On bended knee they came. Thousands of Roman Catholics from around the world arrived this week on a pilgrimage to Fátima, the Portuguese town where three poor shepherd children said, 100 years ago, that they saw a vision of the Virgin Mary.
There, Pope Francis proclaimed two of the shepherd children, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, saints on Saturday.
Many of the pilgrims crawled the final yards to a shrine complex in Fátima, where the children, along with an older cousin, Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, said they saw the apparitions six times between May 13, 1917, and Oct. 13, 1917, when Jacinta was 7, Francisco was 9 and Lucia was 10, according the Vatican. The vision told the children three “secrets,” according to accounts.
The younger children were canonized for a miracle attributed to them. They died in the 1918-19 European influenza pandemic. Lucia, whose beatification process began in 2008, died in 2005 at age 97.