As published in the book Our Lady of Fatima by William Thomas Walsh (Image Books edition 1954. First printing May, 1947).
In the convent of the Dorothean Sisters at Vilar, William Thomas Walsh, a distinguished author, historian and teacher who had thoroughly investigated the miracle of Fatima, the apparitions and Our Lady’s prophecies, interviewed Sister Lucia, then known as Sister Maria das Dores. The interview took place on Monday, July 15, 1946, and is included as an epilogue to his 1947 book Our Lady of Fatima. Walsh wrote that Lucia was nervous at first because she didn’t like interviews, but as she began to relax and feel at ease, she was friendly and laughed readily: “It was impossible not to like her and to trust her.”
Below is the interview as it is published:
First I presented a few questions from America, some perhaps a little obvious and unnecessary. One, from a sculptor, was whether the rosary in the hand of Our Lady had had five or fifteen decades.
“I didn’t count them,” she said quickly, with a mischievous smile.
“When the Angel of Peace gave you Holy Communion at Cabeço, did it seem to you like a dream or a vision, or was it like the reality of receiving Holy Communion in a church?”
She hesitated for the right word. “I cannot be absolutely sure of that, because I was not in any ordinary state of mind during such an experience, and there was something so intimate, so interior, so intense about the apparition of the Angel and what he said and did. But I believe it was like the real experience of receiving in a church, for I felt the contact of the Host.”
“Did you see Our Lord in the year 1927?”
“Twice.” The answer was prompt and matter-of-fact. I was not permitted to question her as to what He said. Nor was I allowed to ask about the conversations she had with Our Lady since 1917. It is well known that there have been several such apparitions. According to Voz de Fatima, published at the shrine, the Blessed Mother said to her in her cell, on December 10, 1925: “Look, my daughter, at my Heart surrounded with the thorns with which ungrateful men wound it by their blasphemies and iniquities. You, at least, try to console me, and announce that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturdays of five consecutive months, confess, receive Holy Communion, recite part of my Rosary, and keep me company for a quarter of an hour meditating on the mysteries with the intensions of offering me reparation.” Sister Dores made this known, and it has given great impetus to the Immaculate Heart devotion.
The interview continued:
“When you reported the words of the Angel and of Our Lady, did you give the exact words as they were spoken, or only the general sense?”
“The Angel’s words had an intense and overpowering quality, a supernatural reality that could not be forgotten. They seemed to engrave themselves exactly and indelibly upon the memory. It was different with the words of Our Lady. I could not be sure that every word was exact. It was rather the sense that came to me, and I put what I understood into words. It is not easy to explain this.”
“Our Lady showed you many souls going to hell. Did you get the impression from her that more souls are damned than saved?”
This amused her a little. “I saw those that were going down. I didn’t see those that were going up.”
“Does the statue in the shrine at Cova da Iria look like the Lady you saw there?”
“No, not much. I was disappointed when I saw it. For one thing, it was too gay, too alegre. When I saw Our Lady she was more triste, or rather more compassionate. But it would be impossible to describe Our Lady, and it would be impossible to make the statue as beautiful as she is.” She left the room a moment and returned with a small print of Our Lady on some sort of transparent plastic material, the most simple and unadorned I had seen, and handed it to me. “This is the picture that comes nearest to what I saw,” she said. “Our Lady seemed to be made of light, and her garments were also. There was no border of gold, no ornamentation.”
“In many books about Fatima, the prayer Our Lady asked you to say after the decades of the Rosary is given in some form as this: ‘O my Jesus, pardon our sins, save us from the fire of hell, have mercy on the souls in Purgatory, especially the most abandoned.’ Is that correct?”
“No, it is not,” she replied positively. “The correct form is the one I have written in my account of the apparition on July 13: ‘O my Jesus, pardon us, and save us from the fire of hell; draw all souls to heaven, especially those most in need.’”
“Have you ever read the works of Saint Teresa of Avila?” I was thinking especially of the descriptions of uncreated light in the Libro de su vida.
“No. Parts of them were read to us in the refectory.”
“Have you had any revelations from Our Lady about the end of the world?”
“I cannot answer that question.”
“Some persons believe that Jacinta’s vision of a persecuted Pope referred to some particular Pontiff. Some believe the present Holy Father was the one she saw.”
“Jacinta said it was a Pope. There was nothing to indicate any particular Pope.”
“Why did you say nothing about the Angel of Peace for so many years?”
“Nobody told me to. I am under obedience. The priest to whom I mentioned it at the time told me not to speak of it again. I never did until the Bishop told me to write everything down.”
She explained the different effects of the apparitions of the Angel and of Our Lady in terms of very similar to those she had used in her memoirs. She seemed very fond of such words as “intimo” and “intenso.” Her recollections were clear and precise. “The Angel left us feeling exhausted, helpless, overpowered, and we remained lost to everything for hours. Our Lady always made us feel light and joyous.”
Finally we came to the important subject of the second July secret, of which so many different and conflicting versions have been published. Lucia made it plain that Our Lady did not ask for the consecration of the world to her Immaculate Heart. What she demanded specifically was the consecration of Russia. She did not comment, of course, on the fact that Pope Pius XII had consecrated the world, not Russia to the Immaculate Heart in 1942. But she said more than once, and with deliberate emphasis:
“What Our Lady wants is that the Pope and all the bishops in the world shall consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart on one special day. If this is done, she will convert Russia and there will be peace. If it is not done, the errors of Russia will spread through every country in the world.”
“Does this mean in your opinion, that every country, without exception, will be overcome by Communism?”
It was plain that she felt that Our Lady’s wishes had not yet been carried out. People must say the Rosary, perform sacrifices, make the five first Saturday Communions, pray for the Holy Father.
“Did Our Lady ever say anything to you about the United States of America?”
She gave me a rather startled glance, and then smiled in faint amusement, as if to suggest that perhaps the United States was not so important in the general scheme of things as I imagined.
“No,” she said gently. “She never did. But I wish you would have Masses said for me in the United States.” I promised, and she said she would pray for me.
It was almost eight-o-clock, and we had been talking for about three hours. (Mother Pignatelli, Father Galamba, Father Rocha, Father Furtado and Mr. Daniel Sullivan were present at the interview). As we took our leave, Sister Maria das Dores, who had entered that house as Lucia Abóbora, leaned over the railing and gave us a charming smile of farewell.
After my return from Portugal, I wrote several questions which His Excellency the Bishop of Leiria was good enough to send to Sister Dores. Her answers, written February 17, 1947, reached me too late for the first edition of this book. I summarize the most important:
The more specific request of Our Lady, that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart “by the Pope and all the bishops in the world on one special day” was made in 1927, ten years after the original revelations.
Q. “Is it your opinion that the Pope and the Bishops will consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart only after the laity have done their duty, in Rosaries, sacrifices, first Saturday Communions, etc.?”
A. “The Holy Father has already consecrated Russia, including it in the consecration of the world, but it has not been done in the form indicated by Our Lady: I do not know whether Our Lady accepts it, done in this way, as complying with her promises. Prayer and sacrifice are always the means necessary to draw down the graces and blessings of God.”
Q. “Did you write the wishes of Our Lady to Pope Pius XI?”
A. “In 1929 I wrote the desires and requests of Our Lord and of Our Lady, which were the same, and delivered the writing to my confessor; he was then the Reverend Father Bernardo Gonçalves, a Jesuit, now Superior of the Mission of Zambesia Leifidizi: His Reverence transmitted it to His Excellency the Most Reverend Senhor Bishop of Leiria, and some time later it was transmitted to His Holiness Pius XI. I do not know the exact date when it was communicated to His Holiness or the name of the person of whom my confessor availed himself. But I remember well that my confessor told me that the Holy Father had heard the message graciously and had promised to consider it.”
Q. “Can you give me a brief account of any other revelations you have received from Our Lady since 1917?”
A. “What has been published of the revelations later than 1917 appears to me sufficient to make possible the realization of the wishes of Our Lord, and I do not think the moment opportune to state anything further.”
Source: Our Lady of Fatima by William Thomas Walsh, Image Books edition 1954, pp 218-223.