Skip to comments.Papal praise at Sister Lucia's funeral
Posted on 02/15/2005 6:02:11 PM PST by nickcarraway
Fatima, Feb. 15 (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II paid homage to the late Sister Lucia, and recalled his meetings with the Fatima seer, in a letter to Bishop Albinao Cleto of Coimbra, Portugal, where the Carmelite nun died on Sunday.
Bishop Cleto made the Pope's message public on February 15, as he presided at a funeral Mass for Sister Lucia. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of Genoa attended the funeral as the Pope's representative.
In his letter, the Pope said that he could "recall with emotion the different meetings that I had with Sister Lucia," adding that he felt a special spiritual bond with the nun "that intensified with time." The Pope said that he always felt the support of the Portuguese nun's prayers, "especially in moments of trial and of suffering." The Pope prayed that "the Lord will reward her generously for the great service she rendered to the Church."
Pope John Paul remarked that the appearance of the Virgin Mary to Sister Lucia, along with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta, "was for her the beginning of a singular mission to which she remained faithful through the end of her days." He said that Sister Lucia "gave us an example of great fidelity to the Lord and joyful adherence to his divine will."
Sister Lucia, the last survivor among the three young children to whom the Virgin appeared at Fatima, died in her Carmelite convent at Coimbra on February 13 after a long illness, at the age of 97. She had lived in the same cloistered community near Fatima since 1948. She had entered religious life at the age of 18, after having seen the Virgin Mary appear 6 times at Fatima, along with her cousins, in 1913, and subsequently experienced personal visions in 1923 and 1929.
Pope John Paul II met with Sister Lucia on three separate occasions. In 1982, he made a pilgrimage to Fatima in thanksgiving for his survival of an assassination attempt one year earlier (the Pope has always attributed his survival to the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima); he spoke with Sister Lucia there for the first time during that visit. In 1991, on the 10th anniversary of the shooting in St. Peter's Square, he again visited Fatima and spoke to the seer. And in 2000 he again met with Sister Lucia during the trip on which he beatified her cousins Jacinta and Francisco.
Cardinal Bertone, the Pope's representative at the funeral ceremony, also met with Sister Lucia on one notable occasion. As an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in 2000 he met with her to confirm that the famous "third secret" of Fatima had been accurately related, after the Pope ordered the publication of a mystical vision that showed the shooting of "a bishop dressed in white." Pope John Paul concluded that the vision was a prophecy of the attempt on his own life.
Cardinal Bertone said that he found Sister Lucia "a radiant person, full of joy." The cardinal added that he had heard the Pope's frequent statements that the Virgin Mary diverted the bullet that was meant to kill him. The Italian prelate said that "the martyrdom of our Pope, who continues on despite his disease, is a gift for all humanity."
The day of Sister Lucia's funeral was declared a national day of mourning in Portugal.
The body of Sister Lucia Marto lies in a chapel at the Convent of Carmelitas in Coimbra, central Portugal, Monday Feb. 14 2005. Sister Lucia, the last survivor of the three children who claimed the Virgin Mary appeared to them in 1917 in Fatima, central Portugal, died Sunday at the Covent. She was 97. The Catholic Church built a shrine in Fatima which is visited each year by millions of people from around the world.
Rest in Peace and in the Loveing arms of our Lord and Saviour sweet sister.