"Amen I say to you: Whoever shall not accept the Kingdom of God like a little boy shall not enter into it." —Luke 18:17
Francisco Marto was just a boy; but along with his sister Jacinta and his cousin Lucia dos Santos, he experienced the monumental apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima—proving that even an illiterate shepherd child can become a pivotal figure in world history, as well as a great saint. And indeed Francisco did become a saint for our times.
Excerpted from the letters and memoirs of Sr. Lucia dos Santos contained in Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, Blessed Francisco Marto of Fatima describes the life of this little boy whose visions, along with his sister and cousin, radically changed the world. Although he could not hear Our Lady, Francisco participated in the apparitions of Fatima by seeing Our Lady and feeling her presence. Despite his youth, these apparitions (and the messages Lucia relayed to him) galvanized him to become as holy as he could. Francisco took Our Lady's directive to him specifically to pray "many Rosaries" quite seriously, and he prayed it constantly. He also began to practice severe mortifications and pray before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Along with Jacinta and Lucia, he suffered at the hands of the local Freemasonic authorities.
Finally, in 1918, he and Jacinta contracted the Spanish flu. He died less than a year later after receiving Holy Communion for the first time. Pope Francis canonized him in 2017, a hundred years after the first apparition of Our Lady. Let your children learn the lesson of this humble saint, one of the Church's youngest—and learn yourself just what it means to become like a child to enter the Kingdom of God.
Saint Francisco Marto, pray for us!
- Msgr. Joseph A. Cirrincione
- TAN Books
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