The Portuguese Diocese of Coimbra has concluded its phase of the sainthood cause of Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the three children who saw Our Lady of Fatima in 1917, the Catholic Register reports.
The ceremony included the sealing of 50 volumes – 15,000 pages – of evidence and witness testimonies detailing the life of Sr Lucia. The documents sealed at the ceremony were to be shipped to the Congregation for Saints' Causes at the Vatican.
After a thorough review of the materials and a judgment that Sr Lucia heroically lived the Christian virtues, her cause still would require the recognition of two miracles – one for beatification and another for canonisation – attributed to her intercession.
Fr Romano Gambalunga, postulator of the visionary's cause, said that while "Lucia is already a saint in the eyes" of many people, "the prudent path of the Church is that she is proposed to all, not just those who believe".
"Lucia became holy over the years, not because of the apparitions," Fr Gambalunga told Agencia Ecclesia, the news agency of the Portuguese Bishops' Conference.
The evidence and testimonies gathered for Sr Lucia's cause, he said, provide "a great occasion for spiritual and theological deepening", and the material will help "illuminate the history of the Church over the last 100 years".
Bishop Antonio Marto of Leiria-Fatima told Radio Renascenca, the Portuguese bishops' radio station, that while nothing is certain, he is "deeply hopeful" the canonisation will take place this year, the centenary of the apparitions.