Benedict XVI hastens Fatima visionary’s sainthood

21 Feb 2008

By The Record


Sister Lucia dos Santos meets with Pope John Paul II May 13, 1982, in Fatima, Portugal. The pope credited the Virgin Mary with helping him to survive the assassination attempt in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican one year earlier, on the feast of Our La dy of Fatima. Sister Lucia died February 13, 2005 at the age of 97 at her convent in Coimbra, Portugal. Photo: CNS

Pope Benedict XVI announced he will dispense with the five-year waiting
period established by Canon Law to open the cause of beatification of
Sister Lucia, one of the three Fatima visionaries.
The news was
announced today in the cathedral of Coimbra, Portugal, by Cardinal José
Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, on the
third anniversary of the Carmelite’s death.
The Holy Father
dispensed with the established waiting period once before for the cause
of Pope John Paul II. Benedict XVI made the announcement on May 13, the
feast of Our Lady of Fatima, some 42 days after the Pontiff’s death in


John Paul II waived the waiting period in the case of Blessed Teresa of
Calcutta. The blessed died Sept. 5, 1997, and was beatified by John
Paul II on Oct. 19, 2003.
A communiqué of the Vatican press
office states: "Benedict XVI, taking into account the petition
presented by Bishop Albino Mamede Cleto of Coimbra, and supported by
numerous bishops and faithful from all parts of the world, has revoked
the five-year waiting period established by the canonical norms (cf.
Article 9 of the ‘Normae Servandae’), and he has allowed for the
diocesan phase of the Carmelite’s cause of beatification to begin three
years after her death."
Lucia de Jesus dos
Santos was 10 years old when she said she saw for the first time, on
May 13, 1917, a lady whom she later identified as the Blessed Virgin
Mary, in the Cova de Iria.
She saw the vision with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who were beatified by John Paul II in Fatima, in 2000.
a pastoral letter dated October 13, 1930, the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima,
José Alves Correia da Silva, declared the apparitions of Fatima worthy
of faith and allowed public devotion. Since then, the shrine has become
a center of spirituality and pilgrimage of international scope.
in Aljustrel in 1907, Lucia moved to Oporto in 1921, and at 14 was
admitted as a boarder in the School of the Sisters of St Dorothy in
Vilar, on the city’s outskirts.
On October 24, 1925, she entered
the Institute of the Sisters of St. Dorothy and at the same time was
admitted as a postulant in the congregation’s convent in Tuy, Spain,
near the Portuguese border. She made her first vows on October 3, 1928,
and her perpetual vows on October 3, 1934, receiving the name Sister Mary
of the Sorrowful Mother.
She returned to Portugal in 1946 and
two years later entered the Carmelite convent of St. Teresa in Coimbra,
where she made her profession as a Discalced Carmelite on May 31, 1949,
taking the name Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart.
wrote two volumes, one entitled "Memories" and the other "Appeals of
the Fatima Message." In her writings, she recounts how the Virgin Mary
and Child Jesus appeared to her on other occasions, years after the
initial apparitions.
The mortal remains of the Carmelite were
moved in 2006 to the Shrine of Fatima. The body of the nun, who died at
age 97, is buried next to Jacinta. Francisco is buried in the same