In Portugal, beginning in 1915, three small shepherds guarding their flock around Fatima would have apparitions. First, Lucia Dos Santos, accompanied by two friends, saw a silent angel on the hill of Cabeço. In 1916, Lucia Dos Santos, together with her two cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, would see this angel three times, who presented himself as the Angel of Peace and then as the Angel of Portugal. These apparitions are in preparation for the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, which would take place between May and October 1917 at the Cova da Iria. Lucia was then 10 years old, Francisco 9 years old, and Jacinta 7 years old. During the apparitions, Our Lady made several announcements to the three shepherds concerning their lives, she said to them: “You will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.” In addition, she revealed to them from the first appearance: "Jacinta and Francisco, I will take them soon. But you, Lucy, will stay here for a while. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. To whomsoever will embrace this devotion, I promise salvation, these souls will be cherished by God, as flowers placed by Me to adorn his throne. "
On May 13, 2017, for the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Francisco canonized two of the three shepherds who saw the Virgin Mary: Francisco and Jacinta Marto. The brother and sister are the youngest non-martyrs proclaimed saints in the history of the Church. Their common feast is set for February 20, the date of Jacinta's birth in the sky.
During the apparitions of Fatima, the three children received the great message of Fatima, the secrets of Fatima. Today, prayer to Our Lady of Fatima is more current than ever and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is constantly spreading throughout the world.
Jacinta Marto was born on 11 March 1910 in Aljustrel near Fatima. She was the last of a very pious family of eleven children. Alongside her brother Franciscoco, she spent her days guarding the herd. The testimony of Sister Lucy reveals the temperament of her cousin, she was very lively and enthusiastic, she had a sensitive character which led her to be sometimes sulky. She was particularly docile to grace, with a pure heart, capable of much love and many sacrifices. The little Jacinta was shocked by the vision of Hell and the fate of poor sinners. From then on, Jacinta took the sacrifices for the conversion of sinners so seriously that she did not miss any opportunity: she gave her meal to poor children and deprived herself of eating "for sinners who eat too much", she went to Mass on weekdays even when she did not have the strength "for the conversion of sinners who do not even go there on Sundays". In addition, she, who loved dancing immensely, decided one day that she would no longer dance in sacrifice for the conversion of sinners. Jacinta kept repeating: “I love the Lord and the Virgin Mary so much that I never tire of telling them that I love them.” She kept singing: “Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation! Immaculate Heart of Mary, convert sinners, save souls from hell.”
After the apparitions, Jacinta entered primary school to learn to read and write according to the Virgin's request. The Blessed Virgin appeared to her three more times, notably in the church of Fatima, where the Virgin taught her to recite the rosary. Jacinta was also able to contemplate several prophetic visions, describing certain events announced in the great secret of July 13, 1917.
In 1918, she made her first communion, that same year, Our Lady came to visit Jacinta and Francisco to further strengthen them. Jacinta said: “Our Lady came to see us, and she said she would come to fetch Francisco soon to take him to Heaven. She asked me if I wanted to convert more sinners. I told her I did. She told me that I would go to the hospital and there I would suffer much; that I would suffer for the conversion of sinners into reparation for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the love of Jesus. I asked her if you'd come with me (her cousin Lucy), she said no. That is what will be most difficult for me. She told me that my mother would take me to the hospital, and then I would stay there alone. ”
In December 1918, Jacinta and her brother Francisco became ill with the Spanish flu that ravaged Europe. After getting pneumonia, the little girl was afflicted with purulent pleurisy, which caused her great suffering. In 1920, she was taken to the Dona Estefania Hospital in Lisbon. Jacinta could not be anesthetized and suffered greatly. She died alone on February 20, 1920. Shortly after, her body began to emit a fragrance of various flowers and her cheeks were a beautiful pink color. She was first buried in the cemetery of Vila Nova d'Ourém, then in 1935, her body was transferred to Fatima and, at the opening of her coffin, her intact face was discovered.
Pope John Paul II proclaimed beatification on May 13, 2000, saying that the little Jacinta died "by heroically offering herself as a victim for the conversion of sinners."
Francisco Marto was born on June 11, 1908; he was the tenth of the family, just before Jacinta. His parents, Olimpia and Manuel Marto, described him as a "patient, gentle and reserved child, prone to contemplation." Francisco did not like fighting but sometimes preferred to isolate himself, he often stayed away, particularly enjoying nature, poetry and music. The little Francisco, like his sister Jacinta, had a big heart. During the apparitions, Francisco saw everything but did not hear the Virgin.
At the first apparition, Our Lady foretold him that he would soon go to Heaven, but that before he would have to recite many rosaries. It was through this devotion that he sought to console the Virgin Mary and God himself, he said speaking of the Lord "it is sad that He is so sad! If only I could console Him! ». Little Francisco went through a lot of humiliation and mockery of his comrades, even his teacher called him a false prophet, but he endured everything with resignation without ever complaining. One day, when two ladies asked him what he would like to do as a profession, Francisco ended up answering: “I don't want anything! I want to die, and go to Heaven! ». When he caught the Spanish flu, he welcomed his illness as an immense gift, allowing him to "comfort Christ so sad because of so many sins." Little Francisco was anxious to redeem the sins of souls and win paradise. He prayed nine rosaries a day and made heroic sacrifices, when he no longer had the strength to recite them. He confided to his mother: “Oh, Mom! I no longer have the strength to say the rosary, and the Hail Marys I say, I say them with so much emptiness! ». His mother comforted his soul by saying to him: "If you cannot recite the rosary with your lips," her mother said, "recite it with your heart." Our Lady hears it as well, she is also happy about it! ». Two days before his death, Francisco asked to make his first communion and confided to his little sister Jacinta: “Today I am happier than you, because I have Jesus in my heart! ».
Just before he died he exclaimed: “Look at Mom, this beautiful light, there by the door! Then he died, smiling and without suffering, on April 4, 1919. He was buried in the parish cemetery. On March 13, 1952, his body was transferred to the chapel of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, next to the body of his little sister which had been deposited there on May 1, 1951. The remains of their cousin, Sister Lucy, were deposited with them on February 19, 2006.
In the spring of 1916, the Angel of Peace taught this prayer to the children, asking them to recite it often for the conversion of sinners: “My God, I believe, I love, I hope and I love you. I beg your forgiveness for those who do not believe, who do not worship, who do not hope, who do not love you. ”
In the autumn of 1916, the Angel gave communion to the children and then gave them this prayer: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I offer you the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the insults, sacrileges and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of his Most Holy Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I ask you to convert the poor sinners. ”
The Virgin asked the children to recite this prayer after every ten rosaries: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell; and lead into heaven all souls, especially those most in need of your holy mercy.”
Our Lady of Fatima told the children that they had to offer their sacrifices by praying this little invocation: “O Jesus, it is out of love for you, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the immaculate heart of Mary! ».
Here is the prayer that the children felt called to recite from the first apparition, it is the Eucharistic prayer: “O Most Holy Trinity, I worship you. My God, my God, I love you in the Most Blessed Sacrament. "
Discover the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary requested by Our Lady of Fatima.