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Lucia of Fatima Dies at 97

LISBON (Reuters) - Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, the last of three children who claimed to see the Virgin at Fatima and who revealed a vision the Catholic Church said foretold the attempt to kill Pope John Paul, died on Sunday, the Church said.

Dos Santos, 97, who later became a nun, was the eldest of the shepherd children who in 1917 told of seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary six times. She died at her Carmelite convent at Coimbra in central Portugal.

Read the entire Reuters Story here

Prioress of Convent Remembers Sister Lucia

COIMBRA, Portugal, FEB. 21, 2005 ( Sister Lucia was the "jewel" of the Carmelite convent of Coimbra, but within its walls she lived exactly like the other women religious, says the prioress.

"Age had made her very frail and the doctor advised her not to catch cold, so she heard Mass from her cell and we took her Communion," said the prioress, Sister Maria Celina of Jesus Crucified, in an interview on the program "Ecclesia" broadcasted by the agency of the same name.

Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart, the last witness of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917, died Feb. 13 in St. Teresa's Carmelite convent in Coimbra, where she had lived since 1948. She was 97.

According to the prioress, "In these last days, especially since June 15, one of us was always with her, 24 hours a day. She became much more intimate, from this point of view," something that "occurs with all sisters who are dying, because -- none has yet died suddenly -- when they are in need of our help, there is a greater bond."

Read the entire Zenit News Story here

Other Fatima Visionaries Move Closer to Canonization

FATIMA, Portugal, FEB. 22, 2005 ( The bishop of Leiria-Fatima announced the conclusion of the diocesan process for the canonization of the shepherds Jacinta and Francisco Marto, who saw the apparitions of Our Lady in 1917.

The third visionary of Fatima, Sister Lucia, died Feb. 13 at age 97.

Jacinta and Francisco were beatified May 13, 2000, the day of the anniversary of the Fatima apparitions.

"I can affirm that on February 19 the so-called 'positio' was handed in for the canonization of Jacinta and Francisco Marto," said Bishop Serafim Ferreira e Silva announced Sunday during a liturgical celebration of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco, in the Fatima Shrine, according to the agency Ecclesia.

At the end of the celebration, Bishop Ferreira e Silva explained that the closing of the "position" means "that the documentary process is complete, translated into Italian, definitively closed and handed to His Eminence the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes.

"From now on, it will be subjected to the judgment of cardinals and doctors. The final judgment is the Pope's decision."

Story from Zenit News Service


Papal assailant calls on Vatican to reveal all of Fatima secret

ROME (CNS) -- The man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, jailed Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Agca, has called on the Vatican to reveal what he claims are undisclosed elements of the secret of Fatima.

Agca made the request in an "Open Letter to the Vatican" following the death of Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, the last visionary from Fatima, Portugal. Agca's letter was sent to the Rome newspaper La Repubblica, which published it Feb. 20.

Read the entire Catholic News Agency story here

The Official Testimony of Sister Lucia

COIMBRA, Portugal, FEB. 20, 2005 ( The texts of Sister Lucia will not reveal more details of the Fatima apparition, but will provide more profound
insight into the event. Father Jacinto Farias, president of the Scientific Commission of the Fatima Congress, made a statement shortly after the death last week of the last witness of the Fatima appartions that Sister Lucia's texts constitute a fundamental testimony for the Church.

"Sister Lucia's experience is one of continuity and she was faithful: I think what the future holds in store is an even more profound development," he said to the
Portuguese news agency Ecclesia.

"We should not find any novelties," he continued. The "richness of the Fatima message is its extreme simplicity and, at the same time, great fruits at the
pastoral and theological level."

Sister Lucia's writings are categorized as "Fatima 1" and "Fatima 2," and reflect her testimony written at different stages in her life. Father Farias explained that an "internalization of the events" is noted, "because a 10-year old girl and a woman of 40 have a different perception of things," although there is a continuity "in an interior re-reading."

Read the entire Zenit News Story here

Day of Mourning Declared in Portugal

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal has declared Tuesday a day of mourning and politicians have cut back election campaigning to mark the death of Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, the last of three children who claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary at Fatima.

Dos Santos, who as a child in 1917 described visions which, decades later, the Catholic Church said foretold the attempt to kill Pope John Paul in 1981, died aged 97 on Sunday at her Carmelite convent in Coimbra, 150 km (95 miles) north of Lisbon.

She is to be buried at the convent on Tuesday and her remains will be transferred in a year to nearby Fatima, one of Catholicism's major pilgrimage sites.

Read the entire Reuters Story here

No More Secrets Remain

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2005 ( The Fatima secret has been totally revealed by the Vatican, and Russia has already been consecrated as Mary requested, confirmed Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart.

The witness of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin of Fatima made this statement to the then secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, on Nov. 17, 2001, contradicting those who say that the Church still has secrets about the Marian apparition.

The content of the interview held between the Vatican representative and Sister Lucia in the convent of Coimbra, Portugal, where she resided, was made public by the Vatican press office on Dec. 20, 2001.

The text of the document states: "In recent months, especially following the sad events of the September 11 terrorist attacks, articles appeared in newspapers alleging new revelations by Sister Lucia, announcements of letters of warning to the Pope, and apocalyptic reinterpretations of the Fatima message."

Read the entire Zenit Story here

Papal Letter Arrived to Her on the Day She Died

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2005 ( The news of Sister Lucia's death, the last living witness of the Virgin Mary's apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, is "very sad" for John Paul II, says a Vatican prefect.

"We know very well the profound friendship that existed" between the nun and the Pope, said Portuguese Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, in a report by the Catholic agency Ecclesia. The Holy Father is currently on a spiritual retreat at the Vatican.

The cardinal was commenting on the nun's death, which occurred Sunday in the convent of Coimbra. Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart was 97.

Read the entire Reuters Story here

Cardinal Bertone Presides at Funeral

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 15, 2005 ( Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, John Paul II's special envoy to the funeral of Sister Lucia, recalled the last of the Fatima visionaries as "an exceptional woman, but simple."

The cardinal archbishop of Genoa, Italy, presided over the funeral this afternoon in the cathedral of Coimbra, the Portuguese town where the witness of the 1917 apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima died last Sunday. She was 97.

Portugal officially observed a day of mourning. "All the country's agencies have paused to render homage to the great figure of a 'little shepherdess' who with the 'hidden' strength of prayer and faith was able to touch the hearts of all," said the Vatican's semiofficial newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, remembering the Carmelite nun.

Read the entire Zenit Story here

Pope's Message Read During Funeral of Sister Lucia

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 16, 2005 ( Here is a translation of the message John Paul II sent to the bishop of Coimbra, Portugal, and read Tuesday during the funeral of Sister Lucia, the last witness of the 1917 apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, special papal envoy, presided at the funeral Mass in the cathedral of Coimbra.

To the Venerable Brother
Albino Mamede Cleto
Bishop of Coimbra

With profound emotion I learned thatSister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart, at the age of 97 years, was called by the heavenly Father to the eternal dwelling of heaven. She has thus reached the end to which she always aspired in prayer and in the silence of the convent.

The liturgy has reminded us in these days that death is the common heritage of the children of Adam, but at the same time it has assured us that Jesus, with the sacrifice of the cross, has opened to us the gates of immortal life. We recall these certainties of the faith at the moment we give 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 little Lucia received in Fatima together with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta in 1917, was for her the beginning of a singular mission to which she remained faithful until the end of her days. Sister Lucia leaves us an example of great fidelity to the Lord and of joyful adherence to his divine will.

I remember with emotion the various meetings I had with her and the bonds of spiritual friendship that, with the passing of time, were intensified. I have always felt supported by the daily gift of her prayer, especially in the harsh moments of trial and suffering. May the Lord reward her amply for the great and hidden service she has done to the Church.

I love to think that the one who has received Sister Lucia in the passing from earth to heaven has been precisely She whom she saw in Fatima so many years ago. May the Holy Virgin accompany the soul of this devoted daughter of hers to the happy encounter with the divine Spouse.

To you I entrust, Venerated Brother, the task of expressing to the nuns of the Carmel of Coimbra the certainty of my spiritual closeness, while, for their interior consolation in the moment of separation, I impart an affectionate blessing, which I extend to the families, to you, Venerated Brother, to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, my special envoy, and to all the participants in the sacred rite of suffrage.

Vatican, 14 February 2005

John Paul II

Devotion to Our Lady of Fatima Lives on in Vietnam and Russia

Rome (AsiaNews) – The devotion to Our Lady of Fatima is live and well in Vietnam and Russia. In both countries there are shrines dedicated to her. And in both countries, the past as well as the present are marked by Communist atheism whose end the Virgin predicted when She appeared to the little young shepherds in Portugal in 1917.

In Vietnam there is a “Fatima Centre” in Binh Trieu, 30 km from Saigon; in Russia, the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is in Saint Petersburg.

Read the entire Reuters Story here

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