Jacinta Marto, the youngest of the Fatima visionaries, was born on March 11, 1010 and died on February 20, 1920 at the age of nine after two years of serious illness and great suffering.
In Jacinta’s brief life, she worked many miracles, but we will only relate one. In her Memoirs, Sister Lúcia tells us of her Aunt Victoria, who lived at Fatima and was much grieved by her son, who had run away from home and not been heard from in some time. One day, when Lúcia was away from home, her aunt came by to ask for her prayers for her missing son. In Lúcia’s absence, Victoria turned to Jacinta instead. In just a few days, her son returned, penitent and was reunited to his parents. After he sought and received his joyful parents’ pardon, he told them that he had determined to return home but after nightfall, had gotten lost in the mountains and dark woods and a terrible storm had overtaken him. He then fell to his knees and prayed for God’s mercy when suddenly he saw his cousin Jacinta who offered him her hand and led him to the road. Jacinta left him once she had pointed out the direction he was to go.
Of course, everyone wanted to know what Jacinta had to say about this unheard of occurrence, but Jacinta would only say, “I don’t even know where those forests or those mountains are. But I prayed hard to Our Lady for him, because of Aunt Victoria’s sorrow.” “How all that happened,” said Sister Lúcia, “I don’t know, but God knows.” (“Blessed Jacinta Marto” by Msgr. Joseph Cirrincione, TAN Books, Kindle Edition)
One day, after Francisco had come down with the influenza and Jacinta had acquired it as well, Lúcia went to visit her cousins and Jacinta broke the news to her.
“Look, Lúcia!” she said, “Our Lady came to see us here, and she said that she is coming very soon to take Francisco to Heaven. And she asked me if I still wanted to convert more sinners and I said, ‘Yes.’
“Our Lady wants me to go to two hospitals. But not to be cured. It is to suffer more for the love of God, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“She said that you were not going,” she continued. “She said my mother is going to take me, and then I will stay there alone.”
In his book, Fr. Cirrincione takes care to point out that pain had for the little shepherds the same revulsion we all feel, but that this natural aversion was overpowered by their even stronger desire for the good that they could accomplish through their sufferings, that is, reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the conversion of sinners. Note that at the time, Jacinta was only 7 or 8 at the most. A child like this shows so much devotion to the Immaculate, yet what do we modern day devotees of Fatima do? What sacrifices?
Lúcia tells us that often in those days, she would stop by the Marto home on her way home from school in the evenings and visit with her cousins. Always, they discussed their daily sacrifices. When Lúcia spoke of her own offerings, Jacinta would add, “Yes, I did that too, Lúcia!.”
“I love Our Lord and Our Lady and I never get tired of telling them that I love them. When I tell that to them, it seems sometimes that I have a fire burning in my breast, a fire that does not consume. … Oh, how I would like to be able to go again to the hills to say the Rosary in the cave. But I can’t anymore. When you go to the Cova da Iria, pray for me, Lúcia! I’m sure I’ll never go there again. Now you go to Francisco’s room because I want to make the sacrifice of being alone.”
Olimpia Marto, Jacinta’s mother suffered greatly as well as she watched Francisco and Jacinta frankly discussing their suffering and deaths. She confided in Father De Marchi that the children “used to say Rosary after Rosary, at least seven or eight every day and there was no end to their short prayers.”
Francisco Leaves Them
As Francisco neared the end of his brief journey, Jacinto slipped into his room with a message for him to take to heaven. “Give my compliments to Our Lord and Our Lady,” she said. “Tell them I shall suffer all they want for sinners and to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
Jacinta’s sorrow at the loss of her beloved brother was acute and her loneliness increased greatly. She told Lúcia: “I’m thinking of Francisco. How much I would love to see him. But I think also of the war that is going to come. So many people will die and so many will go to Hell. Many cities will be burned to the ground, and many priests will be killed. Look, Lúcia, I’m going to Heaven. But when you see that night illuminated by that strange light, you also run away to Heaven.”
“Don’t you see it’s impossible to run away to Heaven?” Lúcia said. “Yes, you can’t do that. But don’t be afraid. I’ll pray a lot for you in Heaven, and for the Holy Father also, and for Portugal, for the war not to come here, and for all priests.”
Jacinta often spoke of her strong desire to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. One day after Lúcia had been to Mass and Communion, she visited Jacinta who told her: “I don’t know how it is. I feel Our Lord within me. I understand what He says to me without seeing Him or hearing Him. But how sweet it is to be with Him!”
Someone had given Lúcia a picture of the Sacred Heart and she gave it to Jacinta, who kept it constantly, and often kissed it. “I am kissing,” she would say, “the Heart of Him whom I love above all. I wish I also had a picture of the Heart of Mary. I would be so pleased to have the two together.”
Another time, Jacinta confided to Lúcia,
“It won’t be long before I go to heaven. You,Lúcia, will remain on earth to spread the news that Our Lord wants the whole world to have devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you have to speak, don’t hide yourself. Tell the whole world that God wants to grant His graces through the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that we must not hesitate to ask them through her; that the Heart of Jesus wants to be venerated along with the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that men must ask the Immaculate Heart for peace, because God has confided it to her. If I could only put into all hearts what I feel here within me, what makes me love the Hearts of Jesus and Mary so!”
Jacinta Is Hospitalized
Jacinta’s illness worsened and Olimpia grieved at the sight of her small daughter, growing thinner by the day and suffering with such patient resignation. Jacinta attempted to comfort her mother, “Don’t worry Mother, for I’m going to Heaven. I’ll pray a lot for you there.” Although she was brave with her beloved Mama, she confided her fears to Lúcia, “Lúcia, if only you could come with me! The hardest thing to me is to have to go without you. Maybe the hospital is very dark, where we can’t see a thing! And I’ll be there suffering alone.”
After a time of loneliness in the hospital at Ourem, Jacinta was sent home in late August, 1919, due to the fact that not only was there no improvement in her condition, but the abscess in her side had actually worsened. About this time, Father Formigao wrote of her, “She was all bones, and it was a shock to see how thin her arms were. She was running a fever all the time. Pneumonia, then tuberculosis and pleurisy ate away her strength. I remembered, as I saw her, that Our Lady had promised Bernadette of Lourdes that she too would not be happy in this world, but in the next. I wondered if Our Lady made the same promise to Jacinta.”
Jacinta’s increasing weakness prevented her from her accustomed practice of secretly slipping out of bed and praying the Angel’s Eucharistic Prayer kneeling with her forehead to the floor. When she confided her distress at no longer being capable of this penance, Lúcia spoke with their priest who assured her that Jacinta must remain in bed for her prayers. When Lúcia relayed this advice to Jacinta, she was at first reluctant but Lúcia was firm and consoled her with the assurance that for Jacinta to obey her priest would please Our Lord very much. “Then, it’s all right. I won’t get up any more for my prayers”, she concluded.
The Best Intentions
In January, 1920, Jacinta had a visitor; Our Lady appeared to her to announce that she would be taken to another hospital. Msgr. Cirrincione tells us of Jacinta’s response:
“Lúcia,” she said, “Our Lady told me that I’m going to go to another hospital in Lisbon and that I’ll never see you again or my parents and that after suffering a great deal, I shall die alone. She said that I should not be afraid since she will come to take me with her to Heaven.” But at nine, it’s hard not to be afraid, even when the Queen of Heaven reassures you. So she began to sob as she embraced Lúcia tightly to her: “I will never see you again. Pray a lot for me, for I am going to die alone.”
It is so often true that much of our suffering in this world is caused by those with the best of intentions and Jacinta’s case was a fine example of that. One day, a prominent man, Dr. Enrico Lisboa and his wife visited Jacinta in the company of Father Formigao. The doctor was indignant that so little was being done for Jacinta and urged Father Formigao to convince Jacinta’s parents to agree to another hospitalization, this time to a hospital in Lisbon under the care of a respected specialist in children’s illness. Thus it was that Jacinta was subjected to her final and most bitter ordeal and lonely death.
A Last Journey to the Cova
Before this however, Olimpia Marto was determined that Jacinta would have her heart’s desire, a visit to the Cova da Iria. Olimpia related later that Jacinta was too weak to stand and walk and so she and a friend took her there on a donkey. On the way, they picked some flowers and when she got to the little Chapel, they helped Jacinta down to pray there. Jacinta told them, ‘When Our Lady went away, she passed over those trees and entered Heaven so fast that it seemed as if her feet were caught in the door.”
Lúcia tells us in her memoirs of their bitter-sweet parting,
“She kept her arms around me for a long time,” … “She was crying and saying to me, ‘Never again shall we see each other. Pray a great deal for me, for I am going to Heaven. There I will pray a lot for you. Don’t ever tell anyone the secret, even if they kill you. Love Jesus a great deal and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Make many sacrifices for sinners.'”
The trip to the hospital in Lisbon involved a long trek to Ourem, thence to the depot in Chao de Macas and then by train to Lisbon. Although the original plan called for Jacinta, her Mother and older brother Antonio to stay with a prosperous family in Lisbon until a room was available for Jacinta at the hospital, the family refused to take her when they observed the advanced state of her illness. And so little Jacinta was blessed to share the plight of the Holy Family on that cold Christmas night so long ago. How dearly the Holy Family must have cherished this smallest, sweetest of the martyrs of love!
Although the wealthy turned their back on Jacinta, there was one who welcomed her with great joy. Mother Maria de Purificacao Godinho was a secularized Franciscan who ran a small orphanage in Lisbon. The orphanage had a lovely little Chapel adjacent to it, dedicated to Our Lady of Miracles. Jacinta was overjoyed to find that the second floor of the orphanage opened onto a little balcony into the Chapel, where she was delighted to find that her precious “hidden Jesus” reposed in the tabernacle. She spent many happy hours sitting on the little balcony, communing with her Lord, saying one Rosary after another. Although she missed the Cova and missed Lúcia and her family very much, she savored this brief, ecstatic time of prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and several visits from Our Lady as well.
Mother Godinho tells us that one day as she sat on Jacinta’s bed, visiting with her, Jacinta requested politely that she move to the side a bit, “Mother dear, I am expecting Our Lady.” We have this lovely, devout woman, Mother Godinho to thank for the most beautiful and inspiring memories of sweet Jacinta in her brief respite at the orphanage before she entered the hospital for her final stay. Some of Mother Godinho’s remembrances of Jacinta’s words:
“Our Lady said that there are many wars and discords in the world. Wars are only punishments for the sins of the world. Our Lady cannot stay the arm of her Beloved Son upon the world anymore. It is necessary to do penance. If the people amend themselves, Our Lord shall still come to the aid of the world. If they do not amend themselves, punishment shall come. . . If men do not amend their lives, Almighty God will send the world, beginning with Spain, a punishment such as never has been.”
“My dear Mother, the sins that bring most souls to Hell are the sins of the flesh. Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much. Those who serve God should not follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions: Our Lord is always the same.”
“Many marriages,” she remarked, “are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God.”
“My good Mother, do not give yourself to immodest clothes. Run away from riches. Love holy poverty and silence very much. Be very charitable, even with those who are unkind. Never criticize others and avoid those who do. Confession is a Sacrament of mercy. That is why people should approach the confessional with confidence and joy.”
“The Mother of God wants a larger number of virgin souls to bind themselves to her by the vow of chastity. I would enter a convent with great joy, but my joy is greater because I am going to Heaven. To be a religious, one has to be very pure in soul and in body.” “And do you know what it means to be pure?” Mother Godinho asked. “Yes, I do. To be pure in body means to preserve chastity. To be pure in soul means to avoid sin, not to look at what would be sinful, not to steal, never to lie and always to tell the truth, even when it is hard.”
In the Lisbon Hospital
Jacinta had been taken by Our Lady as her own precious child when she was still filled with innocence and consequently, she was greatly shocked and disheartened by the worldliness and indifference to God that she perceived in the Lisbon hospital. Monsignor Cirrincione tells us,
“…The dress, the manner and the conversation of visitors in the hospital saddened her, if not by their out-and-out sinfulness, at least by their emptiness of God. “What is it all for?” she would say. “If they only knew what eternity is.” This also explains her attitude toward the doctors. The fact that their thoughts were exclusively for science and medicine, without any consideration of God’s part in healing, left her a bit disheartened. “Pity doctors,” she said once. “Doctors do not know how to treat their patients with success because they have no love for God.”
At the hospital a doctor one day asked that she pray for a special intention of his. She assured him that she would indeed, pray for him, “but just remember that you are going to be taken away, and soon.” She told another doctor the same thing about himself and his daughter. Both predictions came true.
In his book, “The Crusade of Fatima”, Father De Marchi relates that Jacinta warned the doctors that surgery on her abscess would prove fruitless. Nevertheless, the doctors prevailed (don’t they always?) and of course, Jacinta’s prediction was confirmed; she was too weak to take gas and so the operation was performed with very inadequate local injection. Two ribs were removed and although the doctors remained optimistic, on February 16, Jacinta said, “I am not complaining any more. Our Lady has appeared again and said that she is coming for me soon. She took all my pains away.”
On the evening of February 20, Jacinta asked to receive the Last Rites. A priest was called, and although he heard her confession, he refused to administer Holy Communion, relying on his own judgment, he determined to visit the next day. Jacinta passed away that evening, alone in her room about 10:30 pm.
Think on these things. Jacinta leads the way for those who would be children of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Queen of Heaven assured us that Francisco, Jacinta and Lúcia, the three seers of Fatima, were to be saints. The conciliar Church prefers instead to canonize – on the flimsiest of pretexts, those who can be reconciled with the heresy of modernism. Thus, there is little chance that we will see the seers of Fatima canonized. But we have Our Lady’s own words to guide us. In my own experience, Blessed Jacinta is a very powerful intercessor, most especially in helping sinners repent.
The following prayer may be prayed as a Novena and was approved by the Bishop of Leiria – Fatima, Portugal, on Dec. 17, 1974.
Novena Prayer to Blessed Jacinta Marto
O my Jesus, I love Thee! Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation!
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly with all the powers of my soul and I thank Thee for the apparitions of the most Holy Virgin in Fatima which have made manifest to the world the treasures of her Immaculate Heart.
By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I implore Thee, if it should be for Thy greater glory and the good of our souls, to glorify in the sight of Thy Holy Church Jacinta, the shepherdess of Fatima granting us through her intercession the grace which we implore. ________ Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be. Do not forget to make a thanksgiving novena for favors received and share with others.
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the most Holy Rosary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
† Blessed Jacinta Marto, pray for us.
† Blessed Francisco Marto, pray for us.
† Sister Lúcia of Fatima, pray for us, pray for our priests.
Please, more than ever, pray the Rosary!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies!
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