Pope Francis on Saturday canonized two Portuguese shepherd siblings, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, in Fatima on Saturday. The two, along with their older cousin Lúcia de Jesus dos Santos, are believed to have seen the Madonna in the same town 100 years ago. The shrine, built on the site where the apparitions are said to have taken place, is an international pilgrimage site.
Devotees from across the globe flocked to Fatima to participate in the mass. The siblings died within three years of the 1917 apparitions at the ages of 10 and 9 years old. The Roman Catholic church believes that the Virgin Mary disclosed three messages known as the secrets of Fatima to the children, Reuters reported.
The first two messages were about hell, which Catholics interpret as a prediction of the outbreak of World War Two, a warning that Russia would “spread her errors” in the world, and the urgency for people to pray, Reuters reported. The third message inspired books and cults which interpret the “secret” as the end of the world.
Dos Santos became a nun and died at the age of 97 in 2005. Officials have initiated a process to declare her a saint too.