Pope Francis approves second miracle for Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto
By Elise Harris
VATICAN CITY (CNA)
Photo: Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto are seen in this undated photo. (CNA)
Pope Francis has approved the second and final miracle needed to canonize Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the shepherd children who witnessed the Fatima Marian apparitions.
The Pope approved the miracle in a March 23 audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which he advanced six other causes by approving one other miracle, two causes for martyrdom, and three of heroic virtue.
In addition, the Pope also approved a positive vote from members of the canonization causes for six martyrs who are already Blessed, but do not yet have a second miracle attributed to them.
However, the most significant of the causes approved is that of Francisco and Jacinta Marto. With the approval of the second miracle, the two may now be canonized saints. It is likely Pope Francis will preside over their canonization himself while in Fatima May 12-13 for the centenary of the apparitions.
Francisco, 11, and Jacinta, 10, were the youngest non-martyrs to be beatified in the history of the Church.
The brother and sister, who tended to their families’ sheep with their cousin Lucia Santo in the fields of Fatima, Portugal, witnessed the apparitions of Mary, now commonly known as Our Lady of Fatima.
During the first apparition, which took place May 13, 1917, Our Lady asked the three children to pray the rosary and to make sacrifices, offering them for the conversion of sinners. The children did, praying often, giving their lunch to beggar, and going without food themselves. They offered up their daily crosses and even refrained from drinking water on hot days.
In October 1918, Francisco and Jacinta became seriously ill with the Spanish flu. Our Lady appeared to them and said she would to take them to heaven soon.
Bed-ridden, Francisco requested his first Communion and died the following day, April 14, 1919. Jacinta suffered a long illness as well. She was eventually transferred to a Lisbon hospital and operated for an abscess in her chest, but her health did not improve. She died Feb. 20, 1920.