BOOK REVIEW: A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary

By Don Fier

cover mockup croppedWhen the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal for six successive months in 1917, she foretold that the younger two, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, would soon go to Heaven. But to the ten-year-old Lucia dos Santos she said, “You are to stay here for some time longer. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” Saddened but accepting of the will of God even at such a tender age, Lucia could not have imagined all that Our Lord and Our Lady had in store for her before she died at the ripe old age of 97.

A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary, the English translation of a Portuguese book published in 2013 by the nuns of the Carmel of St. Teresa in Coimbra, Portugal, is an engaging account of the life of this remarkable woman. The events surrounding the miraculous appearances of Our Lady are recounted in its pages via frequent references to a two-volume set of Sister Lucia’s Memoirs and a third book entitled “Calls” from the Message of Fatima which she published in her later years by special permission from Pope St. John Paul II. However, this biographical work is above all an intimate portrait of the hidden interior life of a soul dedicated to Our Lord and Our Lady as observed by the nuns with whom she spent the last 57 years of her life within the walls of a cloistered Carmelite monastery.

Lucia, along with her two cousins (who were beatified on May 13, 2000), answered “yes” in response to Our Lady’s request at the first apparition on May 13, 1917: “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners?” Throughout the pages of A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary, the reader cannot help but be captivated by Lucia’s unwavering commitment to the promise she made. Four times the subheading “Leave and Follow Me” appears in the book, each time signaling a new stage in her life. On every occasion, Lucia repeated her “yes” even though it meant parting with familiar surroundings and dear family members and/or cherished friends. Her first “leave and follow me” fiat occurred when she left Fatima in 1921 and her last when she entered her beloved Carmel in 1948.

One cannot help but see similarities between the chosen instrument of God to spread devotion to His mother’s Immaculate Heart and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Like the Little Flower, Lucia felt an interior call to enter Carmel at an early age. While in prayer on June 15, 1921 (at the age of 14) she felt a tug at her heartstrings: an interior call to enter religious life and become a Carmelite. At that moment Lucia took St. Thérèse as her special protector. This longing never left her heart even though it took many years, several as a Dorothean nun, until her desire was satiated. Like St. Thérèse, Lucia sought permission to enter Carmel from the then-reigning Pope, had a special love for the Holy Father and priests, and had a strong affinity for the missions. What is particularly striking is the similarity in their humble submissiveness, simplicity, and trust in Divine Providence. Sister Lucia, like the Little Flower, understood her vocation was “to love.”

New details surrounding the circumstances of Sister Lucia committing the “third secret” to writing and the infamous “sealed envelope” appear in Chapter 13. This poignant account will leave readers further convinced of her holiness. However, curious seekers of hidden and undisclosed revelations will be disappointed. The Fatima seer confirms the secret was fully revealed in 2000 and laments of those looking for more: “If only they live what is the important thing, which has already been said.… They only concern themselves with what is left to be said, instead of complying with the request that was prayer and penance.” The biography confirms the account given in Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone’s The Last Secret of Fatima (published in 2007).

The Church’s normal waiting period for initiating the cause for sainthood for an individual who displayed heroic virtue is five years. In the case of Sister Lucia Maria of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart (Sister Lucia’s name in Carmel), Pope Benedict XVI reduced it to three years—her cause was opened on February 13, 2008. Readers of A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary, which might be described as a beautiful tapestry of words portraying the life of a soul completely immersed in saying “yes” to whatever Heaven asked of her, will no doubt be ever more confident that she will soon be joining Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco in the ranks of the beatified.


Order the book online at our Gift Shop or call 908-689-1700 x218.

Item #41315  $19.95

Biography of Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart
By the Carmel of Coimbra
ISBN: 978-0-578-15893-1

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  1. We need more of this accounts especially at this time of great materialism,
    corruption, and immorality.

  2. The 3 children were a God Send

  3. Where can one purchase this book, “A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary?”

  4. Thank you so much for the “Biography” of Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus, I ordered it,
    when I received my Soul Magazine, as I began to read, after following the message
    of Fatima from my early years, it really touched my soul. I am also a Secular
    Order of the Discalced Carmelite for 33 years. Walking with Mary, all her suffering,
    the beauty of a soul filled with the Holy Spirit. From her early childhood, God was
    preparing her for this call.
    I hope and pray this book can get in everybody’s hands soon, I certainly will do my
    best to speak about it to all I know.
    May God continue to bless all your good work.
    In Jesus and Mary
    Ada Jordan, ocds

  5. is this book available in spanish

    • It is available in Portuguese, but that is sold in Portugal.

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