Sister Lucia's Last Moments
Mother Superior Says Visionary Was Filled With Light
ROME, SEPT. 25, 2007 (Zenit.org).- When Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's
book about the last Fatima visionary was presented, guests got a chance
to watch a video about Sister Lucia's final moments, related by her
At Friday's presentation of "L'Ultima Veggente di Fatima" (The Last
Fatima Visionary), written by the Pope's secretary of state, those in
attendance saw a video reporting on the Convent of Coimbra, in
Portugal, where Sister Lucia lived for the last 57 years of her life.
The visionary occupied the same cell during all those decades, and from
there "she flew to heaven," said the superior of the Carmelite
community, Sister Maria Celina of Jesus Crucified.
Recalling her first impressions of Sister Lucia, the superior said,
"When I entered, it took me eight days to recognize Sister Lucia. When
one of the sisters asked me: 'Mother, should I bring you a piece of
bread to eat tonight?' I said to myself that this could not be Sister
Lucia. And yet it was her."
Sister Maria Celina recalled how the visionary would stand at the end
of the path leading to a statue of the Blessed Virgin, and scold her
cousins who also witnessed the apparitions, "You went to heaven and
left me here alone."
The superior said that Sister Lucia always denied any talk of a "fourth
secret of Fatima." Sister Lucia would say of people who spread rumors
of the alleged secret that "they are never satisfied; that they should
do what Our Lady asked, that this is the most important thing. When
someone would say: ‘Sister Lucia, they say there is another secret' […]
she would look at them ironically. 'If there is one,' she would say, 'I
wish they would tell it to me: I know of no other secrets.'"
Sister Maria Celina said that the visionary was never satisfied with
the image made of Our Lady.
"The image of Our Lady was not how she wanted it," the superior said.
"Sometimes she seemed ugly to her because it did not correspond to her
exact memories; it was not what the artist derived from her
description. It is somewhat like what happened with St. Bernadette."
Sister Maria Celina described Sister Lucia as a woman religious who
"I lived with her for 28 years and I saw a person who, the older she
got, the more she developed an evangelical childhood," she said. "She
seemed again to be the child who had the apparitions in the Cova de
Ira. The heavier her body became, the lighter her spirit became."
Speaking of Sister Lucia's last hours, the superior said: "When she
needed assistance we placed her bed at the center of the cell and we
were around her, together with the bishop of Leiria-Fatima. I was
kneeling down next to her. Sister Lucia looked at everyone and then
looked at me at the end. It was a long look, but in her eyes there was
a deep light, which I carry in my soul.
"I pray to her always and I know she prays for us. There are things
that have no need of words: A gesture or a thought is sufficient.
Sister Lucia had a hearing problem. Now she doesn’t anymore. Now she
understands everything without words."
Bertone shows original Third Fatima Secret
letter on TV
Appearing on an Italian TV station, Holy See Secretary of State,
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has shown the original copy of Fatima Sister
Lucia's letter detailing the so-called Third Secret revealed to her by
Catholic News reports that Cardinal Bertone showed the letter, which
was first revealed in 2000, on the program "Port a Porta" on the Rai
He first opened an orange envelope with a translation in Italian of the
letter, and then he opened a white envelope and showed the original
letter written in 1944.
The cardinal read the phrase that appears on the outside of the
envelope: "Through express order of Our Lady, this envelope can be
opened in 1960". Inside is the letter in which Sr Lucia revealed the
Third Secret of the Fatima apparitions of 1917.
In 2000 Pope John Paul II decided to reveal the secret, which did not
refer to any worldwide catastrophe, but rather to the attempt on his
life on 13 May 1981.
"The Last Fatima
Visionary: My Meetings With Sister Lucia"
VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a
translation of the Pope's introduction to Cardinal Bertone's book "The
Last Fatima Visionary: My Meetings With Sister Lucia" (Rai
Eri/Rizzoli). The book was written in collaboration with Giuseppe De
* * *
To Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Vatican Secretary of State
Venerable Brother, Sister Lucia entrusts so many
memories to the book "The Last Fatima Visionary" that treat of events
that have marked the history of the last part of the 20th century. She
has entrusted them to this book so that they do not remain merely
precious baggage of personal emotions, but be handed over to the
collective memory as they are not without significance for secular
In reality, during that memorable time that was the
Jubilee Year of 2000, we experienced together the chapter that treats
of the publication of the third Fatima secret: I, as the prefect of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and you, as the secretary
of the same dicastery. The great Pontiff who preceded me, John Paul II,
fecund with prophetic inspirations and personally convinced that the
"maternal hand" of the Virgin had deflected the bullet that could have
been fatal for him, saw that the time had come to remove the veil of
mystery that covered the last part of the secret that the Virgin had
consigned to the three little shepherds of Fatima. The congregation,
which conserved the precious document written by Sister Lucia, was put
It was a time of light, not only because the message
could thus be known by all, but also because the truth could be
unveiled in the midst of the confusion of apocalyptic interpretations
and speculations that circulated in the Church and created anxiety
among the faithful instead of inviting them to prayer and penance.
Nevertheless, on the other hand, one could see the comforting
development of Marian piety, authentic font of Christian life, around
the imposing shrine of Fatima and in every part of the world where
devotion to the Virgin, under the influence of the apparitions of
Fatima, took deep root in the faith of the people, inviting men and
women to consecrate themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The conversations between the visionary, the last
remaining of the three shepherd children, and you, a bishop sent by the
Pope, have been important not only for the verification of the
veridicality of the facts, but also as an occasion to know the limpid
freshness of the soul of Sister Lucia, the intelligence of the heart
typical of her femininity, transferred into a robust Christian faith.
Through this humble nun, there shines the role of the Virgin Mary who
with her maternal hand accompanies the Christian through life's
I myself oversaw the drafting of the theological
commentary on the event, after having intensely prayed and deeply
meditated on the contents of the pages written by Sister Lucia. I was
deeply affected by the consoling promise of the Most Holy Virgin, which
was like a synthesis and precious seal: "My Immaculate Heart will
triumph." As it had been written, "Mary's 'fiat,' the word of her
heart, changed the history of the world, because it introduced the
Savior into this world -- because thanks to this 'yes' God could become
man among us and he will remain such forever."
And again, "From the time that God himself has a human
heart and directed human freedom toward the good, toward God, freedom
for evil does not have the last word." The message of Fatima is a
further confirmation of this.
I invoke the protection of the Most Holy Virgin for
all those who will read the testimony offered with this book and to
you, dear cardinal, and to Doctor Giuseppe De Carli, who shared the
work of producing this memoir, I impart the apostolic blessing.
From the Vatican, Feb. 22, 2007.
Sister Lucia's Unpublished
Visionary Reflects on Marian Apparitions
ROME, JUNE 2, 2006 (Zenit.org).- A small book of unpublished writings
by Fatima visionary Sister Lucia will soon be published in Italy.
The 64-page volume, entitled "The Message of Fatima," focuses on the
message of Our Lady of Fatima in relation to events that have taken
The young Lucia dos Santos witnessed the apparitions of Our Lady of
Fatima that began on May 13, 1917, along with Francisco Marto and
Jacinta Marto. Sister Lucia died at age 97 in February 2005.
For 45 years, the Holy See did not reveal the content of the so-called
third secret of Fatima, while Sister Lucia lived in religious silence.
The unpublished text has been edited by the Carmel of Coimbra,
Portugal, and issued by the Little Shepherds' Secretariat.
The imprimatur, dated Feb. 13, is by retired Bishop Serafim de Sousa
Ferreira e Silva of Leiria-Fatima.
In the introduction, Father Geremia Carlo Vechina, Sister Lucia's
confessor, reveals that the visionary had already worked on the editing
of the writings, at the request of the then general superior of the
order, the future Cardinal Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero, on the
occasion of his visit to Coimbra in 1955.
That work was sent to Rome by order of Pope Paul VI, but "it remained
forgotten in the Vatican Archives," noted Father Vechina.
In the essay, Sister Lucia says that on May 15, 1982, she received an
invitation from Father Vechina, then provincial of the Order of
Discalced Carmelites, "to write all the details that refer to the
message of Fatima, from the beginning."
The visionary said she remained skeptical, fearful that she didn't have
the authorization of the Holy See to write on such questions.
Her doubts vanished when she had the opportunity to speak with Cardinal
Eduardo Pironio, then prefect of the Vatican Congregation for
Religious, during his visit to the community on Sept. 9, 1983.
In the first part of the book, Sister Lucia wonders why the Lord chose
"such poor and ignorant children" for carrying out his plans. She goes
on to explain that the Lord "wants pure hearts to act in them as he
wishes," as written in the Gospel: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for
they shall see God."
Sister Lucia then addresses all the instances of meetings with the
Virgin, the requests to pray the rosary, respect for the Commandments,
the mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity, the practice of the Eucharist
and above all the Christian meaning of suffering.
"The Lady," she writes, invited the little shepherds to "offer to God"
and "to endure all the sufferings he wills to send you, as an act of
reparation for the sins with which he is offended, and of supplication
for the conversion of sinners."
The visionary recounts that the little shepherds, "not worried about
the sufferings the Lord might send them, gave themselves totally to the
will of God and, without knowing it -- as they did not know the
Scriptures -- responded like Christ, when he said: 'Here I am Father, I
have come to do your will.'"
World War II
Further on, Sister Lucia recounts unpublished details, as when,
referring to World War I, Mary said: "The war is about to end but if
mankind does not cease to offend God, a worse one will begin during
Pius XI's pontificate."
The visionary explained that history witnessed "the outbreak of an
atheist war against the faith, against God and against the People of
God. A war that sought to exterminate Judaism from which Jesus Christ,
the Virgin and the Apostles came, who transmitted to us the Word of God
and the gift of faith, hope and charity, a people chosen by God, chosen
from the beginning: 'salvation comes from the Jews.'"
The religious then wrote about Communist Russia and the wars promoted
in the world due of the errors spread by Russia.
Sister Lucia recalls the Blessed Virgin's request for the "consecration
of Russia to the Immaculate Heart."
"If you listen to my request" -- the Lady said to Sister Lucia --
"Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If you do not, she
will spread her errors in the world, causing wars and persecutions
against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will
suffer much and several nations will be destroyed."
After all this, however, the Lady told the little shepherds: "The Holy
Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted and a time
of peace will be granted to the world. In the end, my Immaculate Heart
This part of the Lady's message is explained by Sister Lucia with the
consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which Pope John
Paul II carried out in Rome on March 25, 1984.
In Italy, the book, being issued by St. Clement Publications, goes on
sale June 10. The book will eventually be published in other languages.
Sister Lucia's Death Stirs Memories at
Papal Letter Arrived to Her on the Day She Died
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The news
Sister Lucia's death, the last living witness of the Virgin Mary's
in Fatima, Portugal, is "very sad" for John Paul II, says a Vatican
"We know very well the profound friendship that
between the nun and the Pope, said Portuguese Cardinal José
Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, in a report
by the Catholic agency Ecclesia. The Holy Father is currently on a
retreat at the Vatican.
The cardinal was commenting on the nun's death,
occurred Sunday in the convent of Coimbra. Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus
and the Immaculate Heart was 97.
"They met several times, and for John Paul II they
always moments of great spirituality," the cardinal said. "The Pope has
always said that the Virgin Mary saved him from the attack in St.
Square on May 13, 1981. And Fatima and the little shepherds have a very
special place in his heart."
The Holy Father has credited the intervention of the
of Fatima with saving his life in the 1981 attack by Mehmet Ali Agca.
In thanksgiving, the Pope traveled to Fatima on May
1982. There he placed the bullet that wounded him in the crown of the
of the Virgin of Fatima.
Over the past few weeks, Sister Lucia's health
had worsened. When receiving this news, John Paul II sent her a message
Bishop Albino Cleto of Coimbra confirmed that Sister
heard the reading of the papal message on Sunday and, being "very
by it, asked if she could personally read the text of the fax.
"It was, perhaps, the last reaction she had in
to the life around her," added the bishop in statements to Ecclesia.
In his message, the Holy Father said that, on
of her illness, he prayed to God that the religious would be able to
"the moment of pain and suffering" with a "paschal spirit," and he
his message imparting his blessing to her.
Enclosed in her convent cell, Sister Lucia died
by her sisters in religion, and by the bishop of Coimbra, her doctors,
and the nurse attending her.
Her death was due to her advanced age; she would
been 98 on March 22.
John Paul II met with Sister Lucia on three visits
the Fatima shrine: in 1982, in 1991, and on May 13, 2000, the day he
the other Fatima visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta.
"No More Secrets," Visionary Said in 2001
Sister Lucia Confirmed That Russia Had Been
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Fatima
has been totally revealed by the Vatican, and Russia has already been
as Mary requested, confirmed Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the
The witness of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin
Fatima made this statement to the then secretary of the Congregation
the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, on Nov. 17,
contradicting those who say that the Church still has secrets about the
The content of the interview held between the
representative and Sister Lucia in the convent of Coimbra, Portugal,
she resided, was made public by the Vatican press office on Dec. 20,
The text of the document states: "In recent months,
following the sad events of the September 11 terrorist attacks,
appeared in newspapers alleging new revelations by Sister Lucia,
of letters of warning to the Pope, and apocalyptic reinterpretations of
the Fatima message."
"Moreover, emphasis was placed on the suspicion that
Holy See had not published the entire text of the third part of the
and some 'Fatimist' movements have repeated the accusation that the
Father has yet to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,"
As a result, the Vatican note clarifies, it was
necessary that Archbishop Bertone go personally "to clarify and obtain
direct information from the visionary."
The meeting was held in the presence of Father Luis
vice postulator of the cause of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta (the
Fatima visionaries), and of the prioress of St. Teresa's Carmelite
The conversation took place on the afternoon of that
17 and lasted more than two hours. Sister Lucia, then 94, "was in great
form -- lucid and vivacious," the Vatican envoy said.
The meeting addressed the question of the third part
the secret of Fatima. The Portuguese religious said that she had read
and meditated on the fascicle published by the Congregation for the
of the Faith and confirms everything that is written," the Vatican
When the archbishop explained that there are doubts
part of the secret remains unknown, Sister Lucia replied: "Everything
been published; there are no more secrets."
"If I had received new revelations, I would not have
them to anyone, but I would have told them directly to the Holy
the religious added.
There was then talk about the statements of Nicholas
a Canadian priest suspended "a divinis," who is collecting signatures
that the Pope finally consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of
and alleging that this has never been done.
Sister Lucia told the archbishop: "The Carmel
has rejected the forms for the collection of signatures. I have already
said that the consecration requested by Our Lady was done in 1984, and
it has been accepted in heaven."
Lastly, the conversation turned to Sister Lucia's
life. Some press articles suggested that her concern robbed her of
and that she was praying night and day.
The religious answered: "It's not true. How would I
able to pray during the day if I did not sleep at night? How many
they attribute to me! How many things they make me do! They should read
my book; the advice and appeals that correspond to Our Lady's wishes
there. Prayer and penance, with great faith in God's power, will save