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5 Child saints who weren’t martyrs

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Cerith Gardiner - published on 02/19/23

On the feast of Sts. Jacinta and Francisco Marto, take a look at the small group of devout holy youngsters who weren't killed for their faith.

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Tomorrow is the feast day of the young saints of Fatima, Jacinta and Francisco Marto. While both saints are celebrated on this day, it actually marks the death of the 9-year-old Jacinta, who died as a result of the influenza epidemic in 1918.

While these children showed incredible faith and a devotion to the Eucharist until their dying breath, they are part of a very small group of young saints in the Catholic Church who were not actually martyred for their faith.

Take a look at some of the truly inspirational young saints below whose short lives demonstrated a great love of God, and whose deaths reflected their strong faith in Him.

Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto

The Virgin Mary appeared to these young shepherd children from Fatima, Portugal. Despite being illiterate, the siblings and their cousin were able to convince authorities of the veracity of their sightings. After the apparitions, they dedicated their short lives to God. Contracting the Spanish flu after World War I, the two suffered until their deaths, but offered up their pain for sinners. Jacinta succumbed to the disease at age 9, and her brother at age 10.

Blessed Chiara Badano

Chiara Luce Badano was an Italian school girl who loved Jesus and loved serving others. She wanted to set an example to others through her own behavior, and when she fell ill with bone cancer, she preferred to feel the pain in order to feel closer to Jesus. Her life was one of love for God and all those around her. She died at the age of 18, inspiring all those who knew her and heard her story.

St. Dominic Savio

From the age of 4, this young saint, who was taught by St. John Bosco, developed such faith that he was reminding his parents to pray. Throughout his life, Dominic showed enormous devotion and realized the importance of helping others in small ways. After his First Communion, Dominic only wanted to serve God, but he was a sickly child. After devoting his life to God, he died at 14.

He is a fine example to all that even serving God in everyday tasks can lead to sainthood.

Blessed Carlo Acutis

Known as a saintly “geek,” Carlo Acutis, beatified in 2020, is a model for today’s youth. He combined his passion for the Eucharist and his computer skills to catalogue global Eucharistic miracles. Even as he suffered from leukemia, he managed to stay cheerful and devoted himself to his mission. He eventually succumbed to his disease at the age of 15.

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