At the venerable age of ninety~seven, on Sunday afternoon of Feb. 13. 2005, in the Carmel of Coimbra, our Carmelite Sr. Lucia went to her eternal reward. She, together with her cousins. Jacinta and Francesco, was a witness to the numerous apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, beginning on May 13. 1917. The other two visionaries died young, as the Blessed Virgin had predicted, and have since been declared blessed by the Church.
Our sister lived humbly and quietly in her community, combining a prayerful contemplative life with an intense letter~writing ministry in which she comforted distressed people, replied to VIPs, encouraged her readers to believe and trust in God, always zealous in her devotion to Mary. The Popes have always held her in great esteem. The message that the Virgin had entrusted to the three shepherds touched upon present and future events.
Pope John Paul II was particularly fond of this simple Carmelite religious. He met her on several occasions, expressing his clear devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, returning there three times on pilgrimage. A year after the attempt to assassinate him in St. Peter's square, he offered the Blessed Virgin the bullet that almost killed him-it was placed in the crown of Mary's statue.
Sr. Lucia at work in her letter-writing ministry
The message of Fatima is simple and straightforward: prayer, penance, consecration to the immaculate heart of Mary. Strange phenomena accompanied the numerous visions, such as the last, called "the dance of the sun" before an awestruck and incredulous crowd. But what has especially attracted the attention of the world was the so-called "third secret of Fatima," made public in 2000 on the occasion of the beatification of Francesco and Jacinta. It has been confirmed that Sr. Lucia has had manifestations of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
The death of Sr. Lucia saddened especially the people of Portugal. The prime minister declared a national day of mourning and there [was] no electioneering on that day for the forthcoming elections on February 20.
Message of Pope John Paul II
on the Death Of Sr. Lucia
To my Venerable Brother Bishop Albino Mamede Cleto of Coimba:
I learned with deep emotion that Sr. Maria Lucia de Jesus of the Immaculate Heart, at the age of ninety~seven, has been called by the Heavenly Father to the eternal dwelling place in heaven. Thus, she has reached the goal to which she always aspired in prayer and in the silence of her convent. The liturgy of these days has reminded us that death is the common legacy of the sons and daughters of Adam but at the same time assures us that Jesus, with the sacrifice of the cross, has opened the doors of immortal life to us. Let us remember these certainties of faith at the moment when we say our last farewell to this humble and devout Carmelite who consecrated her life to Christ, savior of the world.
The visit of the Virgin Mary, which Lucia as a little girl received at Fatima in 1917 together with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta, was the beginning of a unique mission to which she remained faithful to the end of her days. Sr. Lucia bequeaths to us an example of great fidelity to the Lord and joyous attachment to his divine will. I recall with emotion my several meetings with her and the bonds of our spiritual friendship that grew stronger with time. I have always felt supported by the daily gift of her prayers, especially during the most difficult moments of trial and suffering. May the Lord reward her abundantly for her great and hidden service to the Church. I like to think that it was the Blessed Virgin, the same one whom Sr. Lucia saw at Fatima many years ago, who welcomed her on her pious departure from earth to heaven. May the Blessed Virgin now accompany the soul of her devout daughter to the beatific encounter with the divine Bridegroom.
I entrust to you, Venerable Brother, the task of conveying the assurance of my spiritual closeness to the Carmelite nuns of Coimbra. For their inner consolation at the time of parting from Sr. Lucia, I impart an affectionate blessing to them, which I extend to her relatives, to you, to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, my special envoy, and to all those who are taking part in the sacred funeral rite.
From the Vatican, 14 Feb. 2005 John Paul II
The communication concerning the death of Sr. Lucia, the last visionary of Fatima, is from the OCD website in Rome.
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