THE LATEST PART IN OUR SERIALIZATION WILL ALWAYS BE FOUND ON THIS PAGE All Six Memoirs will be accessible from this page. We are currently serializing readings from Lucia's First Memoir. (the links below are not active yet since we are only on the First Memoir, which you can read below)
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FATIMA IN LUCIA'S OWN WORDS : THE FIRST MEMOIR
1. JACINTA’S CHARACTER
1. Her Natural Characteristics
Before the happenings of 1917, apart from the ties of relationship that united us, no other particular affection led me to prefer the companionship of Jacinta and Francisco to that of any other child. On the contrary, I sometimes found Jacinta’s company quite disagreeable, on account of her oversensitive temperament. The slightest quarrel which arose among the children when at play was enough to send her pouting into a corner – ‘tethering the donkey’, as we used to say. Even the coaxing and caressing that children know so well how to give on such occasions, were still not enough to bring her back to play; she herself had to be allowed to choose the game, and her partner as well. Her heart, however, was well disposed. God had endowed her with a sweet and gentle character which made her at once lovable and attractive.
I don’t know why, but Jacinta and her brother Francisco had a special liking for me, and almost always came in search of me when they wanted to play. They did not enjoy the company of the other children, and they used to ask me to go with them to the well down at the bottom of the garden belonging to my parents.
Once we arrived there, Jacinta chose which games we were to play. The ones she liked best were usually ‘pebbles’ and ‘buttons’, which we played as we sat on the stone slabs covering the well, in the shade of an olive tree and two plum trees. Playing ‘buttons’ often left me in great distress, because when they called us in to meals, I used to find myself minus my buttons. More often than not, Jacinta had won them all, and this was enough to make my mother scold me. I had to sew them on again in a hurry. But how could I persuade Jacinta to give them back to me, since besides her pouty ways she had another little defect: she was possessive!
She wanted to keep all the buttons for the next game, so as to avoid taking off her own! It was only by threatening never to play with her again that I succeeded in getting them back! Not a few times, I found myself unable to do what my little friend wanted.
One of my older sisters was a weaver and the other a seamstress, and both were at home all day. The neighbors, therefore, used to ask my mother if they could leave their children in my parents’ yard, while they themselves went out to work in the fields. The children stayed with me and played, while my sisters kept an eye on us. My mother was always willing to do this, although it meant considerable waste of time for my sisters. I was therefore charged with amusing the children, and watching to see that they did not fall into the pool in the yard. Three large fig trees sheltered the children from the scorching sun. We used their branches for swings, and an old threshing floor for a dining room. On days like these, when Jacinta came with her brother to invite me to go with them to our favorite nook, I used to tell them I could not go, because my mother had ordered me to stay where I was. Then, disappointed but resigned, the two little ones joined in our games. At siesta time, my mother used to give her children their catechism lessons, especially when Lent was drawing near, for as she said: “I don’t want to be ashamed of you, when the priest questions you on your catechism at Easter time.”
All the other children, therefore, were present at our catechism lessons and Jacinta was there as well.
2. Her Sensitiveness
One day, one of these children accused another of improper talk. My mother reproved him very severely, pointing out that one does not say such nasty things, because they are sinful and displease the Child Jesus; and that those who commit such sins and don’t confess them, go to hell. Little Jacinta did not forget the lesson.
The very next time the children came, she said: “Will your mother let you go today?” “No.” “Then I’m going with Francisco over to our yard.” “And why won’t you stay here?” “My mother doesn’t want us to stay when those other children are here. She told us to go and play in our own yard. She doesn’t want me to learn these nasty things, which are sins and which the Child Jesus doesn’t like.” Then she whispered in my ear: “If your mother lets you, will you come to my house?” “Yes.” “Then go and ask her.” And taking her brother by the hand, she went home.
Speaking of Jacinta’s favorite games, one of them was ‘forfeits’. As Your Excellency probably knows, the loser has to do whatever the winner tells him. Jacinta loved to send the loser chasing after butterflies, to catch one and bring it to her. At other times, she demanded some flower of her own choosing. One day, we were playing forfeits at my home, and I won, so this time it was I who told her what to do. My brother was sitting at a table, writing. I told her to give him a hug and a kiss, but she protested: “That, no! Tell me to do some other thing. Why don’t you tell me to go and kiss Our Lord over there?”
There was a crucifix hanging on the wall. “Alright”, I answered, “get up on a chair, bring the crucifix over here, kneel down and give Him three hugs and three kisses: one for Francisco, one for me, and the other for yourself.” “To Our Lord, yes, I’ll give as many as you like”, and she ran to get the crucifix. She kissed it and hugged it with such devotion that I have never forgotten it. Then, looking attentively at the figure of Our Lord, she asked: “Why is Our Lord nailed to a cross like that?” “Because He died for us.” “Tell me how it happened”, she said.
3. Her Love for the Crucified Savior
In the evenings my mother used to tell stories. My father and my older sisters told us fairy stories about magic spells, princesses robed in gold and royal doves. Then along came my mother with stories of the Passion, St. John the Baptist, and so on. That is how I came to know the story of Our Lord’s Passion. As it was enough for me to have heard a story once, to be able to repeat it in all its details, I began to tell my companions, word for word, what I used to call Our Lord’s Story. Just then, my sister 6 passed by, and noticed that we had the crucifix 7 in our hands. She took it from us and scolded us, saying that she did not want us to touch such holy things. Jacinta got up and approached my sister, saying: “Maria, don’t scold her! I did it. But I won’t do it again.”
My sister caressed her, and told us to go and play outside, because we left nothing in the house in its proper place. Off we went to continue our story down at the well I have already mentioned.
As it was hidden behind some chestnut trees and a heap of stones and brambles, we chose this spot some years later for our more intimate talks, our fervent prayers, and to tell you everything, our tears as well – and sometimes very bitter tears they were. We mingled our tears with the waters of the same well from which we drank. Does not this make the well itself an image of Mary, in whose Heart we dried our tears and drank of the purest consolation?
But, let us come back to our story. When the little one heard me telling of the sufferings of Our Lord, she was moved to tears. From then on, she often asked me to tell it to her all over again. She would weep and grieve, saying: “Our poor dear Lord! I’ll never sin again! I don’t want Our Lord to suffer any more!”
4. Her Delicate Sensibility
Jacinta also loved going out at nightfall to the threshing floor situated close to the house, there she watched the beautiful sunsets, and contemplated the starry skies. She was enraptured with the lovely moonlit nights. We vied with each other to see who could count the most stars. We called the stars Angels’ lamps, the moon Our Lady’s lamp and the sun Our Lord’s. This led Jacinta to remark sometimes: “You know, I like Our Lady’s lamp better; it doesn’t burn us up or blind us, the way Our Lord’s does.”
In fact, the sun can be very strong there on summer days, and Jacinta, a delicate child, suffered greatly from the heat.