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February 20

St Jacinto Marto - February 20

Saint Jacinta Marto
Youngest Non-Martyr Saint
(1910 – 1920)

“Tell everybody that God grants graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and that they must ask them from her.

Saint Jacinta Marto

Saint’s Life Story

Her Early Life

Jacinta de Jesus was born on March 11, 1910 in Aljustrel, small hamlet near Fátima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon, Portugal. She was the youngest of the eleven children in the family of Manuel and Olimpia Marto whose family live centered on the Catholic Church. Jacinta. Typical of Portuguese farming village children of that time, Jacinta was illiterate. However, she had a sweet singing voice and a gift for dancing. Jacinta, a petite, beautiful, and vivacious child, won the hearts of the village with her kindness, humility, and innate joy. At a young age she demonstrated that she possessed uncommon spiritual gifts.

At the age of five when she listened to the Passion of Christ read at church, she cried openly and averred, “I must never sin and offend Him more.” She looked at the bright moon above and called it “Our Lady’s Lamp.” When she attended a First Holy Communion service, she saw an angel spreading rose petals before the Communion rail.

Little Shepherdess

Jacinta deeply loved Lúcia , her cousin, who was three years older than her. When it came time for Lúcia to lead the sheep out to the pasture, Jacinta won Olimpia’s permission to take some of their sheep with Lucia. Jacinta loved the little lambs and sheep. She frequently named them, calling them Snow, Dove, Star, and Beauty. Often she would pick up one of the smaller ones, place it over her shoulders, and carry it back as Jesus, the Good Shepherd, had done. Jacinta’s older brother, Francisco, accompanied them as well. They rose early in the morning to take the sheep to graze. As they led them up the hills, they would plan their day.

Every day after lunch, the three of them would say the rosary. Sometimes they were anxious to play their games, so they would rush through praying the rosary, only saying the names of the prayer rather than the entire prayer. “Our Father, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary. . . .”

Angel Visit

In the spring of 1916 with Francisco and Lúcia, Jacinta walked through the rain with the sheep, seeking a place of refuge under an outcropping of rock. They found one in the middle of the olive grove and sat to eat their lunch. Afterward, they prayed their rosary and began to play a game with some pebbles.

The sun came out and then the three children heard a strange wind. As they turned to see what was happening, they saw a bright light, whiter than snow, surrounding a young man. “Do not be afraid, I am the angel of peace. Pray with me.” Only Lucia and Jacinta heard the angel speak, but Francisco could sense the presence of something sacred.
The children, following the example of the angel, knelt and bowed their heads to the ground. “I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, nor adore, nor hope, nor love you.” Then, the angel left.

The three children felt a natural desire for silence regarding this vision. They not only did not tell their families and friends, but would not even talk to each other about it for several days. Finally, Lucia explained what had happened to Francisco.

Series of Apparitions

Jacinta, along with Lucia and Francisco, experienced the first of a series of apparitions from the Blessed Virgin Mary. On May 13, 1917, the children were again tending their sheep about a mile from the family home at the Cova da Iria. A flash of light shot through the sky and there appeared “a Lady dressed all in white, more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.”

Our Lady told the children she was from heaven. During the first apparition, Mary is said to have asked the three children to say the Rosary and to make sacrifices, offering them for the conversion of sinners. She also asked them to return to that spot in Cova da Iria on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months. At the time of this first apparition, Francisco was 9 years old and Jacinta was 7.

On June 13, Jacinta with Francisco and Lucia returned with a crowd of about 70 curious onlookers (only the children could see the apparition, however). The beautiful Lady again appeared, and taught the children the prayer many Catholics now say as part of their Rosary: “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.” During this second apparition of June 13, the Blessed Virgin said that she would soon take Francisco and Jacinta to Heaven.

On July 13, the Lady showed Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia a terrifying scene of Hell, in which they saw, immersed in a huge fire, innumerable souls like “burning ambers”. This vision coupled with Our Lady’s pathetic plea, “Pray for sinners, many go to Hell because there is no one to pray for them,” that lit in Jacinta’s heart a fire of love for God and souls. The Lady declared, “You have seen hell, where the souls of sinners go. To save them God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart …”

She told the children that the war would soon be over, but said a worse one would soon begin, along with famine and persecution of the Church and Holy Father. To prevent this, she asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. She promised peace if her requests were granted, and many woes otherwise, including that Russia “will spread her errors throughout the entire world, provoking wars and persecution of the Church.”

The final apparition was on October 13, 1917. It brought 70,000 onlookers, who were drenched and muddied by heavy rains. The Lady told the children, “I am the Lady of the Rosary. I have come to warn the faithful to amend their live and to ask pardon for their sins … People must say the rosary. Let them continue saying it every day.”

As she was about to leave, the clouds parted and the sun appeared in the sky. But rather than its normal appearance, it was a pale silver disc, which people could gaze at without hurting their eyes. It began to whirl about, sending off shafts of multicolored light. The enthralled crowd watched the spectacle for 12 minutes, when suddenly the sun seemed to plunge down to earth.

As the youngest visionary, Jacinta’s innocence and tender heart left a profound impact on those who witnessed her devotion. She often prayed for sinners fervently, believing that through her prayers and sacrifices, she could help bring them closer to God. Jacinta even made the heroic decision to offer her life as a victim soul for the salvation of others. After the conclusion of the apparitions, Jacinta’s life would be marked by physical and spiritual challenges. She faced ridicule and skepticism from those who doubted the authenticity of the Fatima events. Despite this, Jacinta remained steadfast in her faith and took to heart the message of love and conversion brought by Our Lady.

Her Death

Tragically, Jacinta fell seriously ill during the influenza pandemic that swept through Europe in 1918. Jacinta was moved from one hospital to another in an attempt to save her life, which she insisted was futile. She developed purulent pleurisy and endured an operation in which two of her ribs were removed. Because of the condition of her heart, she could not be fully anesthetized only local and later suffered terrible pain, which she said would help to convert many sinners.

On February 19, 1920, Jacinta asked the hospital chaplain who heard her confession to bring her Holy Communion and administer Extreme Unction because she was going to die “the next night”. Jacinta passed away on February 20, 1920, in Lisbon, Portugal, at the age of nine.

Born:                   March 11, 1910 in Aljustrel, Santarém, Portugal

Died:                   February 20, 1920 age 9 in Lisbon, Portugal

Beatified:           May 13, 2000 by Pope John Paul II

Canonized:        May 13, 2017 by Pope Francis

Feast Day:          February 20

Patron Saint:    Against Bodily Ills; Against Sickness; Captives; People Ridiculed For Their Piety; Prisoners; Sick People



Saint Jacinta Marto obeyed her parents and prayed the Rosary as a young child. However, in an abbreviated fashion, in which she would just say the first two words of the Our Father and the Hail Mary so that she could proceed to play as soon as possible with her brother, Francisco, and her cousin, Lucia dos Santos. After the graphic and unforgettable vision of hell and the damned sinners, Saint Jacinto Marto not only prayed the whole Rosary, but she also prayed many Rosaries during the course of the day.

Just as Saint Jacinta Marto did, pray the Rosary the today for your loved ones who have lapsed away from the Church and for you to deepen your relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary so that in this short time of submission and dependence on Mary, you may make progress in our faith.


Saint Jacinta Marto,

You were a young girl, who at a very young age had a profound devotion to Blessed Mary and a deep understanding of the importance of prayer and the Rosary. I ask for your intercession as I strive to grow in my own faith and devotion to Mary.

Help me to imitate your unwavering devotion to Mary and your constant desire to pray and make sacrifices for the salvation of souls.

Through your powerful intercession, may I be strengthened in my commitment to living a virtuous life, and may I have the grace to deepen my relationship with God through prayer and sacrifice.

Saint Jacinta Marto, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – Jacinta and Francisco: The Church’s youngest non-martyr saints

America Needs Fatima – A Fire in My Chest: Saint Jacinta Marto

AnaStpaul – Saint/s of the Day – 20 February – Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto

Catholic Culture – St. Jacinta Marto

Catholic Exchange – Jacinta Marto: Pearl of Great Price

Catholic Ireland – May 13 – Our Lady of Fatima -1917

Catholic News Agency – Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto Feast day: Feb 20

Catholic News World – Saint February 20 : Saint Jacinta and Saint Francesco Visionaries of Our Lady of Fatima

Catholic Online – St. Jacinta Marto

Catholic365 – Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto: The Inspiring Story of the Fatima Seers

Christian Apostles – St. Jacinta Marto: A Saintly Child Martyr

Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words – Sister Lucia’s Memoirs

Franciscan Media – Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto

Independent Catholic News – St Jacinta and Francisco Marto

Loyola Press – Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto Feast day February 20

Melanie Rigney – Jacinta Marto

Reason2BCatholic – Saints Alive! | Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Mart

Simply Catholic – Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto: Patrons of prisoners

The Fatima Center – Fatima Anniversary – A Saint at Rest

uCatholic – Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto

University of Notre Dame – Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto

Video Links