Fatima: Canonisations Confirmed!

Source: Neice of Fatima visionaries reflects on her remarkable family

Fatima, Portugal, Apr 20, 2017 / 06:00 am (CNA/EWTN News) …
The niece of Blessed Franciso and  
 Jacinta Marto has voiced excitement for the coming canonization of her relatives [confirmed to take place on 13th May], sharing stories of the time of the Fatima apparitions and personal memories of what it was like growing up in a family that had saints among its members.

Jacinta

“My family, my grandparents, my parents, all of us always accepted it as a gift from God,” Jacinta Pereiro Marto told CNA in an interview.

“God chose my uncle and aunt because this is what he wanted, so much that my grandfather used to say that the Virgin wanted to come to Fatima and she chose his children, but that we didn’t deserve anything,” she said.

Because of this attitude instilled in the family by her grandfather – father to Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto – “we always lived very simply because God chose, and he chooses who he wants. We don’t deserve anything.”

Marto, 74, is the daughter of Joao Marto, the brother of Fatima visionaries Bl. Francisco and Jacinta, and she shares the exact same name as her saintly aunt.

Just two years older than Francisco, Joao was the closest in age to the two out of the many Marto siblings.

Francisco

Bl. Francisco and Jacinta this year will become the youngest non-martyrs in the history of the Church to be canonized after witnessing apparitions of Mary, now commonly known as the Our Lady of Fatima, alongside their elder cousin Lucia dos Santos in 1917.

In her interview with CNA, Marto said that she had “the joy” of being born in the same family home as Francisco and Jacinta, and to grow up there, since her father Joao continued to live in the house with his elderly parents.

“They always instilled in me a great love for God and for the Virgin, a life of simplicity, of belief and of religiosity,” she said, speaking of her grandparents.

Their home remains the property of the family, but is now open for visitors and pilgrims to see where the visionaries grew up. Across the street, Marto runs a souvenir shop and a small museum-of-sorts containing original photos and artifacts belonging to the family, including shawls used by Jacinta, the rosary Francisco prayed with before dying, and the bed he passed away in.

Marto said that it is thanks to her grandmother Olimpia Marto, mother of Franciso and Jacinta, that she received the same name as her aunt. Olimpia had wanted a grandchild that shared the exact same name as her saintly daughter, and was told by Joao’s wife that the next girl they had would get the name.

So when Marto was born, her grandmother, who was also asked to be her godmother, chose to call her Jacinta.

“I feel very happy to be Jacinta,” Marto said, explaining that “I feel a very strong presence and a great protection from my uncle and aunt. I think that Jacinta and my uncle are protecting me.”

“I am no one, I sin like the whole world,” she said, “but I believe they are protecting me, I feel that they and Our Lady protect me.”

Recalling memories shared by her father, Marto said Joao had been present with Francisco and Jacinta at the apparition of Mary in Valinhos, which took place in August, “but he didn’t see anything.”

“It was only Francisco, Jacinta, Lucia and my father, but he said that even though he opened his eyes and looked, he saw nothing,” she said.

Around the time Mary was to appear, Jacinta wasn’t there at first, she said, explaining that when Lucia asked him to go find her, Joao “didn’t want to, because he wanted to see.” He eventually went to find Jacinta, and when she arrived Mary appeared, but even though he waited with them, Joao couldn’t see anything.

Two months later when the “miracle of the sun” took place Oct. 13, 1917, Marto said her father, who was only 11 at the time, stayed behind that day because rumors were spreading, likely from other children, that “if the miracle of the sun didn’t happen the whole family would die.”

In order to help the people believe in the authenticity of the apparitions, Lucia had asked Our Lady during the apparition of July 13, 1917, to perform a miracle so people would see that they were true.

However, on that occasion Mary responded by saying that should the children continue to come each month until October, the miracle would occur. So on Oct. 13, the last apparition of Mary to the children, 30-100,000 people gathered to witness the miracle.

News reports and witnesses from the time said the miracle took place when the formerly cloudy sky parted and the sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disk in the sky. Multi-coloured lights flashed across the landscape and those present before the sun then spun toward earth and then zig-zagged back to its normal position in the sky. Additionally, clothes and mud previously wet from the rain had dried.

But while many members of their family were present for the miracle, Marto said her father “stayed at home (because) he was afraid to die” if the miracle didn’t happen, as the rumours had stated.

At just 11 years old, Marto said her father didn’t understand everything that was going on, but that after Francisco and Jacinta died, “my father said that he cried a lot, a lot. Because he saw that everything they said was happening.”

Speaking of her grandparents, Marto said her grandfather Manuel, father of Francisco and Jacinta, didn’t initially understand some of what was happening either, but had always believed his children were telling the truth.

Jacinta was the first one to tell her parents about seeing Mary after coming home from the first apparition, Marto said, explaining that when people began to say the children had made everything up, her grandfather would respond saying: “My children are not liars. I taught them, so if they say they saw, I think they saw.”

After the first appearance Manuel accompanied his children to the following apparitions, and although he didn’t see anything, “he said that he heard a sound, like a bee inside a jar.”

He was also present for the miracle of the sun, Marto said, explaining that “if he believed before, he continued to believe” after.

Marto said that for her, this belief was extraordinary, because “my grandparents weren’t at the beatification, none of it. When their children died they were known, but not with the fame of sanctity.”

“So they thought their children were a little different from the others, but they didn’t know how it was going to be. It was a question every day,” she said, but noted that her grandfather in particular “always believed.”

Referring to news of the acceptance of a second miracle allowing for the canonization of her uncle and aunt, Marto said she feels “a big joy” knowing they will be proclaimed saints. The two will be canonized May 13, during Pope Francis’ two-day visit to Portugal.

However, she stressed that the news “is not only for the family, it’s for Portugal and the whole world. Because Our Lady came for the world, and they were a message for the world.”

“I sometimes ask myself how two children that were seven and nine years old managed to capture and respond to the message of God. They had a message and assumed this message,” she said, noting that Francisco was all about “praising God, adoring God, worshipping God.”

Jacinta, however, was primarily concerned with conversion, and wanted that “everyone return to God, that everyone convert, that everyone went to heaven.”

“She lived this in anguish,” Marto said, explaining that she often asked herself: “we who have all these means of communication, we know what is happening in the world, all the suffering in the world, we see it on television…and what do we do?”

At just 7-years-old Jacinta had visions of wars, famines and persecutions, and as a result she “assumed the responsibility” of offering and making sacrifices so that everyone could be saved.

“And us? What are we doing?” she said, stressing that with television and social media it’s not necessary to have a vision of the suffering and tragedy in the world, but “we are part of this humanity and we are a bit responsible for everyone. Sometimes we don’t think well about this.”

Marto said that for her, she believes the core of the Our Lady of Fatima’s message is that she came “that we might return to God. That we don’t forget that God loves us, but that we have to praise him and must give thanks to him.”

In addition to this, “we must pray for each other,” she said, explaining that in her instructions to the children, Mary “didn’t ask many things that we can’t do.”

Pointing to the rosary, she said that according to Lucia, Mary asked that people pray it because “it’s an easy prayer,” and can be recited at church, in the car or while walking.

If someone isn’t able to pray the rosary, Marto suggested at least trying to pray one Hail Mary and Our Father a day, to honor Mary and give thanks to God “for being our friend.”

“God loves us very much and at times sends us his mother to refresh us a bit in order continue,” she said, explaining that “God wants us to be a bit better every day. Because we are always sinners, we are not perfect, but try to be a bit better every day.”

Marto said that she hopes to be present for Pope Francis’ visit to Fatima for the centenary of the apparitions in May. Having attended the beatification of her uncle and aunt in 2000, she said she also hopes to be present for the May 13 canonization of the visionaries.

She received communion from Bl. Pope Paul VI when he became the first Pope to visit Fatima in 1967, and was also present for the visit of [Pope] John Paul II in 1982, but was farther away.

Although she wasn’t able to attend Mass when Benedict XVI came in 2010, she hopes to have a good seat at Mass with Francis, and “to be close to him.” 

To read our previous discussion on reports of possible canonisations click here

Comments invited… 

14 responses

  1. The canonisations on 13th May is wonderful news. I think this quote from the report gives it the WOW factor: Bl. Francisco and Jacinta this year will become the youngest non-martyrs in the history of the Church to be canonized.

    I only wish I could be there on the day!

  2. That’s a lovely insight into the family of the seers, and they sound like very humble people, not making their relatives into a money spinning enterprise, such as the Medjugorje people do.

    I hope it’s a beautiful, sunny day on the 13th May, fitting for the occasion. However, I don’t think there can be any true celebrations until the Pope consecrates Russia as he should do, with all the bishops of the world in a public act.

    • I agree 200% with your last sentence, Nicky. When the Holy Father and all the bishops consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary then we can truly celebrate. Until then, it’s more “…[prayers], blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” (apologies to Sir Winston Churchill).

  3. This comment gave me comfort – “Pointing to the rosary, she said that according to Lucia, Mary asked that people pray it because “it’s an easy prayer,” and can be recited at church, in the car or while walking.”

    I sometimes say the rosary in my car and feel a bit guilty as I obviously have to concentrate on driving, as well. So, this makes me feel better.

    I did think originally that these canonisations shouldn’t take place until Sr Lucia was included, but I’m now glad. I actually don’t think Sr Lucia should have to go through the process (which is not as stringent as it once was, anyway) because I think she fits into the group that would have been canonised by popular devotion in earlier times. Also, we have Our Lady’s word for it that she is in Heaven, as she also told Francisco and Jacinta. So, I think, technically, Lucia could have been canonised with the other two.

    • I was also pleased to read that quote about praying the rosary in the car – I did so today and really, I don’t think I get half as distracted as when I’m at home. I think concentrating the mind on driving makes it easier, in a way, to reflect on the mysteries!

      • I don’t think it’s at all unusual for people to say the rosary in their cars. It’s no different from speaking to a passenger, you can still drive safely and concentrate on the conversation, so that’s the same with the mysteries of the rosary. I can’t see any problem with it.

  4. What about Lucia, the visionary who had the secrets? They did something to the real person and put a fake nun as a decoy to hide the truth that the Catholic Church is taken over by the diabolical disorientation.

    Rest of this comment deleted as being completely UN-Catholic.
    ;

    • Bernadette,

      If you wish to believe the baloney conspiracy theories about Sr Lucia, go ahead, just spare those of us with sufficient intelligence to know better. We’re not interested. Stick to the topic and don’t irritate with your nasty comments about anyone, including Pope Francis. He’s not my favourite person/pope either but I attended a school where I was taught how to express my opinions without descending into bad or unsuitable language. I’m sure there are blogs where you observations will be welcome. This is not one of them.

  5. I am very impressed with the aunt in that article. She really does come across as humble and not at all snobbish about her relationship to the seers.

    It really is good news about the canonisations. I think we could all do with a lift!

  6. This goes a little beyond the canonizations themselves, but here is confirmation of Our Lady’s words to Sr. Lucia, that the devil’s final battle will be against the family:

    http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/kincaid/170420

    Here is paragraph two:

    The author of Communism for Kids, Bini Adamczak, writes that “the Russian revolution instilled new hope, particularly in women and people who did not identify themselves within the hetero-normative paradigm.” The “destruction of the family,” she writes, was the goal. “With the revolution, the right to legal abortion, both sexes’ right to divorce, the decriminalization of adultery, and the annulment of the sodomy law (which had previously prohibited homosexuality) were implemented and enforced,” she explains.

    • RCA Victor,

      Thank you for that – very interesting indeed.

      Nothing relating to Fatima is “beyond” this thread – all things Fatima welcome here…

  7. (Editor – I’ll move these 2 posts elsewhere if you want)

    Lifesite News has published an article about a speech by Dr. Roberto Mattei in Washington DC, pointing our the urgency of performing the Consecration as requested by Our Lady. A little note of irony: one of the sponsors of this event was TFP, which, as we’ve discussed here before, is one of the “False Friends of Fatima”! That is, they claim the Consecration is already done, and reduce the Fatima message to “prayer and penance.”

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-historian-we-need-consecration-of-russia-to-save-the-church

    • RCA Victor,

      As I said last time you drew our attention to this event, I’ll believe that the TFP have changed their position (to the correct one) when they amend the material on their websites/publications.

      One speaker at an event at which they were ONE of the sponsors, doesn’t quite suffice – in my view – to prove their change of mind and heart (although I’ll be delighted if that is, indeed, the case).

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