Jacinta Marto was the little sister of St. Francisco Marto, and the youngest of the three shepherd children who experienced apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal in 1917.
She charmed everyone she knew with her pretty looks and graceful energy. Sometimes she would pout when she did not get her way. Flowers delighted her; she would create garlands of them for her beloved cousin Lucia. Jacinta loved Jesus dearly. Once when she was five years old, she heard the story of Christ’s Passion and cried, promising never to sin again.
After the first apparition of Our Lady, Lucia had all the children swear that they would keep it all a secret, but Jacinta couldn’t contain her excitement. Soon the village learned these little shepherds’ story. Most people viewed it all with a skeptical eye, but Lucia’s mother reacted in anger. Jacinta repented and promised never to tell another secret.
In fact, though she was the youngest, Jacinta was the most fervent in taking on mortifications like going without water on a hot day, refraining from meals, and wearing an uncomfortable, knotted cord around her waist—all in the hope of growing in virtue and offering little sacrifices so that other souls would be saved from hell. Jacinta came down with influenza, like her brother, and then contracted tuberculosis. She died on February 20, 1920. With her brother, she was beatified in 2000 and canonized on May 13, 2017 by Pope Francis.