Today is the Remembrance of Servant of God Lúcia de Jesus Rosa dos Santos (died 2005).
Born in 1907 in Aljustrel, Fátima, today’s Servant of God was the youngest child born to a Portuguese peasant landowning family. Her First Communion occurred at the age of six despite the age of ten being the usual minimum. Initially, the parish priest refused because of her young age. However, Father Cruz, a Jesuit missionary visiting from Lisbon, interviewed Lúcia after finding her in tears that day and concluded that “she understands what she’s doing better than many of the others.” Because of this intervention, the parish priest admitted Lúcia to Holy Communion. After her First Confession she prayed before the altar of Our Lady of the Rosary and allegedly saw the statue smile at her. By eight years of age she was tending the family’s sheep, accompanied by other boys and girls of the village. Between May and October 1917, Lúcia and her cousins Jacinta (born 1910) and Francisco Marto (born 1908) reported visions of a luminous lady, who they believed to be the Virgin Mary, in the Cova da Iria fields outside the hamlet of Aljustrel, near Fátima, Portugal. The children said the visitations took place on the 13th day of each month at approximately noon, for six straight months. The only exception was August, when the children were detained by the local administrator. That month they did not report a vision of the Lady until after they were released from jail, some days later. According to Lúcia’s accounts, the lady told the children to do penance and to make sacrifices to save sinners. Lúcia said that the lady stressed the importance of saying the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world. Lúcia heard Mary ask her to learn to read and write because Jesus wanted to employ her to convey messages to the world about Mary, particularly the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Lúcia’s mother did not take kindly to the news that her youngest daughter was having visitations, believing that Lúcia was simply making up lies for attention. Heretofore the favorite, Lúcia suffered beatings and ridicule from her mother. She was especially incredulous of the idea that Lúcia had been asked to learn to read and write. On July 13th, 1917, around noon, the lady is said to have entrusted the children with three secrets. The visions increasingly received wide publicity, and an estimated fifty thousand witnesses were reportedly present for the sixth and final apparition. Lúcia had promised for several months that the lady would perform a miracle on that day “so that all may believe.” Witnesses present in the Cova da Iria that day, as well as some up to 25 miles away, reported that the sun appeared to change colors and rotate, like a fire wheel, casting off multicolored light across the landscape. The sun appeared to plunge towards the earth, frightening many into believing that it was the end of the world. Others suggested they had merely witnessed an eclipse. The popular expression, according to the O Século reporter Avelino de Almeida, was that the sun “danced.” The event became known as the Miracle of the Sun. The episode was widely reported by the Portuguese secular media. Some coverage appeared in a small article in the New York Times on October 17th, 1917. Lúcia reported that day that the Lady identified herself as “Our Lady of the Rosary.” She thereafter also became known as Our Lady of Fátima. Francisco Marto died in 1919, and his sister Jacinta in 1920 (they were both Beatified in 2000); in 1921 Lúcia moved to Porto, and at the age of fourteen was admitted as a boarder in the school of the Sisters of St. Dorothy in Vilar, on the city’s outskirts. On October 24th, 1925, she entered the Institute of the Sisters of St. Dorothy as a postulant in the convent in Tui, Spain, just across the northern Portuguese border. Lúcia professed her first vows on October 3th, 1928, and her perpetual vows on October 3rd, 1934, receiving the name “Sister María das Dores” (Mary of the Sorrows). On January 25th, 1938, a massive aurora borealis, described variously as “a curtain of fire” and a “huge blood-red beam of light,” appeared in the skies over Europe and was visible as far away as Gibraltar and even parts of the United States. Lúcia believed this event was the “night illuminated by a strange light in the sky” which she had heard Mary speak about as part of the Second Secret, predicting the events which would lead to the Second World War and requesting Acts of Reparation including the First Saturday Devotions, along with the Consecration of Russia. She wrote four memoirs between 1935 and 1941, and the English translation was published under the name Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words. Two of the Secrets of Fátima (a vision of Hell, and the prediction of the Second World War) were revealed in 1941 in a document written by Lúcia, at the request of the Bishop of Leiria, José Alves Correia da Silva, partly to assist with the publication of a new edition of a book on Jacinta. When asked by the Bishop in 1943 to reveal the third Secret, Lúcia struggled for a short period, being “not yet convinced that God had clearly authorized her to act.” She was under strict obedience in accordance with her Carmelite life, and conflicted as to whether she should obey her superiors, or the personal orders she had heard from Mary. However, in October 1943 she fell ill with influenza and pleurisy, the same illness which had killed her cousins, and for a time believed she was about to die. Bishop Da Silva then ordered her to put the third Secret in writing. Lúcia then wrote down the secret and sealed it in an envelope not to be opened until 1960. She designated 1960 because she thought that “by then it will appear clearer.” She returned to Portugal in 1946 (where she visited Fátima incognito) and in March 1948, after receiving special papal permission to be relieved of her perpetual vows, entered the Carmelite convent of Santa Teresa in Coimbra, where she resided until her death. She made her profession as a Discalced Carmelite on May 31st, 1949, taking the religious name Sister Maria Lúcia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart. Because of the Constitutions of the community, Lúcia was expected to “converse as little as possible with persons from without, even with their nearest relatives, unless their conversation be spiritual, and even then it should be very seldom and as brief as possible” and “have nothing to do with worldly affairs, nor speak of them…”. This led some people, such as Father Gruner of the Fátima Crusaders, to believe in a conspiracy to cover up the Fátima message and silence Lúcia. She came back to Fátima on the occasion of four papal pilgrimages, all on May 13th, firstly by Paul VI in 1967, and John Paul II in 1982 (in thanksgiving for surviving an assassination attempt the previous year), 1991, and 2000, when her cousins Jacinta and Francisco were beatified. Her fifth and six memoirs, written in 1989 and 1993, were published in English under the name Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words II. The text of the third Secret of Fátima was officially released by Vatican in 2000, describing the secret as a vision of the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. On May 16, 2000, Lúcia unexpectedly returned to Fátima to visit the parish church. Calls from the Message of Fatima and Appeals of the Fatima Message was announced by the Vatican on December 5, 2001. However, this book was not handwritten by Lúcia. On February 13th, 2008 (the third anniversary of her death) Pope Benedict XVI announced that in the case of Sister Lúcia he would waive the five-year waiting period established by ecclesiastical law before opening a cause for beatification; this rule was also dispensed in the causes for Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Pope John Paul II. If you know of any miracles that can be attributed to her, please contact the Vatican.
Last night our LSU Lady Tigers in their College Softball game beat the Oklahoma State Lady Cowgirls by the score of 5 to 2; our Lady Tigers will next play a Home College Softball game with the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters on Wednesday, February 15th. And our New Orleans Pelicans lost their NBA game with the Sacramento Kings by the score of 99 to 105.
Upon getting up to get ready for work today I did my Book Devotional Reading, and started wearing my Mardi Gras beads and bracelet to work (along with my Valentine’s Day earrings). Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading, and once at the casino I called the Pharmacy and renewed my prescriptions. Once we clocked in, Richard was on Let It Ride until they closed his table; he was then on Mississippi Stud for the rest of the day. I spent my day dealing on a Blackjack table.
On our way home from work I started reading The Death House by Sarah Pinborough via Kindle on my tablet. Richard stopped for gas at Valero, and once home from work I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper. I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update, as I plan to once again go to bed for the duration after I finish this Daily Update. Our LSU Lady Tigers (17-7, 6-5) will be playing an Away College Basketball game with the Vanderbilt Lady Commodores (11-13, 1-10), and our New Orleans Pelicans (21-34, 2-6) will be playing an Away NBA game with thePhoenix Suns (17-38, 2-8); I will record the scores of those games in Tuesday’s Daily Update.
Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Cyril, Monk (died 869) and Saint Methodius, Bishop (died 885). Tomorrow is also Valentine’s Day. It is our Friday at the casino, and we will work our eight hours, and on my breaks I will continue reading The Death House by Sarah Pinborough via Kindle on my tablet. After we clock out I will pick up my prescriptions at the Pharmacy, and Richard will have his appointment with the Dietician at the Clinic. Our LSU Tigers (9-15, 1-11) will be playing an Away College Basketball game with the Ole Miss Rebels (15-10, 6-6) tomorrow evening.
Our Parting Quote on this Monday afternoon comes from Antonin Scalia, American jurist. Born in 1936 in Trenton, New Jersey, his father was an Italian immigrant, and his mother was the child of Italian immigrant parents. In 1939 Scalia and his family moved to the Elmhurst section of Queens, New York. After completing eighth grade in public school, he obtained an academic scholarship to Xavier High School, a Jesuit military school in Manhattan, where he graduated first in the class of 1953 and served as valedictorian. In 1953 Scalia enrolled at Georgetown University, where he graduated valedictorian and summa cum laude in 1957 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. While in college, he was a champion collegiate debater in Georgetown’s Philodemic Society and a critically praised thespian. He took his junior year abroad at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Scalia studied law at Harvard Law School, where he was a Notes Editor for the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1960, becoming a Sheldon Fellow of Harvard University. The fellowship enabled him to travel throughout Europe during 1960–1961. He married in 1960 and was the father of nine children (one of which became a Catholic priest). Scalia began his legal career at international law firm Jones, Day, Cockley and Reavis in Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked from 1961 to 1967. He was highly regarded at the law firm and would most likely have been made a partner but later said he had long intended to teach. He became a professor of law at the University of Virginia in 1967, moving his family to Charlottesville. In 1971 President Richard Nixon appointed him general counsel for the Office of Telecommunications Policy, where one of his principal assignments was to formulate federal policy for the growth of cable television. From 1972 to 1974, he was chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, a small independent agency that sought to improve the functioning of the federal bureaucracy. In mid-1974, Nixon nominated him as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel. After Nixon’s resignation, the nomination was continued by President Gerald Ford, and Scalia was confirmed by the Senate on August 22nd, 1974. In early 1976, Scalia argued his only case before the Supreme Court, Alfred Dunhill of London, Inc. v. Republic of Cuba. Scalia, on behalf of the US government, argued in support of Dunhill, and that position was successful. Following Ford’s defeat by President Jimmy Carter, Scalia worked for several months at the American Enterprise Institute. He then returned to academia, taking up residence at the University of Chicago Law School from 1977 to 1982, though he spent one year as a visiting professor at Stanford Law School. In 1981 he became the first faculty adviser for the University of Chicago’s chapter of the newly founded Federalist Society.In 1982 President Ronald Reagan appointed him as judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; he was confirmed by the US Senate on August 5th, 1982, and was sworn in on August 17th, 1982. On the D.C. Circuit, Scalia built a conservative record while winning applause in legal circles for powerful, witty legal writing, which was often critical of the Supreme Court precedents he felt bound as a lower-court judge to follow. In 1986 Chief Justice Warren Burger informed the White House of his intent to retire. Reagan first decided to nominate Associate Justice William Rehnquist to become Chief Justice. That choice meant that Reagan would also have to choose a nominee to fill Rehnquist’s seat as associate justice. Scalia met no opposition from the Senate Judiciay committee. The full Senate debated Scalia’s nomination only briefly, confirming him 98–0 on September 17th, 1986, and thereby creating the first Italian-American Justice. That vote followed Rehnquist’s confirmation as Chief Justice by a vote of 65–33 on the same day. Scalia took his seat on September 26th, 1986. Scalia served on the Court for nearly thirty years, during which time he espoused a conservative jurisprudence and ideology, advocating textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in constitutional interpretation. He was a strong defender of the powers of the executive branch, believing presidential power should be paramount in many areas. He opposed affirmative action and other policies that treated minorities as special groups. He filed separate opinions in many cases and often castigated the Court’s majority in his minority opinions using scathing language. For the month following Scalia’s death, his chair in the Supreme Court chamber and the front of the bench where he sat were draped with black wool crêpe, with more over the court’s entrance, a tradition dating from the death of Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase in 1873. Flags on the Court’s front plaza were flown at half-staff for 30 days. Scalia’s body lay in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court of the United States on February 19th, 2016. His son Fr. Paul Scalia delivered the homily at a Catholic funeral Mass the next day at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. On May 17th, 2016, the School of Law at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, was officially renamed Antonin Scalia Law School in Scalia’s memory. In October 2016, the Italy-USA Foundation posthumously awarded Scalia its America Award. The ceremony was conducted in front of the Italian parliament in Rome. As of this date (February 13th, 2017) Scalia’s seat remains vacant. When President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill Scalia’s seat, Republican Senate leaders announced that they planned to hold no vote on any potential nomination during the president’s last year in office. Garland’s nomination expired on January 3rd, 2017, with the end of the 114th Congress. The nomination remained before the Senate for 293 days, more than twice as long as any other Supreme Court nomination. President Donald Trump, a Republican, instead nominated Neil Gorsuch on January 31st, 2017 (died 2016): “The story is told of the elderly judge who, looking back over a long career, observes with satisfaction that, when I was young, I probably let stand some convictions that should have been overturned, and when I was old I probably set aside some that should have stood; so overall, justice was done. I sometimes think that is an appropriate analogy to this Court’s constitutional jurisprudence, which alternately creates rights that the Constitution does not contain and denies rights that it does.”