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Lucia dos Santos - Nun pictureLucia dos Santos, the oldest Fatima visionary, was born on March 22, 1907 in the hamlet of Aljustrel in the Province of Fatima, Portugal. Her parents were Antonio dos Santos and Maria Rosa. Lucia was the youngest of seven children, six girls and one boy.

The dos Santos were a God-fearing, practicing Catholic family, prayer being an integral part of their lives. Though peasants, they were of modest means, and owners of property. No poor person was turned away from their door without a good meal.

Happy and quick witted, young Lucia picked up her catechism from listening to her mother teach it to her siblings.

She was also an innocent, candid soul and was allowed to make her First Communion at the then early age of six at which time she was deeply touched by Our Lord. In her words, “I felt transformed in God…From that day on, I lost the attraction I was beginning to feel for the things of the world…”

With her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, she pastured their families’ sheep. Her cousins looked up to her, and trusted her implicitly.

When Our Lady appeared to the three on May 13, 1917 at Cova da Iria, Lucia, then aged ten, naturally took the lead in addressing the apparition and was always the sole interlocutor. During the second apparition, she was told that she was to remain on earth for some time, while her cousins would be soon taken to heaven.

After the apparitions and the death of her cousins, Lucia was admitted as a pupil at the school of the Sisters of Saint Dorothy at Vilar. In 1925 she was accepted as a postulant in the congregation’s convent of Tuy, just over the Spanish border. She was professed as a Dorothean sister in 1934 receiving the name of Sister Maria of Sorrows.

In 1948, she left the Dorothean Institute to enter the Carmel of Saint Joseph in Coimbra where she took the name of Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart. On May 13, 1949 she was professed as a Discalced Carmelite.

She returned to Fatima on the occasion of four Papal visits, the last of which was to attend the beatification of her cousins Francisco and Jacinta by Pope John Paul II on May 13, 2000.

Sister Lucia wrote her memoirs, a warm, candid account of all that happened to her and her cousins. 

In English this memoir is entitled, Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words.

 

Sr Lucia in Coffin after death

 

Sister Lucia died on February 13, 2005 at age ninety-seven of cardio-respiratory failure due to advanced age.

 


  

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 27, 2020

There must be a war in this life. In the face of so many ene...

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November 27

 

There must be a war in this life. 
In the face of so many enemies it is not possible
for us to sit with our hands folded.
 
There must always be a concern regarding
how we are proceeding interiorly and exteriorly.


St. Teresa of Avila


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Francis Anthony Fasani

The poor children of Lucera ran through the streets, crying...

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St. Francis Anthony Fasani

This son of the soil became one of the most illustrious preachers in the history of the Franciscan Order.

Born Donato Antonio Giovanni Nicola Fasani on August 6, 1681 to poor peasants in the Neapolitan town of Lucera, he lost his father at the age of nine. “Giovanniello”, or “Johnnie” as he was commonly called, was sent by his step-father to the Conventual Franciscans in his native town for his education. At fifteen, he entered the Franciscan novitiate at Monte Gargano taking the founder as his patron.

Remarkable among the young friar’s most cherished devotions was his tender love for the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – not a dogma of faith at the time – his childlike affection for the Infant Jesus and his ardent devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist.

In 1703 Brother Francis Anthony was sent to Assisi to continue his studies and two years later he was ordained to the priesthood. In Rome he received his doctorate in theology at the College of St. Bonaventure. First appointed lector of philosophy at the Franciscan college in Lucera, he was successively promoted to regent of studies, guardian and, ultimately, provincial superior, an office he held from 1721 to 1723. He later served as master of novices and then as pastor of the Church of St. Francis in his native town. When a bishopric was offered to him, he declined it.

A true shepherd of souls, his apostolic zeal was firmly grounded on an intense and deep interior life. His life of prayer was fortified by mortification, severe penances, and long hours spent in Eucharistic adoration. He was beloved by the poor, spent much time in visiting the sick and the aged, orphans and the imprisoned. Among the latter, his apostolic zeal embraced in a particular manner those condemned to death, whom he accompanied to their execution. He was much in demand as a confessor, spiritual director and preacher for which his ardent and filial love for the Blessed Mother was the inspiration. He gave retreats, led Lenten devotions and novenas and collected gifts for the children at Christmas.
Widely regarded in his own lifetime as a second St. Francis of Assisi, he died in 1742 just as he was beginning the solemn novena for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Upon hearing of his death, the poor children of Lucera ran through the streets, crying "The saint is dead! The saint is dead!" In this humble Franciscan they had lost a true father and protector.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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