Before the events of 1917, except for the bond of kinship that united us, no other particular affection made me prefer the company of Jacinta and Francisco to that of any other child.
On the contrary, her company was at times most unwanted, due to her delicate character. When faced with the smallest quarrel, as those that happen between children when they play, she would be saddened, and go to a corner ... . In order to have her back playing with us, the sweetest gentleness that children are capable of at such times were not enough. It was then necessary to let her pick the game and the child with whom she wanted to play it. She already had then a heart very inclined to goodness, and the good God had granted her a sweet and gentle character that made her, at the same time, lovable and attractive.
For some reason I ignore, Jacinta, along with her brother Francisco, had a special preference for me and came after me to play almost always. They did not enjoy the company of the other children and asked me to go with them near a well that was in their parents's backyard. Once we got there, Jacinta picked the games which we would play. Her favorite ones were, almost always, played on top of this well, which was covered with stones on top, under the shade of an olive tree and two plum trees ... .
... As I said before, one of her preferred games was that of prendas. As Your Excellency certainly knows, [in this game,] the one who wins tells the loser to do anything off the top of his mind. She enjoyed asking [us] to run after butterflies until we were able to fetch one and bring it to her. At other times, she asked for some flower that she had chosen. One day, we were playing this in my home, and it was my turn to tell her to do something. My brother was sitting down, writing near a table. I told her then to give him a hug and a kiss, but she answered:
- "Not this! Ask me to do something else. Why don't you ask me to kiss Our Lord who is there?" (It was a Crucifix hanging on the wall.)
- "Very well," I said. "Climb on a chair, bring it down and, on your knees, give it three hugs and three kisses: one for Francisco, one for myself, and one for you."
- "To Our Lord, I will give as many [hugs and kisses] as you tell me to."
And she ran to get the Crucifix. She kissed and hugged it with so much devotion that I never forgot that fact. Then, she looked attentively at Our Lord and asked:
- "Why is Our Lord nailed to a cross like this?"
- "Because He died for us."
- "Tell me how it happened."
Sister Lúcia dos Santos
Letter to the Bishop of Leiria (Transcribed by Canon José Galambo de Oliveira, May 1938)
Memórias da Irmã Lúcia