Did the Blessed Virgin appear to the children in August of 1917?
Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco were not able to keep their appointment with the beautiful Lady on the 13th of August, 1917 because they were in jail!
In our house, we have been trying to read these accounts on the 13th of May, June, July, August, September, and October each year. You know we haven't done it all the time! But for the times we have done it, our devotion to the Blessed Virgin and to Fatima has increased.
One way to commemorate these visions, is to put up some fun decorations each month (May to October), have something special at dinner (or after), and read the account about that month. If you need cute and beautiful decorations for this, please check out Our Lady of Fatima decorations from Party Like a Saint! If you order now (so you won't forget), you'll have them for September, and October.
Many people gathered in the Cova da Iria for the Blessed Virgin’s appearance, but the children never came, and the people saw only a little cloud which moved toward the holm oak and then went away. The children had been duped by the Mayor Santos, kidnapped, interrogated, and thrown in jail. They even convinced the thieves in the jail to pray the Holy Rosary with them!
I am grateful to Fatima: A Message More Urgent Than Ever by Luiz Sergio Solimeo, which gives Sister Lucia’s own account of what happened:
When we had been in jail for a while, the hardest thing for Jacinta was to feel abandoned by her parents; and she would say, with tears running down her cheeks, "Neither your parents nor mine ever came to see us. They no longer care about us!" [In fact, Mr. Marto had sent two sons to find out about them.] "Do not cry," said Francisco, "Let us offer it up to Jesus, for sinners. And raising his little hands to heaven, he made this offer.
"O my Jesus, it is for Thy love and for the conversion of sinners."
Blessed Francisco Marto gives us here the example of a saint – to offer up our sorrows and suffering to Jesus! Once the three children had been freed by the effort of Mr. Marto, Jacinta and Francisco’s father, our Lady finally appeared to them on August 19th—this time at a different place than usual. Sister Lucia writes:
[Sunday, August 19]. Walking with the sheep in the company of Francisco and his brother João in a place called Valinhos, and feeling that something supernatural was approaching and enveloping us, we suspected that Our Lady was going to appear and were sorry that Jacinta would miss her, so we asked her brother João to go call her. Since he did not want to go, I offered him two cents, and then he ran over there. However, with Francisco, I saw the reflection of the light that we used to call lightning; and seconds after Jacinta arrived, we saw Our Lady upon a holm oak. “What do you want from me?"
"I want vou to continue going to Cova da Iria on the thirteenth and that you continue to say the Rosary every day. In the last month I will work the miracle so that all may believe."
“What do you want to be done with the money that people leave at Cova da Iria?"
"Make two litters; one to be carried by you with Jacinta and two other girls dressed in white; and the other, by Francisco with another three boys. The money left over from making the litters is for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and whatever is left from that that is to help build a chapel that you will have erected."
"I want to ask you for the cure of some sick people."
"Yes; I will cure a few during the year."
And taking on a more sad appearance:
"Pray, pray a lot and do sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifice and pray for them." And, as usual, she began to rise toward the east.