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Our Lady of Fatima

 

Apparitions of the Angel

First apparition of the Angel

In spring in 1916 Lucia Dos Santos age 9, and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, ages 8 and 6 respectively, were at a meadow with their sheep in (hamlet of Fatima). 3 children of FatimaIt started raining, and they hid in a small cave to escape the rain. After the rain stopped and the sun came out, they stayed in the cave to eat their lunch, say the rosary and play a game of jacks. They had played but for a short while when, on the serene day, a strong wind blew that swayed the trees and a sudden white light enveloped them. In the middle of that light appeared a cloud in the form of a young man who said to them: “Fear not! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me!” The angel knelt on the ground and bowed very low. The children imitated the angel and repeated his words three times: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I beg pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.” Then he rose and said: “Pray this way. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.”

Second apparition of the Angel

It occurred in summer, when the seers were playing near the well of Lucia’s house. The Angel said to them: “What are you doing? Pray! Pray a great deal. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices continually to the Most High.” The children asked: “How must we sacrifice ourselves?” The angel said: “Make everything you do a sacrifice, and offer it as an act of reparation for the sins by which God is offended, and as a petition for the conversion of sinners. By this you will bring peace to your country. I’m its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all accept and bear with submission all the suffering the Lord will send you.” From that moment, they began to offer to the Lord everything that offended Him, without trying to find any other ways of mortification or penance other than passing hour after hour, bowed to the ground, repeating the prayer that the angel had taught them.

Third apparition of the Angel

It occurred in autumn at Cabeco. The children started prayers when they saw the angel, which had in his hand a chalice over which hung a Host, from which fell in the chalice some drops of Blood. He knelt and repeated three times with the children: Third apparition Fatima“Most Holy Trinity-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – I adore thee profoundly. I offer thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles in the world, in reparation for all the outrages, sacrileges and in differences whereby he is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.” Then he rose, took the Host, and gave it to Lucia, while the contents of the chalice he gave to Jacinta and Francisco, and said: ” Take the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ horribly outraged by thankless men. Recover their sins and comfort your God.”

Apparitions of Our Lady

First apparition of Our Lady

On Sunday May 13th 1917 the children were pasturing their flock as usual at the Cova da Iria, which was about a mile from their homes. They were playing when suddenly a bright shaft of light pierced the air. They described it as a flash of lightning. It was not really lightning, but rather the reflection of a light that approached little by little. Frightened by the flash, the children looked around at the sky that was clear and bright without the least spot of a cloud. No breeze stirred, the sun was strong, and there was no hint anywhere of a storm that might be responsible for a flash of lightning. The children, however, thought that they had better head home inapparition Fatima case it might start raining. As they descended the hill. Another flash of lightning took them by surprise. Panicky with fear, they took a few steps and looked towards the right. There, standing over the foliage of a small holm oak tree, “a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant then the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun”. The lady spoke to them and said: “Fear not! I will not harm you.” “Where are you from?” the children asked. “I am from heaven” the beautiful lady replied, gently raising her hand towards the distant horizon. “What do you want of me?”, Lucia asked. “I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and what I want. And I shall return here again a seventh time.” Lucia said : “Do you come from heaven…and will I go to heaven ?” “Yes, you’ll go”. “And Jacinta?” “As well” ” And Francisco?” “Him too , but he will have to say many rosaries”. In the end Our Lady asked : “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the suffering that He may please to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?” “Yes, we do.” said the children. “You will have to suffer a lot, but the grace of God will be your comfort.” Then she opened her hands with a loving gesture of a mother who offers her heart. From it an intense light departed that seemed to go through them. The vision vanished telling them : “Recite the rosary every day to obtain the peace for the world and the end of the war.” And She disappeared.

 Second apparition of Our Lady

On June 13 1917, accompanied by about 50 people, the children were reciting the rosary, when there was again the lightning, and immediately after the Lady on the holm oak appeared like in May. “What do you want from me?” asked Lucia.I wish you to come here the 13th of next month; that you say the Rosary every day, and that you learn to read. In succeeding months I will tell you what else I want.” “I would like to ask you to bring us to Heaven“, said Lucia. “Yes, Jacinta and Francisco will be among the few, but you must stay here for a long time. Jesus wants to help Himself of you to make Me known and loved. God wishes you to remain in the world for some time because He wants to use you to establish in the world a devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself to adorn His throne.” Lucia asked: “Will I stay here alone”?, “Don’t be discouraged , I will not abandon you ever. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and through it will conduct you to God.” Then She opened her hands and emanated her light on the children, Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in the light that went up toward the sky, Lucia in the light that spread on the earth. In front of the palm of the right hand of the Lady there was a heart surrounded by thorns that impaled it. They understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary affronted from the sins of men, and She then asked for reparation.

Third apparition of Our Lady

On July 13 1917 they recited the rosary with the crowd, they saw the usual reflex of light and then the Lady on the holm oak. Lucia asked: “What do you want from me?” She answered: “That you come the 13th of the next month, that you continue to recite the Rosary every day to our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace in the world and the end of the war, because only She will be able to aid you.” Lucia said ” I want to ask you to tell us who you are, and to make a miracle for the crowd to believe that you appear.” She Answered: “you continue to come here. In October I will tell you who I am, that which I want, and I will do a miracle that all can see and believe. Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say often this prayer, especially during any sacrifice: “O my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of poor sinners, and in reparation for all the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”. As she spoke these words, Our lady stretched out her hands, and bright rays came forth which seemed to penetrate into the earth. All at once the ground vanished, and the children saw Hell, frightened they lifted their eyes to the Lady who told them:“You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save future souls God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If people do what I tell you, many souls will be saved.” Then She said: “If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will scatter her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecution of the Church. The good will be martyed, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be destroyed…But in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, Russia will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world”. “Do you want to learn a prayer?” the vision asked, “Yes we do!” the children responded. “When you recite the Rosary, say at the end of each decade: Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy.”

Fourth apparition of Our Lady

In August the children were prevented by the civil authorities to go to the meeting of the 13th in which had gathered an immense crowd. The children for two days were confined and threatened with many torments to make them deny, but they did not surrender, they were ready to offer their lives not to betray the promises made to the Lady. When they had been released on August 19, while they fed the flock in a place called Valinhos they saw the Lady above a holm oak. “ What do you want from me?” Lucia asked. “I Want you to continue to go to the Cova da Iria on the 13th, that you continue to say the Rosary every day. I, in the last month will make the miracle that all will believe.” Then with a sadder appearance told them: “Pray, pray a lot and offer sacrifices for the sinners. You know that many souls go the hell because there is none who pray for them.”

Fifth apparition of Our Lady

On September 13th the children and about 30.000 persons accompanied them to the Cova da Iria and they there recited the Rosary, soon after appeared the Lady on the holm oak. “I Want you to come here on October 13 and that you continue to recite the Rosary to obtain the end of the war. In October the Lord, the sorrowful Lady, the Lady of Mt. Carmel, and St Joseph with the child Jesus, will also come to bless the world. God is glad of your sacrifices, He does not want you to sleep with the chord to the sides, use it only during the day.”

Sixth and last apparition of Our Lady

On 13 October 1917 the children surrounded by a crowd of 70.000 persons under a torrential rain, Lucia asked again of the Lady:”What do you want from me?” she answered: “I am the Lady of the Rosary, I desire here a chapel in my honor to be built, that people continue to recite the Rosary every day. Will the war finish. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.” Then Lucia asked: “may I ask you for cures and conversions, will you grant them?”. “Some yes, others no. It is necessary that they ask pardon for their sins, that they don’t offend God our Lord,and that he is already too much offended.” “Do you Want anything else from me?” Lucia asked. “I do not want anything more.”miracle of the sunThen She opened her hands again and She launched a ray of light in the direction of the sun as Lucia shouted that they should look at the sun. At this point the promised sign happened, Lucia shouted to look at the sun, the rain stopped suddenly and there appeared an exceptionally bright sun but not dazzling. The sun began to turn as if projecting in each direction bands of light of each color that lit and colored the clouds, the sky, the trees, and the crowd. It stayed for some moments then it went back to its normal position, it stayed still for a small while and then it happened again. Suddenly it looked as if it stood out from the sky to fall headlong on the crowd, that was looking terrorized, they fell to their knees and begged mercy. Meanwhile the children saw a Lady dressed like the white of the sun with a blue cope, St. Joseph with the Child Jesus that blessed the world.Then after this vision they saw The Lord bless the world, standing next to Our Lady of Sorrows. After these visions the Lady of Mt Carmel finished the miracle. The people then became aware that there clothes were completely dried.

One of the principal anti-clerical publications of the day was ‘O Dia’, a major Lisbon newspaper. On October 17th, ‘O Dia’ reported the following: At one o’clock in the afternoon, midday by the sun, the rain stopped. The sky, pearly gray in color, illuminated the vast arid landscape with a strange light. The sun had a transparent gauzy veil so that eyes could easily be fixed upon it. The gray mother-of-pearl tone turned into a sheet of silver which broke up as the clouds were torn apart and the silver sun, enveloped in the same gauzy gray light, was seen to whirl and turn in the circle of broken clouds. A cry went up from every mouth and people fell on their knees on the muddy ground. The light turned a beautiful blue as if it had come through the stained-glass windows of a cathedral and spread itself over the people who knelt with outstretched hands. The blue faded slowly and then the light seemed to pass through yellow glass. Yellow stains fell against white handkerchiefs, against the dark skirts of women. They were reported on the trees, on the stones and on the serra (mountain). People wept and prayed with uncovered heads in the presence of the miracle they had awaited.

Francisco died on 4 April 1919 and Jacinta died on 20 February 1920. Before she died, little Jacinta revealed little-known but remarkable statements made by Our Lady. Here are just some of them:
More souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason. Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much. Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God. Priests must be pure, very pure. They should not busy themselves with anything except what concerns the Church and souls. The disobedience of priests to their superiors and to the Holy Father is very displeasing to Our Lord. The Blessed Mother can no longer restrain the hand of her Divine Son from striking the world with just punishment for its many crimes. Tell everybody that God gives graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. tell them to ask graces from her, and that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be venerated together with the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Lucia entered the Convent of the Sisters of St Dorothy to learn to read and write; then she entered in the convent of Coimbra. Sr Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, died of old age at the Carmelite convent of St. Teresa of Coimbra in central Portugal, at 5:25 pm local time on February 13,2005

On December 10, 1925, sister Lucia received an apparition by the Child Jesus and the Virgin Mary in her convent cell. The Holy Virgin shown her a Heart surrounded by thorns, Our Lady said to her: “See, My daughter, My heart surrounded by thorns which ungrateful men pierce at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude… Say to all those who:

  • For five months, on the first Saturday, confess,
  • Receive Holy Communion,
  • Recite the Rosary
  • Keep Me company for 15 minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, in a spirit of reparation,

I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls.”

As Our Lady said at the apparition of 13 July 1917, “I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia”. She did this on 13 June 1929, when She appeared to Lucia in the Chapel of Dorotheas, in the town of Tuy. Lucia said: “I had sought and obtained permission from my superiors and confessor to make a Holy Hour from eleven o’clock until midnight, every Thursday to Friday night. tuy apparitionBeing alone one night, I knelt near the altar rails in the middle of the chapel and, prostrate, I prayed the prayers of the Angel. Feeling tired, I then stood up and continued to say the prayers with my arms in the form of a cross. The only light was that of the sanctuary lamp. Suddenly the whole chapel was illumined by a supernatural light, and above the altar appeared a cross of light, reaching to the ceiling. In a brighter light on the upper part of the cross, could be seen the face of a man and his body as far as the waist; upon his breast was a dove of light; nailed to the cross was the body of another man. A little below the waist, I could see a chalice and a large host suspended in the air, on to which drops of blood were falling from the face of Jesus Crucified and from the wound in His side. These drops ran down on to the host and fell into the Chalice. Beneath the right arm of the cross was Our Lady and in her hand was her Immaculate Heart. (it was Our Lady of Fatima, with her Immaculate Heart in her left hand, without sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames). Under the left arm of the cross, large letters, -as if of crystal clear water which ran down upon the altar, formed these words: “Grace and Mercy”. I understood that it was the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity which was shown to me, and I received lights about this mystery which I am not permitted to reveal. Our Lady then said to me: The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. There are so many souls whom the justice of God condemns for sins committed against me, that I have come to ask reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.”

Pope Pius XI did not make the consecration which Our Lady had asked Lucia to make known. Pius XII in his turn, did not consecrate Russia in the original form, he consecrated the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with a particular mention of Russia. Pope Pius XII did something similar in 1942, and later consecrated the Russian people in 1952.

On 13 May 1982, one year after an assassination attempt in St Peter’s Square on 13 May 1981 (the anniversary of the first apparition), Pope John Paul II traveled to Fatima, where he met Sr Lucia. He believed he owed his survival to the direct intervention of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 25 March 1984The Holy Father requested that the statue of Our Lady from Fatima’s Capelinha (Chapel) be sent to Rome, and then in union with the Bishops of the Church, he specifically consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 25 March 1984 (the feast of the Annunciation).

Holy Father FatimaAgain the Holy Father later requested that the statue of Our Lady from Fatima’s Capelinha be sent to Rome, and then in union with all the Bishops of the Church for the Jubilee, he specifically consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 8 October 2000.

THE MESSAGE  OF FATIMA in Vatican site.

Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta Marto on may 13th 2000 in a celebration attended by more than 700,000 people. Their cause for canonization is currently under consideration. Reports indicate the canonization could occur on the centenary of the apparitions in 2017.

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Blessed Pope John Paul II

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Pope John Paul II was born Karol Józef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland. He was ordained in 1946, became the bishop of Ombi in 1958, and became the archbishop of Krakow in 1964. He was made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1967, and in 1978 became the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years. He was a vocal advocate for human rights and used his influence to effect political change. He died in Italy in 2005. It was announced in July of 2013 that he would be declared a saint in April of the following year.

EARLY LIFE

Born Karol Józef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland, Pope John Paul II’s early life was marked by great loss. His mother died when he was 9 years old, and his older brother Edmund died when he was 12.

PJPii - young

Growing up, John Paul was athletic and enjoyed skiing and swimming. He went to Krakow’s Jagiellonian University in 1938 where he showed an interest in theater and poetry. The school was closed the next year by Nazi troops during the German occupation of Poland. Wanting to become a priest, John Paul began studying at a secret seminary run by the archbishop of Krakow. After World War II ended, he finished his religious studies at a Krakow seminary and was ordained in 1946.

RISE WITHIN THE CHURCH

John Paul spent two years in Rome where he finished his doctorate in theology. He returned to his native Poland in 1948 and served in several parishes in and around Krakow. John Paul became the bishop of Ombi in 1958 and then the archbishop of Krakow six years later. Considered one of the Catholic Church’s leading thinkers, he participated in the Second Vatican Council—sometimes called Vatican II. The council began reviewing church doctrine in 1962, holding several sessions over the course of the next few years. As a member of the council, John Paul helped the church to examine its position in the world. Well regarded for his contributions to the church, John Paul was made a cardinal in 1967 by Pope Paul VI.

Becoming Pope

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In 1978, John Paul made history by becoming the first non-Italian pope in more than four hundred years. As the leader of the Catholic Church, he traveled the world, visiting more than 100 countries to spread his message of faith and peace. But he was close to home when he faced the greatest threat to his life. In 1981, an assassin shot John Paul twice in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Fortunately, he was able to recover from his injuries and later forgave his attacker.

LEGACY

A vocal advocate for human rights, John Paul often spoke out about suffering in the world. He held strong positions on many topics, including his opposition to capital punishment. A charismatic figure, John Paul used his influence to bring about political change and is credited with the fall of communism in his native Poland. He was not without critics, however. Some have stated that he could be harsh with those who disagreed with him and that he would not compromise his hard-line stance on certain issues, such as contraception.

CATHOLICPOPESpope-john-paul-ii-1920--2005In his later years, John Paul’s health appeared to be failing. At public appearances, he moved slowly and seemed unsteady on his feet. He also visibly trembled at times. One of his doctors also disclosed that John Paul had Parkinson’s disease, a brain disorder often characterized by shaking, in 2001. But there was never any official announcement about his illness from the Vatican.

John Paul II died on April 2, 2005, at the age of 84, at his Vatican City residence. More than 3 million people waited in line to say good-bye to their beloved religious leader at St. Peter’s Basilica before his funeral on April 8.

On July 5, 2013, waving the usual five-year waiting period, the Vatican announced that the Roman Catholic Church would declare Pope John Paul II a saint, and that the canonization ceremony would likely take place within the next 16 months. The Vatican also stated that Pope John XXIII, who headed the Catholic Church from 1958 until his death in 1963 and convened the Vatican II council, would also be declared a saint.

On September 30, 2013, Pope Francis announced that the canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII would occur on April 27, 2014. The announcement of Pope John Paul II’s canonization came after the Vatican revealed that two miracles were attributed to the late pope. After a dying French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, prayed to Pope John Paul II for during her battle with Parkinson’s disease—the same illness that killed the pope—she was cured. The second miracle involved a 50-year-old woman, who claimed that she was cured of a brain aneurysm after a photograph of Pope John Paul II spoke to her.

QUICK FACTS

  • NAME: John Paul IIPopeJohnPaulEyes
  • OCCUPATION: Pope
  • BIRTH DATE: May 18, 1920
  • DEATH DATE: April 02, 2005
  • DID YOU KNOW?: Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years.
  • EDUCATION: Jagiellonian University, Krakow seminary
  • PLACE OF BIRTH: Wadowice, Poland
  • PLACE OF DEATH: Vatican City, Italy
  • ORIGINALLY: Karol Józef Wojtyla
  • AKA: Pope John Paul II
  • AKA: John Paul II

BEST KNOWN FOR

Pope John Paul II made history in 1978 by becoming the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years.

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St Joseph

Saint Joseph the husband of Our Lady

StJoseph6Feast day: March 19
Patron of the Universal Church

Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.

We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55). He wasn’t rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).

Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph’s genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as “son of David,” a royal title used also for Jesus.

We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25).

We know Joseph was man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).

We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:22)

We know Joseph respected God. He followed God’s commands in handling the situation with Mary and going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus’ birth. We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man.

Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus’ public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph probably had died before Jesus entered public ministry.

Joseph is the patron of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus’ public life, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.

Joseph is also patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice.

We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker.

There is much we wish we could know about Joseph — where and when he was born, how he spent his days, when and how he died. But Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was — “a righteous man” (Matthew 1:18).

In His Footsteps:
Joseph was foster father to Jesus. There are many children separated from families and parents who need foster parents. Please consider contacting your local Catholic Charities or Division of Family Services about becoming a foster parent.

Prayer:
Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church, watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus, help protect it and guide it as you did with your adopted son. Amen

 

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Bl Francisco and Jacinta Marto

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Feast Day : February 20

Patron of bodily ills; captives; people ridiculed for their piety; prisoners; sick people; against sickness

1910 – 1920
Beatified By: May 13, 2000, Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fatima, Portugal, by Pope John Paul II

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, Lucia dos Santos (1907-2005) were the children from Aljustrel near Fatima, Portugal, who said they witnessed three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and several apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. Their reported visions of Our Lady of Fatima proved politically controversial, and gave rise to a major centre of world Catholic pilgrimage.

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 on which to rely, 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 penence and sacrifice as the Virgin had reportedly instructed the children to do. All three children, but particularly Francisco and Jacinta, practiced stringent self-mortifications to this end.

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