Sister Lucy, the confident of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
UNDER this title, we published this summer a biography of the seer of Fatima, who left for Heaven at ninety-seven years of age on February 13, 2005, nine years ago. It is a well-researched biography unlike any that has been published to date.
It is very difficult to gather information on Sr. Lucy because, for sixty years the Church authorities of Fatima, Coimbra and Rome have kept the main archive collections sealed. They contain important and hitherto unpublished writings of Our Lady’s messenger.
Nevertheless, at the request of our Father, Georges de Nantes, Brother Francis of Mary of the Angels has worked for more than twenty years to clarify the obscure and controversial events of Sr. Lucy’s life. On many occasions, he took his investigation to Portugal, questioning privileged witnesses: Sr. Lucy’s relatives, regular visitors, friends and interpreters. He spoke to her Dorothean and Carmelite sisters, and questioned her confessors and superiors, Carmelite fathers or bishops.
Furthermore, doors providentially half-opened. A Portuguese Jesuit, the late Fr. Antonio Maria Martins, a devotee of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but scorned by his progressivist confreres, had researched, gathered and classified numerous testimonies concerning Sr. Lucy as well as three thousands of her letters. Brother Francis gained access to this hitherto unpublished documentation.
LUCY’S MISSION: TO MAKE THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY KNOWN AND LOVED
It was on June 13, 1917, during the second apparition of Our Lady at the Cova da Iria that the ten-year-old Lucy dos Santos, received from the Blessed Virgin the mission ‘to make known and loved Her Immaculate Heart,’ namely, Immaculate Mary’s thoughts, loves and sorrows, but also the decisive role that She has to play in our time, in the time of the Great Apostasy, because it is She, and She alone Who will defeat Satan and crush his head: “ In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. ”
When Sr. Lucy was heeded, when she succeeded in propagating devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as was the case in Portugal, at least to a certain extent, extraordinary, miraculous fruits were borne: the revolution was thwarted, Christendom was reborn through the social reign of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Right from the first page of this book, we are gripped by the tragedy that Portugal experienced at the beginning of the twentieth century: the assassination of its king, Carlos I, and of the crown prince. Two years later, in 1910, the Republic was proclaimed in Lisbon.
The revolutionaries destroyed the ancient order by establishing the Separation of Church and State Law with the purpose of subjugating the Catholic Church to their ungodly power.
In 1910, Lucy was three years old, and these tragic events were spoken about at home: “I remember having heard my mother lamenting the death of the king and the prince and, in the evening, when our father gave thanks after the meal, she would suggest reciting an Our Father for their eternal rest.”
“If it happened that people invited to our place spoke about these subjects, our mother used to say ‘the rich are like roosters: they all want to be on the perch to command, so they end up killing one another.’”
The republicans did in fact kill one another. After having been excluded from the government, the Freemasons of Afonso Costa’s Democratic Party seized power once again during the bloody revolution of May 14, 1915.
Two years later, however, from May to October 1917, the apparitions of Fatima raised the counter-revolution banner in the country: peasants of Fatima, of the surrounding area and even from faraway provinces followed Lucy, Jacinta and Francisco to the Cova da Iria, on 13th of each month to recite the Rosary with them and sing hymns there before and after the conversation of the little shepherds with the Apparition.
Such religious gatherings in public, outside of parish churches were prohibited by the Separation of Church and State Law.
Our Lady, however, wants to rid Christian nations, starting with Portugal, of secularism, and restore in them a Catholic order. To do this, She chose three predestined children as instruments and entrusted them with a Secret.
IMPOSSIBLE TO CATCH THEM LYING!
Their simplicity and their virtue touched hearts and indisputably bore witness to the veracity of the apparitions. The young lawyer Carlos Mendes, who had come to Aljustrel with the idea of revealing a hoax, related:
“I questioned them separately. Being a lawyer and Doctor of Law, I proceeded as a public prosecutor would.
“Yet it was impossible to catch them lying! All three of them said the same thing without the slightest misrepresentation.”
He went with them to the Cova da Iria: “The little shepherds kneel down. Lucy begins the Rosary. Her recollection and great fervour overawe us. What devotion! I had never recited the Rosary with such concentration.”
On September 13, 1917, the persons who were observing Lucy noticed her disinterestedness. Shortly after the apparition, “a Spaniard offered her a small, valueless medal of white metal, which she first refused, believing that it was a silver coin.”
A pilgrim wrote: “The little girl is poor but, in spite of it, she accepts nothing when people want to give her money. We see full well that the Apparition is not an imposture.”
Even more than the perceptible signs of the Apparition’s presence, it was Her conversations with the seers that made an impression on Fr. Joel de Deus Magno: “The angelical simplicity and the absolute indifference that they show, cannot deceive.”
The Freemasons tried every possible means to make the three little shepherds retract: threats of the Administrator, imprisonment, interrogations during which he “used all of the tricks of the police trade against them,” but Lucy, supported and encouraged by Jacinta and Francisco, remained steadfast!
As early as August 1917, the Freemason, Tomas da Fonseca, attacked Fatima in a virulent speech before the Senate in Lisbon with the purpose of strengthening the persecuting measures against the Church. Satan was unleashed.
In Aljustrel itself, despite his failure in mid-August, the Administrator sent three henchmen to threaten the little shepherds once again. “After having questioned us in a very unpleasant manner,” Lucy related, “they left declaring: ‘Make up your mind to tell the Secret, or else the Administrator is ready to finish you off.’
“Rumour had it that he indeed wanted to kill us. One of my aunts, married to a man living in Casais, came to our place with the intention of taking us to her home. We, however, did not want to go there, and we replied to her: ‘If they kill us, what does it matter, we will go to Heaven!’”
The account of the apparitions of 1917 is rather new in this biography, because Brother Francis quotes a report written by Lucy, but only recently published, which reveals her inner life, for example her “ indescribable joy” during the first apparition of May 13.
Invited by Our Lady on that day to offer herself as a victim, Lucy renewed her ‘yes,’ that is to say the offering of her sufferings, all the days of her life. It is very moving to discover it on almost every page of this book.
Lucy was the ‘official’ witness of the apparitions, since Jacinta and Francisco preferred that she be the one to speak. To bear witness, however, made her a victim.
The continual visits of pious pilgrims, of inconsiderate, inquisitive persons, of fanatical adversaries, and the countless interrogations to which she was subjected, exhausted her.
On October 13, 1917, after the miracle of the sun, she was questioned by very numerous visitors. “ Some still wanted to speak to me in the evening. Overcome by sleep, however, I dropped to the floor to sleep.” Some people waited all night. “ The next day, the interrogations continued, or rather the following days for, almost every day since then various people came to implore the protection of the Mother of Heaven at the Cova da Iria and they all wanted to see the seers, to ask them their questions and say the Rosary with them.”
The parish priest of Fatima used to say that if he had been martyred in this way by so many questions, he would have gone mad.
“Sometimes,” wrote Sr. Lucy, “I felt so tired of always repeating the same things to the visitors and of praying with them, that I would seek a pretext for asking to be excused and to slip away. These poor people, however, insisted so much that I had to make an effort, which was not small, in order to satisfy them. I would then repeat my customary prayer from the bottom of my heart: ‘It is for love of you, my God, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the conversion of poor sinners and for the Holy Father.’”
It was Our Lady in Person Who taught her this prayer on July 13, 1917. Lucy, very impressed by the visions of the Third Secret, added to Our Lady’s words: “… and for the Holy Father,” seen as “ the bishop dressed in White,” the portrait of Pope Francis a hundred years in advance!
It was the apparitions of 1917 and the graces received during these heavenly revelations that inspired and governed Lucy’s entire mystical and penitent life.
THE ROUT OF THE FREEMASONS.
The Freemasons, who were all-powerful in Portugal, were unable to oppose anything to her testimony or to the spontaneous development of the pilgrimage. It was in vain that they called in the army, for example on May 13, 1920.
On that day the Administrator mobilised a cavalry detachment to prevent people from going to the Cova da Iria. As for Lucy, she was arrested by two soldiers who “ordered me to walk between their two horses,” she related.
“When we reached a plot of ground that lies on the outskirts of Aljustrel, they saw some holes that had been dug to plant trees and they said to one another: ‘Here are some empty holes. Let’s cut off her head with one of our swords, and leave her buried here. Then we’ll be finished with this business once and for all.”
“When I heard these words, I thought that my last moment had really come, but I remained at peace as though it did not concern me at all.
“After a minute during which the other one seemed to be thinking it over, he replied: ‘No, we have no authority to do that.’”
They took her home.
“Late in the afternoon, news went round that the troops had withdrawn, defeated by the people, and I went to say the Rosary in the Cova da Iria, accompanied by hundreds of people.”
The counter-revolution was most certainly underway.
Nevertheless, Lucy, having been placed at the head of the pilgrimage in spite of herself, was put in a situation that was perilous for her soul.
RECLUSE AT THE ASILO DE VILAR BOARDING SCHOOL:
“ SOME EXTRAORDINARY RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR LADY...”
Bishop da Silva of Fatima was concerned about it. He was aware of the unfortunate path followed by Mélanie, the seer of La Salette, who went from one act of disobedience to the next. He took all the necessary measures to prevent Lucy from being adulated as Mélanie had been.
He obliged her to leave Fatima at fourteen years of age in order to live incognito, under the name of Maria das Dores, at the Asilo de Vilar Boarding School, near Porto, where she edified her mistresses and her schoolmates, as the moving and hitherto unpublished testimony quoted by Brother Francis shows.
“To see her in chapel was like seeing an angel! Her devout and respectful attitude was an example to everyone. With her hands folded and her gaze fixed on the tabernacle and the beautiful statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, she remained motionless for a long while as though in ecstasy.”
As for her superior, Mother Magalhaes, she wrote: “Very often, sisters came to tell me that Lucy had some extraordinary relationship with Our Lady, for when she spoke about Her, she was always different from other people; and it was clearly evident that she had an extraordinary love for the Most Blessed Virgin.”
Lucy also distinguished herself by her courage: she feared nothing.
One day, while out for a walk, the boarders “met a group of street girls who began to make fun of their uniforms. One of them was even bolder and began to throw stones at them. The seer immediately left her classmates, walked courageously towards the hostile group that began to scatter, and found herself face to face with the wretched girl full of hatred who still had a few stones in her hands. Maria das Dores said a few words that the culprit alone heard. She lowered her eyes and her head, dropped the stones and, silently went away in shame!”
The child underwent a conversion: “Some time later, she entered the Asilo boarding school where she distinguished herself by the great esteem and respect that she showed towards Maria das Dores.”
During her long life, Lucy obtained countless conversions and miraculous healings through the almighty intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
A “ PEARL” TO BE KEPT HIDDEN.
With all her heart, Sr. Lucy wanted to respond to her Carmelite vocation, which had been bestowed upon her during the apparition of October 13, 1917 when Our Lady presented Herself dressed in the habit of the Carmel, with a scapular in her hand. Since the Carmelites had been expelled from Portugal by the revolution of 1910, she was considering going to France with the intention of entering the Carmel of Lisieux, the carmel of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus.
Bishop da Silva, however, a benefactor of the Sisters of St. Dorothy, obliged her to enter this congregation. Faithful to the “ rule of life” that she had adopted on the advice of this bishop, namely obedience, Lucy submitted.
The provincial superior of the Portuguese Dorothean Sisters, Mother Monfalim, from a great aristocratic family, who had been blessed and encouraged by St. Pius X in 1910, had as her devotions: the Sacred Heart and the revelations of Paray-le-Monial, Our Lady of Lourdes, the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. This holy sister took care of Lucy’s training with great wisdom.
“ My desire,” she wrote to Bishop da Silva, “ is to keep this little pearl that Our Lord has entrusted to us for Him alone, and it seems to me that Sr. Lucy’s duty now consists in sanctifying herself here, in this hidden and forgotten life, which is that of a coadjutress sister (lay sister.) She is very good and desires to be a saint.”
Mother Monfalim became alarmed when a photograph of the young novice was published in Catholic newspapers: “ Now, there is nothing to be done other than to keep her more and more secluded, and may she never again be spoken about in public! Let us wait until she has become a saint; that will be the time to show her photograph.”
In fact, Bishop da Silva thought that her mission was over. He wrote: “ Lucy was an instrument that Providence used. She fulfilled her role, she has nothing more to do other than to sacrifice herself by striving to correspond to the abundant graces that Our Lady granted to her.”
The bishop had no idea of the divine mission that she still had the responsibility of carrying out, a mission that concerned the universal Church, linked to the great Secret of July 13, 1917.
TO SAVE SOULS FROM HELL…
This Secret first revealed the threat that hangs over souls: “ You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. ”
Sr. Lucy always bore witness, whenever she had permission to do so, to the terrifying vision of July 13, 1917, thus to the existence of Hell that she saw on that day with her very eyes.
“The three little children had this vision,” our Father wrote, “‘as a lesson for us’” (Letter to My Friends no. 247, June 5, 1967, p. 3).
To a young man tempted to abandon his seminary, the seer wrote: “ Do not be surprised if I talk to you so much about Hell. It is a truth that it is necessary to recall frequently at the present time, because people forget it: souls fall into Hell as though into a whirlpool.”
To reveal it, to recall it, come hell or high water, was truly her mission since this truth was going to become more and more ignored, and even denied in the Church during the 20th century.
She informed another seminarian that there are “ millions and millions of souls” who endure the atrocious torments of the damned for all eternity.
From his conversation with Lucy on July 11, 1977, Cardinal Luciani, the future John Paul I, drew this certitude: “Hell exists and we can fall into it.”
Sr. Lucy always showed this haunting concern, even on the occasion of her last trips out of the Carmel for medical examinations in the years after 2000. When passing by people in the street or the hospital, she would say to her lady doctor: “ Ah! If only these people worried about the salvation of their souls, that would be very worthwhile, for they forget what awaits them forever, what their eternity will be.”
… THROUGH SACRIFICES.
Consequently, Sr. Lucy practiced harsh corporal penances with extraordinary zeal. Her superiors had to moderate her.
If she mortified herself so severely, it was due to the fact that her mind remained deeply marked by the maternal warning of August 19, 1917: “ Pray, pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to Hell because there is no one to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them. ”
This thought never left her and as early as the summer of 1917, it impelled her to offer, with Francisco and Jacinta, sacrifices that made them suffer horribly: to wear a rope at the waist, to deny themselves water despite the torrid heat and to scourge themselves with stinging nettles.
In the following month, on September 13, 1917, Our Lady told her: “ God is satisfied with your sacrifices. ” What encouragement to continue!
Moreover, the warning of August 19 was repeated several times to her, for example during the apparitions of Our Lady on August 26, 1923 and during the theophany of Tuy in 1929.
In April 1941, her spiritual director wrote down the penances that she was doing “despite her poor health, her weakness and her fasting:
“Cross with points, day and night.
“Knotted rope around the waist, three entire days per week.
“Rise every night, dressed in the holy habit, and prostrate in order to recite the prayers of the Angel.
“Scourge twice weekly, for the duration of the recitation of the psalm Miserere.
“Hair shirt, twice weekly for two hours.”
Of course, not everyone is able or required to practice such mortifications. Sr. Lucy’s special vocation, however, shows us the value of sacrifices for saving souls from the fire of Hell. We can associate with her mortifications, the sacrifices that our duty of state and our obedience to the demands of the Blessed Virgin impose on us.
THROUGH THE MEDIATION OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY.
“ To save them (to save souls from the fire of Hell), God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart,” the Blessed Virgin said in Her great Secret of July 13, 1917.
What does this devotion entail?
Lucy learned this in Pontevedra in 1925. Our Lady appeared to the young postulant, with Her Immaculate Heart encircled with thorns: “ You, at least, try to console Me. ” Our Lady asked her to propagate a new devotional exercise: the reparatory Communion of the five First Saturdays of the month.
Her superior, Mother Magalhaes, who was aware of her virtue, was convinced of the supernatural character of these revelations, but alas, Bishop da Silva refused to approve the new devotion! Lucy’s sorrow was immense: “ It was a very painful blow for me.”
The lack of understanding and the contradictions that the messenger of the Immaculate encountered, the rejection of her requests – which were those of Our Lady! – by Church authorities were the martyrdom of her life, a martyrdom that lasted eighty years, that is, until her death. It is with intense emotion that we discover this when reading this book. At the same time, we see decisive proof of the truth of her testimony, on which we cannot cast doubt without bad faith.
“The Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary,” wrote Lucy, “love and desire this devotion, because They use it to attract souls to Themselves, and that is all They desire: to save souls, many souls, all souls, salvar almas, muitas almas, todas as almas.”
A WORLD EVENT.
The future of Christianity also depended on the prophetic Secret of July 13, 1917, since it revealed a vast providential plan for establishing the universal reign of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, conditioned by the precise demand of the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, by the Pope and all the bishops of the world in communion with him.
CONCERN FOR RUSSIA.
Our Father commented on this “astounding entrance of Russia into God’s affairs. Thereafter, Russia is at the centre of this conditional Covenant of Jesus-God with the world that He wants to save. This demand, like that of the Communion of reparation of the First Saturdays, is intended for the glory, the consolation, the praise and love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary established throughout the whole world.” (CCR no. 245, January 1992, p. 3)
The word Russia, in the Secret of July 13, 1917, had intrigued the three little shepherds.
“I had only heard about Galicians and the Spanish,” Lucy explained. “I did not know the name of any other nation. Yet all that we understood during the apparitions of Our Lady remained so engraved on our memories that we never forgot it. That is why I know, and with certainty, that Our Lady spoke expressly about Russia in July 1917.”
“I supposed that perhaps Russia was an evil woman whom Our Lady wanted to convert and it is with this thought in mind that for a long time we offered our prayers and our sacrifices to God for the conversion of ‘Russia’.”
After the theophany of Tuy on June 13, 1929, the “ errors of Russia ” spread throughout Spain with the abdication of the King and the proclamation of the Republic, followed by Communist terrorism. Sister Lucy understood the meaning of Our Lady’s prophecies concerning Russia.
As for her Jesuit spiritual directors, they grasped its importance for the peace in the world.
Fr. Gonçalves, taking the demand for the consecration of Russia to heart, succeeded in communicating it to Pope Pius XI twice, then in 1940 to Pius XII; alas without any result!
Another of her directors, Fr. Aparicio, noted: “ The way in which Sr. Lucy asserts and forecasts events impressed me. She has no doubts, and she speaks categorically like someone who sees future events. I even think that Our Lady made them known to her.” (August 10, 1938)
These holy Portuguese Jesuits, very perspicacious in the work of discerning spirits, were absolutely convinced of the truth of the revelations of Fatima, Pontevedra and Tuy.
A VOW OF PERFECTION.
Sr. Lucy built up a close spiritual friendship with Fr. Gonçalves. She related to him the interior struggles she waged in order to practice her vow of perfection, which he made following her example and in union with her. “God,” she wrote to him, “does not only require of me in a general manner a disposition of the soul to embrace whatever is the most perfect, as St. Theresa describes it. He demands it of me every instant, every moment. Consequently, within me, I need love to dominate nature completely. I, however, entirely abandon myself to the action of grace in my soul and to the protection of the Immaculate Heart of my dearest Mother of Heaven. It is my hope that She will help me.”
When Fr. Gonçalves left on mission for Mozambique in 1941, it was a awful trial for the seer who found herself “alone”: “ I suffer so very much from your absence!!”
Her need to open her soul to a spiritual director and to obey him punctually once again shows, if necessary that Sr. Lucy was led by God’s Spirit.
Overcoming her sorrow, it was she who comforted the missionary: “You are consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the Heart of our good heavenly Mother! Count on this maternal Heart which, in Heaven, beats with love for Her children who love Her on earth. In times of the greatest need, tribulation and abandonment, this Heart of a Mother watches over your Reverence, it accompanies you and comes to your assistance.
“I am happy that you did what you had advised me to do: the vow. It is an additional bond of union for Heaven.”
Her correspondence with these Jesuit Fathers reveal the depth of her mystical life, “ in God,” and her missionary zeal: “I would like to console more and ever more the two objects of my love, the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. I would give anything to commit the hearts of all men to Them!”
DIVINE INSIGHTS CONCERNING SALAZAR.
While the Popes remained deaf to the demands of Our Lady, the fervour and docility of the Portuguese bore extraordinary fruits.
Recourse to the Virgin Mary, to Her Mediation through the recitation of the Rosary, the development of the pilgrimage of Fatima, the consecration of their nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1931, provoked a marvellous Catholic renaissance together with a vigorous political restoration.
In fact, after the military coup d’état of 1926, Dr. Antonio de Oliveira Salazar was appointed Minister of Finance in 1928, then Prime Minister in 1932. Under his government, the country was freed from secularism for forty years and was able to enjoy “ the happy concert” practiced by civil and Church authorities.
Thus the Immaculate had triumphed over Satan in the Land of Holy Mary.
In 1945, however, after the victory of the ‘Crusade of Democracies’ against Nazi Germany, Portugal was seriously threatened by an international conspiracy: the Allies demanded the transformation of his corporatist regime into a liberal democracy. Further, within the country, Christian Democrats, steeped in the theories of Jacques Maritain, publicly rebelled.
President Salazar was considering resigning… Nevertheless, he attempted to forestall his adversaries by pronouncing the dissolution of the National Assembly in order to force an early election that was set for November 18, 1945.
In these dramatic circumstances, Sr. Lucy wrote to the Bishop of Leiria on November 7, 1945:
“ The good God wants Our Lord Bishops, during the few days that remain before the elections, to speak to the people, through the clergy and the press, to say that Salazar is the person whom He has chosen to continue governing our country, that it is to him whom the insights and grace to lead our people on the roads of peace and prosperity will be granted.
“ It must be made clear to our people that the privations and sufferings of these last few years were not caused by some error on Salazar’s part, but they were trials sent by God because of our sins.”
Cardinal Cerejeira informed Salazar of this message and he was greatly comforted by it: the revelations that Sr. Lucy received reassured him of the legitimacy of his action.
Fifteen years later, during the presidential elections of 1958, General Humberto Delgado rallied all sorts of opponents of the regime: monarchists, liberals and progressivist Christians. He, however, only obtained 24 % of the votes.
“ These were days of great anxiety during which every minute was too short for praying, and God took pity on us,” Sr. Lucy rejoiced.
“ You cannot imagine how I suffered for our very worthy Salazar from the ingratitude of so many people who refuse to recognise all that we owe to him! I am confident that Our Lady will protect and defend him for the good of the nation and of Holy Church. We pray much here for his Excellency.”
In 1961, Sr. Lucy was informed about the conspiracy of General Botelho, a sort of Portuguese de Gaulle, who wanted to seize power and abandon the overseas provinces to the Communist terrorists. She then denounced the sin of “treason”:
“ Our duty at the present moment it to avoid all kinds of sins by grouping ourselves around those who bear on their shoulders the weight of government in order to help in the struggle until we obtain victory. It is not the moment to waste time on things of lesser importance. What is important at the present time is to acquire strength through unity, whatever it costs, for God and the fatherland.”
The president was in no way blameworthy: “ For the moment, Salazar is the man chosen by Divine Providence, and a white hair of his head is worth more than all these greenhorns without experience who are growing restless in the streets there.” Sr. Lucy was referring in this way to a demonstration of opponents to the government’s colonial policy.
She continued: “ We must thank God for the grace that He grants us by giving us rulers of such great value, and we must be grateful to them for accomplishing so much work and self-sacrifice for the common good of the nation on which depends the individual good of each of us.”
To her nephew, Fr. Manuel Pereira, a Jesuit missionary in Mozambique, Sr. Lucy recommended a pastoral programme that runs counter to progressivist theories: to continue his apostolic work in happy concert with the Portuguese civil authorities. On April 13, 1974, she wrote to him:
“ I am very happy to receive news from you, for I always fear that you are letting yourself be carried away by the wave of disorientation that holds sway everywhere and, it seems to me, to a greater degree over there [that is, in Mozambique].
“ You do well to work in conjunction with the [Portuguese] civil authorities. They are, thanks to God, good, well-intentioned and deserve our help and support.”
In the 1990s, when the former rector of the shrine of Fatima, Mgsr. Luciano Guerra, a Christian Democrat, became acquainted with these letters of Lucy, he declared: “We will never publish them.”
Well, as for us, we are going to publish them!
A CARMELITE NUN: TOTAL IMMOLATION.
When Sr. Lucy entered the Carmel of Coimbra on March 25, 1948, she adapted so well to her new life, a crucified life, that the Carmelites said about her: “ You would think that she was born in the Carmel.”
The letters that she wrote at that time to her friends form a veritable treatise on religious life:
“I found a small group of charming sisters here. Every time that I meet them, I have the impression of meeting the little St. Thérèse.
“In this day and age, many desire to appear in public to preach and few want to bury themselves in silence, in a poor and obscure life, in humility, disregarding themselves and creatures in order to live for God alone, in prayer and self-sacrifice; yet this is what we need the most to reach Heaven.”
Thus she disapproved of a certain ‘activism’ that had already been spread throughout the Church under the influence of specialised Catholic Action.
“I very firmly feel that this was where God wanted me many years ago, from the beginning,” she confided to Fr. Aparicio. “If He allowed me to be guided along other paths, perhaps it was to make my immolation more complete, even to the point of having to renounce my poor heart’s most inner and legitimate aspirations.” The doors of the Carmel opened “when He saw that it was totally crushed, even its innermost fibres.”
HER HARROWED FACE.
Since the time of the theophany of Tuy, Lucy wanted to speak to the Holy Father. Her Confirmation sponsor, Filomena Miranda, wrote to Bishop da Silva in 1930: “Sr. Lucy spoke to me again telling me to go to Rome this summer. I told her that I offer to pay for the trip so that she may speak to the Holy Father! Then she said to me: ‘Ah! I would give anything for that!’”
In 1946, everything seemed ready for her to go at last to Rome. Sr. Lucy was delighted about it: she thought that if she spoke to Pius XII about the consecration of Russia, she would succeed in convincing him to perform it with all the bishops of the world.
Alas! Not only was her trip postponed sine die, but she was reduced to silence from 1955 onwards.
Thereafter, the sadness of Sr. Lucy reflected that of Her Most Holy Mother. This can be seen on certain photographs, for example, the one on which she can be seen standing before the entrance of the chapel of the apparitions in Fatima.
In 1957, she said to Fr. Fuentes: “ The Most Holy Virgin is very sad because no one attaches any importance to Her message. ”
Sometimes Sr. Lucy’s face even looks harrowed. Such photographs, however, are not to be found on the official website of the Fatima shrine, of course! Her face reveals to us on such occasions her wounded heart: Sr. Lucy bore in her soul all the humiliations and the immense sorrows of the Immaculate Heart of our Mother Whose wills were contradicted by the ministers of Her Divine Son (cf. CRC no. 356, April 1999, p. 32)
This did not prevent her from heroically showing joy and cheerfulness on photographs taken in Valinhos in 1946 and at the Carmel of Fatima on May 13, 1991, when she was terribly distressed.
Our Father used to say: “It suffices to look at Sr. Lucy and to follow her in her tribulations to see the holiness of the Church shine.” ( March 4, 2001)
THE MESSAGE… CENSORED!
Ever since the theophany of Tuy, Lucy wished to speak to the Holy Father. Well, she had to wait more than thirty-five years to be able to do so! In fact, for his trip to Fatima on May 13, 1967, Pope Paul VI asked her to leave the Carmel to join him on the stand in front of the basilica.
Kneeling before him, she begged him to grant her a one-to-one meeting with him. The Pope refused to grant it to her. He did not want to listen to her, while war was going to break out in the Middle East, with the ‘Six-Day War,’ and she brought to him the means for obtaining the divine gift of peace for the world. Such is the case today!
Dismissed by Paul VI, Sr. Lucy did not become discouraged. She was never discouraged because the ‘Immaculate Heart of Mary remained her refuge,’ as Our Lady had promised to her on June 13, 1917.
A few days later, she wrote to a friend: “We cannot rest until we have succeeded in snatching the grace of peace from God’s Heart through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
Having complained to Paul VI about being reduced to silence, about no longer having permission to answer questions that she was asked about the revelations of Fatima, the Pope suggested to her that she reply by a single, long letter. This is what she did. She finished this ‘long letter’ on March 25, 1974. Then her manuscript laid dormant for many years in a desk drawer of the Bishop of Fatima.
It would only be published twenty-five years later in the year 2000, with the date of March 25, 1997 (!) indicated on its last page, as though Sr. Lucy had finished it in that year, three years before its publication.
In the meanwhile, her text had been revised and corrected in Rome.
In a literal commentary on this book that I published in a series of articles entitled Light in the Night, I suspected this censoring due to several facts that were confirmed by a comparison made with the original manuscript of Sr. Lucy kept in Rome.
Sr. Lucy had entitled her work: The Transmission of the Message of Our Lady to the Pilgrims of Fatima. The Roman censor, a Carmelite priest, Fr. Castellano, substituted for it: The Calls of the Message of Fatima.
By replacing ‘message of Our Lady’ with ‘message of Fatima,’ Fr. Castellano eliminated the living Person Who said: “ I am from Heaven,” and Who came “ from Heaven ” to earth to speak to the little shepherds six times!
Further, calls was substituted for transmission. This suppression of the word transmission in the title of the book is not fortuitous. In the two-page introduction, Fr. Castellano struck it out the three times it occurred.
The word ‘transmit’ means ‘to cause to be conveyed to another person.’ In fact, Sr. Lucy always confined herself to repeating what she had heard another person say, a living Person, the Immaculate Virgin Mary, present before her in Her glorious Body, during the apparitions. Lucy reported verbatim a message that was not a creation of her mind. She was only an intermediary.
Wherever Sr. Lucy wrote : I am going to transmit the message of Our Lady to you, we can read: I am going to explain the calls of the message to you.
The words ‘calls, communication, and explain,’ let it be insinuated that this ‘message’ came from Sr. Lucy’s mind, as though it were no more than the product of her inner experience.
This is the interpretation that Cardinal Ratzinger developed in his Theological Commentary on the Secret:
“The visions of the children of Fatima should not be thought of as if for a moment the veil of the other world were drawn back, with Heaven appearing in its pure essence.
“The subject shares in an essential way in the formation of the image of what appears.” To put it plainly: Lucy invented the visions and the message!
When evoking the Annunciation, she wrote: “ When, by order of the Father, the Angel descended from Heaven to come to announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word…”
The corrector struck out descended from Heaven, and he wrote: “ When, at the Annunciation, the Angel addressed to Mary these words…”
Further on in her text, the Carmelite recalled the infidelity and idolatry of the Hebrews when Moses was on Mount Sinai, and she continued: “ God was filled with indignation and wanted to punish them.”
The corrector deleted and wanted to punish them.
Concerning one of St. John’s visions, Sr. Lucy wrote: “ In the Apocalypse, St. John tells us that he saw in Heaven an Angel who had good news to announce to the inhabitants of the earth.”
Vision and Heaven are deleted in the published version: “ In the Apocalypse, St. John tells us that an Angel…”
Commenting on the words of Jesus to Nicodemus, Sr. Lucy wrote: “ Jesus Christ tells us here the grounds for our hope.”
In the published version, we read: “ The sacred text tells us here…”
According to the Roman censor, the writer of the fourth Gospel is not the reporter of Jesus’ words.
In a meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary, Sr. Lucy insisted on the historical character of Jesus’ resurrection, which was confirmed by witnesses. Fr. Castellano interpolated this sentence that St. Pius X would have condemned as being typically Modernist: “ The Gospels arose from the account of witnesses, an account that they had related when they founded and visited the Christian communities, and which, after their departure had been kept in the memory of the community where the Evangelist recorded it, naturally with the details that he found there.”
The truth is that the evangelists Matthew and John were eyewitnesses of the events that they reported. Mark was the secretary of Pierre, a key witness, and Luke the investigator and accurate reporter of the accounts of living witnesses.
When Sr. Lucy wrote in the last Call, that Heaven is a place, the corrector put ‘place’ in inverted commas. Furthermore, in her Call to eternal life, she explicitly said that Heaven and Hell are “ places,” the corrector simply crossed out the word places.
The messenger of the Immaculate, however, dispelled this darkness when she recalled that two Persons are already to be found in Heaven in Their body and soul: “ Jesus Christ and Mary Most Holy, His Mother and our Mother. ” Thus, “Their mutual presence,” Fr. de Nantes pointed out, “forms a space, inaugurates a place that we call Heaven or Paradise, the blessed abode of the elect.”
This is “ the dogma of faith ” kept in the soul of the seer: Heaven is a place, and it is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that will obtain for us the grace of reaching it.
I was surprised to find in Lucy’s text a long quotation of Paul VI’s apostolic exhortation ‘Marialis cultus,’ of February 2, 1974, which contradicted what Sr. Lucy had stated a few lines above on the liturgical character of the Rosary. Thus, I wrote: “Sr. Lucy surely did not quote this passage of her own accord.”
Brother Francis, who studied the manuscript noted: “She did not quote it at all!” Fr. Castellano interpolated it as he had done for the quotation of John Paul II, of October 29, 1978. It would be vain to search for it in a text, the composition of which had been completed four years earlier on March 25, 1974!
In short, it is indispensable to read this very demonstrative chapter on the Calls of the Message. It absolutely confirms that Sr. Lucy’s book was falsified with the aim of effacing the specific elements of the message of Our Lady of Fatima. As I have written, this falsification accuses the incredulity of the superiors, bishops and popes whose duty it was, and still is, to make the Secret known, to recommend the practicing of the First Saturday devotion, and to consecrate Russia. Sr. Lucy’s heroic obedience accuses their disobedience. Conversely, it establishes the charism of defending, explaining and propagating devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that God granted to our blessed Father, who was the theologian of the message and the seer’s heir, as this book abundantly shows. Our Father heard the Immaculate’s messenger; he listened to her and understood her. He became her tireless spokesman. For Sr. Lucy said repeatedly: “ It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary. ”
One day, the Holy Father will embrace the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and satisfy all the demands of Our Lady by carrying out exactly what She commanded, and for the sole reason that She wills it to be so. It is for this intention that we will once again pray from the bottom of our hearts our Petition to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.
Brother Bruno of Jesus-Mary.