Heaven in our Hearts: A Review of ‘Mary and the Little Shepherds of Fatima’

“There is no problem, I tell you no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot solve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.” – Sister Lucia of Fatima

Interest  Level

Pre-K – Grade 5

Review and Comments

Mary and the Little Shepherds of Fatima is a very good introduction to the story of Mary’s appearances to young children in Portugal during WW1 for those who have never heard it before.

The three shepherd children, Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia, actually experienced two phases of miraculous appearances.  First, there were three visits from the Angel of Peace (the Angel of Portugal) during which the children were prepared for the Blessed Mother.  During these visits, the Angel taught the children how to pray and make sacrifices because they loved God.  There were promises made also.

The second phase began when the children saw Mary appear above a small tree at the Cova da Iria.  She asked the children to return on the thirteenth day of the next six months and of course they agreed because they wanted to see her again.  The appearances soon became known to others even though the children agreed to keep it a secret. The news of Mary’s appearances continued to spread and the crowds increased so much each month that government officials tried to prevent the children and the believers from going to the Cova da Iria. The children were questioned, promised gifts, threatened, and even jailed, but they refused to deny what they had seen.

In October, during the final apparition, 70,000 people accompanied the children.  During her visit, Mary answered their questions about her identity and the purpose of her appearances.  She was The Lady of the Rosary.  She asked them to say the rosary every day for peace and for the conversion of sinners.  After she appeared, all the people in attendance witnessed a miracle of the sun. The children didn’t see that miracle however.  They saw the Holy Family, and Jesus was blessing the world.

This wonderful story includes details about Fatima that are well suited to young children.  The vision of hell the visionaries experienced is not mentioned.   The fact that Francisco could see but could not hear the Angel of Peace or Mary is not always mentioned in the retelling of Fatima, but it is included in this story.  At the conclusion of the story it is explained that the war did end as Mary promised and it tells what happened to Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia. It also encourages the reader to pray the rosary and makes sacrifices to God like the shepherd children of Fatima.

 

*Included at the end of the book are: Prayers of Fatima, How to Pray the Rosary, Prayers of the Rosary, and the 4 Mysteries of the Rosary.

Possible Concerns

There are no concerns with this book.

Further Discussion

  • Art projects:
  1. Make a personal shrine to Our Lady of Fatima. Keep in mind that Mary called herself “The Lady of the Rosary.
    1. Use a simple box such as a shoe box. Decorate both the outside and outside of the box with paint, special paper, or fabric.
    2. Put beads or trim around the edges of the front.
    3. Glue a picture of Mary on the inside of the box, possibly above a tree. [The picture can be printed from a source or it can be drawn.]
    4. Add personal touches such as: glitter, beads, rosary, sun, angel, etc.
  2. Make a diorama of a scene from the story.
    1. Mary and the 3 shepherd children
    2. The Angel of Peace and the children
  3. Make a booklet or folder of the Mysteries of the Rosary.
    1. Glue a picture of each mystery on individual pages or in groups (Glorious Mysteries, Joyful Mysteries, etc.). Write the title of the mystery under each picture.
    2. Use the booklet while saying the rosary.
  • You can make “Rosary Journals for Meditation on the Mysteries of the Rosary”.  Find more information about Rosary Journals here.
  • The Angel of Peace instructed the children to make sacrifices.  A wonderful book about making a difficult sacrifice is The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie dePaola.  Click on the picture below for the affiliate link.

Catholic Resources 

  • Jacinta and Francisco Marto were declared saints by Pope Francis on May 13, 2007, the 100th anniversary of the first appearance of Mary at Fatima.
  • During the third visit of the Angel of Peace, the Angel and children bowed down before the Chalice and Host.
  1. CCC 1378 Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.”
  2. CCC 1418 Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration. “To visit the Blessed Sacrament is . . . a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord”

Read “Make EVERYTHING You Do a Sacrifice” which is a transcript of a talk by Michael Semin. It includes thoughts about Fatima – The Call to Live a Life of Sacrifice and The Example of the Fatima Children.

  • Using the prayers at the end of the book, learn the correct way to say the rosary. Pray the rosary as a family.

Here are some great coloring books for kids from the Catholic Company:

  1. Rosary coloring book [32 pages] 
  2. Rosary coloring book [48 pages]
  3. My Rosary Coloring book [32 pages; includes all the mysteries] 
  • Read more about Mary and what Catholics believe:

CCC 971 “All generations will call me blessed“: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.” The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.” The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.

 

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