VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has
put Sister Lucia, the last of three shepherd children who claimed to
have seen the Virgin Mary during apparitions in 1917 in Fatima, on a
fast-track to possible sainthood, the Vatican said Wednesday.
The customary waiting period before beginning the process that can lead
to sainthood is five years after a person’s death.
The case of Sister Lucia, who died in 2005 at age 97, was granted the
same waiver as was given in the cases of Mother Teresa and Pope John
The Vatican said Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, who is prefect of the
Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, made the announcement
during a Wednesday evening Mass at the cathedral in Coimbra, Portugal,
marking the third anniversary of Lucia’s death.