ROME, February 14, 2004 -- Sister Lucy of Fatima, a shepherd girl whose mystic visions have sparked the devotion of millions of Catholics, including Mel Gibson -- and drawn scrutiny from the world's intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the KGB -- has died four weeks short of her 98th birthday in Portugal.
Lucy, 97, was the eldest of three shepherd children who in 1917 -- the same year as the Russian revolution -- saw the Virgin Mary appear in Fatima, Portugal on six occasions: May 13, June 13, July 13, August 19 (because the children were imprisoned by communist authorities on August 13), September 13 and October 13.
The Virgin revealed three "secrets" to the children. The secrets spoke of the great events of the 20th century, and of what God asked men to do in order to avoid terrible chastisements for sin (including, according to some accounts, enormous tsunamis which would takes hundreds of thousands of lives).
The Virgin also performed an astonishing miracle before 70,000 witnesses, many of them atheists and secular journalists, on October 13, 1917, when the sun "danced", spun off multi-colored light, and moved toward the earth.
Lucy died at her Carmelite convent at Coimbra in central Portugal.
"She had been weak for several weeks and had not left her cell," Coimbra Bishop Albino Cleto told the Church's Radio Renascenca. Her funeral will be Tuesday, February 15.
Her death saddens many who had hoped she would live still longer, in order to clarify confusions and controversies regarding the messages she received.
"Fatima is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions," Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone wrote in an official Vatican statement on the visions in 2000. "The first and second parts of the 'secret' refer especially to the frightening vision of hell, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism," he said.
In a May 12 letter to Pope John Paul in 1982, Sister Lucy wrote: "The third part of the secret refers to Our Lady's words: 'If not [consecrated and converted] she (Russia) will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated' (July 13, 1917)... And let us not say that it is God who is punishing us in this way; on the contrary it is people themselves who are preparing their own punishment. In his kindness God warns us and calls us to the right path, while respecting the freedom he has given us; hence people are responsible."
Sunday, February 13, 2005
An Update on Sister Lucia....
This is an excerpt from an Inside the Vatican Newsflash: