A PATHWAY UNDER THE GAZE OF MARY
By Sisters of Carmel of St. Teresa, Coimbra, Portugal
World Apostolate of Fatima, USA, 2015
439 pages, $19.95
(908) 689-1700 x218
A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary offers new light about the message and the messenger of Fatima, visionary Sister Lucia dos Santos.
With a unique touch, it is written collectively by the Sisters of Carmel of St. Teresa in Coimbra, Portugal, where Sister Lucia lived for 57 years, until her death in 2005. Living with the seer from Fatima all of those years gave the nuns great perspective and insights into her and the Fatima message. They share this with readers in a way that makes for a page-turning, exciting, insightful, must-read and urgent story — which it truly is. The book shows the depth of Sister Lucia’s soul.
The book has beautiful anecdotes, starting from the beginning of her life, with many either previously unheard or forgotten. Heaven had its eyes on Lucia even at the time of her birth: “It was no accident that her baptism into the Church was on Holy Saturday, a day especially dedicated in a liturgical memorial to the Mother of God. The Blessed Virgin surely was present on this special Saturday to take under her protection this little creature who would soon be her confidant and messenger.” Later, while quite ill when she was a Dorthean sister, she was ordered by the convent’s doctor to recuperate at the seashore. One day, Lucia heard cries for help and rushed into the sea to save two young children.
Her interior sufferings weave through the book like a motif: beginning with the Fatima visions — so many people, including most of her own family, particularly her mother, did not believe her; and she waited many years to become a Carmelite nun. Finally, she entered the Carmelite convent on the same day she was born, a Holy Thursday, which that year fell on March 25 (usually the feast of the Annunciation); on that blessed day, her name became Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart. Sister Lucia’s love of Mary, as chronicled in Pathway, was manifested in visits from Our Lady in her cell at Carmel. Four encounters are recounted here, but the sisters believed there were others.
We are also given a glimpse of Lucia at her meetings with Blessed Pope Paul VI and special friend Pope St. John Paul II. And we hear of her joy when, 83 years after the Blessed Mother’s visits, Lucia attended the beatification of her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, in Fatima: “Everything was speaking to her! Oh, that she could drop the walking stick and go alone on these many paths that she trod in those first years as a girl! ... But her spirit was still walking lightly, going through the early years of her history written in the book of life by Our Lady. She was the Shepherdess, the fragile feather that the Mother used.”
Joseph Pronechen is the Register’s staff writer.