An unbiased account of the Miracle of the Sun
By Avelino de Almeida, a freemason and journalist who witnessed the miracle of the sun
Note from the translator:
On October 15, 1917, Avelino de Almeida, 44, an agnostic and freemasonic1 journalist for “O Século”, writes his account of what he witnessed 2 days earlier in Fatima, Portugal: The miracle of the Sun.
His account of the miracle is written as a response letter to a non-believer friend that he hadn’t communicated with in twenty years, but his friend is now curious to hear Almeida’s account which, in Almeida’s own words, is "unbiased"2.
Almeida confirms he was a witness to the event, but even though with the sun danced to him and to thousands of others people, it seems that his personal disbelief has not been shaken.
Pictures and captions are from the original article.
The original article in portuguese can be read here.
Here is Almeida’s account…
Letter to someone asking for an unbiased testimony
Breaking the silence of more than twenty years, and with the invocation of the distant and nostalgic times in which we lived in fraternal comradeship, enlightened then by the common faith and strengthened by identical purposes, you write to me, asking to tell you, with sincerity and in detail, what I saw and heard on the heath of Fatima, when the fame of celestial apparitions gathered in that desolate wilderness tens of thousands of people, more thirsty, I believe, for the supernatural, than impelled by mere curiosity or fearful of a deception... in disagreement about the importance and significance of what they witnessed.
Some were convinced that promises from above had been fulfilled; others are still far from believing in the incontrovertible reality of a miracle. You were a believer in your youth and you are no longer one. Family members dragged you to Fátima, in the colossal wave of the people who gathered there on the October, 13th.
Your rationalism has suffered a formidable clash and you want to establish a safe opinion by relying on unbiased testimonials like mine, since I was only there in the performance of a very difficult mission, such as reporting impartially to a great newspaper, "O Século" , the facts that unfolded before me and everything that was curious and enlightening about them. Your desire will not go unfulfilled, but surely our eyes and our ears have not seen or heard different things, and that few have been insensitive to the grandeur of such a spectacle, unique among us and of every worthy point. meditation and study...
surely our eyes and our ears have not seen or heard different things, and that few have been insensitive to the grandeur of such a spectacle
What did I hear that took me to Fatima?
That the Virgin Mary, after the feast of the Ascension, had appeared to three children who were herding cattle, two girls and a boy, recommending them to pray and promising to appear there, over an holm oak, on the 13th of each month, until in October she would give them a sign of the power of God and make revelations. The news spread for many miles around; flew, from land to land, to the ends of Portugal, and the pilgrimage of the believers increased from month to month, to the point that, on the October 13th, some fifty thousand people gathered on the heath of Fatima, according to the calculations of individuals dispassionate.
In the previous meetings of the faithful, there was no lack of those who had supposedly see astronomical and atmospheric singularities, which were taken as an indication of immediate divine intervention.
There were those who spoke of sudden drops in temperature, of the twinkling of stars at midday and of beautiful clouds never seen around the Sun. There were those who repeated and moved movingly that the Lady recommended penance, that she intended to create a chapel in that place, which on October 13th would manifest, through a proof that was sensitive to all, the infinite goodness and omnipotence of God.
This is how, on the famous and long-awaited day, flocked from near and far to Fátima, facing with all the embarrassments and hardships of travel, thousands and thousands of people, some who walked miles in the sun and rain, others who were transported in a wide range of vehicles, from the almost prehistoric ones to the most recent and wonderful models of cars, and even many that endured the discomfort of the third classes of trains which, to travel relatively short distances, one have to endure long hours and even days and nights! I saw groups of men and women, patiently, as if enraptured in a dream, heading the night before to the famous site, singing sacred hymns and walking barefoot to their rhythm and to the cadenced recitation of the Rosary, without being demotivated, disturbed or desperate with the almost sudden change of weather, when the showers turned the dusty roads into mud, and the sweetness of autumn was replaced, for a day, by the harsh rigors of winter.
I saw the crowd, sometimes compressed around the tiny miracle tree and stripping it of its branches to keep as relics, (…)
(…) sometimes sprawled across the vast heath that the Leiria road crosses and dominates, and which the most picturesque and heterogeneous confluence of cars and hindered people on that memorable day, to wait in the best order for the supernatural manifestations without fearing that the winter would harm them, diminishing their splendor and grandeur...
I saw that despondency did not invade souls, that confidence was kept alive and ardent, in spite of unexpected setbacks, that the composure of the crowd, in which the peasants abounded, was perfect, and that the children, in their opinion “privileged”, had welcomed them with the demonstrations of the most intense affection (…)
(…) on the part of those people who knelt, discovered themselves and prayed at their command, as the hour of the miracle approached, the hour of the sensitive sign, the mystical and sighed hour of contact between Heaven and the land...
And when I no longer imagined that I would see anything more impressive than this noisy but peaceful crowd animated by the same obsessive idea and moved by the same powerful yearning, what did I still see as truly strange on the heath of Fatima?
The rain, at the pre-announced hour, ceases to fall; the dense mass of clouds break up and the king star — a frosted silver disc — at the height of its zenith appears and begins dancing in a violent and convulsive ballet, which a large number of people imagined to be a serpentine dance, so beautiful and brilliant colors successively covered the solar surface.
Miracle, as the people shouted? Natural phenomenon, the wise would say? I don't want to know now, but just want to tell you what I saw...
The rest is up to Science and the Church...
Avelino de Almeida
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Avelino de Almeida was initiated into Freemasonry on October 29, 1910 in the Irradiação lodge, Grande Oriente Lusitano Unido. Source from Minutes of Freemason Meeting 18, on October 29, 1910 - File 81, link here
The portuguese word he used is “insuspeito”. Here he wants to convey the idea that he is neutral.