After the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917, people from afar would come to visit the three children who saw Our Lady. Sometimes they would say to Lucia, "We just came from talking with Jacinta and Francisco; close to them we feel a kind of supernatural atmosphere we do not know how to explain."
Jacinta had a seriousness beyond her age. Other children, though they enjoyed her company, felt themselves restrained by a certain shyness or respect that kept them at a distance. They would only to go Jacinta's room when accompanied by Lucia, or when invited by either Jacinta herself or by her mother.
Francisco was different. He was more easy-going. During his sickness, other children would go in and out of his room with the greatest liberty. One lady said, "It seems that we feel the same going to Francisco's room as when going to church."
One morning, Francisco's sister Teresa came to Lucia and said, "Come quickly! Francisco is very sick and said he wants to tell you something." When Lucia arrived, Francisco asked his mother and brothers to leave the room because he wanted to tell Lucia some secret. He said to Lucia, "The secret is that I am going to confess so that I may receive Holy Communion and then die. I want you to tell me if you have seen me commit any sins and go and ask Jacinta if she has seen me commit any."
Lucia said, "Sometimes you disobeyed your mother when she told you to stay home and you escaped to be with me and to hide yourself." Francisco said, "This is true. I did. Now go and ask Jacinta if she remembers anything else."
After thinking for a while, Jacinta said, "Tell him that before our Lady appeared to us, he stole a coin from his father to buy the mouth organ of Jose Marto from Casa Velha, and that when the boys of Aljustrel threw stones at those of Boleiros, he also threw some."
When Lucia told Francisco what his sister had answered, he said, "I have already confessed those. But I will confess them again. Perhaps it is because of these sins I committed that our Lord is so sad. But even if I don't die, I will never do them again. Now I am sorry." Then, putting his hands together, he prayed: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of your mercy!"
When Lucia saw Francisco in the evening, he was radiant with joy. He had made his confession and the priest had promised to bring him Holy Communion the next day.
After receiving Holy Communion the following day, he said to his sister, "Today I am happier than you for I have within my breast the Hidden Jesus. I am going to heaven, but there I will pray a great deal to our Lord and our Lady that they may take you there soon."
Francisco was too sick to pray the Rosary, so he asked Lucia and Jacinta to pray it for him. Later that night, Lucia said, "Goodbye, Francisco. If you go to heaven tonight, don't forget me there, do you hear?" Francisco said, "I won't forget you, no. Don't worry!" He seized Lucia's right hand and pressed it hard for a long time, looking at her with tears in his eyes. Lucia, also with tears running down her face, asked, "Do you want anything else?" He said, "no".
As the scene was becoming too touching, Francisco's mom asked Lucia to go out of his room. Lucia said, "Goodbye, Francisco, 'til heaven! Goodbye 'til heaven!" Francisco died the following day on Friday, April 4, 1919.