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Saint Of The Day Of February 20: Jacinta Marto

One of the 3 Shepherd children of Fatima Jacinta spent her life for the conversion of sinners. Among the visionaries recognised by the Church

There are no further truths to unveil, the history of salvation is being fulfilled with us every day, but it already has in it the only revelation we need by faith: Jesus who died and rose again.

Everything else is part of the private revelations from which the Church has distanced itself in order to avoid the useless snares of the evil one.

After all, if we believe, we must not always, like St. Thomas, touch the faith that is sufficient for us.

It happened to three Little Shepherds, children, illiterate with only faith, the theological virtue and supreme gift to be asked for with insistent prayer.

They all saw Our Lady and in different ways had holy visions and revelations.

They had not desired it, they had not asked for it, and yet it happened.

And for Jacinta, as the testimonies collected for beatification and canonisation show, this marked an early change.

In the OT, the theophany of Moses in the burning bush makes us reflect on how much it is God who comes to meet us, to seek us continually, and this he is doing even now, instantly.

A little of Jacinta Marto’s life among the Little Shepherds of Fatima

She was the youngest of the 7 children of Manuel Pedro Marto and Olimpia De Jesus and with her brother Francisco (who had died a year earlier and was also a saint) and her cousin they went to pasture.

Jacinta was one of those children who could not go to school.

She was not protected by everyone’s right to education: at that time and in those social contexts, with a Portugal in political turmoil, the child was like that in normal everyday life, like other children in the same condition.

We must, however, gravely note that the problem of schooling and illiteracy in the n mode still persists.

It is a problem because it creates marginalisation.

The simple, skeletal framework of faith was given to the two Marto brothers (Jacinta and Francisco) by their older cousin, Lucia, who chose the religious life.

After the vision, the following year, in 1918, she fell ill with bronchopneumonia and there was no way to save her, although she was taken to the best children’s hospital in Lisbon and experienced surgeons intervened.

We see her for a short time, before her terminal diagnosis, standing in continuous adoration and contemplation at the orphanage of the Blessed Virgin of Miracles.

She retained throughout this period of treatment, care, always, indelibly, that wound on the left side of her chest, almost a modern-day tattoo.

And this is what emerges from the official acts of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, which has proceeded to initiate his canonisation in the various procedures.

She died that distant 20 February 1920, alone, around 10.30 p.m. in hospital.

Today, her remains have been transferred to the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Fatima.

About the Fatima apparitions: what did Jacinta Marto tell?

For the 3 (the two brothers Jacinta and Francisco, their cousin Lucia) the apparitions were not sudden but gradual.

In 1916 there was the apparition of the Angel of Peace three times, and in 1917 Our Lady of the Rosary appeared on the 13th of each month.

So on 13 August they were imprisoned, but Our Lady made her apparition on 19 August.

The 3 visionaries (and visionary means seeing clearly with the light of faith) witnessed different things.

Francisco, for example, heard no sound, no word from his holy apparitions: he was a pure contemplative.

Jacinta, on the other hand, focused her attention on a fundamental message: the need to offer her prayers, sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.

Jacinta was compassionate: she wanted to pray and suffer out of love.

Sister Lucia also writes about Jacinta, her words, and believes in the hopeful value of this revelation

Why these apparitions? The world needs a sign of hope.

There is no need for sensationalism but for hope and in all times.

Sister Lucia shouts this in her letter of 28/02/1943: “We do not want to be an aborted hope.

And we do not believe they will be, also because Fatima continues to be a destination for pilgrims from all over the world who need to be at the place of mystery.

But even we from afar are united, in this mystical communion, in hope.

As Pope Francis says in his canonisation homily: ‘Fatima is above all this mantle of light that covers us, here as anywhere else on earth, when we take refuge under the protection of the Virgin Mother to ask her, as the Salve Regina teaches: show us Jesus.

May Mary help us to pray for this world that is in such need.

Sister Ines Carlone Daughters of Mary Missionaries

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