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“I Want to Suffer For the Conversion of Sinners”: The Life of Saint Jacinta

Updated: May 29, 2020

In her First Memoir, Sister Lucia records the heroic virtues of her cousin and companion, Blessed Jacinta. The level of sanctity reached by this seven-year-old girl as a result of the infused knowledge and graces of Our Lady of the Rosary represents a degree of sanctification truly extraordinary. It was said by Sister Lucia that Jacinta made the transition from a child to an adult on the day when she saw the vision of Hell (July 13, 1917), and from that time onward she had an unquenchable desire to prevent souls from going to Hell through her own prayers and sacrifices.

On May 13, 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified Jacinta and thanked her for the prayers that she offered for Pope John Paul II after she had received a vision of a Holy Father of the future who was suffering much. John Paul II understood that Jacinta had been praying for him. With the announcement of the possibility of Pope Benedict XVI traveling to Fatima to canonize Jacinta sometime in 2006, we have all the more reason to have a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the life and heroic virtue of this Fatima seer. – Ed.

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….

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.

She Looks and Learns

As my sister belonged to the Sodality of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, every time a children’s solemn Communion came round, she took me along to renew my own. On one occasion my aunt took her little daughter to see the ceremony, and Jacinta was fascinated by the “angels” strewing flowers. From that day on, she sometimes left us when we were playing, and went off to gather an apron full of flowers. Then she came back and strewed them over me, one by one.

“Jacinta, why on earth are you doing that?”

“I’m doing what the little angels do: I’m strewing you with flowers.”

Every year, on a big feast, probably Corpus Christi, my sister used to prepare the dresses for the children chosen to represent the angels in the procession. They walked beside the canopy, strewing flowers. I was always among the ones chosen, and one day after my sister had tried on my dress, I told Jacinta all about the coming feast, and how I was going to strew flowers before Jesus. The little one begged me to ask my sister to let her go as well. The two of us went along to make our request. My sister said she could go, and tried a dress on Jacinta. At the rehearsals, she explained how we were to strew the flowers before the Child Jesus.

“Will we see Him?” asked Jacinta.

“Yes,” replied my sister, “the parish priest will be carrying Him.”

Jacinta jumped for joy, and kept on asking how much longer we had to wait for the feast. The longed-for day arrived at last, and Jacinta was beside herself with excitement. The two of us took our places near the altar. Later, in the procession, we walked beside the canopy, each of us with a basket of flowers. Wherever my sister had told us to strew the flowers, I strewed mine before Jesus, but in spite of all the signs I made to Jacinta, I couldn’t get her to strew a single one. She kept her eyes fixed on the priest, and that was all. When the ceremony was over, my sister took us outside the church and asked:

“Jacinta, why didn’t you strew your flowers before Jesus?”

“Because I didn’t see Him.”

Jacinta then asked me:

“But did you see the Child Jesus?”

“Of course not. Don’t you know that the Child Jesus in the Host can’t be seen? He’s hidden! He’s the one we receive in Communion!”

“And you, when you go to Communion, do you talk to Him?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Then, why don’t you see Him?”

“Because He’s hidden.”

“I’m going to ask my mother to let me go to Communion too.”

“The parish priest won’t let you go until you’re ten years old.” (1)

“But you’re not ten yet, and you go to Communion!”

“Because I knew the whole catechism, and you don’t.”

After this, my two companions asked me to teach them the catechism. So I became their catechist, and they learned with exceptional enthusiasm. But though I could always answer any questions put to me, when it came to teaching, I could only remember a few things here and there. This led Jacinta to say to me one day:

“Teach us some more things; we know all those.”

I had to admit that I could remember things only when people questioned me on them, and I added:

“Ask your mother to let you go to the church to learn your catechism.”

The two children, who so ardently desired to receive the “Hidden Jesus” as they called Him, went to ask their mother, and my aunt agreed. But she rarely let them go there, for she said:

‘The church is a good way from here, and you are very small. In any case, the priest won’t give you Holy Communion before you’re ten years old.”

Jacinta never stopped asking me questions about the Hidden Jesus, and I remember how, one day, she asked me:

“How is it that so many people receive the little Hidden Jesus at the same time? Is there one small piece for each person?”

“Not at all! Don’t you see that there are many Hosts, and that there is a Child Jesus in every one of them!”

What a lot of nonsense I must have told her!

The First Apparition

… That 13th day of May 1917… dawned bright and fair like so many others before it. That day, by chance—if in the designs of Providence there can be such a thing as chance—we chose to pasture our flock on some land belonging to my parents, called Cova da Iria. We chose the pasture as we usually did, at the Barreiro I have already mentioned. This meant we had to cross a barren stretch of moorland to get there, which made the journey doubly long. We had to go slowly to give the sheep a chance to graze along the way, so it was almost noon when we arrived….

Before beginning to tell Your Excellency what I remember of this new period of Jacinta’s life, I must first admit that there were certain aspects of Our Lady’s apparitions which we had agreed not to make known to anybody. Now however, I may have to speak about them in order to explain whence Jacinta imbibed such great love for Jesus, for suffering and for sinners, for whose salvation she sacrificed herself so generously. Your Excellency is not unaware that she was the one who, unable to contain herself for joy, broke our agreement to keep the whole matter to ourselves.

That very afternoon, while we remained thoughtful and rapt in wonder, Jacinta kept breaking into enthusiastic exclamations:

“Oh, what a beautiful Lady!”

“I can see what’s going to happen,” I said, “you’ll end up saying that to somebody else.”

“No, I won’t,” she answered “don’t worry.”

Next day, Francisco came running to tell me how she had told them everything at home the night before. Jacinta listened to the accusation without a word.

“You see, that’s just what I thought would happen.” I said to her.

“There was something within me that wouldn’t let me keep quiet,” she said, with tears in her eyes.

“Well, don’t cry now, and don’t tell anything else to anybody about what the Lady said to us.”

“But I’ve already told them.”

“And what did you say?”

“I said that the Lady promised to take us to Heaven.”

“To think you told them that!”

“Forgive me. I won’t tell anybody anything ever again!”

Reflecting on Hell

That day, when we reached the pasture, Jacinta sat thoughtfully on a rock.

“Jacinta, come and play.”

“I don’t want to play today.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m thinking. That Lady told us to say the Rosary and to make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. So from now on, when we say the Rosary we must say the whole Hail Mary and the whole Our Father! And the sacrifices, how are we going to

make them?”

Right away, Francisco thought of a good sacrifice:

“Let’s give our lunch to the sheep, and make the sacrifice of doing without it.”

In a couple of minutes, the contents of our lunchbag had been divided among the sheep. So that day, we fasted as strictly as the most austere Carthusian! Jacinta remained sitting on her rock, looking very thoughtful, and asked:

‘That Lady also said that many souls go to hell! What is hell, then?”

“It’s like a big deep pit of wild beasts, with an enormous fire in it—that’s how my mother used to explain it to me—and that’s where people go who commit sins and don’t confess them. They stay there and burn for ever!”

“And they never get out of there again?”


“Not even after many, many years?”

“No! Hell never ends!”

“And Heaven never ends either?”

“Whoever goes to Heaven, never leaves it again!”

“And whoever goes to Hell, never leaves it either?”

“They’re eternal, don’t you see! They never end.”

That was how, for the first time, we made a meditation on Hell and eternity. What made the biggest impression on Jacinta was the idea of eternity. Even in the middle of a game, she would stop and ask:

“But listen! Doesn’t hell end after many, many years, then?”

Or again:

“Those people burning in hell, don’t they ever die? And don’t they turn into ashes? And if people pray very much for sinners, won’t Our Lord get them out of there? And if they make sacrifices as well? Poor sinners! We have to pray and make many sacrifices for them!”

Then she went on:

“How good that Lady is! She has already promised to take us to Heaven!”

Conversion of Sinners

Jacinta took this matter of making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners so much to heart, that she never let a single opportunity escape her. There were two families in Moita (2) whose children used to go round begging from door to door. We met them one day, as we were going along with our sheep. As soon as she saw them, Jacinta said to us:

“Let’s give our lunch to those poor children, for the conversion of sinners.”

And she ran to take it to them. That afternoon, she told me she was hungry. There were holmoaks and oak trees nearby. The acorns were still quite green. However, I told her we could eat them. Francisco climbed up a holmoak to fill his pockets, but Jacinta remembered that we could eat the ones on the oak trees instead, and thus make a sacrifice by eating the bitter kind. So it was there, that afternoon, that we enjoyed this delicious repast! Jacinta made this one of her usual sacrifices, and often picked the acorns off the oaks or the olives off the trees.

One day I said to her:

“Jacinta, don’t eat that; it’s too bitter!”

“But it’s because it’s bitter that I’m eating it, for the conversion of sinners.”

These were not the only times we fasted. We had agreed that whenever we met any poor children like these, we would give them our lunch. They were only too happy to receive such an alms, and they took good care to meet us; they used to wait for us along the road. We no sooner saw them than Jacinta ran to give them all the food we had for that day, as happy as if she had no need of it herself. On days like that, our only nourishment consisted of pine nuts, and little berries about the size of an olive which grow on the roots of yellow bell-flowers, as well as blackberries, mushrooms, and some other things we found on the roots of pine trees—I can’t remember now what these were called. If there was fruit available on the land belonging to our parents, we used to eat that.

Jacinta’s thirst for making sacrifices seemed insatiable. One day a neighbor offered my mother a good pasture for our sheep. Though it was quite far away and we were at the height of summer, my mother accepted the offer made so generously, and sent me there. She told me that we should take our siesta in the shade of the trees, as there was a pond nearby where the flock could go and drink. On the way, we met our dear poor children, and Jacinta ran to give them our usual alms. It was a lovely day, but the sun was blazing, and in that arid, stony wasteland, it seemed as though it would burn everything up. We were parched with thirst, and there wasn’t a single drop of water for us to drink! At first, we offered the sacrifice generously for the conversion of sinners, but after midday, we could hold out no longer.

As there was a house quite near, I suggested to my companions that I should go and ask for a little water. They agreed to this, so I went and knocked on the door. A little old woman gave me not only a pitcher of water, but also some bread, which I accepted gratefully. I ran to share it with my little companions, and then offered the pitcher to Francisco, and told him to take a drink.

“I don’t want to.” he replied.


“I want to suffer for the conversion of sinners.”

“You have a drink, Jacinta!”

“But I want to offer this sacrifice for sinners too.”

Then I poured the water into a hollow in the rock, so that the sheep could drink it, and went to return the pitcher to its owner. The heat was getting more and more intense.

The shrill singing of the crickets and grasshoppers coupled with the croaking of the frogs in the neighboring pond made an uproar that was almost unbearable. Jacinta, frail as she was, and weakened still more by the lack of food and drink, said to me with that simplicity which was natural to her:

“Tell the crickets and the frogs to keep quiet! I have such a terrible headache.”

Then Francisco asked her:

“Don’t you want to suffer this for sinners?”

The poor child, clasping her head between her two little Hands, replied:

“Yes, I do. Let them sing!”

Love For the Holy Father

Two priests, who had come to question us, recommended that we pray for the Holy Father. Jacinta asked who the Holy Father was. The good priests explained who he was and how much he needed prayers. This gave Jacinta such love for the Holy Father that, every time she offered her sacrifices to Jesus, she added: “and for the Holy Father.” At the end of the Rosary, she always said three Hail Marys for the Holy Father, and sometimes she would remark:

“How I’d love to see the Holy Father! So many people come here, but the Holy Father never does!” (3)

In her childish simplicity, she supposed that the Holy Father could make this journey just like anybody else!

One day, my father and my uncle (4) were summoned to appear next morning with the three of us before the Administrator. (5)

“I’m not going to take my children,” announced my uncle, “nor present them before any tribunal. Why, they’re not old enough to be responsible for their actions, and besides all that, they could never stand the long journey on foot to Vila Nova de Ourém. I’ll go myself and see what they want.”

My father thought differently:

“As for my girl, I’m taking her! Let her answer for herself; I don’t understand a thing about this.”

They all took advantage of this occasion to frighten us in every way they could. Next day, as we were passing by my uncle’s house, my father had to wait a few minutes for my uncle. I ran to say goodbye to Jacinta, who was still in bed. Doubtful as to whether we would ever see one another again, I threw my arms around her. Bursting into tears, the poor child sobbed:

“If they kill you, tell them that Francisco and I are just the same as you, and that we want to die too. I’m going right now to the well with Francisco, and we’ll pray hard for you.”

When I got back at night fall, I ran to the well, and there were the pair of them on their knees, leaning over the side of the well, their heads buried in their hands, weeping bitterly. As soon as they saw me, they cried out in astonishment:

“You’ve come then? Why, your sister came here to draw water and told us that they’d killed you! We’ve been praying and crying so much for you!”

In Prison at Ourém

When, some time later, we were put in prison, what made Jacinta suffer most, was to feel that their parents had abandoned them. With tears streaming down her cheeks,

she would say:

“Neither your parents nor mine have come to see us. They don’t bother about us any more!”

“Don’t cry,” said Francisco, “we can offer this to Jesus for sinners.”

Then, raising his eyes and hands to heaven, he made the offering:

“O my Jesus, this is for love of You, and for the conversion of sinners.”

Jacinta added:

“And also for the Holy Father, and in reparation for the sins committed against the

Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

After being separated for awhile, we were reunited in one of the other rooms of the prison. When they told us they were coming soon to take us away to be fried alive, Jacinta went aside and stood by a window overlooking the cattle market. I thought at first that she was trying to distract her thoughts with the view, but I soon realized that she was crying. I went over and drew her close to me, asking her why she was crying:

“Because we are going to die,” she replied, “without ever seeing our parents again, not

even our mothers!”

With tears running down her cheeks, she added:

“I would like at least to see my mother.”

“Don’t you want, then, to offer this sacrifice for the conversion of sinners?”

“I do want to, I do!”

With her face bathed in tears, she joined her hands, raised her eyes to heaven and made her offering:

“O my Jesus! This is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, for the Holy Father, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary!”

The prisoners who were present at this scene, sought to console us:

“But all you have to do,” they said, “is to tell the Administrator the secret! What does it matter whether the Lady wants you to or not!”

“Never!” was Jacinta’s vigorous reply, “I’d rather die.”

The Rosary in Jail

Next, we decided to say our Rosary. Jacinta took off a medal that she was wearing round her neck, and asked a prisoner to hang it up for her on a nail in the wall. Kneeling before this medal, we began to pray. The prisoners prayed with us, that is if they knew how to pray, but at least they were down on their knees. Once the Rosary was over, Jacinta went over to the window, and started crying again.

“Jacinta,” I asked, “don’t you want to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord?”

“Yes, I do, but I keep thinking about my mother, and I can’t help crying.”

As the Blessed Virgin had told us to offer our prayers and sacrifices also in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we agreed that each of us would choose one of these intentions. One would offer for sinners, another for the Holy Father and yet another in reparation for the sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Having decided on this, I told Jacinta to choose whichever intention she preferred.

“I’m making the offering for all the intentions, because I love them all.”

II. After the Apparitions

Graces through Jacinta

There was a woman in our neighborhood who insulted us every time we met her. We came upon her one day, as she was leaving a tavern, somewhat the worse for drink. Not satisfied with mere insults, she went still further. When she had finished, Jacinta said to me: “We have to plead with Our Lady and offer sacrifices for the conversion of this woman. She says so many sinful things that if she doesn’t go to confession, she’ll go to hell.”

A few days later, we were running past this woman’s door when suddenly Jacinta stopped dead, and turning round, she asked:

“Listen! Is it tomorrow that we’re going to see the Lady?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Then let’s not play anymore. We can make this sacrifice for the conversion of sinners.”

Without realizing that some one might be watching her, she raised her hands and eyes to heaven, and made her offering. The woman, meanwhile, was peeping through a shutter in the house. She told my mother, afterwards, that what Jacinta did, made such an impression on her, that she needed no other proof to make her believe in the reality of the apparitions; henceforth, she would not only not insult us any more, but would constantly ask us to pray to Our Lady, that her sins might be forgiven.

Again, a poor woman afflicted with a terrible disease met us one day. Weeping, she knelt before Jacinta and begged her to ask Our Lady to cure her. Jacinta was distressed to see a woman kneeling before her, and caught hold of her with trembling hands to lift her up. But seeing this was beyond her strength, she, too, knelt down and said three Hail Marys with the woman. She then asked her to get up, and assured her that Our Lady would cure her. After that, she continued to pray daily for that woman, until she returned some time later to thank Our Lady for her cure.

On another occasion, there was a soldier who wept like a child. He had been ordered to leave for the front, although his wife was sick in bed and he had three small children. He pleaded that either his wife would be cured or that the order would be revoked. Jacinta invited him to say the Rosary with her, and then said to him:

“Don’t cry. Our Lady is so good! She will certainly grant you the grace you are asking.”

From then on, she never forgot her soldier. At the end of the Rosary, she always said one Hail Mary for him. Some months later, he appeared with his wife and his three small children, to thank Our Lady for the two graces he had received. Having gone down with fever on the eve of his departure, he had been released from military service, and as for his wife, he said she had been miraculously cured by Our Lady.

More and More Sacrifices

One day, we were told that a priest was coming to see us who was very holy and who could tell what was going on in people’s inmost hearts. This meant that he would find out whether we were telling the truth or not. Full of joy, Jacinta exclaimed:

“When is this Father coming? If he can really tell, then he’ll know we’re telling the truth.”

We were playing one day at the well I have already mentioned. Close to it, there was a grape vine belonging to Jacinta’s mother. She cut a few clusters and brought them to us to eat. But Jacinta never forgot her sinners.

“We won’t eat them,” she said, “we’ll offer this sacrifice for sinners.”

Then she ran out with the grapes and gave them to the other children playing on the road. She returned radiant with joy, for she had found our poor children, and given them the grapes.

Another time, my aunt called us to come and eat some figs which she had brought home, and indeed they would have given anybody an appetite. Jacinta sat down happily next to the basket, with the rest of us, and picked up the first fig. She was just about to eat it, when she suddenly remembered, and said:

“It’s true! Today we haven’t yet made a single sacrifice for sinners! We’ll have to make this one.”

She put the fig back in the basket, and made the offering; and we, too, left our figs in the basket for the conversion of sinners. Jacinta made such sacrifices over and over again, but I won’t stop to tell any more, or I shall never end.

III. Illness and Death of Jacinta

Jacinta’s Illness

This was how Jacinta spent her days, until Our Lord sent the influenza that confined her to bed, and her brother Francisco as well. (7) The evening before she fell sick, she said:

“I’ve a terrible headache and I’m so thirsty! But I won’t take a drink, because I want to suffer for sinners.”

Apart from school or the small tasks I was given to do, I spent every free moment with my little companions. One day, when I called in on my way to school, Jacinta said to me:

“Listen! Tell the Hidden Jesus that I like Him very much, that I really love Him very much indeed.” At other times, she said:

“Tell Jesus that I send Him my love, and long to see Him.”

Whenever I visited her room first, she used to say: “Now go and see Francisco. I’ll make the sacrifice of staying here alone.”

On another occasion, her mother brought her a cup of milk and told her to take it. “I don’t want it, mother,” she answered, pushing the cup away with her little hand. My aunt insisted a little, and then left the room, saying: “I don’t know how to make her take anything; she has no appetite.” As soon as we were alone, I asked her:

“How can you disobey your mother like that, and not offer this sacrifice to Our Lord?”

When she heard this, she shed a few tears which I had the happiness of drying, and

said: “I forgot this time.” She called her mother, asked her forgiveness, and said she’d take whatever she wanted. Her mother brought back the cup of milk, and Jacinta drank it down without the slightest sign of repugnance. Later, she told me:

“If you only knew how hard it was to drink that!”

Another time, she said to me: “It’s becoming harder and harder for me to take milk and broth, but I don’t say anything. I drink it all for love of Our Lord and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our dear heavenly Mother.”

Again, I asked her: “Are you better?”

“You know I’m not getting better,” she replied, and added: “I’ve such pains in my chest! But I don’t say anything. I’m suffering for the conversion of sinners.”

One day when I arrived, she asked: “Did you make many sacrifices today? I’ve made a lot. My mother went out, and I wanted to go and visit Francisco many times, and I didn’t go.”

Visit from the Blessed Virgin

Jacinta did improve somewhat, however. She was even able to get up, and could thus spend her days sitting on Francisco’s bed. On one occasion, she sent for me to come and see her at once. I ran right over.

“Our Lady came to see us,” Jacinta said. “She told us she would come to take Francisco to heaven very soon, and she asked me if I still wanted to convert more sinners. I said I did.

She told me I would be going to a hospital where I would suffer a great deal; and that I am to suffer for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for love of Jesus. I asked if you would go with me. She said you wouldn’t, and that is what I find hardest. She said my mother would take me, and then I would have to stay there all alone!”

After this, she was thoughtful for awhile, and then added: “If only you could be with me! The hardest part is to go without you. Maybe, the hospital is a big dark house, where you can’t see, and I’ll be there suffering all alone! But never mind! I’ll suffer for love of Our Lord, to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the conversion of sinners and for the Holy Father.”

When the moment arrived for her brother to go to Heaven, she confided to him these last messages: (8) “Give all my love to Our Lord and Our Lady, and tell them that I’ll suffer as much as they want, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Jacinta suffered keenly when her brother died. She remained a long time buried in thought, and if anyone asked her what she was thinking about, she answered: “About Francisco. I’d give anything to see him again!” Then her eyes brimmed over with tears.

One day, I said to her: “It won’t be long now till you go to heaven. But what about me!”

“You poor thing! Don’t cry! I’ll pray lots and lots for you when I’m there. As for you, that’s the way Our Lady wants it. If she wanted that for me, I’d gladly stay and suffer more for sinners.”

In the Hospital at Ourém

The day came for Jacinta to go to hospital. (9) There indeed she was to suffer a great deal. When her mother went to see her, she asked if she wanted anything. She told her that she wanted to see me. This was no easy matter for my aunt, but she took me with her at the first opportunity. As soon as Jacinta saw me, she joyfully threw her arms around me, and asked her mother to leave me with her while she went to do her shopping. Then I asked her if she was suffering a lot.

“Yes, I am. But I offer everything for sinners, and in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Then, filled with enthusiasm, she spoke of Our Lord and Our Lady: “Oh, how much I love to suffer for love of Them, just to give Them pleasure! They greatly love those who suffer for the conversion of sinners.”

The time allotted for the visit passed rapidly, and my aunt arrived to take me home. She asked Jacinta if she wanted anything. The child begged her mother to bring me with her next time she came to see her. So my good aunt, who loved to make her little daughter happy, took me with her a second time. I found Jacinta as joyful as ever, glad to suffer for the love of our Good God and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for sinners and the Holy Father. That was her ideal, and she could speak of nothing else…

Renewed Visits from the Blessed Virgin

Once again, the Blessed Virgin deigned to visit Jacinta, to tell her of new crosses and sacrifices awaiting her. She gave me the news saying:

“She told me that I am going to Lisbon to another hospital; that I will not see you again, nor my parents either, and after suffering a great deal, I shall die alone. But she said I must not be afraid, since she herself is coming to take me to heaven.”

She hugged me and wept: “I will never see you again! You won’t be coming to visit me there. Oh please, pray hard for me, because I am going to die alone!”

Jacinta suffered terribly right up until the day of her departure for Lisbon. She kept clinging to me and sobbing:” I’ll never see you again! Nor my mother, nor my brothers, nor my father! I’ll never see anybody ever again! And then, I’ll die all alone!”

“Don’t think about it,” I advised her one day.

“Let me think about it,” she replied, “for the more I think the more I suffer, and I want

to suffer for love of Our Lord and for sinners. Anyway, I don’t mind! Our Lady will come to me there and take me to heaven.”

At times, she kissed and embraced a crucifix, exclaiming: “O my Jesus! I love You, and I want to suffer very much for love of You.” How often did she say: “O Jesus! Now You can convert many sinners, because this is really a big sacrifice!”

From time to time, she asked me: “Am I going to die without receiving the Hidden Jesus? If only Our Lady would bring Him to me, when she comes to fetch me!”

One day I asked her: “What are you going to do in Heaven?”

“I’m going to love Jesus very much, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, too. I’m going to pray a lot for you, for sinners, for the Holy Father, for my parents and my brothers and sisters, and for all the people who have asked me to pray for them…”

When her mother looked sad at seeing the child so ill, Jacinta used to say:

“Don’t worry, mother. I’m going to Heaven, and there I’ll be praying so much for you.”

Or again: “Don’t cry. I’m alright.” If they asked her if she needed anything, she answered: “No, I don’t, thank you.” Then when they had left the room, she said: “I’m so thirsty, but I don’t want to take a drink. I’m offering it to Jesus for sinners.”

One day, when my aunt had been asking me many questions, Jacinta called me to her and said: “I don’t want you to tell anybody that I’m suffering, not even my mother; I do not want to upset her.”

On one occasion, I found her clasping a picture of Our Lady to her heart, and saying, “O my dearest heavenly Mother, do I have to die all alone?” The poor child seemed so frightened at the thought of dying alone! I tried to comfort her, saying: “What does it matter if you die alone, so long as Our Lady is coming to fetch you?”

“It’s true, it doesn’t matter, really. I don’t know why it is, but I sometimes forget Our Lady is coming to take me. I only remember that I’ll die without having you near me.”

Leaving for Lisbon

The day came (10) at last when she was to leave for Lisbon. It was a heartrending farewell. For a long time, she clung to me with her arms around my neck, and sobbed:

“We shall never see each other again! Pray a lot for me, until I go to Heaven. Then I

will pray a lot for you. Never tell the Secret to anyone, even if they kill you. Love Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary very much, and make many sacrifices for sinners.”

From Lisbon, she sent me word that Our Lady had come to see her there; she had told her the day and hour of her death. Finally Jacinta reminded me to be very good.

Jacinta died On February 20, 1920, at 10.30p.m. As Our Lady had foretold, Jacinta died alone. – Ed.

Excerpted from Sister Lucia’s Memoirs, Secretariado Dos Pastorinhos, Fatima, 2004,

First Memoir.


(1) Jacinta was born on the 11th of March, 1910.

(2) At that time it was a small village to the north of the Cova da Iria about one kilometer from the place of the Apparitions

(3) Paul VI on 13 May, 1967, and John Paul II on 13 May 1982, 1991, 2000, were in Fatima.

(4) Her father’s name was Antonio dos Santos, died 1919. Her uncle was Manuel Pedro Marto, died 1957, father of Francisco and Jacinta.

(6) The Administrator was Artur de Oliveira Santos, died 1955.

(7) Jacinta fell ill in October, 1918, and Francisco soon after.

(8) Francisco died on April 4th, 1919.

(9) This was St. Augustine’s Hospital in Vila Nova de Ourém. She was taken there on July 1st and left it on August 31st, 1919.

(10) On January 21st, 1920, she was taken to Lisbon, where she was admitted to the Orphanage run by Madre Godinho, Rua da Estrela, 17. On February 2nd, she was taken to the Dona Estefania Hospital, where she died on February 20th, 1920, at 10.30p.m.

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