A Letter From Sister Lucia
to a Priest
Lucia, the eldest of the three children who saw Our Lady at Fatima, is now a sister in the cloistered convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Coimbra, Portugal. She wrote the following letter to her nephew, Father Jose Valinho, a Salesian priest. Father Valinho shared this letter with Sister Isabel Cabral, a Poor Clare Sister of Portuguese descent living in a monastery of Saint Clare in the United States. He has verified the authenticity of Sister Isabel’s translation and approved it for distribution. On July 13, 1979, Father Jose Valinho expressed his joy at the continued circulation of his aunt’s letter.
Although it was written a few years ago, its message is still very timely. Not only priests, but all of us can find this spiritual letter of Sister Lucia very helpful.
April 13, 1971
Dear Father Valinho:
I see from your letter that you are worried about the turmoil and the disorientation of our times. It is indeed sad that so many are allowing themselves to be dominated by the diabolical wave that is enveloping the world, and they are so blind that they cannot see their error. But the principal error is that they have abandoned prayer. Thus they turn away from God, and without God everything is lacking to them, for, “without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
What I recommend to you, above all, is that you get close to the Tabernacle and pray. In fervent prayer you will receive the light, strength, and grace that you need to sustain you, and to share with others.
Guide those under your care with humility, with gentleness, and at the same time with firmness, because Superiors above all have the duty to maintain the truth in its proper place, always with serenity, with justice and charity. For this reason they need to pray more and more, to keep close to God and to tell Him about all their affairs and all their problems before they discuss them with human beings. Follow this road and you will see that in prayer you will find more science, more light, more strength, more grace and virtue than you could ever achieve by reading many books, or by great studies. Never consider as wasted the time you spend in prayer. You will discover that in prayer God communicates to you the light, strength, and grace you need to do all He expects of you.
The only important thing for us is to do the Will of God; to be where He wants us to be, and to do all He wants of us, but always with humility knowing that of ourselves we are nothing and that it is God who works in us and through us, to accomplish His work. Therefore, we all need to intensify our life of intimate union with God, and this we can attain only through prayer. It is in prayer that the soul encounters direct contact with God who is our strength and the source of all Good. Let time be lacking for everything else but never for prayer, and you will accomplish a lot in a short period of time.
All of us, but especially the superior, without prayer, or who habitually sacrifices prayer for material things, is like a hollow, split reed that serves only to beat the whites of eggs into castles of foam which, without sugar to sustain them, soon dissolve and become as polluted water.
For this reason Jesus Christ said, “You are the salt of the earth but if salt loses its strength it is good for nothing but to be thrown out.” We can receive our strength from God alone. We must get close to Him for Him to communicate it to us. We can only realize this closeness through prayer because it is in prayer that the soul encounters direct contact with God.
I would like you to pass on these recommendations to your religious brothers, let them experiment with them, then you can tell me if I was wrong. I am convinced that the principal cause of evil in the world and the falling away of so many consecrated souls is the lack of union with God in prayer. The devil is very smart and watches for our weak points so he can attack us. If we are not careful and attentive in obtaining the strength from God we will fall, because our times are very bad and we are weak. Only God's strength can sustain us.
See that you take everything with calmness and with great confidence in God. He will do for us what we cannot do ourselves. He will supply for our insufficiencies.
Always in union of prayer and sacrifice near Our Lord.
Sister Lucia dos Santos, O.C.D.
“The Letter from Sister Lucia” may be obtained in leaflet form, from the Monastery of St. Clare, P.O. Box 333, Lowell, Massachusetts, 01853, U.S.A. From those who can afford it, a small offering for postage will be appreciated. The leaflets are free.