On August 13th my oldest grandson, Tristan, will celebrate his birthday and a few days later his mother will also have her birthday on August 20th. I cannot be there with them, but from Fatima I can show how significant these dates are in the Fatima apparitions of 1917.
The three biggest days for the Portuguese people to come to Fatima are May 13th, October 13th and August 13th. May, because it was the first public apparition, and October because it was the great miracle. But why August? On August 13, 1917 the Virgin did not even appear, because the children were in jail! Or did She appear on August 13, 1917?
THE WAR FOR THE FAITH
In 1910 the Freemasons took power in Portugal with a Provisional Government by force of arms. The first act of this government on October 8, 1910 was to suppress all Religious Congregations and to expel the Jesuits. A few days later on October 18, 1910 they abolished the religious oath in the court system and then on the 25th they abolished the oath to defend the Immaculate Conception in the schools. In the same month of October they decreed that all religious holidays were to be days of work. On November 3, 1910 Divorce was legalized for the first time in Portugal. On Christmas day in 1910 marriage was declared to be a purely civil contract and on the 31st of December 1910 the priests and nuns who were allowed to remain in Portugal were not allowed to wear religious dress or habits on pain of imprisonment. The law of Separation on April 20,1911 extorted large sums of money from the Church and confiscated Church buildings for use as barracks, stables, and Government buildings. Convents and monasteries became jails and offices for the government. Magalhaes Lima, Grand Master of the Portuguese Freemasonry declared that within a few years no one would want to be a priest. Another Freemason, Afonso Costa, declared that the new law of separation of Church and State would end the Catholic Church in two generations. In other words the Dogma of Faith would be lost forever. For the first time in Portuguese history the Protestant Churches were invited in by the government. It was the reenactment of the French Revolution in Portugal.
Adding to this the First World War and the continuous changes of government from 1910 to 1917 and you will see the situation in Portugal at the time of the Apparitions. It was the same thing that happened to Mexico in 1910 and the Freemasons lasted for 90 years in Mexico. But in Portugal Our Lady came to help the people and the Church.
OUR LADY GOES TO WAR
The angel prepared the children in 1916 to prepare for a visit of Our Lady and in May, June and July She visited them, giving the three secrets and showing them hell. But it was in August that Our Lady went to war against the Freemasons. On August 13, 1917 Our Lady was to appear again in the Cova, but the most prominent Freemason in the area had another idea.
The Mayor of Vila Nova de Ourem, which encompasses Fatima, was Arthur Santos. He was a Freemason and published a newspaper called, Ouriense, which attacked the monarchy and the Church in the small towns of Ourem and Fatima. He was elected to the Masonic Lodge of Leiria, and later founded his own Lodge in Ourem-Fatima. As a reward for his attacks against the Church and his loyalty to the Freemasons, he was made Mayor at the age of 26 when the Freemasons took power in Portugal.
The Mayor, Arthur Santos, called the three children to his office on August 11, 1917 but Ti Mario, the father of Jacinta and Francisco would not take them and instead went himself. Lucia and her father, Antonio, went with him. In the meeting the mayor threatened Lucia with death, and questioned Antonio and Ti Mario. Antonio did not yet believe in the apparitions but Ti Mario did and said so. He confronted the mayor face to face without flinching.
According to the written Testimony of Ti Marto, "On the morning of August 13, it was Monday ... [he found the Mayor sitting in his living room] 'I never expected to see you in my house!'
'No, I thought after all I would like to go the miracle. Yes, we can all go together and I'll take the children in the carriage. We'll see and believe like St. Thomas.'
The Mayor was clearly nervous, fidgeting, looking around like a bird expecting a cat to pounce on it. He pulled out a big turnip watch from a vest pocket. "It's getting late, maybe you should call the children."
"Don't worry, Senhor Administrator." Said Ti Marto, "They'll be here on time. With their Lady, they never need to be reminded of the time."
The front door opened and the three children came bursting in, pink-cheeked, smiling, their eyes bright. They were chattering like birds. At the sight of the Mayor, they stopped dead. Their chattering ceased and worried looks came over their faces.
"Are you ready, children?" said Ti Martin. "The Senhor Administrator wants to take you to the Cova in his carriage."
"We'd sooner walk!" said Lucia.
"Well, just this once you can ride with me. We must see Father Ferreira before you go to the Cova da Iria. So, come with me." said the Mayor.
They went first to the Parish Church to see the priest but this was a ploy to go away from the Cova and towards Ouriem before the crowds could know what they were doing. After a pretence with the priest the Mayor thrust the children into the cart and left Ti Marto standing in the dust, looking furious. This was the plan to get the children away from the crowds and their parents.
The Mayor raced off down the hill with the three children from the Parish Church to his own home. Meanwhile at the Cova news came that the Mayor had kidnapped the Children and a crowd of many thousands resolved to go down together to the Mayor's office and brake down the door and get the children back. But ......
DID OUR LADY APPEAR ON AUGUST 13, 1917
Around the tree people were praying and singing hymns. There were about 5,000 and the roads were packed with many more coming. Flowers were being placed around the tree and the lanterns were lit on the arch. Candles were placed on the makeshift table.
"The mayor has kidnapped the children. Let us all go to his office and brake it down. Let us storm the city. They cannot stop all of us. They cannot do this to little children."
It was only 11:00 Am and a sudden flash thunder stopped the shouting of the crowds. Everyone spread away from the tree, then lightning busted out upon the Cova.
"We will be killed without the children." Shouted a woman.
Then quietly a little cloud, very delicate, very white, stopped for a few moments over the tree and then rose in the air and disappeared. It was seen by all. Everyone's faces reflected the colors of the rainbow, pink, red, blue. The trees seemed to be made not of leaves but of flowers, they seemed to be laden with flowers, each leaf seemed to be a flower. The ground shown out in colors and so did their clothes. The lanterns fixed to the arch look like gold. As the signs disappeared all the people set out for Fatima shouting out against the Mayor, against the priest, and against anyone who they thought had anything to do with the imprisonment of the children.
In order to hide from the crowds the Mayor took the children to his own house and threatened them there, trying to get the secret out of them. He threatened them with death but they hung in together "No more fooling around you brats. You're going to tell me the secret. Or you're never going to see your parents again. Now, what is the secret?"
The wife of the Mayor, Adelina, was not the same and fed and took care of the children.
Late that night they were taken to the jail that looks like some medieval dungeon. Inside, the cell is a dim, stone cube, with straw strewn on the stone floor. A noisome metal bucket sits in one comer as a toilet. A small, barred window is set high in one of the walls and through this comes the only light in the cell. Standing staring at the children are five convicts, all grown men. The door slams shut, leaving the cell in only very dim light from the window.
The five convicts (or maybe political prisoners) fell in love with the children and played and danced with them. In time the children and all five convicts kneeled in prayer.
In the morning they were taken before the Mayor. The convicts, with tears in their eyes, embraced the children.
The Mayor first tried to bribe the children with three gold coins worth a months wages for their fathers. Then he threatened them with boiling oil being prepared in the next room. First came Jacinta to go to her death and then Francisco, and last Lucia. But all refused to recant their visions or tell the secret. Of course they were not thrown in oil but they thought that they would be. Twice more they were threatened with the same oil.
FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION - AUGUST 15, 1917
On the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the third day of imprisonment (A little over two days) the Mayor took the children to the parish church. Mass was going on and the Church was crowded. The Mayor brought the children to the porch of the rectory.
According to the written testimony of Ti Marto, the father of Jacinta and Francisco, people were coming out of the mass and children with them and asking him if he had heard where the children were. He suggested that they might have been taken to Santarem. "The words were hardly out of my mouth when someone shouted, 'Look, Ti Marto, they're on the veranda of the priest."
And so on the third day, just like Christ, the children came back. They were released from prison on the feast of Our Lady's Assumption, August 15,1917.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE MONEY?
According to the written testimony of Maria de Caplea, who had taken charge of the money that people placed around the tree of the Cova de Iria, she did not know what Our Lady wanted her to do with the money. She asked everyone what they thought about it but could not get an answer.
"This went on until the 19th of August. It was Sunday and I went to Mass as usual. Afterwards I saw Lucia's Father with Lucia. ... At that moment the idea came into my head to ask Lucia to ask Our Lady what she wanted done with the money. She told me not to worry and that on the day of the next Apparition in September she would ask about it."
Within a few days, however, Lucia was able to give Our Lady's answer.
AUGUST IN VALINHOS
Lucia, Francisco and Joao, the oldest brother of Jacinta, were watching their sheep. Lucia looked around at the sky. She stood up and looked around again. There was no clouds but she sensed something. Then there was a flash of lightening.
"She must be coming and Jacinta's not here! John, go and fetch Jacinta, Our Lady is coming. (John wanted to stay and see) Go, you must go. I'll give you money if you go and fetch Jacinta." said Lucia.
When Jacinta arrived a ball of light appeared over a small tree. The ball opened up from the front and Our Lady appeared over a small cloud.
LUCIA "What do you want?"
VIRGIN "Go again to the Cova da Iria on the
13th and continue to say the Rosary every day.
LUCIA "Will you perform a miracle for all to see?
VIRGIN "I will. In October, I will perform a miracle so that everyone can believe in the apparitions. It they had not taken you to the town the miracle would have been greater. St. Joseph will come with the Holy Child to bring peace to the world. Our Lord will also come to bless the people. Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Dolores will come too."
LUCIA "What are we to do with the money and the offerings which the people leave in the Cova da Iria?"
VIRGIN "Make two biers. You are to carry one
with Jacinta and two more girls dressed in white. Francisco is to take
the other with three boys dressed in white. The money for the biers is
for the Fiesta of Our Lady of the Rosary."
LUCIA "Many sick are asking to be cured."
VIRGIN "I will cure some during the year. Pray, pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because no one makes sacrifices for them."
The ball of light closes around Her and lifts off towards the eastern sky until it disappears.
FREEMASONS AND OUR LADY
So why do the Portuguese think of August 13th as one of the great feast days of Fatima? Because this is the day She fought and defeated the Freemasons!
This is the day She performed a miracle for the people even though the children were not there in the Cove da Iria! Five thousand people saw the little cloud, the lightning, the rainbows of colors. This is the day Our Lady came just for the people of Portugal!
This is the day She started her war with the anti-Catholic government of Portugal. The following year the mayor was fired, and the diocese restored. In 1921 the communists tried to take over the government but by 1926 Salazar took power and restored all the Church property and rights. He took the government from total poverty to great wealth in only a few years.
On the Feast of the Assumption the children were freed from jail and on the 19th or 20th She appeared in the children's village.
Happy birthdays, Kelly and Tristan!!