Our Lady’s Fourth Apparition – August 19, 1917
On 13 August, the day the fourth apparition was scheduled, the three children were unable to meet Our Lady at the Cova da Iria. They had been kidnapped by the mayor of Vila Nova de Ourém, who tried to force them to tell him the Secret. The children held firm, despite the mayor imprisoning them together with criminals and terrorising them with threats to plunge them in boiling oil.
Meanwhile, at Cova da Iria, thunder and lightning were observed as usual announcing the imminent arrival of Our Lady. The crowd gathered there noticed a small white cloud hovering over the holm oak for a few minutes. The usual atmospheric phenomena were observed, the dimming of the hot sun, a drop in temperature. This time they also noticed the changing colour of the daylight, with various hues reflected on the faces of the people, clothing, the trees, and the ground. Our Lady had kept her word – she had come! But she had not found the children.
On August 19, at about four o’clock in the afternoon, Lucia was with Francisco and another cousin at Valinhos, a property belonging to one of her uncles, when the usual atmospheric changes that preceded the apparitions of Our Lady began to occur: a sudden cooling of the temperature and a dimming of the sun. Feeling that something supernatural was about to happen, Lucia sent for Jacinta, who arrived just in time to see Our Lady arriving and standing over a holm oak slightly larger than the one at Cova da Iria.
The following words were exchanged:
Lucia: What does Your Grace wish of me?
Our Lady: I want you to continue going to the Cova da Iria on the thirteenth day of each month and to continue praying the Rosary every day. On the last month, I will perform a miracle for all to believe.
(Our Lady’s face became sad, even distraught, as she continued.)
Our Lady: If they had not taken you to Ourém, the miracle would have been even greater.
Lucia: What does Your Grace want done with the money that people leave at Cova da Iria?
Our Lady: Have two portable stands made. You and Jacinta with two other girls dressed in white carry one of them, and let Francisco with three other boys carry the second one. The portable stands are for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The money that is left over should be contributed to the chapel they shall build.
Lucia: I would like to ask you for the healing of some sick persons.
Our Lady: Yes, I will cure some during the year (and becoming sadder, she recommended anew the practice of mortification). Pray, pray a lot, and offer up sacrifices for sinners; many souls go to hell because there is no one to offer up sacrifices and pray for them.
As usual, she then began to rise toward the east, until she vanished from sight in the distance. The three visionaries cut some branches off the holm oak tree over which Our Lady had appeared and took them home. The cuttings gave off a delightful fragrance.