Sister Lucia closer to beatification

Rector of the Shrine at Fatima asks pilgrims to pray.

lucia4-684x1024The diocesan phase of the process for the canonization of Sister Lucia de Jesus (1907-2005), one of the three seers of Fatima, ended and it will now pass to the competency of the Holy See and the Pope.

The announcement was made January 13, 2017 by the Diocese of Coimbra, and published in the diocesan journal “Correio de Coimbra,” the diocese where Sister Lucia died and where the process started on April 30, 2008 by the decision of then bishop Albino Cleto.

The communication of the diocese informs that the solemn session for the closure of the Diocesan Inquiry of the Process for the Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Lucia de Jesus will take place on February 13, 2017 in the Carmel de Santa Teresa, in Coimbra.

The diocesan inquiry gathers all of Sister Lucia’s writings and the testimonies of the (60) witnesses heard on the fame of holiness and heroic virtues of the servant of God. After the closing session, all of the collected material will be handed to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints in Rome, which will give an adequate follow-up according to the norms established by the Church.

The initial part of the cause for canonization of Sister Lucia began in 2008, three years after her death, after the now emeritus Pope Benedict XVI granted a dispensation regarding the waiting period stipulated by Canon Law (5 years). In a declaration to the press room of the Shrine at Fatima, the rector, Fr. Carlos Cabecinhas, said that he received the news with “great joy” and that this joy “makes the Shrine and its pilgrims responsible concerning their primary task: prayer.”

“The challenge that I leave for everyone is that you all pray for the process to reach its end as fast as possible,” said Father Cabecinhas, stating it is “a complex process, but which we are certain will get good reception.”

The vice-postulator for the cause of canonization of Sister Lucia also stated that the process took some years because of the “quantity of documents left and the need to work on them very well.”

“Each page that Sister Lucia wrote had to be meticulously analyzed and we are talking of 10,000 letters that we managed to gather and of a diary with 2,000 pages, in addition to other more personal texts,” said Sister Ângela Coelho, who is also postulator for the cause of canonization of blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the brother and sister who, together with Lucia, witnessed the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima between May and October 1917.

According to Sister Ângela, the process for the beatification of Sister Lucia has to take into account the fact that we are dealing with “a woman who lived almost 98 years, who corresponded with Popes, from Pius XII to John Paul II, with cardinals, and many other people. Analyzing all this takes time to offer the necessary rigor for cases such as this one,” she stated, underlining the number of witnesses that were also heard.

“I am, therefore, very happy with the conclusion of this stage,” she said pointing out that “the fame of holiness and the fame of signs in Sister Lucia are very consistent.”

This diocesan stage required the work of 30 full-time people, 18 of whom were theologians and eight who belonged to the historic commission.

Sister Lucia de Jesus (1907-2005) lived 57 years as a Carmelite nun and is buried in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary at the Shrine of Fatima. She, along with Francisco and Jacinta Marto, witnessed six apparitions of Our Lady at the Cova da Iria between May and October 1917, which are recognized by the Catholic Church.

Concluding the diocesan stage of the process of beatification, a ‘positio’ will be written, a compendium of the reports and studies realized by the juridical commission, by a relater nominated by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints (Holy See).

The right to investigate the life, virtues and fame of holiness, adducted miracles, the ancient cult of the person whose canonization is being asked, belongs to diocesan bishops.  This information is then sent to the Holy See; if the analysis of the documents is positive, the “servant of God” is proclaimed “venerable.”

The second stage of the process consists of the analysis of the miracles attributed to the intercession of the “venerable;” if one of the miracles is considered authentic, the “venerable” is proclaimed “blessed.” The blessed is proclaimed saint, when after the beatification there is another miracle duly recognized.

The canonization, an act reserved to the Pope, is a confirmation by the Church that a Catholic faithful is worthy of universal public cult (in the case of the blessed, the cult is diocesan) and of being given to the believers as an intercessor and model of holiness.

The closing session, open to the participation of the faithful, takes place in the Carmel of Santa Teresa in Coimbra, on the February 13, 2017 at 5:00 pm, followed by a Mass of Thanksgiving. At 9:30 pm, there will be the concert “My way,” with the Lisbon Cantata Symphonic Choir, the children’s choir of the Coimbra Regional Conservatory and the Classic Orchestra of the Center in the New See of Coimbra.

As reported by the Shrine at Fatima,

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