Speaking of her grandparents, Marto said her grandfather Manuel, father of Francisco and Jacinta, didn’t initially understand some of what was happening either, but had always believed his children were telling the truth.
Jacinta was the first one to tell her parents about seeing Mary after coming home from the first apparition, Marto said, explaining that when people began to say the children had made everything up, her grandfather would respond saying: “My children are not liars. I taught them, so if they say they saw, I think they saw.”
After the first appearance Manuel accompanied his children to the following apparitions, and although he didn’t see anything, “he said that he heard a sound, like a bee inside a jar.”
He was also present for the miracle of the sun, Marto said, explaining that “if he believed before, he continued to believe” after.
Marto said that for her, this belief was extraordinary, because “my grandparents weren't at the beatification, none of it. When their children died they were known, but not with the fame of sanctity.”
“So they thought their children were a little different from the others, but they didn't know how it was going to be. It was a question every day,” she said, but noted that her grandfather in particular “always believed.”
Referring to news of the acceptance of a second miracle allowing for the canonization of her uncle and aunt, Marto said she feels “a big joy” knowing they will be proclaimed saints. The two will be canonized May 13, during Pope Francis’ two-day visit to Portugal.
However, she stressed that the news “is not only for the family, it’s for Portugal and the whole world. Because Our Lady came for the world, and they were a message for the world.”
“I sometimes ask myself how two children that were seven and nine years old managed to capture and respond to the message of God. They had a message and assumed this message,” she said, noting that Francisco was all about “praising God, adoring God, worshiping God.”
Jacinta, however, was primarily concerned with conversion, and wanted that “everyone return to God, that everyone convert, that everyone went to heaven.”
“She lived this in anguish,” Marto said, explaining that she often asked herself: “we who have all these means of communication, we know what is happening in the world, all the suffering in the world, we see it on television…and what do we do?”
At just 7-years-old Jacinta had visions of wars, famines and persecutions, and as a result she “assumed the responsibility” of offering and making sacrifices so that everyone could be saved.
“And us? What are we doing?” she said, stressing that with television and social media it's not necessary to have a vision of the suffering and tragedy in the world, but “we are part of this humanity and we are a bit responsible for everyone. Sometimes we don’t think well about this.”
Marto said that for her, she believes the core of the Our Lady of Fatima's message is that she came “that we might return to God. That we don’t forget that God loves us, but that we have to praise him and must give thanks to him.”
In addition to this, “we must pray for each other,” she said, explaining that in her instructions to the children, Mary “didn’t ask many things that we can’t do.”
Pointing to the rosary, she said that according to Lucia, Mary asked that people pray it because “it's an easy prayer,” and can be recited at church, in the car or while walking.
If someone isn't able to pray the rosary, Marto suggested at least trying to pray one Hail Mary and Our Father a day, to honor Mary and give thanks to God “for being our friend.”
“God loves us very much and at times sends us his mother to refresh us a bit in order continue,” she said, explaining that “God wants us to be a bit better every day. Because we are always sinners, we are not perfect, but try to be a bit better every day.”
Marto said that she hopes to be present for Pope Francis' visit to Fatima for the centenary of the apparitions in May. Having attended the beatification of her uncle and aunt in 2000, she said she also hopes to be present for the May 13 canonization of the visionaries.
She received communion from Bl. Pope Paul VI when he became the first Pope to visit Fatima in 1967, and was also present for the visit of St. John Paul II in 1982, but was farther away.
Although she wasn't able to attend Mass when Benedict XVI came in 2010, she hopes to have a good seat at Mass with Francis, and “to be close to him.”