Lucia entered a Dorothean convent in Porto, Portugal’s second city, after the apparitions, and became a nun later on. Francisco (1908–1919) and Jacinta Marto (1910–1920) died in the Great Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918-20; they were declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in a public ceremony at Fatima on May 13, 1989. He returned there on May 13, 2000 to declare them ‘blessed’, a veneration title. Jacinta is the youngest non-martyred child to be beatified.
Sister Lucia saw the Virgin Mary in 1925 at the Dorothean convent at Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain. Lucia was asked to convey the message of the First Saturday Devotions, and a subsequent vision of Christ as a child reiterated this request. In 1929, Lucia reported that the Virgin Mary returned and repeated her request for the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Sister Lucia saw the Blessed Mother in private visions periodically throughout her life. Most significant was the apparition in Rianxo, Galicia, in 1931, in which Jesus visited her, taught her two prayers, and delivered a message for the church’s hierarchy.
In 1947, Sister Lucia left the Dorothean Order and joined the Carmelite Order in a monastery in Coimbra, Portugal, where she died on February 13, 2005, at the age of 97. After her death, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ordered her cell sealed off. It is believed this was because of evidence needed for her possible canonization.
The Virgin Mary had predicted during the second apparition on June 13, 1917, the deaths of two of the children. Lucia asked the Virgin if the three children would go to heaven when they died, and Our Lady replied, “Yes, I shall take Francisco and Jacinta soon, but you will remain a little longer, since Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on Earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.”