Before the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima in 1917 occurred, Lucia de Jesus dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who all lived in the village of Aljustrel in the township of Fatima, had three visions of the Angel of Portugal, also called the Angel of Peace.
The angel first appeared either in the spring or summer of 1916 at Loca do Cabeço, a rocky outcrop near the top of a knoll called Cabeço, not far from Aljustrel. This is Sister Lucia's account of the apparition:
"We had been playing for a while when a strong wind shook the trees. Since it was a calm day, this made us raise our eyes to see what was happening. Then we began to see, well above the trees that covered the stretch of land to the east, a light whiter than snow in the shape of a transparent young man who was more brilliant than a crystal struck by the rays of the sun."
As he approached, we began to see his features. He was a young man of great beauty about fourteen or fifteen years old. We were surprised and ecstatic. We did not utter a word."Once he drew near us, he said:
'Fear not. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.'"Kneeling down, he bowed forward until his forehead touched the ground. We imitated him, led by a supernatural inspiration, and repeated the words we heard him say:
'My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee. I beg Thee forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee.'"After he had repeated this twice, he rose and said: 'Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.'
Then he disappeared.
"The supernatural atmosphere that enveloped us was so intense that we were almost unaware of our own existence. For a long time, we remained in the same position we were in when he left, repeating the same prayer. The presence of God was so intense and intimate that we dared not speak to each other.
On the following day, we felt our spirits still enveloped in that atmosphere, which was but slowly disappearing."None of us thought of talking about this apparition or of recommending secrecy, for the incident itself demanded it. It was so intimate that it was difficult to utter a word about it. This might well have been the apparition that impressed us the most, because it was the first one thus manifested." (8)