Lucia of Fatima: Episode 5

Lucia of Fatima: Episode 5

Lucia and family

Lucia is my fifth book of historical fiction—and dramatically different. Unlike the other stories, I won’t create fictional characters nor will there be imaginative plot lines. Every character will be real; every event will have actually happened. 

Now that presents a problem. How do I keep the facts straight without damaging the reputation of Lucia’s family, people she dearly loved. You see, after Lucia and her cousins witnessed the first apparition of our Lady in May 1917, Jacinta revealed the supernatural event that occurred at the Cova. It was supposed to be a secret, but the little girl could not withhold her exuberance and let the cat out of the bag. There was no turning back. That created trouble for Lucia at home

Lucia’s mother, Maria Rosa’s mother was irate about these stories her daughter told. She was convinced that the children were lying. Maria Rosa complained bitterly to Lucia. Here is how Lucia described it in her memoirs.

Make up your mind which you want! Either undo all this deception by telling all these people that you lied or I’ll lock you in a dark room where you won’t see the light of the sun.

Doesn’t that sound cruel? What is a writer to do? Persecution by her family was the most painful consequence for Lucia. It really cannot be minimized

Should I soften the image of Lucia’s mother or tell it straight? I have an idea that does not compromise the truth, but save’s face for Maria Rosa who was a good woman under tremendous stress in her life.

Stay tuned.

4 thoughts on “Lucia of Fatima: Episode 5

  1. I think it is important to tell this story from within the context of the times as well as the culture. I’m Portuguese and grew up maybe two generations after Lucia. Threats such as this are the kinds of threats parents made to children under duress. They are the kind of threats my parents and grandparents got to scare them into behaving or simply to conform with the norm. Mental illness was (and is) very much stigmatized and not well understood at the time. The entire family could suffer socially for it (even marriage prospects down the line could suffer). They could all suffer if the cause of these visions was widely considered a bruxedo (curse or spell) that had been put on the family. The stigma associated with that could also put a strain on what I imagine was already a difficult existence. The mother, I imagine, would use a threat like this one to scare her child straight (fear being a big motivator with regards to discipline in those days given the hard times and status quo w/regards to discipline). I would consider Lucia’s mother feeling as though she were put in a desperate situation rather than inherently cruel. I don’t condone this approach to discipline or this reaction to a miracle, but know from generations before me that this was the norm then.

    • Thank you Barbara for your comment. Maria Rosa was under tremendous stress from the community and did not know how to deal with the constant flood of visitors. In her memoirs, Lucia always maintains love for her mother and comes to understand that Maria Rosa feared for her daughter’s life. Maria Rosa did not know if the apparitions were real. As the crowds are to number in the thousands, Mari Rosa was terrified that the crowd would kill her daughter if the apparitions proved to be false.

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