The parents of a Brazilian boy whose recovery from a severe brain injury is being cited by the Vatican as the "miracle" needed to canonize two Portuguese children broke their silence Thursday to share the story. Joao Baptista and his wife, Lucila Yurie, appeared before reporters at the Catholic shrine in Fatima, Portugal, on the eve of Pope Francis' arrival. Francis will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the so-called Fatima visions of the Virgin Mary by canonizing two of the three Portuguese children who experienced them. The "miracle" required for the canonization concerns the case of little Lucas Baptista, whose story has to date been shrouded in secrecy, reports the AP. His father said that in 2013, when Lucas was 5, the boy fell 21 feet from a window at the family's home in Brazil.
The ambulance to the hospital took an hour, and when Lucas arrived he was in a coma and had suffered two heart attacks, Baptista said. Doctors said Lucas had little chance of survival, and if he did live, would be severely mentally disabled or even in a vegetative state, the father recalled. Baptista said he and his wife, as well as Brazilian Carmelite nuns, prayed to the late shepherd children who said the Virgin Mary appeared to them in "visions" in 1917. Two of those children, siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto, will become the Catholic Church's youngest-ever non-martyred saints on Saturday. The third child, Lucia dos Santos, Francisco and Jacinta's cousin, became a Carmelite nun. Efforts are underway to beatify her, too, but couldn't begin until after she died in 2005. As for Lucas, he was fine when he woke up and left the hospital six days later; he suffered "no after-effects," said his father.