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Third Fatima seer Sister Lúcia declared a Venerable

The visionaries of Fatima: Lucia dos Santos, right, with her cousins Sts Jacinta and Francisco Marto. (Photo Vatican News)

Pope Francis has declared Sister Lúcia de Jesus Rosa dos Santos, a Servant of God and one of the three seers who have witnessed the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, a Venerable.

The decree was promulgated Thursday after the audience granted to the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, recognizing the Carmelite nun's “heroic virtues.”

According to the decree: “[Her life] is also difficult because much of her suffering was due to [the apparitions]: she was always kept hidden, protected, and guarded. One can see in her all the difficulty of keeping together the exceptionality of the events she was a spectator and the ordinariness of a monastic life like that of Carmel.”

This brings Sister Lúcia one step closer to sainthood. The next stage of the process, beatification, will only move forward once a miracle attributed to her intercession is recognized by the Holy See.

Sister Lúcia was a Portuguese Discalced Carmelite nun, with the religious name Maria Lúcia of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart. In 1917, she was one of the children to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared in Fatima, and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, were declared Catholic saints.

Sister Lúcia became the sole custodian of Our Lady’s message from the apparitions when her cousins died due to the Spanish flu. She transcribed them into four documents between 1935 and 1941 at the instigation of Leiria Bishop José Alves Correia da Silvia.

However, the so-called Third Secret of Fatima document, dated 1944, was sealed and kept in Rome. It was opened for the first time in 1960 and published to the public in 2000 with the approval of St. John Paul II, a Fatima devotee.

Many Catholics in Asia also observe deep devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. The oldest Asian shrine dedicated in her honor is in Karjat, India, which houses a statue from Portugal from 1920, years before the official approval of the Fatima apparitions.

Along with Sister Lúcia, four other Servants of God were declared Venerable on June 22: Sister Mary Lange, Salesian Antônio de Almeida Lustosa, Salesian Antônio de Almeida Lustosa, and Sr Anna Cantalupo, and Vincentian Sister Anna Cantalupo. - Luke Godoy


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