Francisco Marto

The Message of Fatima

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Mary Sturm has long appreciated the Rosary, but it wasn't until she witnessed the dedication of a group of people praying it after daily Mass at her parish, Holy Infant in Ballwin, that her love grew deeper.

Through this prayer, Sturm finds guidance from the Blessed Mother to stay connected to Jesus. The Rosary also was a great consolation to her when her husband of 43 years, Jim, passed away last summer.

"She helps me participate fully at Mass and help others," Sturm said of the Blessed Mother. "She gives me company, protection and reassurance."

Fatima seers are holy because of virtue, not visions, cardinal says

Portuguese shepherd children Lucia dos Santos, center, and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, are seen in a file photo taken around the time of the 1917 apparitions of Mary at Fatima.

VATICAN CITY — As extraordinary as the apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, nearly 100 years ago were, the sanctity of the shepherd children did not hinge on their having seen Mary, a cardinal said.

"The apparition of the Virgin Mary was an occasion, but it has nothing to do with or has not influenced the reason" Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto will be declared saints, Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, former prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, told Catholic News Service.

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