It is All for Our Lady

By Barb Ernster and Larry Maginot –

Venerable Sister Lucia!

The news that Sister Lucia was declared “venerable on June 22 this year did not come as a surprise. Her cause was opened in 2008 and the diocesan inquiry, which required the examination of thousands of documents, her personal diary of 2,000 pages and interviews with more than 60 witnesses, was completed in 2017 and sent to the Vatican. At that point, Lucia was declared “servant of God,” and the Vatican conducted their own investigation into the heroic virtue of Lucia and concluded with her new title. The next phase in her cause – the study of miracles attributed to her – will likely move more rapidly as several miracles have already been studied. Pope Francis will visit Fatima on August 5, and will likely address the person and cause of Sister Lucia.

Sister Lucia has left the Church a treasure trove of teachings, especially on the heroic virtue of obedience to the will of God, His Church, and daily duty; total consecration to the Heart of Mary, perseverance in what she calls the “long, slow martyrdom of daily living,” and enormous trust in God’s providence despite all obstacles in her mission to spread devotion to the Immaculate Heart worldwide.

Those who take the time to study her life and writings will find that, apart from the extraordinary graces granted to her in connection with the apparitions, she testifies to a pathway to holiness, peace and joy that is open to anyone willing to make the effort of weeding the garden of their heart and soul and abide with Mary at the foot of the Cross.

One of Us

Lucia was one of us. Much like St. Therese of Lisieux, she will be among the great saints of modern times and known for her little “pathway” under the guidance of the Blessed Mother that leads to the immense love of God in the depths of the Immaculate Heart. Her entire life reflects Mary’s promise, “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” (June 13, 1917)

In a letter to her spiritual director in 1940, Lucia confided to him a characterization of her mission which may shed some light on this refuge in Mary’s Heart that leads to God:  “The mission God has given me in the world, I believe, is not that of a prophet but rather that of a voice in the desert where only God hears” (Letter to Very Rev. Fr. Aparicio from Tuy, Spain, 9/1/1940, Documents, 387). 

When Our Lady told Lucia that her Immaculate Heart would be a “refuge” and “way” to God, this followed Our Lady’s that Francisco and Jacinta would soon be in heaven, but that Lucia would have to remain a while longer in order to make her “known and loved.”  Lucia expressed great anxiety about being left behind all alone, but Our Lady assured her that she would certainly not be alone: “No, daughter. …  Don’t be discouraged, I will never forsake you.  My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge … .”  And it was precisely at this time that Our Lady opened her hands and the light of God came forth and followed the divergent trajectories: “Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in the part of this light which went up toward Heaven, and I in that which spread itself over the ground,” Lucia wrote. 

Lucia already had a solid understanding of her Catholic faith and a devotion to the Eucharist. She was very intelligent, and as she learned to read and write later, she was able to disseminate the Fatima message as contained in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the faith. Becoming the sole surviving visionary made her life in Fatima impossible, as every pilgrim wished to visit her and ask questions. In order to protect her and her family from constant interruptions, and to preserve the message from distortion that can easily result from people retelling what they claimed Lucia told them, the bishop arranged to have Lucia placed in a boarding school run by the Dorothean sisters and keep her identity hidden from the public as much as possible. This arrangement was a source of great loneliness and suffering for Lucia, which she learned to bear by continuously seek refuge in the Immaculate Heart. In that refuge, she found a paradoxical power. 

Grace and Mercy

With Jesus at the foot of the Cross, Our Lady stood alone as mother of the newly conceived Church. It had not yet been born; it was gestating in her Immaculate Heart.  Most of Jesus’ disciples had abandoned Him in fear. Just a few stood with Mary in that hour of Divine Mercy. Yet this is where all the power of Heaven was cascading. This is the paradoxical power of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Joined with her at the foot of the Cross where we might feel all alone as “a voice in the desert where only God hears,” united with her we gain “Graces and Mercy,” as Lucia later saw in her famous Vision in Tuy, Spain.   

We look forward to the day when the Church will proclaim, St. Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart, pray for us!

Barb Ernster is the National Coordinator/Communications Manager/Editor for the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.

Lawrence Maginot is one of the statue custodians for the World Apostolate of Fatima USA Pilgrim Virgin Statue Program. He is also the author of The Marian Manifesto, published by Blue Army Press (www.ShopFatima.com).

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