6 Little-Known Facts About Young Fatima Mystics Saints Jacinta & Francisco Marto

How much do you know about Fatima mystics Saint Francisco Marto and Saint Jacinta Marto?

These young visionaries delivered to the world the important messages of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. The Catholic Church celebrates their feasts on February 20.

Here are six more little-known facts about these amazing Fatima mystics:

1) When Our Lady appeared, Jacinta heard her, but Francisco did not.

Francisco was eight years old and Jacinta was seven years old when Mary appeared at Fatima.

Even though Francisco saw and felt Our Lady’s presence, he could not hear her. Only his sister, Jacinta, and his cousin, Lucia, heard Mary’s words.

Lucia (now Venerable Lucia Santos) relayed her messages to him.

During the first Fatima apparition on May 13, 1917, Lucia asked if Our Lady would take the three children to heaven.

Our Lady said Lucia had to wait, but that God would soon take Jacinta and Francisco. She said Jacinta would enter heaven, but that if Francisco “prayed many rosaries,” he would go to heaven when he died.

Jacinta Marto, Lucia Santos, and Francisco Marto

2) Francisco and Jacinta were the youngest of seven children.

Francisco and Jacinta were the youngest of Manuel and Olimpia Marto’s seven children. Francisco was the second youngest, while Jacinta was the youngest.

3) Francisco and Jacinta deeply loved the Eucharist and offered sacrifices to console Our Lady and Our Lord.

Francisco often played hooky from school to sneak away to Jesus in the Eucharist.

Francisco referred to the Eucharist as the “Hidden Jesus” in the tabernacle. Jacinta also was a little “angel” who would spread flower petals before the Eucharist.

Francisco and Jacinta greatly desired to console the sorrowful heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia prayed and fasted often in reparation for sinners and to console the hearts of Jesus and Mary. They gave their lunch to the sheep and to needy children and prayed rosaries with conviction.

During hot weather, Francisco also fasted from food and water for days and tied a tight rope around his waist.

Entering heaven was Francisco’s most fervent goal. He once said, “Soon Jesus will come and take me to heaven with Him and then I shall always be able to comfort Him.”

When asked what he wanted to be “when he grew up,” he said, “I don’t want to be anything. I want to die and go to heaven.”

Just before Francisco died, Jacinta told Francisco, “Give all my love to Our Lord and Our Lady, and tell them that I’ll suffer as much as they want, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Lucia Santos, Francisco Marto, Jacinta Marto / Wikimedia Commons

4) Francisco and Jacinta both died of the Spanish Flu.

The Marto family (except their father Manuel) contracted the Spanish Flu one year after the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. Francisco never complained. He knew Our Lady would soon take him to Heaven.

Even while sick with the flu, Francisco and Jacinta walked to church for Mass and worshipped Jesus in the Eucharist. As Mary instructed, they knelt and prayed for hours before the Eucharist with their heads on the ground.

Knowing his death was near, Francisco asked to receive the “Hidden Jesus” in his first Holy Communion on April 3, 1909.

The next morning, 10-year-old Francisco died with a heavenly glow on his face.

Jacinta died on Feb. 20, 1910. She told Lucia these words:

“In a short time now I am going to heaven. You are to stay here and say that God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary…Tell everybody that God grants graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and that they must ask them from her. Tell them that the Heart of Jesus wishes that by His side should be venerated the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell them to ask peace through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; God has placed it in her hands. Oh that I could put into the heart of everybody the flame that I feel burning within my breast and which makes me love so much the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary.”© José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro

5) Jacinta was joyful and energetic, while Francisco was mischievous but obedient.

Jacinta charmed those around her, was energetic, and loved dancing. She also named her sheep and held the little ones in her lap.

Francisco was mischievous, but according to his father, “he had a gentle nature, he was affectionate, obedient and seldom disturbed the family peace.”

On one occasion, Francisco gave all the money he had to save a bird. He offered a friend one penny in exchange for a captured bird, only to set the bird free.

6) After Pope Pius XI refused canonization cause, more than 300 Bishops petitioned

Pope Pius XI stated in 1937 that “causes for minors could not be accepted” because “he didn’t believe that children could fully understand heroic virtue or practice it repeatedly.”

In 1979, however, 300 bishops signed a petition to Saint John Paul II, saying Francisco and Jacinta “were known, admired and attracted people to the way of sanctity. Favors were received through their intercession.”

They added that “the children’s canonization was a pastoral necessity for the children and teenagers of today.”

Saint John Paul II beatified both Francisco and Jacinta in May 2000. Pope Francis canonized them on May 13, 2017, at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fátima, Portugal.

Canonization of Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto by Pope Francis in 2017 at Sanctuary of Fatima / Centro Televisivo Vaticano, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto, pray for us!

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