Between John Paul And Fatima Seer, Who
Read Fax From Him On Day Of Her Death
In a new
book a prominent expert on the apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, reports
that hours before she died, Sister Lucia de Jesus dos Santos -- the
sole living Fatima visionary -- was given a letter faxed from Pope John
Paul II -- perhaps the final thing the seer read.
In the letter the pontiff wrote that on hearing of Sister Lucia's
illness, he had prayed that she would be able to live "the moment of
pain and suffering" with a "paschal spirit" -- dramatically ending his
missive with a blessing.
was a final act in what the priest, Father Robert Fox -- author of a
highly revealing book, Fatima
Is Forever -- says was a special bond between the seer
John Paul II, who himself died a mere seven weeks later.
"Only the Holy Father and some bishops were
informed of the imminent possibility that Sister Lucia was nearing
death," recounts Father Fox. "During those same months that Lucia's
failing, the same was happening to Pope John Paul II as the world
became aware of his failing health."
Lucia, who was 97, died on February 13, 2005. The Pope died on April 2.
receiving news of Sister Lucia's worsening health condition, Pope John
Paul II sent her a message on Saturday, the day before she died,"
writes Father Fox -- who has founded an organization called the
Fatima Family Apostolate. "Bishop Albino Cleto of Coimbra confirmed
that Sister Lucia heard the reading of the papal message on Sunday (the
day she died) and, being 'very affected' by it, asked if she could
personally read the text of the fax [below, left]. 'It was,
perhaps, the last reaction she had in relation to the life around her,'
added the bishop."
Enclosed in her cell at a Carmelite convent north
of Fatima, in Coimbra, the legendary nun died in the company of her
bishop, doctors, sisters in religion, and an attending nurse at 5:25
p.m. local time -- ending one of the most dramatic episodes in the
history of Catholic mysticism.
the book describes, Sister Lucia had suffered a serious "fainting fit"
the previous November -- one so bad it seemed like the end -- and was
infirm from that point on, necessitating the assistance of sisters day
and night in the weeks leading up to her passing. The nun took solid
food for the final time on January 28 and by February 1 was on an
intravenous drip, according to the fascinating account.
she did not speak, says Father Fox, the visionary made many
affectionate gestures in her final days to a statue of the Fatima
Virgin that John Paul II had sent her during December of 2003 -- in
another link to the Holy Father.
Father Fox: "She was alert on February 6, 2005. She would say slowly,
'Our Lady! Our Lady! Angels! Angels! Heart of Jesus! Heart of Jesus!'"
On February 6, Sister Lucia received Communion for
the last time, recounts the priest. After that a pyx with the Host was
placed on her chest so she could make an act of Adoration. The book
also reveals that the nun was offering her sufferings for the Pope, who
was struggling with a Parkinson's-like affliction.
time to time, we spoke to her of the illness of the Holy Father,"
recounted the mother superior. "She would raise her hands and say: 'For
the Holy Father.' Since March of the previous year, she had never let
go of the rosary which the Holy Father had sent her. She had it with
her until the moment when she closed her eyes on this earth."
has been revealed that at midnight on February 12, a sister assigned to
Sister Lucia's room brought to Lucia's lips the image of Fatima, which
the dying nun kissed. For the rest of the night she passed the beads of
a rosary John Paul II had given her through her fingers as a nun
recited the prayers.
was the conclusion of what Father Fox documents as a "deep spiritual
friendship" with John Paul, who was known as the "Fatima Pope" but
apparently was even more powerfully attached to the apparition site
than has been commonly recognized. The Pontiff was well-known as open
to apparitions at a time when mysticism in general was disregarded in
once stood about thirty feet from Pope John Paul II, with perhaps a
million pilgrims present, pilgrims packing every inch of the Cova and
beyond," Father Fox writes. "The Pope knelt immediately before the spot
of the apparitions in the Capelinha. He was wrapped in the deepest
prayer. There can be no doubt that the sense of the presence of the
Mother of God, especially at such times, would come to the Pope. The
crowd of hundreds of thousands was totally quiet all the while."
It was John Paul, reveals Father Fox, who
suggested that Sister Lucia write a document that later became her
highly-acclaimed book Calls from the Message
of Fatima. The nun also penned a booklet that will be made
available shortly in English.
Pope met with Sister Lucia on three visits to Fatima: in 1982, 1991,
and on May 13, 2000 -- when he beatified the two other seers, Francisco
and Jacinta Marto, and set in motion release of the famous third secret.
secret indicated the intervention of Mary in saving the world from a
flaming chastisement, the martyrdom of the Church, and what appeared to
be a premonition of the assassination attempt on John Paul himself.
That attempt was made on May 13, 1917 -- incredibly, anniversary date
of the first Fatima apparition.
bullet extracted from the Pope was later implanted in the crown of the
Virgin in the chapel of apparitions, as the pontiff credited the
Blessed Virgin of Fatima with miraculously saving him.
was with profound emotion, the Pope later wrote, that he learned of
remember with emotion the various meetings I had with her and the bonds
of spiritual friendship that, with the passing of time, were
intensified," he wrote to Bishop Cleto. "I have always felt supported
by the daily gift of her prayer, especially in the harsh moments of
trial and suffering. May the Lord reward her amply for the great and
hidden service she has done to the Church."
Marble From Tomb Of Peter Used As
In New Church At Fatima
The Meaning of the Number 13
What's in a
number? If you ask one priest, Father Robert J. Fox, potentially a lot.
And particularly with the number "13" -- that is, 13 as it relates to
dates at the famous apparitions of Fatima.
Why did they start on May 13 (1917)? Why did they then recur on the
13th of nearly every subsequent month -- culminating in the famous sun
miracles of October 13, 1917?
was Pope John Paul II shot on May 13 (1981)?
finally: was there any significance to the fact that the last living
Fatima seer, Sister Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, died on February 13
present it for your evaluation. "It seems one of the best explanations
for 13 is found in the Book of Esther, where the number 13 denotes a
time of danger to God's people," says Father Fox. "The Book tells of a
plot in the fifth century B.C., instigated by the evil Haman, to kill
all the Jews living in Persia. Haman convinced King Ahasuerus that the
Jews were rebellious and should all be killed on the 13th of Adar."
Father Fox points out, however, Queen Esther of Persia interceded with
the king, convinced him of Haman's evil intentions, and destruction was
number 13 reveals a key role in denoting a time of danger for God's
people which was transformed into victory through the intercession of
fathers of the Church, points out this priest, in a book called Fatima Is Forever, "saw Esther as a type of
the Virgin Mary."
so it is that the first secrets of Fatima were granted on July 13,
1917, warning of the rise of Communism and great dangers to the world
while the third secret -- which was later
revealed on May 13, 2000 -- revealed an image of the Blessed Mother
drowning out the flames from a chastising angel.
Lucia herself pointed out that one of the Fatima predictions, the
beginning of World War Two, could be traced to the first territorial
aggressions of Hitler in Austria, which he annexed in 1938 -- on April
too: Pope Pius XII, who would lead the Church through that war, was
consecrated as a bishop on May 13, 1917 -- at the exact hour that Our
Lady appeared at Fatima.
promise at Fatima was that if Russia was consecrated to her Immaculate
Heart, Russia would be converted and there would be a period of peace.
Such was done by John Paul II in 1984 and in the summer of 1989, says
Father Fox, "Sister Lucia felt a great urgency to get the message out
to the world that the Collegial Consecration of Russia for its
conversion was accomplished."
priest says that he "had the privilege of being informed months in
advance on behalf of Sister Lucia of what was to happen in the second
half of 1989 (as far as the fall of Communism). After I was given this
message in 1989 the world saw the Communist nations change rapidly in a
few months' time, the end of 1989." Father Fox says the seer also
strongly assured him that the third secret has been revealed in full.
Last but not least, Father Fox reveals that Pope John
Paul II had a chunk of marble chipped off the Tomb of Peter and sent to
Fatima to use in the cornerstone of its new basilica.
This occurred during a meeting between the Pope and the
shrine's rector, Monsignor Luciano Guerra, for what is known as the
Church of the Most Holy Trinity, the construction of which began in
"It adds to the significance," says Father Fox, "of
Fatima as 'altar of the world.'"
The laying of the cornerstone was accomplished during a
ceremony on June 6, 2004 -- coinciding precisely with the day when the
Universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, the
very name, of course, given the new church, which will hold 9,000.
As John Paul once said about Fatima: "In the designs of
Providence, there are no mere coincidences."
As for Benedict XVI, there is reason to believe that
Fatima and specifically the third secret helped propel him to his first
encyclical, which was on love.
"Allow me to add here a personal recollection," he had
written back when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger. "In a conversation
with me Sister Lucia said that it appeared ever more clearly to her
that the purpose of all the apparitions was to help people to grow more
and more in faith, hope, and love -- everything was intended to lead to
"Fatima is more than a simple devotion," says Father
Fox. "It has depth that is Trinitarian, Christological, Ecclesial,
Marian, and Contemplative -- all at the same time. Being Ecclesial, it
must therefore be Eucharistic."
And indeed it was an angel who administered the
Eucharist to the three Fatima children in 1916 before Mary appeared.
Lucia never could recall the date, although one would be forgiven for
guessing that it had been the 13th.
originally published as foxbookfatima2