The visionaries of Fatima: Lucia dos Santos, right, with her cousins Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto 

From Vatican News:

Carmelite Sister Lucia de Jesus Rosa dos Santos, who, along with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto witnessed a series of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, has been declared Venerable by the Church.

The decree recognizing Sr Lucia’s heroic virtues was promulgated on Thursday with the approval of Pope Francis.

In 1916, Lucia and her two cousins reported being visited by an Angel in the area of Fatima, Portugal. The following year, beginning on 13 May, the children claimed to receive a series of apparitions from the Blessed Virgin Mary, which culminated six months later with the famous “Miracle of the Sun” that was witnessed by tens of thousands of people.

After the untimely death of her cousins, who died a few years later due to Spanish flu, Sister Lucia remained the sole custodian of the message entrusted to her by Our Lady, which she transcribed, at the instigation of the Bishop of Leiria, José Alves Correia da Silvia, into four documents between 1935 and 1941.

A later document, dated 1944, contained the so-called “third secret,” was sent to Rome and opened for the first time in 1960. St John Paul II, who had a special devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, allowed the secret to be published in 2000.

Sister Lucia spent her whole live devoted to the message she had received in Fatima. At first she entered the college of the Dorothean Sisters in Vilar; later she became a Carmelite in Coimbra, where she died on 13 February 2005.

The distinction between her life and the apparitions, the Decree says, “is also difficult because much of her suffering was due to them: she was always kept hidden, protected, guarded. One can see in her all the difficulty of keeping together the exceptionality of the events of which she was a spectator and the ordinariness of a monastic life like that of Carmel.”

The apparitions have been endorsed by various Popes, while the Church observes May 13th as an optional memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. Pope Francis visited Fatima in 2017 for the 100th anniversary of the apparitions, during which he canonized Francisco and Jacinta. With Thursday’s decree, Venerable Lucia’s cause for canonization continues to advance.

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