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*†ç Today is the Feast of Blessed Jacinta & Francisco Marto (1910-1920, 1909-1919, two of the little shepherds (pastorinhos in Portugese) of Fatima. In the picture below, taken shortly after the apparitions started in October 13, 1917 became public and journalists swarmed the little village.

Jacinta was the youngest child, only 6 years old when the little pastorinhos first saw an angel in 1916, and Francisco was her brother. Their older cousin, Lucia is standing as the tallest on the left, and lived the longer life Our Lady had predicted to her , until February 13, 2005, unlike Jacinta and Francisco who died during the influenza epidemic known as the Spanish flu, both at the tender age of 10.

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 dos 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.

Their visions of Our Lady of Fatima proved politically controversial, and gave rise to a major centre of world Christian 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 to rely on, and they worked with their cousin Lúcia, taking care of the family's sheep.

According to Lúcia'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.

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. All three children, but particularly Francisco and Jacinta, practiced stringent self-mortifications to this end.

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 was a strong boy of few words, who dressed simply and had the traits of humility, patience and sensitivity. He enjoyed playing the flute. Francisco did not initially see Our Lady, until he began
to pray the rosary. After that, he always saw Her, but never heard Her or spoke to Her. Francisco was known as the consoler of God, and he was saddened because the sins of the world hurt Our Lord so much. Instead of
going to school, he would stop at the Parish Church and kneel in front of the tabernacle to keep Jesus company and to console Him. Francisco died on April 4, 1919 in his home in Aljustrel. His Father later recalled that “Francisco died smiling”. Francisco is buried in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima. Both Francisco and Jacinta were beatified on May 13, 2000 by Pope John Paul II in Fatima.

At first, when Francisco’s body was exhumed from the cemetery in Fatima, all that was evident were bones. His Father recalled that he could identify his son, Francisco, from his little rosary that he recognized and was still intact.

Jacinta was able to hear and see Our Lady, but never spoke with Her during the 6 major apparitions. Jacinta was a sensitive child, and made many sacrifices for the conversion of sinners because there was no one to pray for them. During the hot months of summer, she would not drink water and gave her lunch to poor children as a form of sacrifice. After the apparitions in 1917, Jacinta fell ill with bronchial pneumonia and tuberculosis, and there in Estefania Hospital in Lisbon, as Our Lady told her, on February 20, 1920, she died alone. She was originally buried in Ourem and later in 1935, her body was exhumed, found to be incorrupt, and was buried in the Fatima Cemetery. In May 1951, Jacinta’s body was moved to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima.

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.

Jacinta and Francisco are both buried at the Our Lady of Fatima Basilica.

Lucia dos Santos
The oldest of the seers, was 10 years old when the apparitions occurred in 1917. She was the youngest child in her family, and was the cousin of Jacinta and Francisco. She had a vivacious temperament and loved to
dance. Lucia was attacked by the public, by priests, and by her own family for revealing that she had visions of Our Lady. In 1917, Our Lady told Lucia that She would be taking Jacinta and Francisco to heaven very
soon, but that she (Lucia) would have to remain on earth a while longer because “God wishes to use you to spread in the world a devotion to My Immaculate Heart.” Lucia was sent, with much secrecy, to the Dorothean Sister of Vilar, near Porto for her education. In 1928, she made her profession to this order, even though her true desire was to be a cloistered Carmelite. While a Dorothean nun, both in Tuy and in Pontevedre, Spain, she received apparitions of Our Lady. In 1948, Lucia entered the Carmelite Order of St. Teresa in Coimbra, Portugal, where she remained until she died on February 13, 2005. Sr. Lucia now lies next to her cousin, Blessed Jacinta, in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima.

The cause for the siblings' canonization began during 1946. Exhumed in 1935 and again in 1951, Jacinta's face was found incorrupt while Francisco's had decomposed. On May 13, 2000, they were declared "blessed" in a decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Jacinta is the youngest non-martyred child ever to be beatified.

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.

"Heaven's Call to the Family", shown here above

is an original painting by Mark Sanislo created for the "Year of the Rosary" focussing on the fact tha in 1917, the whole Holy Family appeared to our little Blessed visionaries of the day. The painting shows the then elderly Lucia, who lived to be 98, holding a twin portrait of her beloved little cousins Jacinta and Francisco next to Pope John-Paul II, who passed away less than 10 weeks after Lucia Dos Santos, and was the pope identified in the Third Secret of Fatima, who narrowly escaped the assassination vividly described by the childre. Interestingly, the would-be assassin, Mohammed Agça, chose to assault the pope at the moment John-Paul II was kissing a little girl dressed as Our Lady of Fatima. That fateful day, May 13 1981, was also the Feast of our Lady of Fatima. John-Paul II had a vision of our Lady deflecting the assassin's bullet - and went on a pilgrimage of Thanksgiving to Fatima the following year, inserting the fated bullet in the crown of Our Lady.

Jacinta and Francisco's ardent prayers and sacrifices had been answered, and one could say that John-Paul II survival ensured the Fall of the Soviet system and the liberation of Eastern Europe from the communist dictatorship that was bent on eradicating both religion and religious freedom, especially in Poland.

Blessed Jacinta and Francisco, thank you for your sacrifices. Please pray for us, our poor world, and the very sorry state of our families relentlessly under attack. With your prayers on our sides, we know that nothing can happen to use, no matter how scary things get.

The reason Mark painted Heaven's Call is this vision of Fatima is the only officially recognized Holy Family apparition.

He named it "The Call" because the message of Fatima is a call to prayer, pray in our homes, pray as a family, prayer from our hearts. This call is to ALL families of ALL countries, of ALL races, of ALL religions.

Praying as "The Family" is a key to salvation, happiness and the preservation of one's home- Praying together as a family inspires family unity, peace within our homes, peace in our hearts, and peace in the world.

The painting depicts the Holy Family appearing to the world as they did in 1917 to the visionaries. The Blessed Mother Mary's Immaculate Heart, the Child Jesus blessing the world, as well as Saint Joseph blessing the world.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 13th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
Your blog looks nice, even so it would be far better if you’ll be able to use lighter colors too as a professional design. This will make sure that a lot more readers come to check it out.Informative post by the way!

Apr. 13th, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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