Jacinta of Fatima:
"I Want to Suffer ...
to Save Souls from Hell!"
Jacinta was very different from Francisco in character and temperament. She was even more different in her spiritual physiognomy. What a contrast between the brother and the sister! By a wonderful design of Providence, it seems that each one had the mission of living to the full one of the two complementary aspects of the Message of Our Lady.
To Console God and Convert Souls
Francisco, who had a contemplative soul, was fascinated above all by the sadness of God and Our Lady, and what he wanted above all was to have compassion on Their pain, to console Them by his loving prayer. Jacinta also had a tender and affectionate heart, but seized with fright at the sight of so many souls falling into the fire of hell, she wished to make reparation in every possible way for their crimes, and obtain the grace of their conversion from the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She wanted to save them from eternal damnation at any price: "Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them!" These words of Our Lady confirmed Jacinta in her ideal and primary objective. With an unlimited generosity, she was to give herself over to heroic prayer and sacrifice, for the conversion of sinners.
If Francisco strived to be the consoler of the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Jacinta wanted to be their cooperatrix. Her dominant thought, the thought that haunted her and animated all her supernatural activity, was the salvation of souls, an ardent thirst for their conversion, in short,missionary zeal. In one sentence Sister Lucy summed up this difference in their vocations, which in fact is illustrated on every page of her Memoirs: "While Jacinta seemed to be solely concerned with the one thought of converting sinners and saving souls from going to hell, Francisco appeared to think only of consoling Our Lord and Our Lady, Who had seemed to him to be so sad."
I. Haunted By One Thought:
The Salvation of Souls
We have already quoted some striking passages from the Memoirs, where Sister Lucy recalls how the mind of her little cousin was obsessed, so to speak, by the thought of so many souls in danger of being lost.
What we must show now is how these images of the vision of July 13, which were engraved on her memory forever, incited her to the heroic practice of sacrifice. Sister Lucy observes:
"Some of the things revealed in the Secret made a very strong impression on Jacinta. This was indeed the case. The vision of hell filled her with horror to such a degree that every penance and mortification was as nothing in her eyes, if it could only prevent souls from going there."
Then Sister Lucy asks:
"How is it that Jacinta, small as she was, let herself be possessed by such a spirit of penance and mortification, and understood it so well?
"I think the reason is this: firstly, God willed to bestow on her a special grace, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and secondly, it was because she had looked upon hell, and had seen the ruin of souls who fall therein.
"Jacinta took this matter of making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners so much to heart, that she never let a single opportunity escape her."
Jacinta and Francisco
Faithful and Efficacious Intercessors
Following is just one example of the power of Jacinta's prayers.
Additional accounts of Jacinta's and Francisco's prayers being answered will be published next issue.
Sister Lucy recalled this astounding episode:
"An aunt of mine called Victoria was married and lived in Fatima. She had a son who was a real prodigal. I do not know the reason, but he left his father's house, and no one knew what had become of him. In her distress, my aunt came to Aljustrel one day, to ask me to pray to Our Lady for this son of hers. Not finding me, she asked Jacinta instead, who promised to pray for him. A few days later, he suddenly returned home, asked his parents' forgiveness, and then went to Aljustrel to relate his sorry story.
"He told us that, after having spent all that he had stolen from his parents, he wandered about for quite a while like a tramp until, for some reason I have now forgotten, he was put in jail at Torres Novas. After he had been there for some time, he succeeded in escaping one night and fled to the remote hills and unfamiliar pine groves. Realizing he had completely lost his way, and torn between the fear of being captured and the darkness of a stormy night, he found that his only recourse was prayer. Falling on his knees, he began to pray. Some minutes had passed, he affirmed, when Jacinta appeared to him, took him by the hand and led him to the main road which runs from Alqueidao to Reguengo, making a sign for him to continue in that direction. When morning dawned, he found himself on the road to Boleiros. Recognizing the place where he was, he was overcome with emotion and directed his steps straight home to his parents."