Chapter Twenty-Eight

The Apostle of Her Heart

     At this writing Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart is ninety-six years old. She remains at the Carmelite convent in Coimbra, Portugal. When last seen she was at Fatima, waving her arms about rather erratically — in response to John Paul's beatification of Francisco and Jacinta, or at Cardinal Sodano's version of the Third Secret, it is difficult to say.

     Lucy's last visit to Fatima caused the Abbé de Nantes to remark: “Poor Lucy, she is so easily misunderstood.” The numerous false interviews Lucy has fallen victim to over the years — including her “interview” with Msgr. Bertonehaven't clarified things. Over the course of her life, however, what has been striking about Sister Lucy is her fidelity, both to her religious vocation and to the Message of Fatima.

     Even within her religious community, however, her life must have continued to have been a very lonely one, particularly without the physical presence of her dearest friends, Francisco and Jacinta. The three seers understood each other when no one else did, and Lucy missed them terribly as a girl. How she must have missed them during those dark days after 1960 when it became obvious the Church hierarchy had adopted a policy of deception towards Fatima and the Third Secret.

     It is, however, easy to imagine the three close friends continuing their relationship during Lucy's sojourn on Earth. Indeed, if one recalls Jacinta's impetuosity, it is difficult to imagine Lucy's younger cousin being able to wait for Lucy's death to speak to her. Remember how Lucy used to pick wild flowers for a bed-ridden Jacinta? Perhaps now it is the younger cousin's turn to pick spiritual bouquets, and present them with a caress to a dear, aged friend who can only wander the Portuguese hillside in her memory.

     Lucy's last words to Francisco were a sob-choked “Good-bye till Heaven.” The young boy had promised Lucy he would pray for her in Heaven, and Francisco always took his promises seriously. Is it possible his calm presence, the quiet steadfastness he showed even when terrorized by the Tinsmith, has ceased to be a part of Lucy's life? It is easy to imagine Blessed Francisco's presence being so tangible that Lucy can almost see him once more: perched on a rock, quiet and serious, first blowing his flute for his cousins to dance to, now prostrate on the ground, murmuring the Angel's prayer over and over again …

     “You are to stay here some time longer,” the Blessed Virgin told ten-year-old Lucy. “Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish devotion to My Immaculate Heart.”

     Even though Francisco and Jacinta have reached Heaven and have been allowed to grace her with consolations, no doubt there have still been times when Sister Lucy has repeated the question she once asked of the Blessed Virgin: “Am I to stay here alone?” And surely the Blessed Virgin has repeated Her answer of June 13, 1917:  “My daughter ... Do you suffer a great deal? Don't lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”

     Lucy's life after the apparitions is proof of her journey to God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She immediately shunned the temptations to head a religious-political movement, or to be the subject of a personality cult. Perhaps an even greater temptation came after 1960 — the temptation to reveal the Third Secret “for” the Holy Father. How did Lucy react? “I must remain in silence, in prayer, and in penance,” she wrote a friend during this period, adding:  “In this way I can and must help you the most ... such is the part the Lord has chosen for me: to pray and sacrifice myself for those who struggle and work in the Lord's vineyard and for the extension of His kingdom ...”

     This was not a new role. Lucy has been living the Fatima Message of sacrifice and reparation every day since 1917. Her life is yet another dramatic proof — if one were needed — of the authenticity of Fatima and its Message. This is what a life lived next to the Immaculate Heart of Mary looks like. For most of her life Lucia dos Santos (“light of the Saints”) has immolated herself in imitation of the Blessed Virgin's immolation of Her own will as She stood under the cross. Her life refutes the claim that such a life is impossible — even today. 

     Lucy has been definite that the last two remedies offered mankind are the Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart. “There will be no others,” Lucy told Father Fuentes. The Blessed Virgin has given the Rosary “a new efficacy” such that “there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is ... that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.” Devotion to the Immaculate Heart, Lucy insisted, “consists in considering Her as the seat of mercy, of goodness and of pardon and as the certain door by which we are to enter Heaven.”

     There is significant evidence that for the last four decades popes have exerted considerable pressure on Sister Lucy to bend the Fatima Message to fit the papal vision of the post-conciliar Church. To this end she has been silenced, and words have been put in her mouth. Pains have been taken to create the perception that Sister Lucy agrees with the present Vatican interpretation of Fatima. These efforts have been so zealous it causes one to wonder whether certain individuals in the Vatican presented Sister Lucy with a “quid pro quo” proposition prior to the decision to beatify Francisco and Jacinta.

Although at present this is only speculation, it is true that at times Sister Lucy herself has caused confusion, at least in allowing herself to be manipulated. Was this done under obedience? In response to direct order from the highest level of the Church? What were her mental reservations?  Indeed, it is very easy these days to misunderstand Lucy.

     No effort is made here to criticize her, or judge her participation in recent events. We are living in the time of the Third Secret, and the diabolical disorientation is formidable, and can color every perception; who is completely immune from its power?

     If anyone could be, Lucy could. Any evaluation must consider her entire life, which is a model of fidelity to the Blessed Virgin and the Message of Fatima.  One may reasonably assume she enjoys the special protection of Heaven. Such protection may not protect Lucy from occasional prudential errors. It has, however, allowed Lucy to live her life in admirable, even profound imitation of the hidden life of the Blessed Virgin. Mary has been her refuge, and Lucia dos Santos has been the apostle of Her Heart.

* * *

     In coming years, decades, or centuries, the final prophecies of Fatima will be fulfilled. Lucy's assertion that we are living in the last times may sound fantastic to modern Catholic ears, yet she is in famous company. Pope Pius XII also believed that “the present hour is a dread phase of the events foretold by Christ. It seems that darkness is about to fall upon the world. Humanity is in the grip of a supreme crisis.”

     Pius XII's predecessor, Pope St. Pius X, had this vision:  “I saw one of my successors taking to flight over the bodies of his brethren. He will take refuge in disguise somewhere; and after a short retirement he will die a cruel death. The present wickedness of the world is only the beginning of sorrows which must take place before the end of the world.”

     These “papal visions” are a stark contrast to the utopia imagined by the conciliar popes. Sadly, they are more consistent with human experience, and with Jacinta's visions, which provide further details of the landscape seen by Pope St. Pius X. She saw “highways and roads and fields full of people, crying with hunger and (having) nothing to eat.” The Holy Father was in a crowded church “praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” In another vision, Jacinta saw the Holy Father “in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him.”

     Jacinta's visions may well provide details concerning the fulfillment of the remaining known prophecies of the Fatima Secret: various nations will be annihilated and the Holy Father will have much to suffer. The suffering will be intense, for the Holy Father will finally cleave heart and soul to the Fatima Message, thus inciting a satanic frenzy against him by the world and his Church.

     When this will happen is in the hands of God and we, as always, are completely at His mercy. Mary has given us the promise: “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and some time of peace will be granted to the world.” Father Alonso wrote, “The final triumph of Mary's Heart is certain and it will be definitive. But it will take place ‘in the end', that is to say, after a terrible purification of sinful humanity, in a baptism of fire, blood and tears.”

     On that day history will at last be pulled into conformity with the Divine Will. The chastisement of apostasy will cease. In the new dawn all will realize that the darksome nightmare we are living through did not vitiate Christ's promise that the gates of hell would never conquer His Church. Perfect mercy will follow perfect justice. Russia will be devotedly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart. The conversion of that tortured nation will be dazzling, blinding, as the perfect humility of the Immaculate will put the red dragon and his beasts to flight. Perhaps the conversion will be triggered by a profound apparition of the Blessed Virgin, as at Guadalupe. New legends will be born that will seed cultures with the will to base society on the Kingship of Christ. This will inspire a renaissance of Christian poetry and art. Man will remember anew the supernatural reality of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. With trembling reverence, we will once more kneel before the Almighty.

     Until that glorious day our models are the seers. Like Jacinta, we must pray much for the Holy Father and offer our sufferings and intentions to this end. Like Lucy, we must obey our authentic religious superiors in all things licit, but never fear speaking the truth of our faith, even if this means contradicting the prudential judgments of the Holy Father. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart, recitation of the Rosary, and participation in the First Saturday reparatory devotion are essential for the light of the Holy Spirit to illumine this present darkness shrouding the world and the Church.

     For it is not Fatima that is in twilight. Fatima is a beacon of faith, hope, and charity, a message as clear and uncompromising as the Gospel, shining on all souls stumbling in the twilight of the Church and the world, as both fade to black in the long hours before the dawn.

      Shall we slumber through her passion as the Apostles slept through Our Lord's agony in the garden? Shall we renounce membership in our disfigured Church as our first Holy Father renounced Our Lord in His final hours? We must not. We must pick up our cross, chosen for us before the foundation of the world, and bear witness to the one true faith, and the Church created by Our Lord to preserve this truth, even unto the end of the world.

Copyright © 2003: Mark Fellows