12 Apr 2017
Heroic virtue gained visionaries sainthood
As extraordinary as the apparitions at Fatima were, a cardinal has said the sanctity of the shepherd children did not hinge on their having seen Mary, reports CNS.
“The apparition of the Virgin Mary was an occasion, but it has nothing to do with or has not influenced the reason” Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto will be declared saints, Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, former prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, told CNS.
“It was the children’s heroism in their lives, their life of prayer, their turning to God that was truly holy,” he said.
The Vatican announced yesterday that Pope Francis has convened cardinals living in Rome for a consistory on April 20 to approve the canonisations of the two Fatima children.
Pope Francis will visit Fatima, in Portugal, in May to mark the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions, which began on May 13, 1917, when 9-year-old Francisco and 7-year-old Jacinta, along with their cousin Lucia dos Santos, reported seeing the Virgin Mary.
A year after the apparitions, both of the Marto children became ill during an influenza epidemic. Francisco died on April 4, 1919, at the age of 10, while Jacinta succumbed to her illness on February 20, 1920, at the age of 9.
The Cardinal said one specific event left him “convinced” of their holiness.
The three children were kidnapped by the local mayor, who tried to force them to deny Mary was appearing at Fatima by telling Jacinta and Fransisco that Lucia was boiled in hot oil and that they would share the same fate if they didn’t deny say the visions were a fantasy.
“What was the response of those two children? ‘You can do what you want but we cannot tell a lie. We have seen her (Our Lady). I asked myself, ‘How many adults would have done the same?'” the Cardinal said.