The Apparitions of the Angel of Portugal
Before the apparitions of Our Lady occurred, Lucia de Jesus dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who all lived in the village of Aljustrel in the township of Fatima, had three visions of the Angel of Portugal, also called the Angel of Peace.
The First Apparition of the Angel
The angel first appeared either in the spring or summer of 1916 at Loca do Cabeço, a rocky outcrop near the top of a knoll called Cabeço, not far from Aljustrel. This is Sister Lucia's account of the apparition:
"We had been playing for a while when a strong wind shook the trees. Since it was a calm day, this made us raise our eyes to see what was happening. Then we began to see, well above the trees that covered the stretch of land to the east, a light whiter than snow in the shape of a transparent young man who was more brilliant than a crystal struck by the rays of the sun.
"As he approached, we began to see his features. He was a young man of great beauty about fourteen or fifteen years old. We were surprised and ecstatic. We did not utter a word.
"Once he drew near us, he said: 'Fear not. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.'
"Kneeling down, he bowed forward until his forehead touched the ground. We imitated him, led by a supernatural inspiration, and repeated the words we heard him say: 'My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee. I beg Thee forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee.'
"After he had repeated this twice, he rose and said: 'Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.' Then he disappeared.
"The supernatural atmosphere that enveloped us was so intense that we were almost unaware of our own existence. For a long time, we remained in the same position we were in when he left, repeating the same prayer. The presence of God was so intense and intimate that we dared not speak to each other. On the following day, we felt our spirits still enveloped in that atmosphere, which was but slowly disappearing.
"None of us thought of talking about this apparition or of recommending secrecy, for the incident itself demanded it. It was so intimate that it was difficult to utter a word about it. This might well have been the apparition that impressed us the most, because it was the first one thus manifested."
The Second Apparition of the Angel
The second apparition occurred in the summer of 1916 over the well at the house of Lucia's parents, next to which the three children were playing. This is how Sister Lucia narrates what the angel said to them:
"'What are you doing? Pray! Pray a great deal! The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs concerning you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High!'
"'How must we sacrifice?' I asked.
"'Offer God a sacrifice of anything you can as an act of reparation for the sins with which He is offended and as a supplication for the conversion of sinners. Draw peace upon your country by doing this. I am its guardian angel – the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and endure with submission whatever suffering the Lord sends you.' Then he disappeared.
"The angel's words were impressed upon our souls like a light that made us understand who God is, how much He loves us and wishes to be loved, the value of sacrifice and how it pleases God, and how He converts sinners because of it."
The Third Apparition of the Angel
The third apparition occurred either at the end of the summer or the beginning of the autumn of 1916, once again at Loca do Cabeço. According to Sister Lucia's account, it took place as follows:
"As soon as we arrived there, we began to say the angel's prayer on our knees, with our faces to the ground. 'My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee....' I do not know how many times we had said this prayer when we saw an unknown light shining over our heads. We rose to see what was happening, and we saw the angel bearing a chalice in his left hand. Drops of blood fell into the chalice from a Host suspended over it.
Leaving the chalice and the Host suspended in the air, the angel prostrated himself beside us and said the following prayer three times:
"'Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly and offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the earth, in reparation for the insults, sacrileges, and indifference with which He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg Thee for the conversion of poor sinners.'
"After this, rising up, he again took the chalice and the Host in his hand; he gave the Host to me and the contents of the chalice to Jacinta and Francisco to drink, saying: 'Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, who is horribly insulted by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.'
"He again prostrated himself on the ground and repeated with us the same prayer three more times. 'Most Holy Trinity....' Then he disappeared.
"Compelled by the supernatural force that enveloped us, we imitated the angel in everything, that is, prostrating ourselves as he did and repeating the prayers he said. The strength of God's presence was so intense that it absorbed and annihilated us almost completely. It seemed to deprive us even of the use of our bodily senses for a long period of time. For several days afterward, we performed our physical actions as though sustained by that same supernatural being who compelled us to do them. The peace and happiness we felt were great, but intimate, as our souls were entirely concentrated on God. The physical weariness that overwhelmed us was also great.
"I do not know why, but the fact is that the apparitions of Our Lady had a very different effect on us. There was the same intimate gladness, the same peace and happiness. But instead of physical weariness, we felt a certain expansive liveliness, a sense of glee instead of that annihilation in the Divine Presence, a certain communicative enthusiasm instead of that difficulty in speaking. But, in spite of these feelings, I felt the inspiration to remain silent, especially about certain things. In the interrogations, I felt an intimate inspiration that suggested to me the answers, which, although true, would not disclose what I should still keep secret."
The apparitions of the angel in 1916 were preceded by three other visions from April to October of 1915, in which Lucia and three other little shepherd girls (Maria Rosa Matias, Teresa Matias, and Maria Justino) saw something suspended in the air over the trees in the valley. It was "a kind of cloud whiter than snow, somewhat transparent, with a human form...a figure like a statue made of snow that the rays of the sun had turned somewhat transparent". This description is the one given by Sister Lucia herself.
Part 2: The Apparitions of Our Lady
[back to top]