History of the Cause
The processes of canonization of Francisco and Jacinta Marto were introduced by the Bishop of Leiria, José Alves Correia da Silva, in 1952. At that time, Canon João Pereira Venâncio was appointed Postulator and he was the one to initiate the two separate processes.
The first session of the diocesan processes for the inquiry on the virtues of the Little Shepherds was held on the 30th of April 1952, and was concluded on the 2nd of July 1979 and the 3rd of August 1979, for Jacinta and Francisco respectively.
Meanwhile, Canon João Pereira Venâncio was nominated Bishop in 1954, and took over the Diocese of Leiria in 1958. In 1960, he appointed Father Luis Kondor, SVD, as Postulator for the causes of the two Little Shepherds, a position held by this Hungarian priest until his death in 2009.
In 1979, the processes were delivered to Rome and, in that same year, Father Paolo Molinari, SJ, was nominated Postulator in urbe and Father Luis Kondor, SVD, Postulator extra urbem. After a long debate on the possibility of a child’s spirituality to reach faith maturity – until then, only Christian martyred children would be canonized -, the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints issues a report on the «aptitude of teenagers for the heroic exercise of virtues and martyrdom», supporting the possibility of canonization of children in the use of reason.
With this favorable report, the Positio on the virtues of Francisco and Jacinta Marto were written and presented to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints in 1988. On the 13th of May 1989, the Holy Father John Paul II solemnly declared the heroic virtues of the servants of God, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, granting them the title of Venerables.
On the 22nd of June 1999, the miracle of a healing granted through the intercession of Francisco and Jacinta Marto was approved, thus opening the way to the beatification of both, through a shared and unique process. On the 13th of May of the jubilee year of 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta, in Fatima. The church history thus testified, for the first time, a beatification of children non-martyrs at such young age (Jacinta was 9 years old when she died and his brother was 10).
On the 1st of November 2009, Sister Ângela de Fatima Coelho, ASM, was nominated Postulator extra urbem. On the 22nd of June 2012, she became Postulator in urbe. The work for the cause continues, in hope of a new miracle that may lead to the canonization of Francisco and Jacinta.