Roman Catholic nun Sister Lucia, the last survivor of the three shepherd children to whom the Virgin Mary is said to have made a series of apparitions in 1917, died at 97 this past Sunday.
I actually was surprised to hear that any of the three children of Fatima were still alive, but Sr. Lucia’s death made my own young adulthood conversion to Catholicism so real. Miracles happen; sometimes they just get exploited. I was also deeply affected when my sister took me to see The Song of Bernadette did when I was a very small girl—and not yet Catholic. I love all things mystical--the kid in me coming out, I guess.
My favorite local columnist John Bogert at the South Bay Daily Breeze wrote about Sr. Lucia’s death and his own growing up Catholic experience and as I sipped my coffee and read I kept saying, "Yes, yes, mmmm." But then John is a recovering Catholic like me. I waited and waited for the Fatima sealed document to be revealed by the Vatican and felt utterly confused and disappointed when it was--just like John wrote.
Sr. Lucia died at an old convent in the central Portuguese city of Coimbra that houses the order of the Carmelita where she has lived in virtual isolation since 1948, the station said citing an official of the order. Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, born on March 22, 1907, in recent years suffered from blindness and deafness. Her body will be laid out in Coimbra's cathedral on Tuesday for mourners to pay their last respects, with the funeral scheduled for Wednesday.
God Speed, Sr. Lucia. May all the angels and saints greet you at Heaven's Gates--just not Christos gates.