Lúcia Abobora—later renamed Lúcia de Jesus de dos Santos was the youngest child of António dos Santos and Maria Rosa Ferreira. She had six brothers and sisters. Lúcia’s father António, by her report, was a hardworking and generous man. Lúcia remembered him telling fairy tales and singing folk songs, but he was also the one who first taught her to make the Sign of the Cross. Contrary to popular hagiographical accounts of the apparitions, he believed the children and there is some evidence that he conspired to make sure Lúcia got to the Cova for the visitations after her mother had forbidden it. While her mother, Maria Rosa was literate, although she never taught her children to read. She gave catechism lessons to children.
Lúcia’s First Communion occurred at six years of age despite ten being the usual minimum. Initially, the parish priest refused because of her young age. However, Fr. Cruz, a Jesuit missionary visiting from Lisbon, interviewed Lúcia after finding her in tears that day and concluded that “she understands what she’s doing better than many of the others.” Because of this intervention, the parish priest admitted Lúcia to Holy Communion. After her First Confession she prayed before the altar of Our Lady of the Rosary and saw the statue smile at her. Upon receiving the Eucharist, Lúcia felt “bathed in such a supernatural atmosphere that the presence of our dear Lord became as clearly perceptible to me as if I had seen and heard Him with my bodily senses.” Lúcia’s First Communion left a deep impact on her. “I lost the taste and attraction for the things of the world, and only felt at home in some solitary place where, all alone, I could recall the delights of my First Communion.”
Between May and October of 1917 three shepherd children, Lúcia and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, reported visions of a luminous lady believed to be the Virgin Mary. She appeared to the children in the Cova da Iria fields outside the hamlet of Aljustrel near Fatima, Portugal. She appeared to them on the 13th day of each month at approximately noon, for six straight months. The only exception was the month of August, when the children were arrested by the local administrator. It is said that Virgin Mary revealed three secrets to the children during her visitation.Read More »