Even one month after the first vision, 13th June 1917, St Anthony's
day, the patron saint of Portugal few still believed the children's
claims. Despite this the children, their family and 50 others gathered
at the Cova da Iria (Irene's Caves) to wait the celestial messenger.
In the second vision the heavenly
apparition spoke to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. Her message was met
with foreboding and worry. Francisco and Jacinta were to be taken away
and it was Lucia who would be left to spread the word of Jesus.
The children suffered further condemnation
by the time of the third apparition in August. The mayor of Ourem,
wishing to put an end to the speculation of the children's claims took
them into custody on 13th, questioned them all and threats were made if
they did not recant their claims. None of the children would do so.
A few days later after being released the
children were once again tending their family's flock and were drawn
back to the Cova da Iria, when once more the vision appeared. This time
she promised to provide a miracle to prove the children's claims. Though
she promised it would occur on their October meet, not their next.
By the time September and
the fifth apparition over 25,000 people had flocked to
the small town. Pressure on the children was at it's
height with politicians, newspapers and others baying
for blood with death threats issued if the children did
not tell the truth they'd lied. However none would do
Even Lucia's mother on the
eve of the sixth apparition asked for her to visit
confession as they would die if the miracle did not
occur. Lucia stood fast and the younger children
Unbelievably over 70,000
people crowded around the small grotto where the
children waited for the apparition to appear. At midday
Lucia motioned for the crowd to be quiet for the coming
of the apparition. Then according to witnesses the sun
'began to dance'. Once journalist who said the sun
became a dull silver disc, back lit, thought it was an
eclipse but was drowned out with cries of a miracle.
Francisco Marta died on
10th April 1919 of influenza aged only 10 years and his
sister Jacinta passed away the following year on 20th
February, also of pulmonary and respiratory problems.
Lucia Santos died in 2005,
aged 97, having spent her life as a Carmelite nun. Lucia
is also said to have received 'three secrets' from the
Lady of Immaculate Heart as the apparition became know.
However there is much speculation about these 'secrets'.