Welcome to episode 4 of Lucia of Fatima. As you may know, I am writing the story of Lucia Santos-the primary visionary in the famous apparitions of the Blessed Mother to three children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917.
First, I want to report that I experienced a writer’s nightmare—my computer crashed. Fortunately, I saved the 26,000-word rough draft on a flash drive. That really saved the day. Now I am letting the story sit until January. Some writers call it composting. Maine writer Stephen King in his book On Writing considers this step a necessity. That way I can look at the story with a fresh eye.
I have written four books for young readers, all are historical fiction. When writing in this genre it is important to do plenty of research. At this point, I have read eight books about Fatima, starting with Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words. It seemed like a logical place to start since the book will be about Fatima from her perspective.
Sometimes research reveals surprises. That is what happened in this case. I discovered that Lucia had a vision in 1915, two years prior to the six visions of Our Lady that occurred in 1917. She was watching sheep with three other children (not Jacinta and Francisco). They stopped to pray the rosary and have lunch. Here is her description:
We saw a figure poised in the air above the trees; it looked like a statue made of snow, rendered almost transparent by the rays of the sun…it looked like a person wrapped in a sheet. You could not make out any eyes or hands on it.
True to form, Lucia kept the vision a secret, but the other children told of the mysterious event. As would be the pattern throughout the apparitions, Lucia was teased and even persecuted by her own family and people in the village. No other book on Fatima that I have read tells of this presage (as Lucia calls it). She was only eight years old at the time. What is the meaning of this strange apparition? I do not know for sure. I can only speculate that it was prophetic in nature, preparing Lucia for her extraordinary mission.
Stay tuned for more episodes and more surprises.