LÚCIA DE JESUS
The principal seer of the Apparitions, Lúcia de Jesus, was born on the 22nd of March 1907, in Aljustrel, in the parish of Fatima. She was baptised on the 30th of March in the Fatima Parish Church. Her parents were António dos Santos and Maria Rosa. As the youngest of seven children, Lucia was the family favourite and was surrounded with affection from her earliest childhood. Although the family met with many troubles and misfortunes, Lucia’s mother bore them all in an exemplary Christian spirit. Family circumstances obliged her to start out in life straight away as a shepherdess.
Lucia had a special role during the apparitions, as the Vision spoke only to her, and gave her a message which was only to be revealed at a future date. Right after the apparitions and following the request of Our Lady, Lucia started attending school. On the 17th of June 1921, she entered, at the age of 14, the college of the Sisters of St, Dorothy, at Vilar in Porto, where she received an excellent moral and religious formation. The example of her teachers and her gratitude towards them made her decide to enter the Institute of St. Dorothy, in Tuy, Spain, where she received the Habit and the name Maria Lucia of Dolors. On the 3rd October 1928 she made her religious profession of temporary vows and on the 3rd October 1934, her Perpetual Vows. On the 25th March 1948, she moved to Coimbra, where she entered the Carmel of Saint Teresa and took the name of Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart. On the 31st May 1949, she made profession of solemn vows. During all these years, Sister Lucia visited Fatima various times, being the last one for the beatification of her cousins Francisco and Jacinta. Sister Lucia left to us her beautiful memories “Fatima in Lucia’s own words” which are edited in many different languages. She also wrote a book entitled “Calls from the Message of Fatima” Sister Lucia died on the 13th of February 2005, at the age of 97, in her Carmelite Convent in Coimbra. The funeral was attended by thousands of people. On February 19, 2006, the mortal remains of Lucia were taken into the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, in the Cova da Iria, and placed next to the tomb of her cousin Jacinta Marto.
Francisco Marto was born on the 11th of June 1908, in Aljustrel, in the parish of Fatima. Nine days later, on June 20th, he was baptized in the Fatima Parish Church. His and Jacinta’s father was Manuel Pedro Marto (1873-1957), a very serious, pious and God-fearing man. His and Jacinta’s mother was Olimpia de Jesus (1870-1956), a simple and devout woman, a sister of Lucia’s father. Francisco was a boy with a rounded face, very perfect features, bright eyes, well built, having suffered from only one illness during his whole life, that which carried him to the grave. Like the other boys of the village, he was simply dressed in long pants and a very short coat. On his head, he wore a typical long cone-shaped cap which, as well as covering his hair, fell down to the shoulder. His traits of character seemed to be inherited from his father: mild, very humble, patient, a man of few words, peaceable, balanced, with a natural distaste for fuss, noise and commotion. He was a man of the mountains, with calm nerves, controlled imagination, of open and simple joy. He had the gift of a meditative soul, more inclined to think and to listen than to speak and manifest himself, more disposed to remain quiet than to move about. Very sensitive and contemplative, he directed all his prayer and penance towards "consoling Our Lord". Lucia describes her little cousin in the following terms: “Apart from his features and his practice of virtue, Francisco did not seem to all to be Jacinta’s brother. Unlike her, he was neither capricious nor vivacious. On the contrary, he was quiet and submissive by nature”. Francisco died a saintly death on the 4th of April 1919, in his parent’s house. His mortal remains were buried in the parish cemetery until 13th March 1952, when they were transferred to the eastern side of the Basilica.
Jacinta Marto, Francisco’s sister, was born in Aljustrel, in the parish of Fatima, on the 11th of March, 1910. She was baptized in the Parish Church on the following 19th, and received the same name as her godmother, Jacinta. About this little shepherdess, her cousin, Lucia, wrote: “She was a child only in years. As to the rest, she already knew how to be virtuous and to show God and the Most Holy Virgin her love through sacrifice… It is wonderful how well she understood the spirit of prayer and sacrifice recommended to us by the Blessed Virgin… I have such a high regard for her holiness. I think myself that Jacinta was the one who received from Our Lady a greater abundance of grace, and a better knowledge of God and of virtue. Her demeanour was always serious and reserved, but friendly. All her actions seemed to reflect the presence of God in the way proper to people of mature age and great virtue”. Her holy death took place on the 20th of February 1920, in the Hospital of D. Estefania, Lisbon, after a long and painful illness. During that time, Jacinta offered all her sufferings for the conversion of sinners, for peace in the world and for the Holy Father. On the12th of September 1935, her body was solemnly translated from the family tomb of the Baron of Alvaiazere in Ourém to the Fatima cemetery, and placed beside the mortal remains of her brother Francisco. On 1st May 1951, the translation of Jacinta´s mortal remains took place, with the greatest simplicity, to a new tomb prepared on the western side of the Basilica.
The Process of Beatification and Canonization
The process of beatification of the Seers of Fatima, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, was opened (after the first steps taken in 1945) in 1952 and concluded in 1979.
In 1988, the final documentation, which could lead to the Holy Father proclaiming "blessed" the two little seers of Fatima, was given to the Holy Father, John Paul II, and to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. On 13 May 1989, Pope John Paul II solemnly recognised the heroic nature of the virtues practised by Francisco and Jacinta, and declared that they were models of holiness, and powerful intercessors for all the faithful, and especially for children. On the 28th of June 1999, official recognition of the miracle obtained through their intercession opened the way for their beatification. In Fatima, on the 13th of May 2000, Pope John Paul II, by his Apostolic Authority, declared that from this day onwards, Francisco and Jacinta can be given the title “Blessed” and that a feast can be celebrated in their honour, on the 20th of February, in those places, and according to the norms, approved by the Church.
On March 23, 2017, during the centennial year of the Apparitions of Our Lady, the miracle of Lucas Maeda de Oliveira, a Brazilian child that got cured by the intercession of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, led to their canonization. Pope Francis came to Fatima on May 13, 2017 and canonized the two Saint Shepherd Children.
The process of Sister Lucia’s beatification has also been already opened in Coimbra, on April 30, 2008.