In Portugal, Memories of Sister Lucia Live On

Bishops Recall Fatima Visionary's Faith

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COIMBRA, Portugal, FEB. 15, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The death of Sister Lucia, the last of the Fatima visionaries, is considered by many Portuguese bishops to be the passing away of a real "example of faith."



The bishops have also praised the Carmelite's discretion, who as the child Lucia dos Santos, together with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, was the recipient of a message from heaven.

"A humble person, she recollected herself in prayer whenever she could," said Bishop Albino Cleto of Coimbra. "She was always available to people who requested an interview but shied away from contacts that spelled publicity or protocol. She was a true Carmelite."

The bishop also mentioned Sister Lucia's fidelity "to all that she promised in keeping with Our Lady's request." Sister Lucia died Sunday at age 97. Her funeral Mass was held today in Coimbra.

Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo, patriarch of Lisbon, told reporters that Sister Lucia was faithful. "We have lost a religious who practiced her vocation through simplicity of life, not seeking to be influential," he said.

"Sister Lucia inspired confidence because of the peace in which she lived," added Bishop João Alves, the retired head of the Coimbra Diocese, according to the Ecclesia agency. "A peace that resided in faith and a constant union with God.

"She was a very serene person and interested in the problems of life, especially those of the poor. Although she was in a convent of contemplatives, I have proof that she kept herself informed about the great concerns of the world and of the Church."

The prelate, who had several meetings with the visionary, said he had "a very pleasant and positive memory" of her.

The death of the last witness of the 1917 Fatima apparitions is, humanly speaking, a great loss, the bishop continued, because we lack "the possibility of seeing and hearing a privileged witness of the faith."

He added: "We have the consolation of knowing that Sister Lucia, close to God, will not forget us."