 27th, the Canon Formigao entered Fatimist history, adopting the pseudonym "the Viscount of Montelo." He would become the first chronicler of Fatima and the promoter of it as a Marian shrine. On this day, he asked the seer Lucia:

"Did you ever ask her who she is?"

"I asked, but she declared that only on October 13th would she say."


The children's doubts were, nonetheless, clearly expressed by their parish priest, who, after each visittation, kept a written record of the words told to him by the seers. In the Parish Inquiry, a passage from his interview with Lucia was recorded on the 16th: "Build a chapel here to Our Lady of the Rosary." Lucia had her doubts if that was what the Lady had said, or if it was, "Build a chapel here. I am the lady of the Rosary." (p.3-5


The question as to the deity's origin sprang immediately to Lucia's mind. In the Parish Inquiry, written 15 days after the first encounter, the seer would have heard the Lady say: "Her place is in the heavens." In the Official Interrogations of 1923, however, the young woman's mother would testify as follows: "She said that she saw a small, pretty lady; that her dress was completely white; and that to the question, 'Where are you from?' she had pointed to the sky, saying she was from there."

To the seer's question regarding what she had come to do, the Lady responded: "I have come here to tell you to come here every month until six months have passed, and at the end of six months I will tell you what I want." As for the end of the war, she gave only a vague response: "I cannot tell you yet, as long as I have not told you what I want."

The priest Manuel Ferreira Marques reconstituted the remainder of their dialogue. Jacinta merely testified: "When [the Lady] spoke to Lucia, [Jacinta] heard a merciful voice, but does not remember hearing anything besides that [the seers] were going to the sky." Apart from that, this same priest was certain, Francisco heard nothing. (p.11)



"Bernadette never gave the Lady the name of Holy Virgin at the height of the Apparitions," wrote Father Cros, who questioned her and wrote the history of this well-known case in France. After various encounters with the being, the young woman insisted: It is the others who say she is the Virgin Mary." Before the image of the Lady of Lourdes sculpted by J. Fabisch, Bernadette is said to have exclaimed in awe: "It is beautiful ... but that is not She." .....


Maria dod Anjos, sister of Lucia, reaffirmed, in May 1979, to a journalist writing for Journal de Noticias [News Journal] the initial opinion of the seer when asked what happened. After 62 years, Maria remembered that her sister had told her how "a very pretty Lady" had appeared to her, "although she never referred to her as being Our Lady."

In her Memorias [Memoirs], the seer managed to confess that, after the Apparitions of May and June 1917, she considered absenting herself from the "encounters," out of fear that they could be the work of the Devil. She reconsidered, however, as if "impelled by a strange force," which is, as we shall see, a component that is omnipresent in human confrontations with other intelligent life forms. But why these doubts? (19-20)


According to Lucia, the lightning always occured prior to the Apparitions. she observed it from May through October and on August 19th, in the Valinhos. .....

With the spread of the news of the Apparitions, diverse people began to travel to the local. From June to October, therefore, the seers were never again alone. Those first "pilgrims," at that point merely the curious, would they not also have seen lightning at Cova da Iria?

There is no testimony that speaks to us of that observation, except in one month -- August! But it is interesting to verify that, on that day, the children were not present. The municipal president of the town of Nova de Ourem had earlier appeared in Aljustrel, and offered to take the young shepherds by car. His name was Artur de Oliveira Santos. He was president and founder of a Masonic lodge, a judge pro tem for the county seat, and a committed anticlerical republican. Acting, for this reason, politically, in defense of the "liberal Republic," he did not stop at Cova da Iria but took the children to his house.

When word of their detention reached the multitude of 15,000 to 18,000 Portuguese, gathered near the oak tree, some among the throng became so outraged that they set out for the town of Nova de Orem. The Being, however, even in the absence of the shepherds, produced the "signal." And it was in this way, that those people present observed for the first and last time the "lightning" or explosion of light.

A seminarian, later known by Father Joel de Deus Magno, related this from the Viscount of Montelo:

We were there for only a short while, when some very happy men approached saying that Our Lady had appeared. I quickly bade farewell to the priests and went to the summit. The streets were already filling with those commenting on the tumultuous event. To each group, I asked what they ahd seen. Quicker than the flash of a match, many people surrounded me, who, amid great clamor, told me they had heard thunder, and all of the people had fled ... Others said they had seen lightning ....

But there were those who remained at the location that reported; "The people grew silent. the weather was clear. Then, suddenly, "lightning took form in the sky over the altar, and made a wirl of the round altar," we are told by Joao Pereira Novo, of the village of Famalicao near the town of Nazare.


It was, at once, heterogeneous, spontaneous, and mixed -- perfectly representing the population of the planet. It included journalists and university professors, farmers and housewives, city folk and country folk. And they were not alone. ..... Very close by, one could find all manner of vehicles -- from donkey-drawn carts to the best automobiles of the age, "in an area that extended to almost one kilometer" -- according to the correspondent for raio de Luz. For his part, the reporter from O Seculo wrote: "Someone counted more than 100 automobiles and more than 100 bicycles and it would be impossible to count the diverse cars which blocked the road, one of them an autobus from Torres Novas, within which were united people from every social condition."

Carlos Silva, who published his impressions eight days later, thought "the snaking of so many creatures over the hill" lovely. "I inquired where they were from ... and upon hearing named places of origin, I marveled how those souls had come from so far to bear witness to what two children affirmed."


The lawyer Jose Proenca de Almeida Garrett related:

Moments before, the Sun had broken overhead through a dense layer of clouds that would have [otherwise] hidden it, [allowing it] to shine clearly and intensely. I turned toward that magnet that attracted every gaze, and I could see that it was similar to a disk with a distinct and lively border, luminous and lucent, but harmless.

The comparison to a dull silver disk, which in fatima I had heard still made, did not seem entirely accurate to me. the color was more clear, active, and rich, multi-faceted, having the oalescence of a pearl. In no way was it similar to the Moon on a chrystal clear night, becasue it could be seen and felt to be a living star.

It was not spherical, like the Moon, it did not have the same tonality or the same chiarra-obscuro. It seemed like a polished wedge, cut from the nacre of a conch shell. this is not some banal comparison of cheap poetry. My eyes saw it this way. It was also not to be confused with the Sun as seen through the fog (which, as a matter of fact, there wasn't at that time), becasue it was opaque, diffuse, and veiled. In Fatima, it had light and heat and drew itself distinctly and with a banked, recessed edge, like a game board ...

The marvelous thing is that, during a long while, one could gaze at the star, flame of light, and hot coal of heat, without any pain in one's eyes and without any dazzle in the retina, which blinded.


... Beira Baixa communicated to its readers: "The sun uncovered itself, and had a diverse gradation, appearing sometimes like a solar globe…enclosed by an aureole of flames, other times a metallic disk as if of silver."

the engineer, Mario Gohino looked upon the "Sun" through the eyes of a technician and left us this account published in Stella:

In a radiant sky, the Sun could be looked at straight-on and with eyes wide open, without blinking, as if we were looking at a disk of polished glass illuminated from behind, with a rainbow of iridescence on its periphery, seeming to have a rotating movement.… And the Sun did not have the brilliance that hurt our eyes on normal days, as it was a majestic disk, magnetic, which attracted us and sort of revolved in the immense sky.…


It is that of the religious periodical Raio de Luz. Either no Fatimist author came upon it, or it was disregarded because of its anti-Sun evidence. Let us hear it. It reads:

Suddenly a luminous disk, the size of a great host, but one which could be gazed upon as one gazes at the moon, appeared, as if it stood out from the Sun, descending visibly… the horizon was limited in a perfect circle by luminous flashes equal in size and distances from one another, giving a little bit of an impression of campfires, more by the yellow tone that one sometimes notices at sunset. All this effect was lasting, and the flashes to which I allude were appearing one after another. Simply marvelous and amazing!


Gilberto dos Santos: "I saw the Sun, seeming a dull, silver disk, but more luminous than the Moon."

Maria Romana: "The Sun gave the appearance of a globe of dull silver fire, surrounded by a very dark purplish disk... "

Ana Maria Camara: "I saw a very clear, silvery blue disk, without rays…" (p142-5)

Exo-Vaticana: Examining the Fatima “Miracle of the Sun” 05/14/2013

The newspaper Beira Baixa reported: "The disk could be seen to rapidly spin upon itself."

Father Jose Curado commented: "It appeared to us to be a plate of dull silver, having a rapid and quite visible rotating movement."

The newspaper Diario de Noticias described how "The sun appeared with the color of dull silver, in a circular agitation, as if it were affected by electricity." (p.162-4)

The October 18th edition of A Lucta also spoke of the diverse movements: "It was shaken, at last, by irregular, arrhythmic movements - it trembled - trembled and was silent."

Manuel da Silva, who was 18 years old at the time: "The Sun appeared clearly and moved itself."

Carlos de Azevedo Mendes: "We all saw the Sun dancing and taking on aspects that I had never seen before."

Mrs. J: "... That globe or sphere agitated itself nervously as if impelled by electricity..." (p.167)

Maria dos Anjos, Lucia's sister: "When it descended, it appeared to us that it came in a spin, in a spin, in the same way as I have already seen a record playing. It appeared to be coming loose from the sky and to be suspended at the end of a wire spinning.


Maria Celeste da Camara Vasconcelos (Alvaiazere): "I saw the Sun descend to Earth, dance, and turn and rise in a spiral," she told a reporter from Stella.


Maria dos Anjos: "It descended so much, so much, so much, that it acted as if it was going to fall on the Earth. It seemed that it only stopped descending when it got to the trees. Still today it seems to me that it was as if poised over that fig tree."

Returning to the testimony of Maria Celeste Alvaiazere "I saw the Sun descend to Earth, dance, and ascend again in a spiral." It seems there can be no doubt as to the movement that the "disk" executed on its ascent. (p.170-5)

Maria teresa, de Chainca, who was 30 meters from the site of the Apparations, told Haffert: "The sky was vcovered with clouds and it was raining heavily. we could not see the Sun. then suddenly, at noon, the clouds parted and the Sun emerged, as if trembling, appearing to descend, and giving off great heat. (p.179)

Maria Emilia de S. Jose Lobo Moura de Vilhena Barbosa Cardoso. In a letter written January 13, 1918/, which is part of the Arquivos Formagao, she wrote:

I did not think at all of being able to be cured there, not as a result of not believing in the power of God, but more from not having formed an idea of what would happen, although I might have believed that there was something supernatural going on. Once the great miracle had taken place, I asked for nothing that would give me respite. My mother being aware of this fact, told me, "Someone asked for themselves; it was me." I asked her, "what did [you] request?" My mother stated, "one of her requests was for her health." I then noticed that since two days ago, I felt no pain in my arm that I have always had, as the result of malaria. Usually it was not strong; becasue of the Word of God, however it disapepared .... One of the doctors who had examined me previously had spoken of operating on it, an option that, in turn was disapproved of by the attending physician. He declared that it would not heal and that my illness was incurable, which he affirmed to me again on July 6, 1917, adding that I should just resign myself to living with it ... the doctor just saw me again on December 8th. He knew nothing of my trip to Fatima and tremendously spooked, told me he found nothing wrong with me ... (p.193)

As early as August 25th, the seer told the parish priest that in October, "Saint Joseph would come with the Baby Jesus to give peace to the world. Our Lord will come to bless the people. Our Lady of the Rosary will appear with an angel on each side. we will see Our Lady of Sorrows beneath an arbor of flowers. (p.197)


Mother Maria do Carmo da Fonseca, later secretaqry to Canon Formigao, was then four years old and daughter of Delfina Pereira Lopes, an elimentary school teacher from the area. .....

Immediately following, Maria do Carmo da Fonseca transmitted her memories to Father Joaquim Lourenco, who, at the time at which he wrote -- June 10, 1958 was the Rector of the Sanctuary:

Her Reverence perfectly remembers the pathetic and dramatic things that occurred on that hillside at that hour. Suddenly, the Sun pulled apart the clouds and showed itself in a dizzy, rotating movement, only ton later descend impetuously, giving the impression that it was going to come loose from the firmament [and] kill us all. the people present - some 20 - began clamoring in loud screams, asking God and Our Lady for help, judging that they would die without delay. ....


... His name was Albano Barros and he lived about 18 kilometers from Fatima. .....

"I was tending the sheep - my daily work - and suddenly, in the direction of Fatima, I saw the Sun start to fall from the sky. I thought that it was the End of the World ..."


... When we conversed, in 1978, with Ameia de Jesus da Silva, she related her observations to us:

I saw it from my mother's house. I was playing with some little kids of my own age in a threshing floor where wheat and chaff were thrashed. I remember that we stopped playing and that we spoke thus: "Look at the Sun! Look at the sun! Look at the sun!" the people back then had no idea what that meant. I did not remember at all that it was Our Lady. We saw the sun there below, there below, of all colors, like the rainbow. and it came just so, until it almost reached the ground. it appeared to be quasi-poised, to come very slowly, turning around, again and again ...


... some 18 kilometers in a straight line .... Guilhermina Lopes da Silva ....

"Around midday," she told Haffert, "I was looking toward the mountains when I saw in the sky a great red flash of red light. I called out to two men who were working for us. they also saw it and I will never forget it." (p.204-7)

In light of the impossibility that the Sun itself descended to Cova da Iria, we must ask why this symbol was used in the frightening feat that, for the thousands below, became and aeronautical demonstration by those behind the Apparitions. The word "Sun" was accepted as it spread from witness to witness, and onward to posterity. But that identification, as we have already seen, was not total, since we possess nonconforming statements by those who managed to escape the "dictatorship" of the perspective of the great majority and the exalted religious environment. This and other aspects, have led us to consider the importance of the mimetic factor in the occurrences of October 13, 1917. (p.234-5)

"The Fatima UFO Hypothesis" before it was redirected to "The Miracle of the Sun" on Wikipedia

Celestial Secrets

The "Angel" of the Formigao Inquests -- On September 27th, the Canon Formigao asked Lucia: "It is said that Our Lady appeared to you last year. What truth is there to this?"

"She did not appear to me last year, nor ever prior to May of this year; nor did I ever tell anyone that she had," Lucia replied. From his question, it can be seen that the prelate had heard mention of "pre-apparitions." He was left unconvinced by Lucia's response, which is why he insisted, on October 19th:

"What did you see almost a year ago? Your mother says that you and the other children saw a figure shrouded in a white sheet that did not allow you to see its face. Why did you tell me last month that it wasn't anything?

Lucia remained speechless.

"Are you hiding something, this time?"

"I guess I am."

The Canon Formigao published only this short passage, but did not publish another interrogation conducted on November 2nd about the same subject:

Formigao: You have avoided telling me what you saw last year, You probably think that it is unimportant and not worthy of investigation. Well, you are wrong. I need to know what you saw and what happened. Is it true that a figure shrouded in white appeared to you?

Lucia: Yes

Formigao: Where?

Lucia: I saw a figure at Cabeco, at Estrumeiras, and at the foot of Cova da Iria.

Formigao: How many times did you see it?

Lucia: I do not recall how many times.

Formigao: Did you see it on the ground or above a tree?

Lucia: I saw it above a holm oak tree.

Formigao: What did this figure look like?

Lucia: It looked like a person shrouded by a sheet.

Formigao: Did it speak to you?

Lucia: It did not say anything.





Formigao: Waht do you think this figure was?

Lucia: I do not know what it was.

Formigao: Was it Our Lady?

Lucia: I don't think it was Our Lady.

The Canon Formigao concludes:

Faced with statements that were so vague ..... I counseled Lucia to be silent about this matter and I did not seek any more information about these circumstances. (p.49-51)

Twenty-four years later, Lucia, the only living witness, continues to describe the scene, saying the Angel appeared to them a second time in early summer, beside the well near the house:


"How should we sacrifice?" I asked.

"With all that you have, offer a sacrifice as an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended, and supplicate for the conversion of the sinners. Also, bring peace to your nation, peace! I am your Guardian Angel. You shall accept, withstand, and submit to the suffering that the Lord will send your way.

These words of the Angel were recorded in our souls, as a light which would make us understand who God is; how He loves us and how He wants to be loved; the value of sacrifice; how He is pleasant; how by attending to Him, he would convert the sinners ... (p.55) Circumstances and Dialogue of the 1917 Apparitions

.... (Some theologians have been known to say that "the Devil can only cure the maladies that he himself creates," ...) (p.114)

"Secrecy may, in fact, have been a divine and lovingly intelligent strategy. Without it, the public-at-large would never have heard about Fatima and of Her concomitant message. The secret has enabled people to come into contact with Her message without consciously seeking for it." -- Prelate Sebastiao Martins dos Reis

There is a popular Portuguese saying, "Secrecy is the soul of business." So is secrecy the soul of Fatima. (p.143)

In the Parochial Inquiry, neither Lucia nor Jacinta spoke of the secret to the parish priest of the village. To the girls, it must not have seemed important. the parish priest, however, wrote of having learned the secret from the county administrator on August 13th.

In 1922, Lucia let it be known that a secret had been revealed to them in July. Still, when interrogated about the subject, Jacinta mentioned that she had heard the secret during the second apparition, on Saint Anthony's Day, which is celebrated in Portugal on June 13th. Elsewhere, Lucia declared similarly about it having been June: ....

Fif. 36 -- the Parochial Inquiry of Fatima deposed Lucia on July 14, 1917, the day following an apparition, but the notes from her deposition contain no reference to any secrets.


"In May of 1917, a rumor circulated that the three children ... had witnessed an apparition of a lady dressed in white ... who on the 13th of October, would tell them a secret."

According to Dr. Luis Vasconcelos, it was believers who intensified the rumor about the secret.

This is because in December 1917, Vasconcelos, who was a lawyer in Nova de Ourem, as well as being a titled gentleman styling himself the Baron of Alveraiazere, made his way to Fatima to hear the witnesses and register his impressions in writing. He said that surrounding Lucia: "She also said to us that she ahd previously heard tell of the Miracles of Our Lady of Lourdes. A woman who said she was her aunt would answer for her at all times and would make various pronouncements about a secret that tehy knew and [that] to no one they would reveal.

It was this aunt, a great-aunt -- and not Lucia -- who went around talking about the secret. (p.156-60)

The second Secret of 1941

... If mankind shall do what I say, many souls will be saved and have peace. The war will end. But if mankind does not cease to offend God during the reign of Pius XI, another war will begin, worse than the first. When an unknown light illumines the night, know that this is a sign from God that He will punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. (p.195)

Monsignor Journet, the future Cardinal, gave his opinion in the Jesuit magazine, Les Etudes [Studies]. He was, above all, indignant when he said that the biggest miracle of Fatima was the Salazar regime itself: "They speak of a dancing sun, a rain of flowers, and then tell us the biggest miracle - the miracle of miracles - is the current situation in Portugal. But who do you take us for sirs? The Imprimatur can protect you from heresy but it is useless against stupidity."

Journet was the same man who, an article published in La Vie Espirituelle [The Spiritual Life] in 1948, said: "Without Fátima, Salazar would not be possible. He would not be serving in government to begin with, much less have maintained his position there." (p.200-1)

THE TRUE STORY OF FATIMA Father John de Marchi, I.M.C, Copyright 1952

"What do you want of me?"

And our Lady's unvarying first reply: "Come again to the Cova da Iria on the thirteenth of next month, my child, and continue to say the Rosary every day."

Again Lucia requested the Lady to bring to these hills a miracle so that all would know she came from heaven. Please do this, she requested, since they were so tired and so punished from being disbelieved.

"I will," the Lady promised. "In October I will perform a miracle so that everyone can believe in the apparitions. If they had not taken you to the town (meaning Ourem), the miracle would be even greater. St. Joseph will come with the Holy Child to bring peace to the world. Our Lord will come to bless the people. Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Dolors will also come at that time."

"Yes," said Lucia, "yes"; then remembering the request of Maria da Capelinha, she asked, "What are we to do with the offerings of money that people leave at the Cova da Iria?"

"I want you to have two andors [frames to carry statues] made," the Lady instructed, "for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. I want you and Jacinta to carry one of them with two other girls. You will both dress in white. And then I want Francisco, with three boys helping him, to carry the other one. The boys, too, will be dressed in white."

Lucia accepted these instructions humbly and thankfully, then fervently asked for the cure of the sick who had begged her intercession.

"Some I will cure during the year," the Lady said; then gazing down at them, she added, sadly, "Pray, pray very much. Make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell, because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice."

That was all, and the Lady left them, rising in the air—moving steadily, steadily toward the east until she was gone, or at least unseen, in the distant sky. .....

So on a beautiful September morning we left Leiria in a rickety carriage drawn by an old horse, for the spot where the much-discussed apparitions were said to take place. Father Gois found the dominating point of the vast amphitheatre from which we could observe events, without approaching too nearly the place where the children were awaiting the apparition.

At midday there was complete silence. One only heard the murmur of prayers. Suddenly there were sounds of jubilation and voices praising the Blessed Virgin. Arms were raised pointing to something in the sky. "Look, don't you see?"

"Yes, yes, I do... !" Much satisfaction on the part of those who do. There had not been a cloud in the deep blue of the sky and I, too, raised my eyes and scrutinised it in case I should be able to distinguish what the others, more fortunate than I, had already claimed to have seen.

With great astonishment I saw, clearly and distinctly, a luminous globe, which moved from the east to the west, gliding slowly and majestically through space. My friend also looked, and had the good fortune to enjoy the same unexpected and delightful vision. Suddenly the globe, with its extraordinary light, disappeared.

Near us was a little girl dressed like Lucia, and more or less the same age. She continued to cry out happily: "I still see it! I still see it! Now it's coming down... !"

After a few minutes, about the duration of the apparitions, the child began to exclaim again, pointing to the sky: "Now it's going up again!"—and she followed the globe with her eyes until it disappeared in the direction of the sun. "What do you think of that globe?" I asked my companion, who seemed enthusiastic at what he had seen. "That it was our Lady," he replied without hesitation.

It was my undoubted conviction also. The children had contemplated the very Mother of God, while to us it had been given to see the means of transport—if one may so express it—which brought her from heaven to the inhospitable waste of the Serra da Aire. I must emphasise that all those around us appeared to have seen the same thing, for one heard manifestations of joy and praises of our Lady. But some saw nothing. Near us was a simple devout creature, crying bitterly because she had seen nothing. ......

"For the love of God," I can remember one saying, "ask our Lady to cure my crippled son!"

"And mine who is deaf!" another would shout. "And mine who is blind!"

It went on like that. They asked to have their sons and husbands brought back from the war. They asked for the conversion of some particular sinner. They asked for the cure of consumption. They asked for everything. Every ailment of humanity seemed to be paraded before us. Some climbed up into trees or to the tops of the walls to see us go by. Closer by, we tried to answer some of the people and to help others out of the dust where they were kneeling. We would not have been able to move at all if some hadn't worked hard to keep an opening in the crowd. ......

Lucia, whose eyes had been lowered during the Lady's statement of God's approval of their sacrifices, dared now to raise her glance.

"I have the petitions of many for your help," she said.

"Will you assist a little girl who is deaf and dumb?"

"She will improve within the year," the Lady said.

"And the conversions that some have asked to have brought about? The cures of the sick ones?"

"Some I will cure," the Lady said, "and some I will not. Our Lord does not trust them all."

Lucia, obedient and satisfied, accepted this decision. She then remembered the desires of Maria da Capelinha and other pious women who had believed in the apparitions from the beginning.

"Would you like a small chapel to be built here with the money the people have left?" she asked.

"Yes; I would like a small chapel built in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary. But tell them to use only half the money for this. The other half is to be for the andors that you already know about."

Lucia's thoughts turned inward to personal problems.

"So many believe that I am an impostor and a cheat," she said, "that they say I deserve to be hanged and burned. Will you please perform a miracle so that all of them can believe?"

"In October," the Lady said, repeating her earlier promise, "I will perform a miracle that will permit everyone to believe." .......

It was around this time, that the bewildered young seers acquired an intelligent, unemotional and desperately needed friend. A priest named Dr. Manuel Formigao, professor at the Seminary and Lyceum of Santarem, had attended the alleged apparition of September 13. A prudent, understanding, and scholarly gentleman, he had not been much impressed with the "spiritual" aspects of what had seemed to him no more than a pious picnic. Standing about two hundred yards from the kneeling children during those moments they were reported in direct communication with the Mother of God, Dr. Formigao had seen none of the remarkable phenomena reported by so many. The only odd thing he had observed was a diminution in the light of the sun, and he had been able, reasonably, to attribute this to the height of the serra. ......

"People say that our Lady also appeared to you last year? Is there any truth in this?"

"She never appeared to me last year, never before May of this year; nor did I ever say so to anybody, because it is not true." ......

At this question Lucia was silent and appeared confused. I judged it better not to insist by repeating the question.

"In order to free yourself from the mayor on the day he imprisoned you, did you tell him something as if it were the secret, thus deceiving him and boasting of it afterwards?"

"That is not true. Senhor Santos really did want me to reveal the secret, but I could not, and did not do so, although he tried in every way to make me do what he wanted. I told the mayor everything that the Lady had said to me except the secret. Perhaps it was because of this that he thought I had told him the secret too. I never wanted to deceive him."

"Did the Lady tell you to learn to read?"

"Yes, the second time she appeared."

"But if she told you that she would take you to heaven in October next, what would be the good of learning to read?"

"That is not true. The Lady never said that she would take me to heaven in October, and I never told anyone that she had said such a thing." ......

Manuel Goncalves, the eldest son of the house, and a man of bright good sense, was able to supply him with information about the families of the children. Happily this dialogue has been preserved and is presented intact Dr Formigao is the first to speak. ...

"What do the inhabitants of Fatima think of the children's affirmations? Do they believe them? Do they think they are lying, or perhaps victims of a hallucination?"

"At first the people did not want to go to the Cova. No one believed the children. On the 13th of June, the day of the second apparition, there was a feast in the parish in honour of St. Anthony. In the Cova there were only about seventy people at the time of the apparition. The parents of Jacinta and Francisco had gone in the morning to Porto de Mos for the so-called 'Fair of the thirteenth,' with the intention of buying oxen and returning at night. In their absence the house filled up with people who wanted to see the children and question them. At present a large proportion of the people think that the children are speaking the truth. For my own part I am convinced of this." .......

"What does Lucia do during the apparitions?"

"She says the Rosary. When she speaks to the Lady she speaks loudly. I (Manuel Goncalves) myself heard her in June, because I was near her. Some people say that they heard the sound of the reply." .......

"Can you read?"

"No "

"Are you learning?"


"Then you are not doing what our Lady wants?..."25 Lucia did not reply to this. "When you tell the people to kneel and pray is it the Lady who tells you to?"

"No, it is not the Lady. I tell them to." .....

"Do you remember your mother reading a book called Short Mission, where there is a story of an apparition of our Lady to a girl?"


"Did you think much about this story, or speak about it to other children?"

"I never thought about this story, and I never talked about it to anyone." ......

My family- (Maria dos Anjos has told us) was very much concerned. As the; thirteenth of the month drew closer, we kept telling Lucia that she should forget all these wild stories she had invented, because otherwise all of us would suffer. My father was difficult with her, and especially when he was drinking, he was very, very bad, except that he did not beat her. It was my mother who did that.

We Kept hearing reports that if the miracle was a failure. our house would be bombed. We were terror-stricken, and our neighbours believed it, too. In our fears it seems that we believed everything, and everyone, but Lucia. People advised my mother to take Lucia away, but she did not know what she should do. Certainly at this time she did not believe.

"If it is really our Lady," my mother said, "there could have been a miracle already. She could have made a spring come up, or something like that. But, no—even when it rains in that place there is no more than a drop of water. Where will all of it end?"

Only the children remained unexcited. One day, I remember, I went to them at the well behind our house, and I said to them: "All right," I said, "when are you three going to admit that nothing happened in the Cova da Iria? People are saying that they will put down bombs to destroy our houses. Why don't you tell me the truth so I can tell Father Ferreira? He can then tell the truth to the people in the church, and all of this will be over. Shall I do that?" .....

We have at hand a variety of newspaper accounts, taken from journals of differing political policy and tone, and while tempted to print them all, we are aware their bulk would tax the limits of this book. The following is from an article in the newspaper, O Dia, which we now know to have been written by Dona Madalena Patricio:

The hamlets, villages and towns in the proximity appeared to be depopulated. For days beforehand, groups of excursionists were to be seen on the way to Fatima. The fishermen from Vieira left nets and wooden houses by the sea and came swinging through the pine woods. Artisans from Marinha, farmers from Monte Real... serra folk from much further afield, from every place where news of the miracle had penetrated, the people left their houses and their fields, and came to Fatima by horse, carriage, on foot, by every means of transport. The roads through the pines and the mountains echoed during these two days, with the noise of traffic and the voices of the pilgrims.

Autumn was reddening the vines, stripped after the vintage. The cold north-west wind announced the coming of winter... and all night and into the morning a sad, drizzling rain fell. Damp and cold, it penetrated into the bones of those who, with their families and animals, were flocking along the roads which led to the miraculous mountain. ......

A woman recites the first part of the Ave Maria, and immediately her companions continue the second part in chorus. They move rhythmically and rapidly in order to reach the place of the apparitions before nightfall. Here, under the stars they will sleep, keeping the first and best places near the little tree. ......

Many attempts have been made to compute the number of pilgrims who made the difficult journey to Fatima in October, 1917. Only one thing is altogether certain. It was a tragic problem such as had never beset this obscure and lonely section of the hills. Professor Garrett, of Coimbra University, has estimated a crowd of one hundred thousand, though admittedly he had no means of gauging the actual number to any fine degree. A more generally accepted figure is 70,000, a staggering total at the time. In any event, it was such a vast and unaccustomed crush of humans, that amateur statisticians attempted to count the vehicles that passed at certain points. A reporter from the paper, Diario de Noticias, dutifully counted 240 carts, 135 bicycles and 100 cars that returned from Fatima to Vila Nova de Ourem, and while it is true that in America today we can count 100 cars outside-of any thriving supermarket, we are speaking of Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, when an automobile was almost as rare as a five-legged calf. Obviously this reporter did not count oxen, donkeys, horses, mules, or that primary means of transport in those days of grace, a peasant's feet. .....

He was aggressive, this priest, and impatient with the children, and very suspicious. In a few minutes he looked at his watch again.

"It is past noon now," he said derisively. "Cannot all you people see that this is just a delusion? That it is nonsense? Go home, everyone, go home!"

He began to push the three little children with his hands, but Lucia would not go. She was very close to tears, yet full of faith.

"Our Lady said she would come, Father," Lucia said firmly,

"and I know that she will keep her promise." ......

The rain continues, and by the official government time it is well past one o'clock. But by sun time it is precisely noon when Lucia looks to the east. "Jacinta," she says softly, "kneel down." Then more strongly she calls, "Our Lady is coming; I have seen the lightning."

The children kneel, as do countless numbers of the faithful; but the people as yet have been stirred by no great happening. The faces of the children are mirrors of ecstasy, yet what they see is not for other eyes to know, except through the testimony of the children themselves. .....

"What do you want of me?" asks Lucia

The dialogue, read this way, does not seem inspired. From May to October it has been much the same. But there is this significant difference. It is heaven and earth concerned with goodness, rather than with skills. There is no call for Dante, or for Shakespeare, or for any modern literary hand.

"I want a chapel built here in my honour. I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. The war will end soon, and the soldiers will return to their homes."

"Yes," says Lucia "Yes." But since the Lady has promised this day to tell exactly who she is, Lucia asks further,

"Will you tell me your name?"

"I am the Lady of the Rosary."

There is a reverent silence. Lucia then explains, "I have many petitions from many people. Will you grant them?"

"Some I shall grant, and others I must deny." This Lady of the Rosary, who is God's Mother, is gentle, but she is serious. She has never smiled- She is asking for penance. She is talking in terms of heaven and hell—a blunt and terrifying equation that so many have comfortably forgotten. She speaks as though after 1900 years, a cross still weighs upon the shoulders of her Son: "People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended!"

"And is that all you have to ask?" Lucia inquires.

"There is nothing more." ......

These visions are brief and they succeed one another rapidly. Three times St. Joseph has traced the sign of the cross above the people. St. Joseph fades away, and Christ appears at the base of the sun. He is cloaked in red. With Him stands His Mother. She is gowned now in neither white nor blue, but as Our Lady of Sorrows, gazing on the earth. She has not the traditional sword in her heart. This the children clearly note, and are later able to recall. Christ gives his blessing to the people, and then, as this vision passes, there is one that Lucia alone is privileged to see: Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Remember, this is Lucia speaking; this is the privileged sight of three, quite different from the shocking and indisputable phenomenon that is witnessed by the crowd.

It seems strange, recounting here in simple words, such prodigies as this. There can be no attempt to describe the impact of this experience on the children. They have themselves no more succeeded in this than they have managed fully to convey a picture of the Lady whose beauty was more than the senses, unaided, could properly comprehend.

But what of the crowd who did not see the Christ Child, or His Mother, or St. Joseph in the sky? Here the record pursues the sceptic, and inexorably, if he does not flee from the evidence, it will defeat him. The miraculous hand falls heavily. Like stones, the signs of God will be laid before you now to build a house of faith.

When Lucia cried, "Look at the sun!" the people responded. The rain at that moment had stopped; the sun was clearly seen. There was no cloud to obscure it, yet it did not strain the eyes of any man to look on its unveiled light. The people could see that the sun was strangely spinning. It began to revolve more rapidly, more frighteningly. It began to cast off beams of many-colored lights in all directions. Shafts of brilliant red came from the rim of the revolving star and fell across the earth, the people and the trees; and green lights came and violet and blue in mixed array. It is a story of wonder and of terror, too, as the great star challenges the discipline of all the ages it has known, and begins careening, trembling in the sky for seventy thousand witnesses to see. Now, horribly, it appears to plunge from its place in the heavens and fall upon the earth. People are crying: ......

It must be admitted that this was not an afternoon of celestial fireworks enjoyed by simple and unlettered people predisposed to accept any flash of lightning as the Lord's own signal. The 70,000 witnesses included believers and non-believers, pious old ladies and scoffing young men. Hundreds, from these mixed categories, have given formal testimony. Reports do vary; impressions are in minor details confused, but none to our knowledge has directly denied the visible prodigy of the sun's unscheduled behaviour in the sky. The special reporter for the Lisbon daily, O Dia, had this to report in the edition of October 17, 1917:

At one o'clock in the afternoon, midday by the sun, the rain stopped. The sky, pearly grey in colour, illuminated the vast arid landscape with a strange light. The sun had a transparent gauzy veil so that the eyes could easily be fixed upon it. The grey mother-of-pearl tone turned into a sheet of silver which broke up as the clouds were torn apart and the silver sun, enveloped in the same gauzy grey light, was seen to whirl and turn in the circle of broken clouds. A cry went up from every mouth and people fell on their knees on the muddy ground ..........

On the evening of that same October 13, Father Manuel Pereira da Silva wrote to his friend and colleague, Canon Pereira de Almeida (don't let the confusion of baptismal and surnames defeat you), the following description:

The sun appeared with its circumference well defined. It came down as if to the height of the clouds and began to whirl giddily upon itself like a captive ball of fire. With some interruptions, this lasted about eight minutes. The atmosphere darkened and the features of each became yellow. Everyone knelt even in the mud....

The impressions of Father da Silva are especially interesting because he had been bitterly and outspokenly sceptical of the entire affair. Faith then hit him with such impact that he vowed, perhaps in reparation for his cynicism, never again to indulge his happy taste for wine. Whatever his motive, it was a promise the good father kept. .....

Perhaps less dramatic than the visible acrobatics of a heavenly body ninety million miles removed from earth, was another phenomenon we have not yet emphasised. In that hectic noontime, while the great star hung in cloudless clarity, the people, who had been drenched and soggy with the pelting, unremitting rain, were suddenly and completely dry—their shoes and stockings, their skin and their clothes, as though the Lady of the Rosary had invoked the power of some new machine. You'll pardon our conviction that it was the power of her Son, from whom all grace and lesser powers proceed.

We'll close this chapter by quoting from a pastoral letter on the apparitions written in 1922 by D. Jose Alves Correia da Silva, the bishop of Leiria:

The solar phenomenon of October 13, described in newspapers of the time, was of a most marvellous nature and caused the deepest impression on those who had the good fortune to witness it. ....

"Did she say that she would come back to the Cova da Iria? "

"She said before that it was the last time she would come, and today, too, she said it was the last time." ......

"She said: "The war will end today. You can expect the soldiers very shortly.' "

"But listen, Lucia, the war is still going on. The papers give news of battles after the 13th. How can you explain that if our Lady said the war would end that day?" .......

"What did the Lady say the second time, in June?"

"Lucia said: 'What do you want?' and the Lady replied: 'I want you to learn to read.'"

"Did Lucia ask anything else?"

"She asked about the sick people and sinners. The Lady said that she would make some better and convert them, but not others."

"Did the Lady say anything else?"

"On that day she didn't say anything else."

"What did the Lady say in August?"

"In August we didn't go to the Cova da Iria. You mean what did the Lady say at Valinhos? Lucia asked her if she was to bring Manuel and the Lady said she could bring everybody."

"What else?"

"She said we were to make two andors and to take them to the feast of the Rosary, I and Lucia with two girls dressed in white; and that Francisco and three other boys were to carry the other."

"Anything else?"

"I can't remember."

"What did the Lady say in October?"

"Lucia said: 'What do you want?' and she replied: 'Do not offend our Lord any more because He is very much offended.' She said that He would pardon our sins if we wanted to go to heaven. She said also that we must say the Rosary and that we could expect our soldiers back very soon and the war would end that day. She said that we were to build a chapel and I don't know if she said 'to the Lady of the Rosary' or just that she herself was the Lady of the Rosary."

Dr. Formigao then turned his attention to Lucia, in this way:

"Did the Lady wear stockings? Are you sure of this?"

"I think they were stockings, but they might not have been."

"You said once that the Lady wore white stockings. Were they stockings or were they feet?"

"If they were stockings, then they were white, but I am not sure if they were stockings or her feet."

"Was the dress always the same length?"

"The last time it seemed longer."

"You have never told the secret nor even said that the people would be sad if they knew. Francisco and Jacinta said they would be sad. If you cannot say this how can they say "I don't know if they ought to say that the people would be sad. Our Lady said that we were not to tell anybody anything, so I cannot say anything." Complete book

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