June 25: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
"Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father." Mt 10:32
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Fatima - First Apparation

The Children of Fatima

Lucia dos Santos, the oldest Fatima visionary, was born on March 22, 1907 in the hamlet of Aljustrel in the Province of Fatima, Portugal. Her parents were Antonio dos Santos and Maria Rosa. Lucia was the youngest of seven children, six girls and one boy.

The dos Santos were a God-fearing, practicing Catholic family, prayer being an integral part of their lives. Though peasants, they were of modest means, and owners of property. No poor person was turned away from their door without a good meal.

Happy and quick witted, young Lucia picked up her catechism from listening to her mother teach it to her siblings.

She was also an innocent, candid soul and was allowed to make her First Communion at the then early age of six at which time she was deeply touched by Our Lord. In her words, “I felt transformed in God…From that day on, I lost the attraction I was beginning to feel for the things of the world…”

With her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, she pastured their families’ sheep. Her cousins looked up to her, and trusted her implicitly.

When Our Lady appeared to the three on May 13, 1917 at Cova da Iria, Lucia, then aged ten, naturally took the lead in addressing the apparition and was always the sole interlocutor. During the second apparition, she was told that she was to remain on earth for some time, while her cousins would be soon taken to heaven.

After the apparitions and the death of her cousins, Lucia was admitted as a pupil at the school of the Sisters of Saint Dorothy at Vilar. In 1925 she was accepted as a postulant in the congregation’s convent of Tuy, just over the Spanish border. She was professed as a Dorothean sister in 1934 receiving the name of Sister Maria of Sorrows.

In 1948, she left the Dorothean Institute to enter the Carmel of Saint Joseph in Coimbra where she took the name of Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart. On May 13, 1949 she was professed as a Discalced Carmelite.

She returned to Fatima on the occasion of four Papal visits, the last of which was to attend the beatification of her cousins Francisco and Jacinta by Pope John Paul II on May 13, 2000.

Sister Lucia wrote her memoirs, a warm, candid account of all that happened to her and her cousins. 

In English this memoir is entitled, Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words.

Sister Lucia died on February 13, 2005 at age ninety-seven of cardio-respiratory failure due to advanced age.

 


 

Blesseds Francisco (1908-1919) and Jacinta Marto (1910-1920) 

Francisco and Jacinta, brother and sister, were born in the hamlet of Aljustrel, in the province of Fatima, Portugal.
 

Their parents, Manuel Marto and Olimpia de Jesus, had altogether ten children, of which the little seers were the eighth and ninth.

Francisco was a good-looking, sturdy lad, of a calm, retiring disposition. Jacinta was a pretty girl, with a spritely temperament, and just a bit spoiled.

At the time of the apparitions they were nine and seven years old, respectively. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, was ten years old.

Together with Lucia they thrice saw the Angel of Portugal in 1916. When Our Lady appeared on May 13, 1917 at Cova da Iria, Fatima, Lucia was the one to speak to the apparition, Francisco could see but not hear, and Jacinta could see and hear.

On the second apparition of June 13, when the children asked about going to heaven, Our Lady told them that Francisco and Jacinta would be going soon, while Lucia was to stay on earth a while. She added that Francisco would have to say many rosaries.

Between this information, and Our Lady’s insistence on reparation to Our Lord for so much offense, and prayer and sacrifices to help save the souls of poor sinners, the two youngest seers embarked on a rare program of holiness, culminating in their beatification in 2000.

Indeed, brother and sister were not beatified for having seen Our Lady, albeit the greatness of such a grace, but because, taking the heavenly invitation seriously, they attained heroic sanctity.

Francisco, though good and simple, obviously had some significant fault or faults for which to atone. On hearing from Lucia that Our Lady had said that he would have to say many rosaries to go to heaven, without the least trace of resentment he exclaimed: “O, my dear Our Lady, I will say as many rosaries as you want!”

He was often seen with his rosary in hand, seeking solitude or spending long hours before the Blessed Sacrament. His loving, innocent heart felt the special calling to “console Our Lord” for the sins of mankind.

After suffering without complaint the ravages of the Influenza of 1918, Francisco died on April 4, 1919 peacefully at home, with a smile on his lips. He was eleven years old.

Jacinta was riveted by the apparition of July 13 in which they were given a glimpse of Hell. After this vision, her every thought was of helping to save the souls of “poor sinners,” and she spared no prayer or sacrifice for that end.

Also contracting the Influenza of 1918, Jacinta suffered heroically. In a private apparition, Our Lady asked her if she would be willing to remain on earth a little longer to help save more sinners. The nine-year-old girl generously accepted, enduring a trip to Lisbon where she was admitted to two hospitals, and finally dying alone far from her family, as Our Lady had foretold to her. Still, the Blessed Mother herself supported her, appearing to her frequently, instructing and counseling her as well as showing her many things to come.

Francisco and Jacinta Marto were solemnly beatified on May 13, 2000 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II at Fatima, Portugal.


On May 13, 2017, the 100th anniversary of the first apparation, Francisco and Jacinta Marto will be declared saints by Pope Francis.

 

 
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