The Angel of Portugal

Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation. (Heb. 1:14)

In rural Portugal of 1916 it would not have been unusual to see children leading their family flocks to pasture. This is what the children of the Marto and Santos families, cousins all, did on many days. Often it was Lúcia Santos, Francisco Marto and his sister Jacinta, who gladly undertook this chore, grateful for the chance to be outdoors and to play as the sheep silently grazed. They would take their families few sheep to graze on small plots of land owned by their parents in different parts of the sera, the mountainous plateau on which was located the villages of Fátima, where the parish church was, and of Aljustrel, where the children resided.

Two favorite grazing areas were the hillside facing Aljustrel, near an outcropping called Loca do Cabeço (Place of the Head) and the Cova da Iria (Cove of Irene) at some distance beyond Fátima. At first one place, then the other, would occur the apparitions of an angel from heaven who would identify himself first as the Angel of Peace, and then as the Angel of Portugal. Thus, he did not give his name from God, as Michael, Gabriel and Raphael have done, but the title of his mission toward mankind.