As we brace ourselves for this Pope’s next publicity stunt at Fatima to “commemorate” the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s first visit in the series of apparitions, let us consider what happened immediately after October 13, 1917. As we have related previously, those events caused even the enemies of the Church to admit that something had occurred for which they had no explanation.
Frère Michel tells us that Portugal had suffered under anti-Christian freemasonry for generations prior to Our Lady’s visitations to Fatima, with continued persecution of the Church and Bishops being exiled. However,
The most fanatical elements within the carbonari were furious at this setback. They wanted to attempt a spectacular operation to ridicule the events of Fatima … On October 22, the freemasons of the district of Santarem decided to vandalize the place of the apparitions. Under cover of darkness, the night of October 22-23, they proceeded to the Cova, where they demolished the little primitive shrine erected by the peasants carrying off the little rustic altar, the lanterns, a crucifix and an image of Our Lady.
Lúcia later wrote of this, “In the morning, news of what had happened spread like wildfire. I ran to the place to see if it were true. … I then asked Our Lady to forgive these poor men and I prayed for their conversion.” Frère Michel’s Volume II has many interesting anecdotes about the faithful peasants’ resistance to the freemasons’ attempts to counteract the growing cult of Our Lady of Fatima, including causing donkeys to bray during the freemasons’ speeches against the Blessed virgin’s apparitions. But for now, we pass on to a remarkable although short-lived event that holds a message for us in these times as well.