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Blesseds Francisco (1908-1919) and Jacinta Marto (1910-1920) 

Francisco and Jacinta, brother and sister, were born in the hamlet of Aljustrel,
in the province of Fatima, Portugal.



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Their parents, Manuel Marto and Olimpia de Jesus, had altogether ten children, of which the little seers were the eighth and ninth.

Francisco was a good-looking, sturdy lad, of a calm, retiring disposition. Jacinta was a pretty girl, with a spritely temperament, and just a bit spoiled.

At the time of the apparitions they were nine and seven years old, respectively. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, was ten years old.

Together with Lucia they thrice saw the Angel of Portugal in 1916. When Our Lady appeared on May 13, 1917 at Cova da Iria, Fatima, Lucia was the one to speak to the apparition, Francisco could see but not hear, and Jacinta could see and hear.

On the second apparition of June 13, when the children asked about going to heaven, Our Lady told them that Francisco and Jacinta would be going soon, while Lucia was to stay on earth a while. She added that Francisco would have to say many rosaries.

Between this information, and Our Lady’s insistence on reparation to Our Lord for so much offense, and prayer and sacrifices to help save the souls of poor sinners, the two youngest seers embarked on a rare program of holiness, culminating in their beatification in 2000.

Indeed, brother and sister were not beatified for having seen Our Lady, albeit the greatness of such a grace, but because, taking the heavenly invitation seriously, they attained heroic sanctity.

Francisco, though good and simple, obviously had some significant fault or faults for which to atone. On hearing from Lucia that Our Lady had said that he would have to say many rosaries to go to heaven, without the least trace of resentment he exclaimed: “O, my dear Our Lady, I will say as many rosaries as you want!”

He was often seen with his rosary in hand, seeking solitude or spending long hours before the Blessed Sacrament. His loving, innocent heart felt the special calling to “console Our Lord” for the sins of mankind.

After suffering without complaint the ravages of the Influenza of 1918, Francisco died on April 4, 1919 peacefully at home, with a smile on his lips. He was eleven years old.

Jacinta was riveted by the apparition of July 13 in which they were given a glimpse of Hell. After this vision, her every thought was of helping to save the souls of “poor sinners,” and she spared no prayer or sacrifice for that end.

Also contracting the Influenza of 1918, Jacinta suffered heroically. In a private apparition, Our Lady asked her if she would be willing to remain on earth a little longer to help save more sinners. The nine-year-old girl generously accepted, enduring a trip to Lisbon where she was admitted to two hospitals, and finally dying alone far from her family, as Our Lady had foretold to her. Still, the Blessed Mother herself supported her, appearing to her frequently, instructing and counseling her as well as showing her many things to come.

Francisco and Jacinta Marto were solemnly beatified on May 13, 2000 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II at Fatima, Portugal.

 


  

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DAILY QUOTE for April 27, 2017

Habits acquired by our human actions alone do not perish by...

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April 27

Habits acquired by our human actions alone
do not perish by one single contrary act: for
a man is not said to be intemperate for one single
act of intemperance, nor is a painter held an unskillful
master
for having once failed in his art; but, as all
such habits are acquired by the influence of a series of
acts, so
we lose them by a long cessation from their
acts or
by many contrary acts.

St. Francis de Sales

 

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SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Peter Armengol

Torn with grief, they went to the site of the martyr death,...

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St. Peter Armengol

Peter Armengol was born in 1238 in a small village in the archdiocese of Tarragon, Spain to a family of noble lineage.

Although his parents took great care regarding his education, young Peter forsook his life of privilege and turned to a life of crime, vice and caprice. He joined a gang of criminals who lived as bandits in the mountains to escape the authorities, and he soon became their leader.

Years later, when Armengol’s band of brigands attempted to ambush the retinue of a noble Spaniard, Peter was astonished when he discovered that the man he was fighting, and wanting to run through with his sword, was none other than his own father. Overcome with remorse, the repentant prodigal cast himself on his knees before his astonished father, imploring his forgiveness. Peter resolved to enter a Mercedarian monastery in Barcelona, an Order devoted to the ransoming of captive Christians. So fervent was he in his repeated requests for the habit and consistent in giving conducive proofs of his vocation that he was accepted.

For eight years, Armengol was the one directly responsible for the ransom of the captives, but his greatest yearning was to actually go himself to Africa and become a captive for the ransom of Christians, a desire that God saw fit to grant. On a ransom trip to the African continent, Friar Armengol agreed to become a hostage himself in exchange for the release of eighteen children. He was to be held until a sum of money was delivered for his ransom by a certain date. If it was not paid by the date set, Peter would be executed by his Moorish captors.

During his captivity, he converted many Moslems to the true Faith by the fervor of his preaching. However, when the sum of money intended for his ransom did not arrive at the appointed time, his captors threw him into prison, and subjected him to numerous forms of unspeakable and excruciating tortures, which he survived only by the grace of God.

The ransom still not having arrived, the Moors conspired to execute him. Totally confident, even in that impossible hour, Friar Armengol entrusted himself to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and went calmly to his impending death.

Six days later, when the company of Friars arrived with his ransom money, his body still hung from the gallows. Torn with grief, they went to the site of the martyr's death, hoping to at least recover his body, but were stunned when they found him still alive! Peter explained to them how the Virgin Mary had held him up and kept him alive until their arrival.

Armengol returned to Barcelona and lived a retired life in the Mercedarian Monastery of Our Lady de los Prados where he passed his days in familiar conversation with his Queen, whom he loved with such filial devotion.

God called his servant home on April 27, 1304.

WEEKLY STORY

The Heavenly Baker

One year, there was a famine, and most people were obliged t...

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The Heavenly Baker

In the time when Saint Catherine of Siena walked the streets of her quaint medieval town, she sometimes stayed at the house of a widow-friend, Alessia, to avoid the distractions of her noisy home.

One year, there was a famine, and most people were obliged to buy long stored wheat. The bread made from this wheat had a sour after-taste. But as the new harvest came in, and there was fresh wheat to buy, Alessia remarked to St. Catherine:

“Mother, this old wheat makes sour bread, so as the Lord has had pity on us, I will throw away the little that I still have.”

“You wish to throw away what the Lord has given us for our food?” replied Catherine, “at least give it to those who don’t even have that.”

“O, I feel guilty giving from the old wheat…I’d rather give from the new, fresh batch,” remonstrated Alessia.

Saint Catherine then asked that she give her the flour and some water, for she wished to make bread for the poor of Our Lord.

As Catherine worked, not only did she produce an astounding number of loaves from so little flour, but turned them out so fast that Alessia and her maid couldn’t believe their eyes.

Served at table, everyone was amazed how delicious and sweet these loaves were. “We haven’t tasted better!” they exclaimed. 

Moreover, when taken out to the poor and to the Friars, the bin kept giving without emptying.

Sometime later, on hearing of this miracle, St. Catherine’s confessor, Blessed Raymond of Capua, sensed that there was something “more” to this story, and pressed his spiritual child to tell him all.

So Catherine explained that as she had approached the flour box, she had seen the sweet Lady Mary standing there with several angels and saints graciously offering to help her make the bread.  So Mary Most Holy began to work the dough with Catherine, and by virtue of those immaculate hands not only was the wheat made sweet, but the number of loaves multiplied. 

“The Madonna herself gave me the loaves as she made them,” related Catherine, “and I passed them onto Alessia and her maid.”

“No wonder,” writes Blessed Raymond in his biography of Saint Catherine, “that that bread seemed so sweet , since it was made by the perfect hands of the holy queen, in whose most sacred body, the Trinity made the Bread that came down from heaven to give life to all unbelievers.”

And the same writer asserts that years after in Siena, people still treasured pieces of this blessed bread as relics. 

 

Taken from The Life of Saint Catherine of Siena by Blessed Raymond of Capua - By Andrea F. Phillips

 

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One year, there was a famine, and most people were obliged to buy long stored wheat.

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