THE HEART ENCIRCLED WITH THORNS
“You must remain longer here below,” our Lady said to Lucia. “Jesus will use you to make me better known and better loved.”
So Lucia had remained on this earth long after her two cousins had been taken.
In January, 1918, the Holy See re-established the diocese of Leiria, after a lapse of sixty years. Fatima is part of this diocese. The Reverend Joseph Correia da Silva was named Bishop and took possession of his diocese August 5, 1920.
The new Bishop considered it one of his most important duties to investigate the complete story of the Fatima apparitions. He interviewed Lucia on June 13, 1921. He told her that he thought it would be best if she entered a convent school. The purpose of this was to take Lucia away from the devout people and curiosity seekers who were constantly around her and to give her a chance to forget the apparitions should they prove to be imaginary. The Bishop also wished to determine whether the many cures and conversions which were taking place at the Cova were induced by hysteria caused by her presence there. He wished to see whether the cures and conversions would continue to take place in her absence.
THE SISTERS OF ST DOROTHY
“You must not tell anyone when or where you are going,” the Bishop said.
“You must not tell a soul at school who you are.”
“And you must not utter a word about Fatima.”
“Yes, Bishop.” Lucia would do whatever she was commanded.
It was not easy to leave her home and her mother, but she offered the sacrifice to save souls from hell. She entered a school conducted by the Sisters of St Dorothy. She was given a new name, Maria das Dores, and only the superior knew who she was.
When she completed the course of studies, she asked whether she might be admitted to the order. She entered the convent in 1925, became a novice on November 2, 1926, and two years later made her vows as a lay Sister. On October 3, 1934, she made her perpetual vows. She was known in the order as Sister Dores. This word means sorrows and is not a proper name in English. The nearest thing to it is Dolores.
THE FIRST SATURDAYS
On December 10, 1925, our Lady came back, as she had said she would, to request Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. Lucia was praying in her cell at the convent when our Lady appeared, together with the Child Jesus elevated on a cloud of light. Our Lady rested one hand on Lucia’s shoulder. In the other, she held a heart surrounded with sharp thorns. The Child Jesus spoke first:
“Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother. It is covered with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation.”
Then our Lady said:
“My daughter, look at my heart encircled with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce at it every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you at least try to console me and announce in my name that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation.”
The request for the First Saturday devotion was repeated 1926 and 1927.
In 1927 our Lord spoke to Lucia from the tabernacle, while she was praying in the convent chapel in Tuy, Spain. He gave her permission to reveal two parts of the July apparition which had been kept secret until that time. These were the vision of hell and the long message beginning, “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish throughout the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart…” This was the message which said that if people did not stop offending God another worse war would begin in the reign of Pius XI. It was also the message in which our Lady said, “If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she shall spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church…”
“WORTHY OF BELIEF”
For some reason, the authorities did not allow this message to be known to the world until 1942.
The third part of the July message has not yet been revealed. Acting on instructions from heaven, Lucia has written it down and the Bishop of Leiria has placed it in his archives.
In 1929, our Lady came to ask the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. In the July apparition she had said she would come back to make this request. She asked that the consecration be made by the Holy Father in unison with all the bishops of the world.
Three years passed and nothing was done. Lucia again wrote to the Bishop. She quoted our Lord as saying, “The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, but it will be late.”
On October 13, 1930, the thirteenth anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, the Bishop of Leiria published a pastoral letter in which he said that the apparitions of Fatima were worthy of belief. The investigation had been under way since 1922.
From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954