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This Page Last Updated:

November 26, 2003

Venerable Francisco Marto Venerable Francisco Marto

        The nine year-old boy, Venerable Francisco Marto of Fatima, who witnessed the apparitions of Our Lady in 1917, is somewhat like the great St. Joseph in his humble, simple, hidden life in God. Eulogized by his older cousin Lucia, he is described as the "consoler of Jesu Escondido" – the "hidden Jesus" in the Most Blessed Sacrament, so lonely and so forsaken, Whom he loved to console. His role was one of great humility and patience.

        This little boy, so full of life, learned well the lesson Our Lady taught the three of them, and he often reminded Lucia and Jacinta of the great necessity of sacrifice. Our Lady had said in August when She appeared to them at Valinhos, after their terrible ordeal at the hands of the civil Administrator of Villa Nova de Ourem: "Pray, pray much, and make sacrifices for poor sinners, for many souls go to Hell because there is no one to make sacrifices and pray for them!" He used to remind Lucia and Jacinta of the great sorrow in Our Lady's face when She spoke Her last words in October: "People must not offend the Lord God anymore, for He is already too much offended." He used to hide himself in the parish church of Fatima to console Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Many a time, unknown to Lucia and Jacinta, he gave away his frugal lunch to the poorer children, and sometimes even to their sheep. At times, all three of them did this. He hid himself to make further sacrifices. Like the Fathers of the Desert he wore a rough cord around his waist, as did little Jacinta also.

        Venerable Francisco never forgot that Our Lady had said that he must pray many Rosaries. Not only did he pray with Lucia and Jacinta, but he also prayed very many Rosaries all alone. At times, Lucia and Jacinta, not finding Francisco, would call out for him and search for him, and when found, he would be on his knees, absorbed in praying the Rosary, thus adding sacrifice to prayer. He would, at times, be found by Lucia and Jacinta prostrate, praying the prayers taught by the Angel, and not having heard them call him, they would surprise him. He loved to sacrifice and pray alone, visible only to the eyes of God. So great was his love of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, that during his last illness he asked Lucia to plead with the Pastor to give him his First Holy Communion. His request was granted, and he received Our Divine Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament with great love and fervor: the same hidden Jesus he had so often consoled in the Tabernacle, the same loving Jesus he had received from the hands of the Angel of Peace at the Cabešo. He asked Lucia and Jacinta to pray the Rosary for him at his bedside when, during his severe illness, he was unable to do so himself. Jacinta and Lucia, with tears of love and sorrow, bid him good-bye thus: "Entao Adeus Francisco ate a Ceu." ("So now, good-bye, Francisco until we meet in Heaven.") Jacinta was already ill herself, and would see him in Heaven the next year. Francisco, who had seen Our Lady, was visited by Her during his illness. He died with an angelic smile on his lips, without a struggle, most sweetly.

Let us Pray. Francisco would disappear for hours, and when found praying before the Blessed Sacrament, he seemed oblivous of the length of time that had passed, so completely engrossed was he in "consoling the Hidden Jesus."

        O God of mercy and love, Who exalteth the humble and simple, let us imitate Venerable Francisco Marto of Fatima, so that the illustrious example of his life of sacrifice and prayer, may be in simplicity and humility a shining model to all, especially our children. Please grant this through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, who deigned to appear to him and Jacinta and Lucia. Amen.

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