Director Marco Pontecorvo took on a project in 2017, to create a drama film based on the 1917 events of Our Lady of Fatima. Starring Joaquim De Almeida, Goran Visnjic, Harvey Keitel, Sonia Braga, Stephanie Gil, and Lucia Moniz, this faith-based film is considered a masterpiece by film critics.
We personally found it extremely emotional. The three shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta, stole our hearts. Their journeys of getting vision by the Virgin Mary, inspiring believers, and combatting the skepticism from the government and the church were truly captivating. Even when the movie ended, we remained curious about what must have happened to the children next.
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To satisfy our curious minds, we went to search where the Portuguese shepherd children are now. Let’s start.
Lucia de Jesus Rosa dos Santos
Lucia of Fatima was born on March 28th, 1907, to Antonio dos Santos and Maria Rosa Ferreira. It was a full household with six brothers and one sister. Although they were peasants, Lucia’s family was not poor. They owned a lot of land in Fatima.
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Antonio, Lucia’s father, is believed to be a hardworking man. He used to tell her fairy tales and the father and daughter used to sing folk songs together. Antonio was also the one who taught her how to make the Sign of the Cross.
According to theologians, Antonio made sure that Lucia gets to go to the Cova for the visitations after her mother, Maria had forbidden it. Maria was a literate woman, with a taste in storytelling and religious literature. She used to teach catechism to her children, along with the neighbor’s kids.
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Lucia was a gifted storyteller; she could compose her own songs, write lyrics and create catchy folk-style tunes. When she was eight years old, Lucia was tending to her family’s sheep, accompanied by other boys and girls from her village.
In May of 1917, Lucia and her two cousins reported that they had seen visions of the Virgin Mary in the Cova da Iria fields. The three children said that the visitations took place on every 13th of each month at noon.
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According to Lucia’s written accounts, the lady asked the children to make sacrifices and do penance to save sinners. Maria didn’t believe Lucia and thought she was telling lies. From there on, Lucia suffered severe beatings and ridicule from her mother.
In 1921, the girl was admitted to the school of the Sisters of St. Dorothy in Vilar. After a few years, she went to Spain and professed her first vows to become Sister Maria das Dores. She then returned to Portugal in 1946 and entered the Carmelite convent of Santa Teresa, where she stayed until her death.
During her life, Lucia wrote six memoirs explaining her life events after the visitations. Before she passed away, she had become blind and deaf. Pope John Paul II said that she would go to heaven on the day of her funeral.
Francisco de Jesus Marto & Jacinta de Jesus Marto
Francisco and Jacinta were siblings and along with Lucia, they were also visited by the Virgin Mary. The apparitions these cousins got at Cova de Iria are why the Virgin Mary got the title of Our Lady of Fatima. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the catholic shrine became a major center for pilgrimage.
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According to Lucia’s memoirs, they saw their first apparition on May 13th, 1917. Francisco and Jacinta are among the youngest Catholic saints but they did not die martyrs. It’s sad to know that the siblings were victims of great influenza that swept through Europe in 1918.
When she was on her death bed, Jacinta told Lucia that the Virgin Mary had visited her and promised to take them to heaven. Jacinta died at the age of nine and Francisco at eleven.
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While the two siblings lived every short life, they inspired millions of believers. Lucia lived a long and fulfilling life, changing hearts throughout her time. If you haven’t watched Fatima yet, we suggest you watch that right away!
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