.- The prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, announced this Wednesday in Coimbra, Portugal, that Pope Benedict XVI has authorized the opening of the cause of beatification of Sister Lucia, the Fatima visionary, and he revealed that she left a series of important unpublished writings.
“Since the death of Sister Lucia, it has been obvious how much the reputation of holiness of this humble nun has spread throughout Portugal and the rest of the world,” the cardinal said, explaining the Pontiff’s decision to suspend the five year waiting period before beginning the process of beatification.
Cardinal Saraiva made the announcement during a ceremony celebrated in Coimbra marking the third anniversary of Sister Lucia’s death.
The Pope authorized the opening of the cause on December 17, but he requested the announcement be made by Cardinal Saraiva in his role as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.
The other two Fatima seers, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, cousins of Sister Lucia, were beatified on May 13, 2000, by Pope John Paul II.
Cardinal Saraiva noted that during the last decade there have only been two cases in which the five-year waiting period has been waivered. They involved Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Pope John Paul II.
The prefect explained that neither the apparitions at Fatima nor the three secrets will have any bearing on the process of beatification of Sister Lucia, which will instead focus on the heroism of her virtues and the required miracle obtained through her intercession. Sister Lucia died on February 13, 2005, at the age of 97 in the convent of Coimbra.
The Portuguese cardinal confirmed that Sister Lucia left behind “other important unpublished works” which he hoped would “soon be published, as they are a spiritual treasure.”