The two Fatima saints — Sts. Jacinta and Francisco Marto — worked miracles while they were alive.
We know about some of the miracles that came through the intercession of this sister and brother, thanks to their cousin, Servant of God Sister Lucia dos Santos, the eldest Fatima seer, who related a few of them in her memoirs.
A young soldier came to petition Jacinta. Things were in dire straits for his family. He had gotten orders he was to leave for the front — during World War I — yet his wife was quite ill, confined to bed, and they had three small children.
He implored Jacinta to pray for him: that either his wife would be cured or that his order to go to the front be withdrawn. Jacinta invited him to pray the Rosary with her. Then she told him: “Don’t cry. Our Lady is so good! She will certainly grant you the grace you are asking.”
After he left, she prayed every day for him, adding a Hail Mary for his intentions at the end of a Rosary.
Lucia described how, “some months later, he appeared with his wife and his three small children to thank Our Lady for the two graces he had received. Having gone down with fever on the eve of his departure, he had been released from military service, and, as for his wife, he said she had been miraculously cured by Our Lady.”
Another time, a poor woman suffering from an illness met the children. Lucia described what happened next:
“Weeping, she knelt before Jacinta and begged her to ask Our Lady to cure her. Jacinta was distressed to see a woman kneeling before her and caught hold of her with trembling hands to lift her up. But seeing this was beyond her strength, she, too, knelt down and said three Hail Marys with the woman. She then asked her to get up and assured her that Our Lady would cure her. After that, she continued to pray daily for that woman, until she returned some time later to thank Our Lady for her cure.”
Francisco had a similar experience as the three seers were on their way to pray at the Cova da Iria, where Our Lady of Fatima appeared to them. They met a group of people who wanted to talk to them. To see the children better, they lifted Lucia and Jacinta atop a wall, but Francisco refused, saying he was afraid of falling. Instead, he leaned against a ramshackle wall across the way. When a poor woman and her son spotted him because they couldn’t get close enough to talk to the girls, they begged him to ask Our Lady to cure the father of the family and to save the son from being sent to the war. Francisco invited them to pray the Rosary with him. They did.
Then, the other people, intent on asking the girls questions, also knelt and prayed the Rosary. Afterward, the group walked with the children, praying another Rosary with them, on the way to the Cova. There, they all prayed another Rosary.
“The poor woman promised to come back and thank Our Lady for the graces she had asked for, if they were granted,” Lucia reported. “She came back several times, accompanied not only by her son, but also her husband, who had by now recovered. They came from the parish of St. Mamede, and we called them the Casaleiros.” As usual for her, Lucia often describes these miracles as “graces” received.
One day when Francisco was already ill with the influenza that would take his and his sister’s life, a group of people came to look for the children, finding only Francisco to talk to.
“There were so many people. … They wished to see us and ask us lots of things,” Francisco reported. “Besides that, there was a woman from Alqueidão who wanted the cure of a sick person and the conversion of a sinner. I’ll pray for that woman, and you pray for the others — there’s such a lot of them.”
Lucia reported in her memoirs, “Shortly after Francisco’s death, this woman came to see us and asked me to show her his grave. She wished to go there and thank him for the two graces for which she had asked him to pray.”
Like Jacinta, Francisco had a charism for interceding for young people in trouble. One day when he was heading to school, he met up with Lucia and her married sister Teresa. A woman from a neighboring village asked Teresa to talk to Lucia about her son, who was accused of a serious crime.
When they got to the intersection where Francisco normally turned to go spend the day in church before the Blessed Sacrament, he said to Lucia: “Listen! While you go to school, I’ll stay with the Hidden Jesus, and I’ll ask him for that grace.”
After school, Lucia went to meet Francisco. She asked, “Did you pray to Our Lord to grant that grace?”
“Yes, I did,” he answered. “Tell your Teresa that he’ll be home in a few days’ time.”
As the young seer said, in a few short days, the son returned home after he was able to prove his innocence. The next 13th of the month, the acquitted son and his family came to thank Our Lady for this miraculous favor they obtained from her.
Lucia described in her extensive memoirs another incident when Francisco was ill.
A woman named Mariana, from Casa Velha, visited the young seer. Mariana was in great distress about her family’s situation. Her husband had driven their son out of their home. She wanted her husband and son to reconcile.
Francisco answered her, “Don’t worry. I’m going to heaven very soon, and when I get there I will ask Our Lady for that grace.”
Lucia vividly remembered the outcome. She explained that, “on the very afternoon of Francisco’s death, the son went for the very last time to ask pardon of his father, who had previously refused it because his son would not submit to the conditions imposed. The boy accepted everything that the father demanded, and peace reigned once again in that home. This boy’s sister, Leocadia by name, later married a brother of Jacinta and Francisco and became the mother of their niece, whom Your Excellency [the bishop of Leiria] met in the Cova da Iria when she was about to enter the Dorotheans [the first congregation Lucia was a member of].”
Change of Heart
Hearts softening and changing for the better where not uncommon. Jacinta positively influenced a woman in the neighborhood who insulted the seers each time she met them.
One day, coming out of a tavern, she ran into the children, abusing them with worse-than-usual insults.
After her tirade, Jacinta told Lucia, “We have to plead with Our Lady and offer sacrifices for the conversion of this woman. She says so many sinful things that if she doesn’t go to confession, she’ll go to hell.”
Days later, hurrying past the woman’s home, Jacinta stopped midstream. She said to Lucia and Francisco, “Listen! Is it tomorrow that we’re going to see the Lady?”
Lucia told her, “Yes.”
Jacinta counseled, “Then let’s not play anymore. We can make this sacrifice for the conversion of sinners.”
Lifting up her eyes and hands to heaven, she made her offering. What she didn’t see was the woman looking at her from inside her home.
Lucia recounted the outcome: “She told my mother, afterward, that what Jacinta did made such an impression on her that she needed no other proof to make her believe in the reality of the apparitions; henceforth, she would not only not insult us anymore, but would constantly ask us ‘to pray to Our Lady that her sins might be forgiven.’”
Joseph Pronechen is a
Register staff writer.