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Special to the Fatima Network
On May 13, 2000, when Pope John Paul II beatifies the two shepherd children of Fatima, a devout woman of 70 will be offering silent prayers of thanks for the fact she can attend the celebration standing on her own feet.
It was in 1989 that Maria Emilia Santos, a lay member of a Franciscan order, was suddenly able to walk again after more than two decades of paralysis. After tests in Rome by a Vatican-appointed medical commission, her recovery was decreed "unexplainable in the light of current scientific knowledge." In other words -- a miracle.
The Catholic Church accepts officially that this miracle occurred through the divine intercession of Francisco Marto and his sister, Jacinta, then ages nine and seven, who, with their cousin, Lucia, 10, were visited by the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917.
The ruling that Miss Santos's recovery was ''miraculous'' lifted the last obstacle to the beatification of the children.
Miss Santos was 16 when she started suffering spinal problems. After an operation, she lost the use of her legs. By the time she was 35, she could move only her hands.
For a decade, she prayed to Francisco and Jacinta. She said one evening in 1987, as she lay in bed, she heard a voice. "It said, 'Sit up, you are able to'."
Two years later, she again heard a voice, this time telling her to walk. Her recovery was complete.
Shrine officials at Fatima say that hundreds of thousands of pilgrims will go to Fatima for the beatification.
The Fatima Crusader has organized a pilgrimage to Fatima for the May 13 beatification (May 9 through 15). For details, See The Beatification of Jacinta and Francisco May 13, 2000 or call 1 (905) 871-7607 (and ask for Valerie).
For your own free Prayer leaflets to Jacinta and Francisco Marto, please feel free to call the Fatima Center TOLL-FREE at 1-800-263-8160.