The Fatima Seers after the Apparitions
Jacinta and Francisco
An influenza epidemic swept Europe in the autumn of 1918, just as the War was ending, and both Jacinta and Francisco fell ill. Francisco recovered somewhat and there were hopes that he might become well, but he realized that he was destined to die young, as Our Lady had foretold, and his condition worsened again. He offered up all his sufferings as a way of consoling God for the sinfulness and ingratitude of mankind, becoming so weak that eventually he could not even pray. On the day before he died, he received his first Holy Communion, and said to Jacinta, “I am happier than you are because I have the hidden Jesus in my heart”. Lucia wrote that he took his flight to heaven on the next day, 4 April 1919, “in the arms of his heavenly Mother”. His father said that he died smiling.
Jacinta, too, was confined to her bed during the long winter months, and although she recovered, was struck down with bronchial pneumonia, while also developing a painful abscess in her chest. She was moved to the hospital in Ourem in July 1919, where she underwent the painful treatment prescribed for her, but without much effect, returning home in August with an open wound in her side.
Our Lady appeared to her and asked Jacinta is she wanted to convert more sinners; she said that she did. Our Lady then said she would have suffer much for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against her Immaculate Heart, and that she would die in hospital all alone. Realising this, Jacinta said, “O my Jesus, now you can convert many sinners, because this is a really big sacrifice”.
Eventually, in February 1920, she was admitted to hospital in Lisbon, where she underwent another painful operation to remove two ribs, without being given a general anaesthetic; this left her with a large wound in her side that had to be dressed daily, causing her agony. She endured the suffering with heroic patience, and made her confession and died on the evening of 20 February 1920. However, the priest declined to give her Viaticum as he could not see any signs of imminent death, and so she died later that night without being able to receive it.
Lucia after the Apparitions
Lucia eventually became a Dorothean Religious Sister, and on 10 December 1925, while at the convent inPontevedra, Spain, she saw another apparition, this time of Mary with the Child Jesus. Mary told Lucia that she promised all the graces necessary for salvation to those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, confessed, received Holy Communion, recited five decades of the rosary, and meditated on the rosary for fifteen minutes, all with the intention of making reparation to her Immaculate Heart.
On 13 June 1929 Sr. Lucia, while at prayer in the convent chapel at Tuy, saw a vision of the Most Holy Trinity, with Mary standing on the altar displaying her Immaculate Heart in her left hand. It was on this occasion that Mary asked the Pope, in union with all the bishops of the world, to make the [collegial] consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart that she had announced during the July 1917 apparition.
On 12 September 1935 Jacinta’s body was translated from Ourem to Fatima cemetery, and placed beside the remains of her brother Francisco. On 1 May 1951, her remains were again translated, this time to a new tomb in the Basilica at the Cova da Iria. On 13 March 1952, Francisco’s remains were also translated to the Basilica.
In March 1948, Sr Lucia entered the Carmelite convent of St. Teresa in Coimbra, having received special papal permission to leave the Dorothean Sisters and become a Carmelite. She died at the age of 97 on 13 February 2005, having been a Carmelite Nun for more than 50 years. Her remains were interred in the Basilica at Fatima, in a tomb alongside that of Jacinta. Pope Benedict XVI announced, on 13 February 2008, the third anniversary of her death, that in Sr. Lucia’s case of he would waive the usual five year period before opening the cause for her beatification, which puts her cause in the same category as that of Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa.
The Beatification of Jacinta and Francisco
Pope John Paul II beatified Jacinta and Francisco in Fatima in May 2000, thus giving them to us as the perfect examples of how to live the Fatima message and thereby become sanctified in the normal course of our daily lives, as they did, simply by doing everything Our Lady asked of them. Their beatification means that the Church has formally recognised that to live the message of Our Lady of Fatima is to follow a path of personal sanctification, and thus the Fatima message is exceptionally relevant for the Church and in particular for the family in the difficult times in which we are living. When in due course they are canonized, Francisco and Jacinta will become the first non-martyr child saints in the history of the Church who died after living lives of heroic virtue in their family.
Bl Francisco and Jacinta strove to fulfil the requests of Our Lady with the utmost fidelity and commitment, and it was this, said Bl John Paul II at their beatification, that enabled them to attain heroic virtue, and not because of the extraordinary supernatural manifestations which they were privileged to experience. Hence it is particularly important for families to follow their example in our times, when marriage is under unprecedented attack in our secularised society, and when so many children abandon the practice of their faith on leaving school.
Living the message of Fatima in the family, so that they may become “places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic churches” (Pope Francis, Feast of the Holy Family, December 2013), and especially the daily praying of the Rosary, as the Popes have continually urged, and Our Lady herself urged at Fatima, would halt and reverse the collapse of faith that has been doing such harm to the Church.
Blessed Francisco and Jacinta—who were described by Bl John Paul II at their beatification as “two candles which God lit to illumine humanity in its dark and anxious hours”—will be canonized when a second miraculous cure is obtained through their intercession. Then they will become the youngest non-Martyr saints in Church history, and as such their wonderful example of loving and faithful devotion to God and Our Lady will no doubt exert a far wider influence in the future, and help to bring about the new Civilization of Love which the Church and the world so greatly needs.
Here is a link to a PDF of a 4 sided A5 leaflet on the SAYINGS OF FRANCISCO & JACINTA