St. Francisco’s courage gave him constancy in pursuing good

By Barb Ernster

St. Francisco Marto is associated particularly with the Rosary and loving attention to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. These spiritual tools gave him the courage to follow Jesus all the way to the end, after the example of Our Lady. He died on this day, April 4, 1919.

As the apparitions unfolded, his biggest concern in life was to console the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, especially by sitting for hours in the parish church of St. Anthony before the tabernacle. He also prayed many rosaries as Mary had requested of him in order to go to heaven. Francisco promised eagerly, “I will say as many rosaries as the beautiful Lady wants.”

The knowledge that he was going to heaven soon filled him with great confidence in living out his life accordingly. Finding no need for the limelight, he constantly sought solitude to pray and meditate. The experience of God’s powerful presence during the June apparition filled him with a keen desire to know Him better.

After the July apparition, he was less affected by the vision of hell as he was captivated by the Holy Trinity, which he felt in the immense light that penetrated to the most intimate parts of their souls, according to Lucia.  Afterwards he exclaimed, “We were burning in that light which is God and we didn’t parch. How wonderful God is!! But what a pity, He is so sad. If only I could console Him.”

In August, he bravely followed Jacinta to certain death in a vat of boiling oil, on orders of the Administrator who held them prisoners at Ourem. With great confidence in Our Lady, he said a Hail Mary for Jacinta while waiting his turn.
After the apparitions, Francisco suffered patiently the severe headaches that soon became the full-blown influenza. Knowing he would not survive the illness, even after he had recovered his strength for a short time, he focused on what he could offer for the suffering Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Just days before he died, a woman came to him begging his intercession for peace between her husband and son. Francisco told her, “Relax. Soon I will go to Heaven, and when I get there I will ask that grace of our Lady.” On the afternoon of his death, the father and son reconciled and peace returned to the household.

That he could receive the Eucharist at the time of his death was his greatest joy as he declared to Jacinta, “Today I am happier than you because I have the Hidden Jesus in me.”

St. Francisco is a model of the gift of courage, accepting all that God asked him to carry with total abandonment to love. His simple solution in all of his sufferings was to pick up his rosary and sit with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. St. Francisco, pray for us!

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3 Comments
  1. So moving..so inspiring
    Praying that the children of FATIMA may continue to inspire us ESP the youth of today who focus too much on
    MATERIAL THINGS…WHO’S FAITH HAS NOT BEEN STRENGTHENED BY KNOWLEDGE OF GOD’S LOVE AND MERCY AND THE GREATEST INTERCESOR, OUR LADY OF FATIMA

  2. It’s an inspiration to read of St. Francisco’s love of Jesus and Mary and to pray rosaries and suffer for souls . Please pray for a broken world , St. Francisco , and for hearts to turn to God !

  3. St. Francisco’s quiet courage in the face of adversities that probably would have overwhelmed less holy souls is so meaningful in our twenty-first century. I can readily see how it is that a novena prayer to St. Francisco includes these words: “…if it should be for the greater glory and the good of souls, to glorify in the sight of the Holy Church Saint Francisco Marto.” A similar plea can be found in a novena prayer to St. Jacinta, whose “…humble and gentle…heart” is honored. How much we need the intercessions of these saintly role models!

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