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Article Title - Fire in My Chest, From Shepherdess to Saint

 

Visiting Fatima years back, preparing to work on my children’s book Jacinta’s Story, the tiny town of Aljustrel gave me a glimpse into the personalities of the three small seers, Lucia dos Santos, and Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

I will never forget emerging from the tiny, white-washed cottage that had been Francisco and Jacinta’s home and seeing the last of their living brothers leaning against a wall, available for souvenir photos. He was a man out of modern time, unsophisticated, direct and simple, a man “of the earth”, still untouched by the complications of industrialized civilization.

This is how Jacinta, her brother and cousin, must have been–even more so. There was nothing remarkable about this man, peering at me shyly from under his brow, just as there must have been nothing extraordinary about the little shepherd girl who Pope John Paul II declared Blessed in May of 2000 and was canonized a Saint in May of 2017, and who looks at us just as shyly from under her brow in her photos.

Pictures and descriptions of little Jacinta show us a pretty, spritely, charming girl who at times, according to Lucia, was a bit sulky, and “the sweetest of his children” in the words of her father, “Ti”  Marto.

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We get a glimpse of a sensitive, affectionate child when, at age five, she cried bitterly on hearing about the sufferings of Christ,  and promised not to make Him suffer anymore.

We sense her contemplative nature when we read of her calling the moon, “Our Lady’s lamp.".

And we meet the little Portuguese “hostess” when, at age seven, at the first apparition, on May 13, 1917, she shyly asks Lucia if they should share their lunch with their heavenly visitor.

We also glimpse the pristine innocence in the small oval face of the pictures, coupled with an almost disconcerting directness and strength in the brown eyes–eyes that seem to see “beyond”,  for indeed they had had a glimpse of Heaven–and Hell.

In the second apparition of June 13, the Blessed Virgin said that she would soon take Francisco and Jacinta to Heaven. In the  vision of July 13, they were shown a terrifying scene of Hell, in which they saw, immersed in a huge fire, innumerable souls like  “burning ambers”.

 

This vision coupled with Our Lady’s pathetic plea “Pray for sinners, many go to Hell because there is no one to pray for them,” lit in the innocent girl’s heart a fire of love for God and souls.

Between the great graces of Our Lady, the knowledge that she was not long for this earth and the thirst to save as many “poor  sinners” as she could, Jacinta forgot the earth, and for four short years lived only to please God, her “Lady” and to help souls  make it to that Heaven she had been promised for herself.

Jacinta’s natural sensitivity and affectionate disposition were sublimated into that burning charity that renders all sacrifice small and all effort easy. Lucia writes in her memoirs how Jacinta never tired of telling Our Lord and Our Lady how much she loved them. She once said, “ I have a fire in my chest but it doesn’t burn me."

This inward “fire” fueled her on until her death of tuberculosis just shy of her eleventh birthday, alone in a hospital in Lisbon, which last sacrifice she embraced for her beloved “sinners”

Despite her youth, in the words of Pope John Paul II at her beatification on May 13, 2000, “She could well exclaim with St. Paul: ‘I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church’” (Col 1: 24).

In four short years the little Portuguese girl had gone from carefree shepherdess to heroic saint.

 

On the Anniversary of Saint Jacinta’s birth:

America Needs Fatima invites you to take the children you love on a wonderful pilgrimage to feel Our Lady’s maternal love and to learn about her beautiful Fatima apparitions through Jacinta’s Story. Children will follow Jacinta’s footsteps to the Cova da Iria—the famous spot where the Mother of God appeared. They will see Jacinta kneel in awe as Our Lady approaches the holm-oak tree in a radiant sphere of light. They will feel Jacinta’s sadness as people spread a rumor that it was the devil instead of the Virgin Mary who had appeared.

Jacinta’s Story is the Fatima story imaginatively told through the eyes of Saint Jacinta Marto, the youngest of the three seers to whom Our Lady appeared in 1917 to deliver the most important message of our times. The book is hardbound and richly illustrated by author Andrea F. Phillips.

Jacinta’s Story contains many vital lessons for children—why it is so important that they pray the Rosary, obey their parents and follow the difficult but rewarding road of virtue in this life.

 


Jacinta's Story Book

 

Visit our On-Line store to place your book order: https://store.tfp.org


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Jacinta’s Story:
 
                             

Hardbound, full color illustrations, 61 pgs.       

B23 . . . . . . . . . . . . . $15  

 

  


References:  
America Needs Fatima online, Mystics of the Church online
Speech of Pope John Paul II at Beatification of Francisco and Jacinta Marto-Vatican Website

 

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 23, 2019

Behold Jesus Christ crucified, Who is the only foundation of...

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July 23

 

Behold Jesus Christ crucified, Who is the only foundation of our hope;
He is our Mediator and Advocate; the victim and sacrifice for our sins.
He is goodness and patience itself;
His mercy is moved by the tears of sinners, and
He never refuses pardon and grace to those who ask it
with a truly contrite and humbled heart.

St. Charles Borromeo


PLEDGE REPARATION TO OUR LADY HERE!

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Bridget of Sweden

Her favorite son became entangled with Queen Joanna I who wa...

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St. Bridget of Sweden

Bridget was nobly born, her father was Birger, the governor of Upland in Sweden, and her mother, Ingeborg, was the daughter of the governor of East Gothland.

At fourteen she was married to young Ulf Gudmarsson, to whom she was happily married for twenty-eight years and had eight children, four boys and four girls, one of whom was St. Catherine of Sweden.

In 1335, she was appointed lady-in-waiting to King Magnus II’s bride, Blanche of Namur, and she spent years at court trying to reform Magnus’ weak, and at times, wicked ways, and the queen’s often well-meaning, but irresponsible, bend.

Though Bridget’s famous visions were already under way at this time, spanning subjects from personal hygiene to politics, she did not have great success with her royal “charges”, and was often seen as a “dreamer.”

After her husband’s death in 1344, she founded an order of women and another of men to support them spiritually. When her order was established, she traveled to Rome accompanied by her daughter Catherine and some disciples, to seek approval of her Rule. But she was never to return to her native Sweden.

In Rome, she worked to bring back the Papacy, then in the French city of Avignon, to the Eternal City. Her visions and prophecies, dealing with the burning political and religious issues of her time, continued and so increased that, alarmed, she submitted them to the direction of Canon Matthias of Linkoping who pronounced them to be of God. Peter, Prior of Alvastra, recorded these visions in Latin.

Her order was only approved by Pope Urban V in 1370.

In 1373 she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, with Catherine and three of her sons. At Naples, Charles, her favorite son, became entangled with Queen Joanna I who wanted to marry him despite both being already married (Joana thrice). Anguished, Bridget stormed heaven, and Charles, struck by a fever, after two weeks died in his mother’s arms.

Returning from Jerusalem, Bridget, already ailing, received the last rites from her faithful friend, Peter of Alvastra, and died on July 23 at the age of seventy-one.

Bridget was canonized in 1391, and is the patron saint of the Kingdom of Sweden. She is also considered one of the patron saints of Europe.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by h...

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The Virgin Mary Rewards a Bandit

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways. Bandits plagued travelers and made their living by depriving others of their goods and often their very lives.

A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of the bandits. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her.

"Do not fear," he answered, "for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her." Moved by the woman’s mention of the Blessed Virgin, the bandit accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety.

The following night, Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit. She thanked him for the act of kindness he had performed for love of her. Mary went on to say that she would remember it and would one day reward him.

The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death. But behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: "Do you know who I am?"

He answered, "It seems to me I have seen you before."

"I am the Virgin Mary," she continued, "and I have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die tomorrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise."

The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our Blessed Lady. He asked immediately for a priest, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen. Finally, he asked the priest to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary.

He went joyfully to his execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and so happy that all who saw him believed that the promise of the heavenly mother had been fulfilled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways.

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