Sunday February 20

(died in 1919 and 1920)

Their story

+ Francisco was born in 1908 and Jacinta in 1910 near Fatima, Portugal. The brother and sister, children of peasants, spent their days taking care of the sheep with their cousin, Lucia Santos.

+ Friends and family remember that Francisco was the more serious of the two, while Jacinta, who loved nature and music, was more playful and active.

+ In 1917, the three children experienced a series of visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary which were later approved by the Church and which are celebrated today as the apparitions of “Our Lady of Fatima”.

+ In 1918, Francisco and Jacinta contracted the Spanish flu. Francisco died on April 14, 1919, the day after his first communion. Jacinta lingered for almost a year, developing pleurisy, which led to a huge abscess in her chest; she died on February 29, 1920.

+ Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta were canonized by Pope Francis on May 13, 2017, the 100and anniversary of the apparitions they had witnessed. Fatima’s third visionary, Lucia, became a Carmelite nun. She died on February 13, 2005, after spending 57 years in virtual isolation. The cause of his beatification is actively promoted.

For prayer and reflection

We can take as examples Saint Francis and Saint Jacinta, whom the Virgin Mary introduced into the immense ocean of God’s light and taught her to adore. It was the source of their strength to overcome opposition and suffering. The presence of God became constant in their lives, as evidenced by their insistent prayers for sinners and their desire to remain ever close to “hidden Jesus” in the tabernacle. – Pope Francis

Pray

May the prayer and integrity of the saints, O Lord, we pray, obtain help for your faithful, that they may partake of the eternal inheritance of those whom they worship with devotion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Common of holy men and women—for several saints)

Profiles of saints prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, SDS

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