The Angel of Portugal, also known as the Angel of Peace appeared to the three children in the summer of 1916, one year before the revelations of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The three children had three revelations from the Angel. These three children were shepherds. They were Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. They lived in the village of Aljustrel, belonging to the parish of Fatima.
The First Appearance of the Angel
The first apparition of the Angel took place in spring or summer of 1916, before the grotto in the hillside Cabeco near Aljustrel. St Lucia relates the events:
As we approached, we were able to discern his character: a young man aged about 14 or 15 years, of great beauty. We were surprised and excited. We could not utter a word. He soon approached us, said:
Do not be afraid. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.
And his knees bent until his forehead touched the ground. Inspired, we imitated the angel, and we began to repeat his words:
O my God, I believe in Thee, adore you, trust you and love you. I beg Thee for forgiveness for those who do not believe in Thee, do not adore, do not trust Thee and do not love Thee.
Pray, thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary carefully listen to your requests.
The atmosphere of the supernatural, which enveloped us was so strong that for a long time we almost did not realize our own existence, remaining in the same position in which the angel left us, and repeating the same prayer. God's presence was so strong and so profound that it we could not even speak about it to each other. The next day, we still felt embraced by the presence, which began to disappear very slowly. We decided not to talk about it, but keep it secret. This presence was so profound that it was not easy to tell even a word. This appearance made more of an impression, probably because it was the first.
The Second Appearance of the Angel
For the second time the angel appeared in the summer of 1916, by Lucy's home at the well near where the children were playing. Here's how Saint Lucy tells what the angel told her of herself and her cousins:
How are we to mortify? I asked.
And disappeared. These words of the angel impressed upon our souls like a light, which allowed us to understand who God is, how He loves us, and wishes to be loved. It allowed us to also understand the value of mortification, as it is pleasing to God and how He converts sinners by it.
Third Appearance of the Angel
Third apparition of the angel took place at the end of summer and early autumn of 1916 in the cave Cabeco. It happened, as described Sister Lucy, as follows:
I do not remember how many times we repeated this prayer, when we saw a bright light on shining on us. We rose to see what was happening and we saw the Angel holding a chalice in his left hand. He held a Host in his right hand from which flowed drops of blood into the chalice. Leaving the chalice and Host suspended in the air, the Angel knelt beside us and said the following prayer three times:
Then rising, he took the Chalice and Host in his hand.He gave the Host to me, and he gave the contents of the chalice to Jacinta and Francisco to drink, while saying:
Then again he stooped down to earth, he repeated with us three times in the same prayer: "Most Holy Trinity ... etc.. " and disappeared.
Inspired by a supernatural force which enveloped us, we imitated the Angel, that is, prostrating ourselves as he did and repeating the prayers he said. The strength of God's presence was so intense that it almost engulfed us. It seemed to deprive us the use of our bodily senses for a long time. During these days, we performed our physical actions as though sustained by that same supernatural being.
We felt great peace and happiness, in our inner souls, completely focused on God. Great physical weakness also overcame us.
I do not know why but the apparitions of Our Lady aroused in us very different effects. There was the same inner joy, the same calm and the same sense of happiness, but instead of physical weariness, we felt a certain expansive liveliness. A sense of glee instead of the annihilation of God's presence, great joy. Instead of the difficulty in speaking, a certain enthusiasm. But despite these feelings I felt inspired to remain silent, particularly about some things. During the investigations, I felt an inner inspiration that suggested to me the answers which, although true, would not disclose what I should keep secret.
The revelations of the Angel in 1916 were preceded by three other visions. In the period between April and October 1915, St Lucia, along with three other girls: Maria Rosa Matias, Maria Teresa Matias and Maria Justino; had seen, from the same hill, over the trees in the valley, suspended in the air, a cloud whiter than snow, clear, in the shape of human form. It was like the snow, which the sun had made a bit transparent. This is the description given by St Lucia herself.