Feast Day: February 20
Beatified: May 13, 2000
Venerated: May 13, 1989
Francisco was only 10 years old when our Blessed Mother appeared to him, his sister Jacinta, and his cousin Lucia, in their small town of Fatima, Portugal. The visions, which we call “apparitions,” occurred in 1917, between May and October. Mary appeared to the children five times.
Only Lucia heard Mary’s words, but Francisco told his parents, his parish priest, the mayor of his town, and anyone who questioned him that he truly saw Mary on each of her visits and that he felt her presence. Like his sister and cousin, Francisco reported that Mary told the children to pray the Rosary every day and to pray for sinners.
Francisco was a gentle and kind boy. People say that he once bought a bird from a friend for a penny. This was a lot of money to a poor boy in Francisco’s time. When the friend gave Francisco the bird, he immediately set it free.
Some of the people who questioned Francisco and the other children about the apparitions acted like bullies. They tried to get the children to say they lied about seeing Mary. But the children knew that they had been blessed by Mary’s visits. In time, everyone believed the children and a church was built on the site where Mary appeared. Millions of pilgrims visit the shrine at Fatima every year to pray the Rosary.
Francisco grew closer to Mary and Jesus because of Mary’s visits. He especially loved to go to church by himself and kneel before the tabernacle. He prayed to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
When a flu epidemic spread through Portugal two years later, Francisco became ill and died. In 2000, he and Jacinta were declared “Blessed.” Along with their cousin, Lucia, who became a Carmelite nun and died in 2005 at the age of 97, they are buried at the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima.
Connecting to Blest Are We® Parish and School
Grade 5, unit 3