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Jacinta and Francisco Marto

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Blessed Francisco Marto and Blessed Jacinta Marto
Lúcia dos Santos (left) with fellow visionaries Jacinta and Francisco Marto.
Born June 11, 1908 and March 11, 1910, Fatima, Portugal
Died April 4, 1919 and February 20, 1920, Portugal
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified May 13, 2000, Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fatima, Portugal by Pope John Paul II
Major shrine Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fatima, Portugal
Feast February 20
Patronage bodily ills
people ridiculed for their piety
sick people
against sickness

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

Illness and death

Francisco Marto2

Francisco Marto c. 1917

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.[1]

Jacinta and Francisco are both buried at the Our Lady of Fatima Basilica.[2]


Fatima children with rosaries

From left to right, Jacinta Marto, Lúcia dos Santos and Francisco Marto, holding their rosaries in 1917.

The cause for the siblings' canonization began during 1946. Exhumed in 1935 and again in 1951, Jacinta's face was found incorrupt.[3] 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.


Lady of Fatima tiles

Depiction of the three children receiving the vision. This tilework is from Ironbound, a Portuguese neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey.

  1. 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, entire text on line, found 2007-10-19.
  2. Leo Madigan, 2003, The Children of Fatima, OSV Press ISBN 9781931709576 page 271
  3. "On September 12, 1935, the mortal remains of Jacinta, who died in 1920, were exhumed. Her face was found to be incorrupt." Solimeo, Luiz. Fatima: A Message More Urgent Than Ever. (2008) pg. 97. "Today, the remnants of both Francisco and Jacinta rest at the Basilica of Fatima." pg. 99.

External links

sv:Jacinta och Francisco Marto

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