Who am I?
I was born the 19th of May 1981 in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, in the same hospital where the little blessed Jacinta of Fatima gave her life to God. Later this date will become very important in my life, because 6 days before at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II was the victim of an attempted assassination that the whole world recognized to have been predicted in the prophecies of Our Lady of Fatima. They gave me the name Mária Lúcia for other reasons than the fact that it’s the name of the other little visionary of Fatima, [Sister Lucy] who lived so long in order to make the Immaculate Heart of Mary known and loved, and to witness to us of the love and mercy prepared by Heaven for us. I feel part of this mystery. I grew up in a village in a farming region northwest of Lisbon, with my parents and my sister, the place of origin of all my family. I also had the chance to taste the happiness of certain traditions that persisted in the people and which are a source of deep-rooted personal identity. Passionate for nature, I chose to study veterinary medicine (in place of biology, because of an employment crisis!) in the Technical University of Lisbon which I left to enter the monastery.
How did I get to know the Lord?
I was brought up in the Catholic faith, brought regularly to mass and catechism, but for a long time I had not found God who nevertheless permeated my life, without me knowing it. During adolescence, especially from age 14 to 16, I had a severe crisis of questioning and doubt, of searching for my identity and the truth. Because I was and always have been a very reserved and introverted girl, without many friends; I believe no one realized that. In my parish they had me in mind for certain responsibilities, even though I was young, I told myself that I did not believe in God and I was full of questions… to pull myself out of the isolation which engulfed me, my mother and my aunt besieged me and persuaded me to go with the parish youth, from the “Neo-Catechumenal Way”, to the World Youth Day in Paris (1997). At this moment, I said to God, without knowing what I was telling him: “Oh good, the time is now: either I see something or I leave the Church!” And I saw! I was touched and shocked by the applause and joy of thousands of young people. They were accustomed to the visit of “Kiko” at every WYD (one of the founders of the “Way”), when he announced that a youth had died during the pilgrimage, speaking of the hope of knowing him already alive in Heaven and also with us. And by way of a sign to confirm these words, at that very moment, the sky that was dark and cloudy burst forth with sunlight shining down on us. I was not the only one who experienced this moment of shock, beside me I saw others turning red, green, blue… God had prepared for us a little trap to encounter him. I saw; I experienced something on a higher level, in such a way that the decision ripened and I told myself: “I want to see, to know, who is that!” From that moment began a very beautiful path of suffering and happiness where Jesus was revealing himself to my heart as a Bridegroom. And it is from that time that my life began to be happy, and he also opened me to communion of those around me.
How did I get to know the monastery?
Four years later I entered the monastery. At the occasion of the profession of a sister from my parish in a French monastery (a trip for which I had no interest because monasteries told me nothing, but I felt called), Jesus gripped me and I simply remained there for the yearly vocational retreat that was starting in a few days. Having returned to say goodbye to everyone, I left again a month later, and I remained 7 years in this monastic family. Having experienced diverse difficulties, I wanted to leave, feeling nevertheless that I didn’t want to go back home. At that time, the sisters had very good relations with Mother Agnes Mariam to whom they confided many sisters for spiritual guidance. I went to Syria for a trip and I ended up remaining here, because the atmosphere of Christian faith which I saw alive here at the monastery profoundly touched my heart and it was for me a chance to let me rebuild myself.
How do I live in this time of war?
For me it’s always a mystery why the Lord put me in the Middle East for the last 12 years. Yet in this war I have found a meaning: the message that Our Lady gave at Fatima. It is not a message that has its fulfillment in the past and concerns things happening “underground.” The role that Russia has played and continues to play in this war is nothing less than the ripe fruit of the consecration [of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary] that Our Lady of Fatima asked for. The prayers that were given and asked for, not only by the Virgin but also by the Angel of Portugal, the Angel of Peace, are the weapons to fight against the true enemy that is Satan and the multitude of those who follow him today, whether they know it or not. These are the prayers that ask for reparation and the salvation of sinners. This is the experience that we have of this war: we do not fight earthly enemies but spiritual enemies. For the rest, we confide ourselves to God, because it is he who wanted that we remain here. I cannot say what is my desire but a will imposes itself on me… and what is the best security in this world if not to follow the will of God? And every day we continue to do what we must, but taking necessary precautions for the situation in the country… To all I invite to pray, to become well informed of the stakes in our times and to fight the good fight. Thank you.