by Leo Madigan
ISBN: 972-95882-3-6 P
ublication Date: 03 / 2000
Size: 20cm X 13cm
Content suitability (Age): 12-up
This is the story of two young Catholic children of the 20th century who reached great heights of holiness despite dying in their first decade. Jacinta Marto is well known as one of the visionaries of Fatima. Less well known is Nellie Organ (Little Nellie of Holy God) from the south of Ireland who, despite the fact that she was only four years old when she died, had already been confirmed and was confessing and receiving Communion.
In this book the author compares and contrasts the lives of these two children. A deep faith, humility, devotion to the Holy Father and love of the Eucharist were among their greatest virtues. Many were the secrets revealed to them which are hidden from the wise and learned. Reading this book will help us to understand how children of all ages can become holy. The famous Irish Monstrance on the front cover - a gift from the people of Ireland to the Shrine at Fatima in 1949 - not only signifies the great bond of Eucharistic love between these two souls, but also the strong links between the Irish people and the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal.
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Princesses of the Kingdom, Jacinta Marto & Nellie Organ
by Leo Madigan
This is a study of two young Catholic Children of the twentieth century. Blessed Jacinta of Fatima is now well known. Nellie - who lived most of her life in County Cork, Ireland - deserves to be better known. Jacinta died at the age of nine in 1920. Nellie was less than five when she died in 1908.
The author demonstrates the many similarities between the lives of the two children. It is said that a central theme of the Fatima message is one of Eucharistic reparation. Leo Madigan gives examples of Jacinta’s devotion to the Eucharist (the “Hidden Jesus”). For one so young, Nellie also had an extraordinary devotion to “Holy God”. Before she died, despite her youth, she was able to receive Holy Communion. Soon afterwards, Quam Singulari was issued by Pope Saint Pius X - this allowed young children generally to receive Holy Communion. It is known that Saint Pius was deeply moved by the story of Nellie.
Both children had a deep devotion to Mary. They both offered up their extraordinary sufferings to God, in union with a deep devotion to the Passion.
Although both children were blessed with heavenly visitations, Leo Madigan demonstrates that their path to sanctity was essentially ordinary - the Eucharist, Mary, love of the church and offering up little sacrifices.
They both had a particular devotion to the Pope. Leo Madigan notes that Jacinta’s vision of the Holy Father, which has been in the public domain for many years, is remarkably similar to that of the third secret of Fatima.
The twin dangers of sentimentalising and idealising have been avoided. This is part of the book’s success. The lives of these two children are an example to us all today.
If reaching towards the good means undergoing a degree of suffering, a degree of purgation, then so be it. But this suffering is not chosen for its own sake. When the lover sings that he’ll “climb the highest mountian”, “cross the burning desert”, etc, it is not the climb, or the arduous transit, that he is singing about. These things are simply uncomfortable but apparently necessary means to the object of his desire. His desire, his good is, as he says, that “I’d find you.”
The godless man can understand this and croon away with the most intense of lovers. But he cannot apply it to God, the very source, nourishment and object of love, because he has rerouted his capacity to respond to love and directed it towards himself. Anything outside himself becomes an intrusion. A minute or two in the burning desert, or the first suggestion of an incline on the highest mountain and he’s back home with familiar old self. “Finding you” might be all right in theory, but it can’t compare with familiar old self - a good of sorts, a limited, transient, unsupported good. But he believes in it, he is stuffed full of it and not even God can fill what is already full.
These children are still awash with the waters of Baptism. They perceive things intuitively, the Queen of Heaven herself has visited them to explain and confirm. Within their naivety they thrash around to find mountains to climb and deserts to cross, oceans to swim. They give their lunch away to the poor children of Moita, to their sheep, because Divine generosity is contagious. They even pour the water they begged for themselves into a trough for the flock. Lunch, water; they represent self - dispose of self, throw self away, the glimpse of Heaven has shown that self comes between the pure movement of their hearts and the essence of all desire which they saw in the light from the Lady’s hands.
There was no stopping to take a degree in theology on the way, no nights of angst and days of doubt. They had glimpsed love and ran straight into the desert, straight up the mountain, straight into the ocean. Of course it would mean suffering, but that was necessary so they welcomed it because it fostered love. They never for an instant, it seems, considered an alternative.
For most of us, the older we get, the younger God gets, so that by the time we are tidying up for death we are just about coming to terms with Bethlehem. This is because we imagine that our spiritual progress depends on our own navigation. But it doesn’t. And this is the big lesson that Jacinta Marto and Nellie Organ teach us.
It is not easy to be taught by children, but unless we attend to what these children have to impart, we will never have a grasp of essentials. Their holiness wasn’t the result of a system of prayer or a series of lectures. It was the result of a talent they were given, a talent, and what was needed to develop and perfect that talent. Only God is Holy and He can make that Holiness available as easily in Nellie’s cot as in a Carthusian’s cell. All that Nellie, or the Carthusian, have to do is make room for Him to the point where they can say, “ ‘now I live, not I, but Christ lives in me’ - and, for the record, if you are wondering where I’ve got to, I’m living in him.”
That is the talent. That’s it.
It’s not that simple, some might say, and they would be right - it’s not that simple. It’s simpler. Infinitely simpler, but ‘simple’ will do for a start.
We are all given the talent, the spark, though on different levels and in different degrees. No two voices in the choir are exactly the same; if they were there would be no harmony, just louder song. No two actors have the same skills, if they did we would have exceedingly dull theatre. No two saints are the same because infinite diversity is of the nature of God. Jacinta and Nellie, for all their accidental similarities would, if they were the only two humans God ever created, appear to the angels as distinctive as the lion and the unicorn before His throne.
Our spiritual life, our maturing in grace, is God’s work. What Jacinta and Nellie teach us is the art of loving and longing and looking on with wonder as he dresses each one of us in the wedding garment of His choosing. That, and the priceless lesson in paradox which fuses Faith with Hope and Charity, the paradox of knowing that He is never so close as when He isn’t there.
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