.- The prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, said he thought it was a “very good” idea to request a waiver of the five year waiting period before the process of beatification of Sister Lucia could begin, but that this would be decided by Pope Benedict XVI.
In order to initiate the process of beatification, normally a period of five years must pass after the death of the candidate. However, the Pope has the ability to waive the requirement - as happened with the case of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Servant of God John Paul II.
“Sister Lucia certainly would deserve (the dispensation) because she was a great saint,” the Cardinal told the Portuguese agency Ecclesia, emphasizing that the decision would fall to Benedict XVI.
“I had much contact” with Sister Lucia, the Cardinal said, adding that he always had the impression that “she was living in another world.”
Bishop Albino Mamede Cleto of Coimbra said that during Cardinal Saraiva’s visit to Portugal the issue would probably be discussed, but also noted that the process for Beatification is not yet in his hands.
The beatification process, the bishop said, “will take many years.” However, he stated that the request for the dispensation could possibly be made “before the summer.”
Bishop Cleto said the promoter of the cause would be the Carmel of St. Teresa in Coimbra, and that therefore the necessary consultations must be made both with the Shrine of Fatima and the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference. “I suppose Benedict XVI will accept the request, but I don’t know what his answer will be,” he added.
The Virgin Mary appeared to Lucia along with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta in the early 1900’s. Lucia outlived her cousins by several years and eventually entered the Carmelites.
Both Francisco, who died in 1919, and Jacinta, who died in 1920, were declared “Blessed” by Pope John Paul II in 2000. Sister Lucia died in February of 2005.