The disillusioned man and the June 13 apparition

June 13, 1917

by Barb Ernster –

Mario Godinho was 25-years-old at the time of the Fatima apparitions. He was a member of an important and distinguished family from Vila do Paco, about 20 miles from Fatima. He owned a car, a Peugeot, which was a prestigious thing in 1917.

It was a difficult time for Mario at this age. He wasn’t a strong believer in God, being more interested in his plan to become an engineer. Portugal was not a friendly place for the Church and people of faith; Mario, like many young people, tried to get along without it.

But his mother was a saintly woman, and having heard about the extraordinary events that happened in Fatima, she insisted that Mario drive her and some relatives there for the June 13 apparition. Mario didn’t want to go that day and especially didn’t want his friends to know. But he agreed to take his mother, finding it hard to refuse her.

Mario Godinho’s car

He parked his car on the road near the apparition site and they started to walk to the Cova da Iria. On the way, they met the three shepherd children and talked to them. They pointed out the car and asked the children if they would meet them there after the apparition.

When it was over, Mario said they took the children home and asked them some questions, his mother perhaps being the most inquisitive. But after this personal time with the seers of Fatima, Mario left feeling very disappointed and thinking they were “full of delusions.” Here are some of his thoughts about the day, written in a testimony to John Haffert for his book Meet the Witnesses of the Miracle of the Sun.

“I dared not tell my friends of my going to the Cova da Iria. I would have been a considered a simpleton.

“I suppose I was the first driver to take a car to the Cova da Iria. Some years later, I saw my car in the pictures about the apparitions. I would have been ashamed should anyone have discovered that I was the owner of the car, the FIRST to go to the place of the apparitions.”

Lucia does not mention this family specifically in her memoirs, nor their car. They didn’t seem to make an unusual impression on her. She only talks in general of many people who sought her attention.

But since Mario left the June apparition feeling disillusioned about these children, let’s look at what they actually experienced that day.

The June 13th Apparition

In her memoirs, Lucia writes that she asked the beautiful Lady again: “What do you want of me?”

Our Lady told her to come again on the 13th of the month, to pray the Rosary every day and to learn to read and write.

Lucia then asked for the “cure of a sick person.” Our Lady replied, “If he is converted he will be cured during the year.” 

Our Lady promised cures on more than one occasion at Fatima, but always with the caveat, they must amend their lives. Our Lord and Our Lady are most concerned with the cure of our souls.

Then she promised to take Jacinta and Francisco to heaven soon, but Lucia would stay for a while longer to help establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart.

Lucia had been having some difficulties at home by this time. Her family didn’t believe her and she suffered much scorn from them. So many questions came at her. Her mother insisted she was lying to get attention and did not treat her so well.

She lamented to her cousins, “Where is the affection my family had for me only a little while ago?” My only relief was to shed tears before God while I offered my sacrifice.

Our Lady seemed to understand her disposition that day and said to her: “Are you suffering a great deal? Don’t be discouraged, I will never forsake you? My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the road that will lead you to God.”

Lucia writes: Then she opened her hands and for the second time, she communicated to us the rays of that same immense light. We saw ourselves in that light, as it were, immersed in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which rose towards heaven, and I in that which was poured out on the earth.

In front of the palm of Our Lady’s right hand was a heart encircled by thorns, which pierced it. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity and seeking reparation.

Francisco didn’t understand what had happened in that moment, as he could not hear Our Lady, so he asked Lucia:

“Why did Our Lady have a heart in her hand, spreading out over the world that great light which is God?  You were with Our Lady in the light which went down towards the earth, and Jacinta was with me in the light, which rose towards heaven.”

Lucia answered: “That’s because you and Jacinta will go to heaven, while I, with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, will remain for some time longer on earth.”

“How many years?” Francisco asked.

“I don’t know. Quite a lot.”

“Was it Our Lady who said so?”

“Yes, and I saw it in the light that she shown into our hearts.”

Jacinta cried out: “It is just like that! That’s exactly how I saw it too.”

Lucia continues: After this apparition, whenever people asked us if Our Lady said anything, we would tell them: “Yes. She did, but it’s a secret.” If they asked us why it was a secret, we shrugged our shoulders, lowered our heads and kept silent.

This Light was burning in them and around them, yet they were not harmed by it. They experienced God in the light and Francisco would exclaim about having to talk to all the people after:

“If they only knew what she showed us in God, in her Immaculate Heart, in that great Light. What is God? We could never put it into words. We could never explain it.”

It was to remain a secret.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit urged them to remain silent, because if these young kids had tried to explain to learned adults what happened to them that day, the questioning would have been so intense and they would never have been able to convey the experience in mere human words.

So it is with experiences of God. They are often personal, for one’s own benefit, understood by the recipient, but not understood fully by others.

The children were right in not saying anything, which caused people like Mario to walk away disappointed and the local people, even family members, to doubt and mock them. But they began to encourage each other and to understand these were the sufferings Our Lady spoke about on May 13, the sufferings they accepted by their “yes.” Sister Lucia would later state that this is the essential message of Fatima—to accept and bear with submission all that God sends us each day and offer it to Him for the conversion of sinners and salvation of souls.

These little offerings throughout the day are greatly received by God, especially when offered with love. Mary even taught a prayer to say when you offer your sacrifice: “O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Perhaps Mario’s family was a burden that Lucia bore patiently and offered to God silently in her heart. Perhaps she took their request to Our Lady for a cure.

The story ends on a good note: On August 13, when the children were in jail, Mario and his mother were at the apparition site and she was cured of a tumor near her eye, which confounded her doctor. After witnessing the October 13 miracle, Mario finally believed.

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  1. This is a very beautiful account of June 13th in Fatima. I love this!!!

  2. Blessed are those who have not seen proof and yet believe, as we all do. Thank you God the Father (the Creator), thank you to His only begotten Son ,our Lord and savior Jesus Christ ( the reedemer) and thank you Holy Spirit ( the Advocate, the Paraclete, the spirit of truth, our friend and the sanctifier).

    • Thank you for sharing this Love these little ones. Jacinta was the most precious little child. They suffered so much so young, with such obedience and courage! Lucia, Francesxo and Jacinta, pray for us!

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