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 of Fatima is one of them.
A Story about the Cancelled Check (the Featured Image Above) 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.
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 occurred over a period of months in 1917. In 1999 she was the only one of the three children still alive.
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
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.