Discovery by Francisco's father
THE lost body of Francisco Marto, one of the three children to whom Our Lady appeared at Fatima, has been found,
Francisco—nine years old at the time of the apparitions— was the brother of Jacinta, then seven years old, and cousin of Lucia dos Santos, the only one of the three now living, who is a Carmelite nun.
The discovery was made by Francisco's father Manuel, who is over 80, his brother Joao and the sexton when they were digging in the village cemetery on the spot where the boy's body was originally buried.
The remains have been officially recognised by the Bishop of Leira, Canon Venancio, postulator of the beatification causes of Francisco and Jacinta, Canon Oliveira, rector of the Fatima seminary. Dr. Pereira Gens, chief medical officer of the sanctuary, and other ecclesiastical, medical and civil authorities.
The body will now be transferred to the Fatima Basilica to rest beside that of Jacinta.
Francisco's coffin was found below the place from which an earlier one, thought to contain his body, was transferred with Jacinta's in 1935 to a new grave in the Fatima cemetery.
When this coffin was opened in April last year it was found to contain the remains of a boy some years older than Francisco. Doctors refused to admit its authenticity and it was reburied. Jacinta's remains were taken alone to the basilica.
The body now found, lower in the original grave, ' was identified by Manuel Marto, who recognised the rosary entwined in the skeleton of his son's hands.
Francisco and Jacinta died a few years after Our Lady's apparitions at Fatima.
Jacinta died in a Lisbon hospital and was first placed in a private vault in Ourem cemetery and later moved to a tomb in the Fatima cemetery.
Francisco died in his parents' home at Aljustrel and was buried in the local cemetery. What uas presumed to be his coflin was removed in 1935 to the tomb at Fatima.