OUR LADY OF FATIMA – PART 9

19 06 2012

After the miracle of the sun at the Cova, the children were hounded constantly by others.  People came from everywhere to ask them questions and to pry into their thoughts.  Many came to learn the secret, but the children would always remain silent.  The three children had originally pledged themselves to silence and secrecy regarding Our Lady and the apparitions, not because they had been instructed to do so, but simply because they were sure this was what God expected of them. 

They did have one friend who helped them immensely. The pastor in a nearby village had met them earlier and the children were immediately drawn to him.  They were free to visit with him often and to ask him any questions they wanted.  His counsel gave them much peace regarding all their difficulties and for this, they were most grateful.  However, the priest realized it was not his words that consoled them, but the acts of the Mother of God who was always in their hearts.

On May 13, 1917 at the time of the first apparition of Our Lady, the children had been told that Jacinta and Francisco would  both go to Heaven soon, but that Lucia was to stay in the world.

At that time, Francisco did not see Our Lady, but was told that if he said many Rosaries, he could see her.  By now, Francisco had seen the beautiful Lady and talked about it many times.  He spent much of his time saying the Rosary. He prayed constantly to console Our Lady and Our Lord. Later on, he said, ‘I liked to see the Angel so much, but I liked Our Lady much more.  What I liked best about the apparitions was seeing Our Lord in that light that the  Blessed Virgin put into our hearts.  I love God very much.  He is so sad because of so many sins. We must not commit even the smallest sin.’

The children lost all interest in play, preferring to spend their time in prayer.  Neither Jacinta nor Francisco were interested in school because it seemed a waste of time.  They preferred to spend their time in the presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist.

Both children had made their first Confession in the year of the apparitions, but their First Communion was put off for another year. Francisco failed the catechism test and had to wait longer to receive the Eucharist.  When Jacinta received Jesus in the Eucharist, Francisco was so upset that he stayed outside the church sobbing.

According to the children, Our Lady appeared to them several more times during the coming years. And their prayers had great power for intercession. One story is that of a man who was lost and Jacinta suddenly appeared to him and led him to the right road for home.  When the man told his story later, Jacinta had no recollection of it.  Lucia’s mother became gravely ill and was miraculously cured through Lucia’s faith.

In 1918, the whole Marto family was sick with the dreaded flu.  The father was the only one able to take care of the rest of the family.  In Lucia’s family, everyone became sick except for Lucia and she took care of the rest of her family.

Francisco became ever sicker over time with high fevers and loss of strength.  Our Lady appeared to both Francisco and Jacinta, telling them she would come for Francisco soon and then for Jacinta not long after.  Jacinta was told that she would go to two different hospitals and would suffer a great deal to save more souls.

Francisco improved and would walk to the Cova,  kneeling at the stump to pray.  Then he suffered a great deal more for the love of Our Lord and Our Lady.  Francisco begged to receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist before he died. This was arranged.  He made his final Confession and received Our Lord.  The next morning,  April 4, 1919,  he died peacefully at the age of 10 years. 

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