Sister Lucia of Fatima comments on visionaries
Previously unpublished documents from the apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, contain dramatic new information indicating that the Virgin appeared more frequently than is publicly known at Fatima between 1915 and 1920 while at the same time transcripts of an interview with Sister Lucia dos Santos, the sole surviving visionary, are coming to light with exchanges between the seer and visiting dignitaries concerning an array of issues, including the worldwide proliferation of visionaries.
We'll get to the hidden apparitions tomorrow. But let's start with Sister Lucia's advice on seers -- aspects of which have emerged from a more refined transcription of a largely unknown meeting between Sister Lucia and a group headed by Cardinal Ricardo Vidal of the Philippines on October 11, 1993.
During the meeting -- in which, as we will soon report, there was also discussion of the "era of peace" and the "triumph" of Mary's Immaculate Heart -- this exchange took place:
"We know very well Sister Agnes Sasagawa of Japan," said one participant of the 1993 session, Elsa Regala, referring to a situation in Akita, Japan, where a statue has shed tears and where the voice of Mary allegedly told a nun, Sister Sasagawa, about a great chastisement. "We were with her not too long ago. Sister, have you heard speak of these revelations, and of the image of Our Lady that cried tears?"
"Yes, I have heard speak of this," replied Lucia, who is now 93.
"We also have been with Vassula Ryden, and with Conchita of Garabandal," added another participant, Noreen Marbella, referring to a Swiss mystic and also an alleged site of apparitions in Spain.
"Yes," said Sister Lucia, indicating that she had heard of them.
At this point Cardinal Vidal joined in. "Do you have a message about apparitions to the world, about current apparitions?" he asked, referring to the hundreds of mystical claims that have erupted since the 1980s.
"No, I am not authorized to send any official message to anyone," Sister Lucia responded. "But I will tell you that we are in union of prayer, that may the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit bless you all. God has manifested Himself in miracles. He has spoken and speaks to His saints and we are so small that it's hard for us to comprehend. We must wait therefore and hope and see what God reveals to us before we make a pronouncement. The Virgin never spoke to me about other apparitions, but we know that God created other invisible beings, who are the angels, and God created these invisible beings. God could also perform other miracles. We are ignorant of these mysteries. We do not have knowledge of this and therefore try to have the capacity to understand that these things exist, but let us remember that God gave the keys to Saint Peter to allow the souls to enter."
The remarks are important because Sister Lucia is considered one of the greatest seers of the Virgin Mary during past 2,000 years -- along with Saint Bernadette of Lourdes and Juan Diego of Guadalupe in Mexico. She has not previously commented about seers on the record. The new translation was conducted to refine an earlier and less complete transcript of a recorded talk that at points was difficult to understand because Sister Lucia had spoken Spanish that intermingled with Portuguese. It has long been rumored that the Fatima seer has expressed a dim view of modern mystical claims in private talks with her relatives, and while that remains the case, she has also indicated a wait-and-see attitude, urging great caution until an apparition is approved by the Pope.
It is approval by Rome that Lucia was indicating when she mentioned the keys of Saint Peter, says Carlos Evaristo, a Portuguese interpreter and historian who was involved with the project.
"She told me in other visits that nobody should wholeheartedly commit themselves to any unapproved apparition," says Evaristo, who is based at Fatima and who served as an interpreter at the 1993 meeting and also at a crucial meeting Sister Lucia had with a cardinal from India in 1992. "When she mentions the 'keys to Peter' it means God gives discernment to the Pope."
According to Evaristo, a number of alleged seers have visited the convent where Sister Lucia resides in Coimbra, and while Sister Lucia has maintained a strong reserve, some nuns there have privately accepted certain visionaries, it is said. Among those looked upon favorably have been claimed apparitions to a woman named Ivetka Korcakova in Litmanova, Slovakia, and another named Myrna Nazzour in Damscus, Syria, Evaristo says.
But none have been formally endorsed by the convent or Sister Lucia, Evaristo emphasizes. One controversy involved Our Lady of All Nations [an alleged apparition in Holland], which some believed that Sister Lucia was favorable towards, "but a woman went and publicly said Sister Lucia and the sisters were praying for all the people at the conference because they thought very favorably of this, and immediately people publicized this and so Lucia and the convent had to retract this. They retracted support and even the idea that they were supportive of the apparitions. She has said to certain relatives that she is skeptical -- not of all recent apparitions. In fact the community is favorable toward certain apparitions and there are certain seers I can't mention who have visited the convent and the sisters have decided to listen to these and even to a certain extent some of the sisters privately have promoted these and even endorsed and helped publish books in Portuguese."
But as for Sister Lucia, says Evaristo, "she is prudent. What she is saying is that just as God created invisible beings, angels and so forth, therefore some of these phenomena could be produced by evil angels, by demons. She's not skeptical. She leaves it entirely to the Pope and will not believe in it until the Pope says yes. If you tell her that this woman saw Our Lady -- 25 people saw it -- she won't believe that woman, she won't believe what you said, she'll believe it when the Pope says that the woman did see and so did these 25 people."
Evaristo reports that Sister Lucia is sick right now, perhaps due to inclement weather that has been lashing at Portugal, including severe storms. "With the dampness, it's probably the flu," he said. "She's trying to keep warm, and so they have her in her cell with a little heater and so she doesn't leave at all. She doesn't attend Mass anymore, and so they bring Communion to her room. That's just because at her age they want to spare any flu or anything that might kill her because she's so weak. As soon as the heat comes they'll probably let her out again."
In coming days: the discovery of additional apparitions at Fatima, the consecration, the "era of peace," the third secret, the "annihilation of nations"
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