Jacinta and Francisco Marto

Jacinta and Francisco Marto

Infobox Saint
name= Blessed Francisco Marto and Blessed Jacinta Marto
birth_date=June 11, 1908 and March 11, 1910
baptized_date=
death_date= April 4, 1919 and February 20, 1920
feast_day=February 20
venerated_in= Roman Catholic Church


imagesize= 250px
caption= From left to right, Jacinta and Francisco Marto with their cousin, Lúcia Santos.
birth_place= Fatima, Portugal
death_place=Portugal
titles=
beatified_date= May 13, 2000
beatified_place=Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fatima, Portugal
beatified_by=Pope John Paul II
canonized_date=
canonized_place=
canonized_by=
attributes=
patronage= bodily ills
captives
people ridiculed for their piety
prisoners
sick people
against sickness
major_shrine=Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fatima, Portugal
suppressed_date=
issues=

Francisco Marto (June 11, 1908–April 4, 1919) and his sister Jacinta Marto (March 11, 1910–February 20, 1920), also known as Blessed Francisco Marto and Blessed Jacinta Marto, together with their cousin, Lúcia Santos (1907–2005) were the children from Aljustrel near Fátima, Portugal who reported witnessing three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and several apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917.

The youngest children of Manuel and Olimpia Marto, Francisco and Jacinta were typical of Portuguese village children of that time. They were illiterate but had a rich oral tradition to rely on, and they worked with their cousin Lucia, taking care of the family's sheep. According to Lucia's memoirs, Francisco had a placid disposition, was somewhat musically inclined, and liked to be by himself to think. Jacinta was affectionate if a bit spoiled, and emotionally labile. She had a sweet singing voice and a gift for dancing. All three children gave up music and dancing after the visions began, believing that these and other recreational activities led to occasions of sin.

Following their experiences, their fundamental personalities remained the same. Francisco preferred to pray alone, as he said "to console Jesus for the sins of the world". Jacinta was deeply affected by a terrifying vision of Hell reportedly shown to the children at the third apparition. She became deeply convinced of the need to save sinners through penance and sacrifice as the Virgin had reportedly instructed the children to do.

Illness and death

All three children, but particularly Francisco and Jacinta, practiced stringent self-mortifications. They may have debilitated themselves through constant self-denial, such as fasting and refusing water.

In any case, the siblings were victims of the great 1918 influenza epidemic which swept through Europe in 1918. Both lingered for many months, insisting on walking to church to make Eucharistic devotions and prostrating themselves to pray for hours, kneeling with their heads on the ground as instructed by the angel who had first appeared to them.

Francisco declined hospital treatment and died peacefully at home, while Jacinta was dragged from one hospital to another in an attempt to save her life which she insisted was futile. She developed purulent pleurisy and endured an operation in which two of her ribs were removed. Because of the condition of her heart, she could not be anesthetized and suffered terrible pain, which she said would help to convert many sinners. On February 20, 1920, Jacinta asked the hospital chaplain who heard her confession to bring her Holy Communion and give her the Anointing of the Sick because she was going to die "this very night". He told her that her condition was not that serious, and that he would return the next day. A few hours later Jacinta was dead. She had died, as she had often said she would, alone: not even a nurse was with her. [A detailed account of the lives, illnesses and deaths of both children is given in de Marchi, John, "The True Story of Fatima", 1950 edition, [http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/tsfatima.htm entire text on line] , found 2007-10-19.]

Beatification

.

This of course came more sharply into focus with the revelation of the Third Secret of Fatima the following month, indicating that a Pope in fact would be assassinated. In her biography of Jacinta, Lúcia had already established that Jacinta had told her of having had many personal visions outside of the Marian visitations; one involved a Pope who prayed alone in a room while people outside shouted ugly things and threw rocks through the window. At another time, Jacinta said she saw a Pope who had gathered a huge number of people together to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Sister Lúcia, when questioned about the Third Secret, recalled that the three of them were very sad about the suffering of the Pope, and that Jacinta kept saying: "Coitadinho do Santo Padre, tenho muita pena dos pecadores!" (“Poor Holy Father, I am very sad for sinners!”) The Third Secret can thus be interpreted in the context of Jacinta's prayers and sacrifices for the pope whom she saw being killed.

References

External links

* [http://www.ewtn.com/fatima/beatification/index.htm The Beatification] Coverage of the procedures by which Francisco and Jacinta were declared Blessed.


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