Around the time Dear Lady of Fatima made its way to the charts in the United States, the most enduring hymn in honour of Our Lady of Fatima was taking shape in Portugal.
In 1955, António Thomaz Botto, a Portuguese poète maudit then residing in exile in Brazil penned a poem which he dedicated to the Patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, hoping to endear himself to the Cardinal and obtain favour for his desire to return to Portugal. Botto had chosen to leave Portugal with his common-law wife in 1947 after backlash resulting from his homosexuality becoming public (when he was expelled from civil service for many reasons, including what people would call propositioning nowadays) had become unbearable. The Cardinal Patriarch allegedly ignored the overture, even though the book Fátima: poema no mundo, wherein the poem Hino de Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima was published, carried the approval of the Cardinal Patriarch, and Botto, who some sources claim to have been a fervent Catholic, and who by then had dropped the second t in his surname, eventually died in penury in a car crash in Rio de Janeiro four years later. The poem he wrote, however, bore the words that now adorn the hymn in honour of Our Lady of Fatima: the Avé de Fátima, more commonly known as A treze de maio.
We are not revealing this in order to mock an inheritance whose wisdom deemed it better to transmit the text of the hymn simply attributed as letra popular; rather, we wish to underscore that good things can come from the unlikeliest sources and appear in the most unexpected of places. Below are the first two official versions of the hymn:
Pe. José Ma. Gonçalves, C. Ss. R., composed the melody for the first official version of the hymn, for one voice and organ. Pe. António Cartageno, a priest from the Diocese of Beja, then arranged the hymn for four voices, adding a fifth (higher) soprano voice for the chorus. This arrangement became the version so honoured by the choir of the Sanctuary of Fatima, from which a third version was based and now sung.
Avé, avé, avé, Maria!