The Papal Artifacts’ Collection is primarily dedicated to artifacts connected to the papacy. Individual popes, their biographies and multiple items belonging to them, including first and second class relics, make up the majority of this Collection. But that isn’t all it is.
Father Kunst has a deep devotion to the saints as can be readily seen in viewing the Saints & Blesseds section of this site. We invite you to visit Papal History/Saints & Blesseds to view the many canonized and beatified men and women who make up this section of the Collection.
Another category is also included with this Collection: Notable Individuals. These are people significantly associated with the Catholic Church who have not been canonized but contributed in outstanding ways to the church.
Sister Lucia is one of them.
A Story about the Cancelled Check Signed by Sr. Lucia of Fatima
The check is framed with a holy card printed on the occasion of her fiftieth anniversary at the convent. The check was given to an extern nun (one who is able to leave the convent) and this same nun gave the holy card to Father Kunst.
Sr. Lucia has a very strict policy against signing autographs. Father Kunst obtained this one by making a check out to her personally and delivering it to the convent where she was cloistered in Coimbra, Portugal.
NOTE: Sr. Lucia died on February 13, 2005.
I was able to travel to Coimbra, Portugal in 1999 to the convent where Sr. Lucia was living. She was one of the seers of Our Lady of Fatima, an event that
It was very difficult to have any type of connection with her because of the cloistered life and because of the many people seeking information from her particularly about the third secret of Fatima about which people wanted information.
Her autograph is highly sought. Even cardinals have tried repeatedly to get it without success.
So I brought a check for Sr. Lucia directly to the convent. I received assistance from a friend who wrote it in Portuguese. If she wanted the money she had to endorse the check.
Six months later the canceled check was returned to me with her endorsement. –Fr. Richard Kunst
Sr. Lucia Santos was born on March 22, 1907. Lucie Dos Santos was only 10 years old when the Virgin appeared to her and her two young cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, on a field outside the town of Fatima, on May 13, 1917. The apparitions continued through October 13 of that same year, and the seers conveyed Mary’s predictions of World War II, the rise of Russian Communism, and the urgent need for the faithful to pray the Rosary.
Sister Lucia also revealed the famous “third secret” of Fatima, which was kept secret by successive popes until May 2000, when John Paul II revealed the text of a mystical vision involving a bishop dressed in white who was struggling toward the Cross, over the bodies of martyrs, until he himself was felled by gunfire. Pope John Paul concluded that the vision referred to the attempt on his own life. Some Catholics continue to insist that aspects of the third secret have not yet been disclosed, although the Vatican insists that there is nothing more to reveal.
Sister Lucia had spoken of the Fatima promises in four published memoirs, but kept the third secret hidden. She divulged that secret to the Bishop of Leira, Portugal, in January 1944; he confided the secret to Pope Pius XII. Sister Lucia had said that the secret should be revealed at the Pope’s discretion, but not before 1960.
The first pontiff to meet privately with Sister Lucia was Paul VI, when he visited Fatima in May 1967. Pope John Paul II met with her on three separate occasions: in 1982, when he made a pilgrimage to Fatima to thank the Virgin for saving him from assassination; in 1991, on the 10th anniversary of the shooting; and in 2000, for the beatification ceremonies.
Francisco and Jacinta Marto were beatified by Pope John Paul in ceremonies that took place at Fatima on May 13, 2000– the anniversary of the first apparition there. Both Francisco and Jacinta had died in their youth– in 1919 and 1920, respectively. Sister Lucia made a rare journey outside the Carmelite cloister to take part in the ceremony.
They were caonized on May 13, 2017, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, Portugal.
John Santos Marto & Father Kunst’s Visits with Him
In 1999, Father Kunst purchased a copy of Fatima In Lucia’s Own Words: Sister Lucia’s Memoirs.
The photograph above is of John Santos Marto, younger brother to (now) Saints Jacinta & Francesco Marto. He was 93 years old at the time of this photograph and died just a few weeks before his siblings’ beatifications on May 13, 2000.
I was leading a group of pilgrims from Brainerd, Minnesota, (where he was assigned at the time) to Fatima, and we went to a store owned by relatives of the Marto family. It was there that I purchased the book. He was outside, so I asked for him to sign it and for a photo with him.
It was actually the second time I met him: In 1989 I was in Fatima for a pilgrimage. At that time he still lived in the family home he grew up in, the same house in which his two canonized siblings were born, so the house was (and is) quite an attraction. He was very gracious in visiting with pilgrims, who I am sure came from all over the world.
Father Kunst was present at the beatifications of John Marto’s siblings in 2000.
It adds to the lore surrounding the Fatima appearances of Our Lady to have this keepsake from the saints’ family.
Their canonizations occurred on May 13, 2017, the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s first appearance at Fatima.