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.
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.
DAILY QUOTE for February 21, 2017
SAINT OF THE DAY
St. Peter Damian
Holding Hands with The “Gate of Heaven”
Of all the invocations to our Lady, Gate of Heaven is one of the most beautiful. This title had a new meaning for me when I arrived for a Fatima home visit at the house of Dominique McGuire and found her in tears.