(Just kidding. Feel free to go read something else if you like. Or scroll down past the pity party and get to the real meat of the post.)
So, a cousin of mine made her First Communion today. Her parish is a really beautiful, old-fashioned little place. So I began the day by sitting there in church admiring the stained glass windows, and the First Communicant's white dresses, and the morning light on the wooden pews...when the priest began his homily.
And I was complacently listening with my hands in my lap when the priest says words to the effect of, "Yesterday we celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of Fatima..."
And my jaw dropped. And I stared at the priest. And the gears in my brain started whizzing, and I started thinking "May 13. May 13. Yesterday was May 13. And I didn't even think of it because I was at that other First Communion party and it's been exactly 100 years since the first apparition and I ought to have done a big fantastic blog post on it and been thinking about it all day and now it's gone and GAH WHAT HAVE I DONE."
Seriously, I've been looking forward to May 13, 2017 for quite a while now. Only to realize it was yesterday. And it will never come again. *melodramatic sigh*
But it gets worse, dear ones. This afternoon I sit down to write a belated Fatima post and what does the internet kindly tell me?
Francisco and Jacinta Marto were canonized yesterday.
My little Fatima friends, canonized! Yesterday! And I missed it!
Of course it makes perfect sense, what with it being the hundredth anniversary and all. But HOW on EARTH did I not hear about this sooner?? It's as though I crawled under a rock and stayed there while the Catholic world was doubtless buzzing with the news. I mean, I should have known about this at least a week in advance. I should have seen it in the Catholic paper or heard it on Catholic radio or something. But no. No, I hear about it the day after.
Okay, the pity party's over now. I simply wanted to explain why this particular (belated) Fatima post is going to be all about Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
I love these two so much! Out of the entire Fatima story, which is in itself a regular epic to be ranked above the Iliad and The Lord of the Rings, these two little shepherd children are perhaps my favorite part. They're such innocent, darling little things--like characters in a book--and yet their heroism and selflessness is as grand and hard and tough as the most fantastic stories surrounding martyrs and warriors.
Anything I could write about them won't do them justice...so I'm simply going to give you a list of facts about them, followed by a bunch of quotes. I feel like quotes are a great way to get to know someone.
And if you'd like to learn more about these dear little saints, then do dig deeper! There are suggested reading materials listed in the "Fatima" tab above, and I'm sure an online search would bring up hundreds of beautiful resources.
(And all these images are from Pinterest, by the way. As usual. What would I do without Pinterest? Besides finding productive ways to spend my time, of course.)
- Jacinta was seven when Mary first appeared to the children. Francisco was nine.
- Jacinta, Francisco, and their cousin Lucia were inseparable.
- The three children referred to the sun as "Our Lord's Lantern" and the moon as "Our Lady's Lantern." Little Jacinta loved Our Lady's Lantern best because it did not hurt the eyes to look at it. But Francisco always said that Our Lord's Lantern was the most beautiful.
- Francisco was a tender-hearted little boy; he wept when he saw some boys mistreating a bird.
- During the apparitions, Jacinta could both see and hear Our Lady; Francisco could only see her. Neither Francisco nor Jacinta spoke with Mary--that was Lucia's role.
- At the first apparition, Mary revealed that Jacinta and Francisco would soon be taken to Heaven.
- Jacinta was deeply affected by Our Lady's request to pray for the conversion of sinners. She offered every sacrifice she had to make gladly in hope of saving poor souls.
- Francisco, on the other hand, was most deeply struck by Our Lady's request to make reparation for the sins committed against Jesus. His life was spent in consoling Christ's Sacred Heart.
- The three children gladly made every sacrifice they could think of. When they found a length of rope lying around, they divided it into three parts so each of them could tightly tie a cord around his or her waist.
- In 1918, the year following the apparitions, Jacinta and Francisco caught influenza during the epidemic. They offered their illness as they had all their other sufferings: gladly for love of God.
- On April 4, 1919, Francisco died at the age of ten. He had just confessed and received Holy Communion within the last few days, and he died with a smile on his lips.
- Jacinta lingered for almost a year after Francisco died. Our Lady appeared to her and told her that she would die away from home. As Mary had warned, the doctors sent Jacinta to the city of Lisbon in hopes that better medical care there would cure her. But nothing helped, and Jacinta suffered, not only from her illness, but from homesickness.
- During her stay in Lisbon, Jacinta found a friend in one of the sisters who cared for her. One day when the sister came in to talk to Jacinta, Jacinta asked her to move to a different part of the room--she had been standing where Our Lady always stood when coming to see Jacinta.
- Jacinta was able to go to confession shortly before she died, but the priest did not give her Holy Communion because he did not believe she was dying. This cross was very hard for Jacinta to bear. She died on February 20, 1920, at the age of nine.
- Jacinta was buried in her First Communion dress, as she had requested.
- In 1935, Jacinta's body was discovered to be perfectly incorrupt. Her parents were present at the opening of her tomb.
And now for some quotes!
And, lastly, a couple of fact-sheet thingies I stumbled across on Pinterest and found very handy while putting together this post. :) There are some lovely quotes from the children on these, too.
Well! There's my post on Jacinta and Francisco, two of my favorite saints. (And they're officially saints now! Yay!) Aren't they inspiring? They suffered so patiently and joyfully! And aren't some of those old pictures of them lovely? Francisco's eyes are so soft and large and prayerful in that fourth picture. What's your favorite story about the Fatima children? Do share!