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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 February 21, 2017

Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been a...

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February 21

 

Who except God can give you peace?
Has the world ever been able
to satisfy the heart?

St. Gerard Majella


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SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Peter Damian

He was adopted by his older brother who sent him to school,...

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St. Peter Damian

Peter Damian was born in Ravenna, Italy. His parents died when he was still very young, and he was adopted by his older brother who sent him to school, where he excelled in his studies and eventually worked as a professor.

Fasting and prayer were the great hallmarks of his sanctity. He had a great love for those less fortunate than himself, and frequently dined with the poor at his table, serving them with his own hands.

Leaving all his earthly possessions, Peter became a hermit in the Order of St. Benedict. Though reluctant to do so, he later became abbot of the hermitage in 1043. He guided his holy brothers with great piety, and eventually founded five other hermitages.

Peter’s wisdom was valued greatly within the Church, and in time, he was asked to be Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia. He reluctantly accepted, but often asked to be reinstated as a simple monk. Eventually his wish was granted, and he returned to his simple life as a hermit, though he continued to assist the Church in matters of importance. He died at Faenza in 1072 of a severe fever.

The Hildebrandine reform in the Church – the stress for clerical celibacy and the fight against simony – is largely due to St. Peter Damien. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1823.

WEEKLY STORY

Holding Hands with The “Gate of Heaven”

Of all the invocations to our Lady, Gate of Heaven is one of...

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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 gained a new meaning for me when I arrived for a Fatima home visit at the house of Dominique McGuire and found her in tears. Her mother, Marie Jeannine Michel, a native from Haiti, had suffered a massive heart attack the day before and was now dying.

I was more than happy to take the statue to visit her at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was painfully clear, when we arrived in the Intensive Care Unit, that this poor soul was reaching the end.

Over the next couple of hours we prayed numerous rosaries, litanies and the prayers for the dying by her bedside. We also struggled to provide the dying women with all the spiritual assistance we could.

As we prayed, the attending nurse, who happened to be Catholic, kept calling local Churches to find a priest who would administer last rites. Whenever she entered the room to care for Mrs. Michel she would join in the responses to the Hail Mary. Overwhelmed by the scene, she exclaimed, “I hope when I am dying someone will bring the statue to visit me and pray the rosary.”

Moments before the priest arrived, Dominique asked me if I had an extra scapular for her mother. I did not. As the priest administered the last rites I scurried from the room in search of this precious sacramental, only to find I was the only person wearing one. Mrs. Michel was in much more need of it than me, so with the help of a doctor we temporarily removed her oxygen mask and placed my scapular around the dying woman’s neck. Dominique then took her Miraculous Medal and pinned it on to the scapular.

The most moving part of this visit occurred when Mrs. Michel opened her eyes and showed signs she wanted to speak. When they removed the oxygen mask, Dominique told her mother, in their native tongue, that “Momma Mary” was in the room.

Since Mrs. Michel seemed to be already looking into eternity, with a type of “fog of death” in her gaze, I carried the statue over next to her bed. Surprisingly she reached up and took hold of our Lady’s hands and held on for some moments. The oxygen mask was then replaced as the nurse administered morphine to deaden the pain she was experiencing.

Mrs. Michel died at 6:00 AM the following morning with Dominique praying beside her bed.

While the America Needs Fatima home visitation program is a very rewarding apostolate, nothing on earth compares to the satisfaction of a visit like this. A person going through such a moving ordeal, however, could naturally ask, “Was there something more we could have done?”

In the case of Mrs. Michel, the answer is a resounding no. She received the last rites of Holy Mother Church, was clothed in the brown Scapular, and was almost continuously surrounded by the melodious sound of the Angelic Salutation.

Hours before she passed into eternity, Mrs. Michel also had the grace to hold hands with She who truly is the Gate of Heaven.

By: Norman Fulkerson

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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.

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