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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 May 22, 2019

O loving Jesus,  increase  my  patience according as my ...

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May 22

 

O loving Jesus,
increase my patience
according as my sufferings increase.

St. Rita of Cascia


GOD, ALWAYS! SATANNEVER! 

PROTEST the "Hail Satan?" Movie

 

 

 

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Rita of Cascia

Her husband proved to have an explosive temper, and became a...

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St. Rita of Cascia

Rita was born in Roccaborena, Italy in 1381 to aged parents who were known for their charity, and who fervently thanked God for the gift of a daughter so late in life.

Extraordinarily pious from an early age, Rita set her heart on entering the Augustinian convent in Cascia, but her parents had plans for her to marry the town’s watchman, Paolo Mancini, and she submitted to their desires in the matter.

Her husband proved to have an explosive temper, and became abusive, but Rita bore with his ill-treatment patiently for eighteen years bearing him two sons, who fell under their father’s pernicious influence.

She wept and prayed for her husband and children unceasingly. Finally won over by her virtue, Paolo had a change of heart and asked her forgiveness. Soon after, involved in a local feud, he was ambushed and brought home dead. His two young sons vowed to avenge their father’s slaying, which was a new source of affliction for Rita, who begged God to take them before they committed murder. The Lord heard the saint’s heroic plea and her sons contracted a disease from which both died, not before being reconciled to their mother and to their God.

Free from all earthly cares, Rita turned to the Augustinians seeking admittance only to be told that she could not be accepted by reason of having been married. Rita prayed and persisted and it is said that one morning she was found inside the walls of the convent though none knew how, the doors having been locked all night. She was received then at age thirty-six.

In religious life she was a model of virtue, prayer and mortification. One day, after hearing a sermon on Our Lord's crown of thorns, she felt as if one of the thorns was being pressed to her forehead. On the spot, an open wound developed, and the stench it emitted became so offensive that she had to be secluded. She bore this wound until her death.

Rita died on May 22, 1457 and her body has remained incorrupt to this day.

So many miracles were reported after her death, that, in Spain, she became known as “la santa del impossible”, the saint of impossible cases, a title that spread throughout the Catholic world.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothi...

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Visiting a Muslim Family

Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothing about the Catholic faith.  A few years ago I had such an experience in Florida. 

Upon arrival at the home, an elderly grandmother with a group of young children and teens met me at the door. The group was sullen as I brought in the statue, set up the projector and began the introduction.  Unknown to me, I was speaking to a Muslim family.

At a certain point, one of the teens vehemently objected to the phrase “Mother of God” and accused me of blasphemy since Jesus was not God. Quickly the visit became an interesting defense of the Catholic faith. After answering several more objections to the best of my ability, my Islamic hosts allowed me to explain the Rosary, with an attentive audience, I proceeded to pray alone.

After reciting the Rosary, the attendants and I listened to the hostess, who explained why she had assembled the family for the visit.

Several weeks ago, she was hospitalized for a serious illness. She felt alone and abandoned until one day a stranger walked in with a bouquet of flowers, placed it by the bedside and stayed to listen to all of her concerns. The stranger returned repeatedly to renew her flowers, fix her pillows and talk to her. Then the Muslim mother questioned the stranger’s motives, explaining that her own family wasn’t visiting her. The stranger replied that she was a Catholic and Catholics are encouraged to visit the sick.

Requesting more information about the Catholic faith, the mother was told that it was against hospital policy to discuss religion and therefore she would have to search for information on her own.

Upon her release from the hospital, my hostess entered a nearby Catholic church and encountered an America Needs Fatima flier about Our Lady of Fatima. She called the number and set up a home visit to which she then invited her family.

I may never know what has happened to the family, but I regularly pray that their interest in Catholicism has brought them into the folds of the Catholic Church. Of one thing I am certain: Our Lady will never abandon those who invite her into their homes.

By Michael Chad Shibler

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Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothing about the Catholic faith.  A few years ago I had such an experience in Florida

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