Museum for Lucia of Fatima

Richard Salbato 5-10-2007


The main seer of Fatima left her home at 15 years of age to become a nun in the north of Spain where she had additional apparitions.  She then joined the cloistered Convent of the Carmelites at Coimbra, Portugal where she stayed for about 50 years until her death three years before her 100th Birthday. 

Now the Convent of Coimbra, Portugal is building a Museum to celebrate the memory of this humble woman who saw our Blessed Mother with her own eyes.  This museum will have a replica of her cell (room) including her actual bed and personal possessions.  It will include pictures of her with the other nuns, meetings with Cardinals, Bishops, kings, presidents, and even Mel Gibson.  Photos of her death and funeral Mass will be there, including the moving of her body a year later to the Fatima shrine.  This museum was going to open on May 13, 2007, the feast day of the first apparition.  That has been changed to May 31, 2007 because of delays in construction and costs.  Only those invited will be able to see the new museum the first few days because they can only handle small amounts of people at a time.

I spent six years going back and forth to the convent from Fatima where I lived until recently.  This included many visits with Lucia and the nuns. The peace and holiness of this convent can be felt by anyone who visits.  This is probably because of the holiness of the nuns.  I have never met a group of nuns that impressed me more than these nuns because of the simplicity and happiness they show.  It is the joy of the Holy Spirit that I always see and feel there. 

What is sad to me is the poverty that these nuns live in.  This has been the most famous convent in the world for over 50 years because one of the most famous people in the Catholic Church lived there.  Even today the nuns still there spent all their religious lives side by side with one of the great saints of the 20th Century.  In spite of the notoriety of Sr Lucia,  the Convent has always struggled to meet their day to day expenses. The nuns have gardens in which the grow their own fruits and vegetables. They never ask for donations and live entirely on donations from the one Sunday Mass and from friends of the convent.

They now suffer an additional cross because of the construction of the museum which will leave them with a debt of over 170,000 Euros (almost $250,000).  Although I am still trying to raise this money, it seems that I will not make it in time and they will face monthly payments that they will not be able to meet.  So I have a back up idea, just in case. 

As Catholics we are obligated to donate to our parish and charities.  These donations should be 10% of our income.  That might seem high to those of us who struggle financially.  Several years ago, a very wonderful priest  (the priest whose church I spoke of last week) gave my daughter some very difficult advise. She was having very hard times financially so she contacted Fr. who she trusted implicitly. She asked him if bankruptcy was a sin, as she  was struggling to take care of her kids with an enormous debt.  Without discussing her question, he simply asked, “Do you tithe?”.  She sputtered, “Are you kidding?” And then she did something that changed her life forever.  She said that it felt like father was asking her to jump off a cliff and God would catch her.  But she did. My daughter started giving 10% at a time when she was in very hard financial times with 5 children.  The next year her income went up 10% and each year after that.  Since starting this, her income has increased substantially.  She has told me that she never worries about money as God always, always provides.

In verse 10 of Malachi 3, The Lord says "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, try me in this , saith the LORD, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

    This is a promise that God makes to us, He even asks us to test him. God will not let you out give Him.

If the parish you attend now is doing a good job for the kingdom of heaven on earth, this should be your first obligation in support and nothing should be taken away from that.  But if your parish is not doing what it ought to be doing according to sound doctrine and worthy sacraments you might be reluctant to donate money to them.  You might also want to donate some money to your parish and some to another charity, always with the prayer that your donations will save souls. 

Whatever the situation in your family, I want to suggest the one place in the world that I trust totally that my donation will be used wisely for the salvation of souls, and that is the Convent of Coimbra.  To make this an easy alternative for a one time donation or a monthly tithe, I have arranged that you can go one time to your bank and make a simple bank transfer.  You can also make the pledge, as my family is doing, to make a monthly bank transfer of $10, $20 or $100 per month to the convent.  If you feel called by God to do this, make your transfer now or monthly to:


Account No:              2021024756630

Bank ID Number      NIB  003520210002475663078
IBAN                         PT 50 0035 2021 0002 4756 63078
SWIFT/BIC              CGDIPTPL     1425377

Ferreira Borges 12-3000-179 Coimbra, Portugal.


May the prayers of Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco bring you joy and happiness.

 For photos of the construction going on now -

More to think about:

Saint Paul said: ( 2 Corinthians)
9:6. He who soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly: and he who sows in blessings shall also reap blessings.
9:7. Everyone as he has determined in his heart, not with sadness or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.
9:8. God is able to make all grace abound in you: that you always, having all sufficiently in all things, may           abound to every good work,
9:9. As it is written: He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor: his justice remains for ever.
9:10. And he that ministers seed to the sower will both give you bread to eat and will multiply your seed and increase the growth of the fruits of your justice: