Sister Lucia’s assessment of her character defects is one we can all use

by Barb Ernster –

Sister Lucia as a Dorothean nun

It’s always refreshing to know that the saints or saintly people had a human side. Some, like St. Louis de Montfort and St. Damien of Molokai, both had angry temperaments that they had to conquer. Sister Lucia was known for her “rough” temperament and tendency towards impatience with others.

As a young Dorothean nun at Pontevedra (she was known then as Sister Maria das Dores), knowing the Rules for humility and docility regarding menial chores, she struggled with her temperament on more than one occasion. In one story as told by Father Robert Fox in his book The Intimate Life of Sister Lucia,  Lucia was coming down the stairs carrying a mattress and a young novice asked if she needed help. Lucia replied curtly, “If you do not have anything to do, ask the Mistress of Novices for work.”  The young novice was rightly upset and took it to the Mistress of Novices, who told her, “Sister, don’t consider Sr. Dores a saint just because Our Lady appeared to her. She has to work to be one.”   

Other third party testimonials refer to similar roughness in Lucia’s character. The privilege of corresponding with an angel and the Blessed Mother was not enough for saintliness. She had to strive daily to conquer her defects and sins and conform to God’s will, like everyone else. What helped her most in her early formation, was to surrender to her daily duties no matter what was asked of her, and to glorify God by offering them to Him as an act of love. This was the essential sacrifice Our Lady asked for at Fatima, because it is how we detach from ourselves and the earth. Once she surrendered to the frustrations of convent life, she began to grow spiritually. Her Mother Superior, in a letter to Lucia’s spiritual director at the end of 1925, wrote “she continues in her saintly simplicity and humility so much so that she enchants all of her companions. I have her set the meanest and humblest duties, but no matter what duty I have set her, it is always accomplished.”  (Intimate Life, p 130).

Lucia also developed a profound awareness of her character defects, which caused her to sin.  She compiled a list of these, which was written around 1934 and found later by her Mother Superior in the convent archives. It is one that we can all utilize in examining ourselves. Father Fox states that her level of self-awareness shows how much she grew in grace and holiness over those 10 or so years.  The list is:

– Resentments which do not allow me to forget the defects of others.
– Faults against charity which these resentments lead me to.
– Egoism which leads me so many times to choose the best for
– Self love which leads me to have my view prevail.
– Excessive propensity to be grieved with trifles.
– To remain quiet many times in order not to have my opinion
rejected with people who I know beforehand have to win the
argument, even without good reason.
– Lack of respect and disdain for those who contradict me.
– Sadness and weariness produced by wounded self love.
– Consenting to complaints of self love.
– Concentrating on the faults of others without seeing my own.
– Curt replies to the Sisters.
– Not valuing the work of others.
– In my eyes I think my work better than others.
– To want others to esteem my work.
– Resistance to grace.
– Distractions which diminish insights of faith and touches of grace.
– Curiosities.
– Useless words in moments of silence.
– Uncharitable thoughts and words.
– Omissions of charity.
– Carelessness in the practice of small sacrifices.
– Lack of patience in unforeseen events.
– Lack of an ability with others.
– Lack of respect for the opinion of others.
– Not valuing the others’ opinions.
– The difficulty in allowing others’ opinions prevail.
– Allowing myself on many occasions to be very happy or very sad.
– Not being punctual enough.
– Not taking correction willingly.
– Unwillingly to assume my own feelings.
– Being rude to those who displease me.
– Failing of devotion in my spiritual duties and visits to the Blessed
– Failing to be diligent in obedience.
– Failing to be pleasant with others.
– Failing to use ejaculatory prayers during the day to maintain my
union with God.
– Failing to visit the Blessed Sacrament in my free time.

During these 40 days of Lent, we are called to take a good look at ourselves and work on those areas that are obstacles to charity, mercy and growth in holiness. Sister Lucia shows us that we need to dig deep in our self-examination.

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26 Responses

  1. Greatly appropriate thoughts on self evaluation…for us all. Wow! So well said. So applicable to me…especially obsessing over the faults of others. Thank you. I needed those! God bless!!!

  2. This does look like the real Sr. Lucia. The one that has posed with Pope John Paul ll looks like a fake. Her facial features are large compared to the petit face of the original Lucia, who I understand died many years ago. Can you confirm this?

    1. Please do not fall for the fake Sr. Lucia nonsense, they are on par with the consecration never being done. Say a rosary every time this thought comes into your mind. The devil is great in distracting you from the truth. Be strong.

        1. There is a faction who believes that Sr Lucia in later pictures is not the real Sr Lucia and so they doubt the consecration of JPII. It is harmful to Fatima message.

          1. We know it is a fake Sr Lucia, and I know the consecration of Russia has “NEVER” been done correctly. It is those who promote the fake Sr Lucia who are harmful to the Fatima message.

    2. Hi Mary Anne. Sister Lucy underwent major oral surgery sometime in the 1940s which resulted in all her teeth being removed. I think that helps explain some of her change of appearance, beyond the normal aging process.

      1. You are incorrect, oral surgery does not change the person into a different person, it was in 1960 that Sr Lucia changed into a different person, a fake, obviously.

  3. This is so reassuring: to learn that Lucia had the same struggles as the rest of us. I plan to study this list and adjust it to make it my own starting right now in the middle of Lent. Thanks so much for sending it.

  4. Oh my! So much comfort to learn that the saintly Lucia had to struggle everyday as I do. Moreover, the list is a wonderful guide for making a good confession & to point the way to hope in overcoming those faults & sins by not letting them slide by.
    Thank you for this gift of spiritual guidance.

  5. Like Pope Francis said: “We are all god’s Gift, and we all have Flaws” We could have a Print out of these Flaws, and reflect!! I would add the advice that was received from a Wise Novice Mistress — Instead of festering resentment — FEEL SORRY for your attacker — If we knew the WHOLE STORY, we would not take their insults personally.

  6. Thank you very much Blue Army for providing Sister Lucia’s failings. It helps me evaluate my own faults so I can strive to please Our Blessed Mother and Jesus with greater fervor. Her words are so needed amidst our own world where lack of empathy and respect,especially for the voiceless precious babies are being assaulted every day.

  7. The fake Sr Lucia is not nonsense, from 1960 onwards, it is a different person posing as Sr Lucia. Knowing about the fake Sr Lucia is not connected at all to the Traditionalist extremists who claim the Novus Ordo Consecration is invalid, and attending Novus Ordo is a mortal sin. Pope Paul VI and John Paul II had to know it was a fake Sr Lucia they met with. You only have to look at the different pictures to see they are two different people. The devil is great in distracting you from the truth. Be strong, be aware of what is going on, or else you will be deceived into making the wrong choice.

    1. Or is it possible that you are the one who is deceived? Anyone who has nothing good to say about Novus Ordo needs to read the documents of Vatican II. True, there have been abuses but they are more of the evil one that tries to foil God’s plan!

  8. Because I write down my sins to take with me when going to confession so that I do not forget what I want to confess, I feel like I’m standing outside the confessional hearing her confession.
    I ask myself, would I want others to read my list?

    1. Hello Marie,

      I think we need to be humble, to have humility.
      I also think Sr. Lucia was using that list for her to be concentrate on being humble and pleasing to the Lord.
      God bless you

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