On January 12, 2017, the diocese of Coimbra announced the conclusion of the diocesan phase of the path towards canonization of Sister Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart (1907–2005), one of the three seers of Fatima.
The solemn closing session of the diocesan aspect of the process of the beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Lucia de Jesus took place on February 13, in the Carmel of St. Teresa in Coimbra where she entered in 1948 and was recalled to God on February 13, 2005. “The diocesan inquiry compiled all of Sister Lucia’s writings and the statements of 60 witnesses agreeing on her reputation of holiness and her heroic virtues.”
After the closing session the file was passed on to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome, which will continue the process in accordance with the requirements of the Church. The 15,483 pages of documents from the diocesan phase of Sister Lucia de Jesus’s beatification arrived in Rome in 19 crates, according to the Religious News Service attached to the Italian bishops’ conference. Fr. Romano Gambalunga, a Carmelite and the postulator of the cause, called for patience and prudence: the process takes time, he explained to Agencia Ecclesia, the news service of the Portuguese bishops’ conference, and nothing must be “rushed into”; rather, time to gain a “more profound understanding” of Sister Lucia’s life must be taken.
The Proceedings Begin
Three years after Sister Lucia’s death, a decree of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints published on February 13, 2008, opened the proceedings:
The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, benevolently accepting a request presented by Bishop Albino Mamede Cleto of Coimbra and shared by many bishops and faithful throughout the world, has waived the five-year waiting period established by canonical norms (art. 9 of Normae sevandae) and granted that, just three years after the death of Sister Lucia (known to the world as one of the three seers of Fatima), the diocesan stage of the cause for her beatification may begin.”
A Saint’s Life
Lucia Dos Santos was born on March 28, 1907, in Aljustrel, Portugal. At the age of ten, together with her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, aged seven and nine respectively, she saw, from May 13 to October 13, 1917, six apparitions of Our Lady. Francisco died in 1919 and Jacinta in 1920, the year the apparitions were recognized officially by the Church. After these apparitions and other personal visions of Our Lady, in 1923 and 1929, Lucia entered a convent in Tuy, Spain aged 18. She then joined the Carmelites in Coimbra in 1948. Sister Lucia recorded the apparitions and the words of Our Lady of Fatima in four consecutive volumes: one in 1935 (on the life and virtues of her cousin Jacinta), one in 1937 (on the story of her own life and the apparitions), another in August 1941 (on specific aspects of Jacinta’s life), and the last in December of the same year (clarifying some points about the apparitions of 1917).
Sources: cath.ch – Zenit – DICI no. 351, 17/03/17