Jacinta and Francisco

They were only seven and nine years old respectively, but the Christian world came to listen to them, Catholics especially. Their last name was Marto, and they were the two youngest of the trio of children at Fatima, Portugal, who said they had seen a beautiful Lady, who told them (it was 1917, the peak of World War I) that another, second World War would follow if humankind didn’t stop offending God. Offensive was the atheism spewed by Russia, which would spread throughout the world.

For the third appearance, scheduled for Oct. 13, 1917, the Lady promised a miracle, which actually happened, and was witnessed by an estimated 70,000 people, many of them unbelievers. (Portugal was matching Russia in following Marx.) There were other, smaller miracles. Three of them, all to children, were recorded, two of them to crippled girls (those are no easy miracles).

Now let your doubting self listen to me. I am eighty-five years old and have spent almost my entire adult life with children as a teacher. If your seven-year-old daughter stuck to her story after being kept overnight in the local jail and being threatened to be submerged in boiling oil with her two friends who told the same story — I’d believe her. Children that age bear a mark of innocence.

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