Now I was in Spain. I would go over the North coast to Santiago de Compostella, and from there to Portugal to visit Fatima, which after having been approved by Rome as authentic in 1933, was still sleeping at this moment.
I was not knowing that this road want over high mountains, although it was not too bad, but difficult because of many places that were too steep for my heavy bicycle. My first object was Limpias, a town almost unknown, but I had read about it in a Catholic newspaper, some years before. There a priests had been in charge of the parish and saying there his last Mass, the beautiful Christ there in the sanctuary, was seen by the faithful saying the same prayers as done by the priest at The Altar. I would see this beautiful Christ and arrived there some morning, went to the Mass and received here Holy Communion.
It was a trip of several days, and climbing in the mountains caused me much pain in the joints of my arms and shoulders.
But from here it became more easy and the pain disappeared little by little... Several times I was stopped by the police to show my papers. This was not amazing, it was shortly after the short revolution, that had dethroned the king and given Spain a president, But they were always correct with me. Once I was held for a Russian-of course a communist-but my passport saved me easily. Churches in Spain are beautiful and they have not suffered much from a revolution like in France.
Thereupon became Sanriago de Compostella the following object. Santiago means Saunt (San) James and Compostella may have come from Campostella and means then "Starfield", beautiful name for a city: St. James of the Starfield. The apostle St James was the first to come to Spain to preach the Gospel and suffered here the martyr death.
When I had arrived here I wanted to see first the Cathedral and having found it I took first my padlock and chain to put my bicycle in Security. But then came a man to me assuring me that this was not necessary. Was he one appointed there for security? I saw no sign of it but he gave me trust and I let the bicycle to his care and entered the cathedral for some prayer and to admire its treasures; coming out I found my bicycle and its guardian on its side. I thanked this friendly man and left Santiago. My road want from here straight in to the south; I was not more far from Portugal. Coming at the custom-house at Hoy I had no difficulties to pass the border. This road was always near to the Atlantic Ocean and sometimes so near that I saw it. But the roads there were bad and even sometimes covered by a thick layer of sand to conserve them the most possible. All was so poor there. You saw at that time men with pants, patched with pieces of another color and little children almost completely naked. The Holy Virgin came not only to this country to show her love for this people. but also to save it from becoming a colony, sold to England or another country, because it could not more remain independent. The masons had governed it for a long time and plundered its poor resourced, but the Holy Virgin helped Portugal to have a new president, a good Catholic, who saved its economy with hard rules. I heard that to buy a pen you had to have z bon from the government, but the country remained always poor. Surely, wealth should have thrown the country in the arms of materialism and the bad other "isms" that have brought the world to loose contact with God. In Fatima the Holy Virgin has tole that Portugal should nor loose the faith. Then better to be arm. I wrote that when I arrived in 1935 that Fatima was always sleeping since 1917 and the great miracles that had overthundred the country and the western world. When I arrived there, there was almost nothing changed. I found on the spot of the apparitions a small hotel with four rooms and small restaurant as poor as its hotel. There were tow pilgrims, a pastor and his housekeeper. He had a name well known in the country; I don't more remember it but I had seen this name in different publications about the wonderful happenings in Fatima but this was from an adversary and this could not be the same. He spoke well French and I showed him the letter of recommendation, given to me by my pastor and I had won his heart. He promised me to pay the expenses for the time I stayed in Fatima and gave me a room in the hotel. We took all the meals together with him and his housekeeper who saw something that I myself had never observed. This was that my pants were almost completely used on the place where I had been sitting on the saddle. She brought me to the tailor and this made me new pants, so that I had not to fear for a disagreeable surprise; and she paid the price.
And now the news of Fatima which had always filled me with enthusiasm since I knew about it. The children were not more there; Lucy was in a convent and her two cousins, Francisco and Jacinta had died shortly after the apparitions to have them in Heaven incorrupted from contact with a sinful world. But I was happy to see the mother of Lucy. The priest showed her to me when she had come to the spot of the apparitions. And the other mother, I should see her years later, when I had come to Fatima by train and was on the town. Someone told me to see her when she came out of the church, surrounded by some little children, but as soon as she noticed that I would talk to her she gave me a sign and I understood that she wished not to be worried as must have happened countless timed and I contented me to have at least seen her.
Now there is a basilica, but much too small for the multitudes that come here every year, in particular in the 13th of October. How could Rome have waited 16 years before having recognized the authenticity of the apparitions. But so "is", of better "was" Tome before Vatican II, extremely prudent in taking a decision, that should be valid for always.
Even the masonic newspaper of Lisbon that had ridiculed the children before the miraculous day of October 13, had made a true report of that happened of that hay. 70,000 people had come from all the sides of the country by the most simple ways, by train in donkey car, on bicycle and most of them on foot and very few by car if there was only one. And then, it began to rain, the day before and there was nothing that could give a roof to protect one against the rain. But they came and passed the night outside in the rain. The morning came and it continued to rain as if this could not stop. At noon the hour announced for the miracle, the sun was always completely hidden by a thick blanket of rain clouds that seemed inexorable, when the voice of Lucy was heard that ordered:"Close the umbrellas". It had been and was obeyed. And not the clouds retired from the sun in all directions; the rain had stopped and the sun shone with love over the multitude. Then began the miracle: The sun began to dance and to turn, coloring the world different colours, the one after the other. This took about 15 minutes; then it seemed that the sin broke loose from the firmament and plunged upon the earth. A cry of terror was heard but this was only for a moment. The sun returned to where it was before and all was again normal. The children saw the Holy Virgin appearing in Heaven and another miracle: all had completely dried up as if there had not been rain at all. Imagine the enthusiasm of the people. This miracle had not only been seen by the multitude at Fatima, but more that 20 miles around. Should it not have arrived, may be they would have killed the three children; their parents feared this, but the children were firm and sure that the Holy Virgin would come and do a miracle as she has promised them.
Fatima has become one of the greatest pilgrimages in the world. I was here three days and said many rosaries. Now one thing was still lacking, whereof I had too always thought... to go also to Rome and now I was decided, But it was still far away. First back to Spain. Madrid was about 500 km far from Fatima. I hoped to be there in three days. I would have to pass through an enormous desert with here and there a small town, but also some more important cities.
I took leave of my good benefactors and of Fatima and setted off. It should be hoe in Spain, more that I had expected. I had passed the border and want now straight-on to the east. Now and then I passed a herd of sheep or also people that was harvesting the grain, cutting it and putting the sheaves with pitchforks of the horsecars, thereupon I saw once a girl, catching them and putting in order WHILE AT THE SAME TIME SINGING LIKE A NIGHTINGALE. Happy people that seemed not to suffer from the heat and to thank God for the happy produce of their work. Less pleasing was the meeting with a herd that was grazing near to the read; there were also two big dogs that-may be-had never seen a bicycle and thereupon a man. They came to me at a run to attack me. The shepherd whistled to them as much as he could, but this seemed to encourage them. They should have easily overturned and killed me, but Holy Providence was on my side. When the first arrived, I gave it a blow with one of my heavy shoes, so that I believe to have broken some of its teeth. It fell yelping helplessly to the ground and its companion stopped at the same moment to attack me while I myself continued my way, thanking God for having saved me from an accident that could have been grave.
The heat had become terrible. It was not far from Africa where I was. After on day in the merciless sun, I had the right side of my face burned so much that it was full of blisters. It caused me moreover a fever. Passing a little town, where I saw a hospital, I stopped here and asked for help.They know well what to do and after a nurse had treated me, they gave me a bed whereupon I came to rest and passed the night here. During the following morning came the pastor to distribute Holy Communion; I asked for it and received it easily. The good nuns were observing me very well and after having seen me making the sign of the cross, they told me that I was a Protestant. In Spain they make it only after having first signed front, mouth and breast. I explained it to them and finally I could convince them that I was Catholic. My rosary persuaded them. Now I felt better and I continued my way to Madrid. Everywhere you saw here locusts in the fields and on the way; they ate all that was eatable and then they emigrated to another spot. I never saw them flying, but I read once that flying in clouds they darken the sunlight. They were here so numerous that the shadowside of the trees that I met were covered with them; a sign that they also had it too warm. It was only one day that I had to suffer from the sun. My way went over mountains where it was a little cooler.
O do not remember which was the city where I had to stop. Was it Trujillo of Puente del Arzobispo, but it had become too late to rap at the door of a convent. I had to sleep this time outside, but I was therefore also prepared, but where could this be, being in the surrounding of a city. I found a garden, near to a house which seemed to me a good place and I entered here; but a little dog had seen me through the window and began to bark. I was soon hidden in the obscurity and shrubwood, but the dog didn't stop barking. Finally the owner opened the door and let it out and now it began to search for the gatecrasher and to circle around in circles that came always nearer to me. I was laying in my sleeping bag-hidden from everyone outside, but what to do if this little dog had found me? Holy providence came to my help. Another dog passed on the road, and there lost my persecutor suddenly all attention for me and rushed to the road, barking until its congener had disappeared. Thereupon it came back quietly; it had forgotten me completely and laid itself before the door and -it seems- conscious to have accomplished its duty and waited until the owner came again to the door, opened it and let it again in. I would pass an agreeable night and left the following morning, while all was still sleeping, inclusive the dog. I went first to a church to receive Holy Communion and then continued my trip.