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The prophetic message

A hundred years after, Fatima continues to be relevant and a focus of spiritual renewal of the Church and the world, now more than ever, with the exemplary lives of two humble and saintly children who are set as models worth emulating.

Pope Francis canonized,on May 13, two of the three little shepherds, Jacinta Marto and her brother Francisco, to whom the Virgin Mary appeared in Fatima 100 years ago. The canonization occurred during his apostolic visit to the renowned Marian Shrine, in Portugal, to commemorate the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady.

With the official recognition of their sanctity, the two children became the youngest non-martyrs to be saints in the history of the Catholic Church. Jacinta died at age 9, while her brother Francisco died at age 10.

Our Lady appeared to the three shepherd children on the 13th of every month from May to October 1917. In her apparitions, the “White Lady” begged the children to pray the rosary every day and to do penance for the conversion of humanity and the end of World War I.

Lucia dos Santos, the new saints’ cousin, lived longer and later became a Carmelite nun. She wrote down the messages from the Virgin Mary and the dialogues She had with the little shepherds under the title Sister Lucia's Memoirs. Her cause of beatification is well under way with the diocesan process having already been concluded.

The holiness of Jacinta and Francisco did not depend on having seen Mary but on their virtues and the heroism in their lives. “The apparitions of the Virgin Mary were an occasion but it has nothing to do with or has not influenced the reason the children were declared saints,” said Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, former prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. “It was the children’s heroism in their lives, their life of prayer, their turning to God that was truly holy.”

A hundred years after, Fatima continues to be relevant and a focus of spiritual renewal of the Church and the world, now more than ever, with the exemplary lives of two humble and saintly children who are set as models worth emulating.

The message of Fatima remains actual, prophetic and challenging. The Portuguese bishops wrote a pastoral letter to mark the centenary of the apparitions titled Fatima, sign of hope for our time. The document highlights the Fatima event as a “blessing and interpellation to the whole world”... “not to fall in the indifference before so much suffering, to respect the memory of so many innocent victims and not to become insensitive to the trivialization of evil.”


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