Feast Day: February 20
Canonization: May 13, 2017
Francisco de Jesus Marto was one of three Portuguese shepherd children of Fatima who witnessed several apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in 1917.
At the time, Francisco was eight; his sister, Jacinta, was seven; and their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, was 10. According to Lucia’s later memoirs, Francisco was placid, musically talented, and relished being alone in prayer.
Our Lady asked them to pray the rosary daily and make sacrifices for sinners’ conversion; she also showed them the reality of hell. On October 13, 1917, some 70,000 people gathered at the apparition site and saw “the Miracle of the Sun” – when it ‘danced’ in dazzling color toward earth.
Francisco and Jacinta died from the 1918 European influenza epidemic. Francisco declined hospital treatment and died at home with a glow on his face on April 4, 1919. He was almost 11. Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia are buried at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima. Pope Francis canonized the Marto siblings on May 13, 2017, the first centennial of the first Fatima apparition.