May 13, 1917, the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima was experienced by 3 children: Lucia, 10 years old, and her cousins, St. Jacinta, 7 years old, and St. Francisco, 8 years old. The experience changed these children forever. The 2 saints are the youngest canonized for extraordinary and heroic virtues.
St. Francisco, of the 3 was the one who could not hear the Blessed Mother and therefore asked to pray many rosaries so he can go to Heaven. Immediately after only 2 apparitions, a significant change happened wherein Francisco would choose to hide and pray instead of play with his cousins. Some things Francisco said and did that gives us a glimpse of his growing holiness and love of the Lord and our Lady:
- “I loved seeing the Angel, but I loved still more seeing Our Lady which penetrated our hearts. I love God so much! But He is very sad because of so many sins! We must never commit sins again.”
- “Our Lady told us that we would have much to suffer, but I don’t mind. I’ll suffer all that she wishes! What I want is to go to Heaven!”
- “If they kill us as they say, we’ll soon be in Heaven! How wonderful! Nothing else matters!”
- “Listen, you go to school, and I’ll stay here with the hidden Jesus. It’s not worth my while learning to read, as I’ll be going to Heaven soon.” (and he would spend the whole day adoring the Lord in the Church before going home with Lucia after school)
- During his illness, his mother never knew what food he didn’t like or couldn’t take since he would eat without complaint all that was given him.
Jacinta, the youngest of the 3 was by nature capricious, vivacious, playful, loved to dance and sensitive, yet all these changed during the apparitions and especially during her illness.
- “I want to suffer for the conversion of sinners.”
- “Let’s give our lunch to those poor children, for the conversion of sinners.”
- “Jacinta, don’t eat that; it’s too bitter!” “But it’s because it’s bitter that I’m eating it, for the conversion of sinners.”
- During the time of their prison, Jacinta cried but given courage by Francisco, she offered her tears of not seeing their parents and she joined her hands, raised her eyes to heaven and made the offering. “O my Jesus! This is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, for the Holy Father, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary!”
- The Blessed Mother asked her if she still wishes to suffer more for sinners before her death and as she said yes, she was made to understand that she will be transferred to another hospital and she will die alone, without her parents, and without Francisco and Lucia. and She readily accepted this painful sacrifice.
Lucia, the eldest and cousin of the 2 saints, was an outgoing, intelligent girl who had a good memory that helped her in catechism classes to receive an early first communion. Reading and writing were easy task for her, thus she was able to write the book “Fatima, in Lucia’s own words” from which the above excerpts of St. Jacinta and St. Francisco came from. Lucia stayed longer and died on 2005 at the age of 98. Lucia continued to propagate the devotion to the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She suffered greatly too as her own mother would not believe her visions on the Blessed Mother and constantly asked her to admit her lies concerning the apparitions. She experienced being called names, and ridiculed by neighbors and doubters. Together with her cousins, she continually offered sacrifices by giving up her food, time and carrying her burdens and troubles silently without complaint, and only sharing with Jacinta and Francisco. She faced her imprisonment in Ourém courageously, and would not reveal the secret told to them by the Blessed Mother. She received 2 more visions regarding the 1st Saturday devotion and the importance of the Eucharist. She lived her life trying to fulfill the mission entrusted to her by the Blessed Mother. (Elvie Uraya)