The Canonization of Blessed Nuno

Seven centuries ago Portugal trembled on the abyss of losing her national identity, of ceasing to be an independent nation. In that dread hour God raised up a knight of such great purity and valor who like his contemporary Saint Joan of Arc in France, was the tool that brought order to Portugal and the Master of Aviz to the throne as King John I. His name was Nuno Alvares Pereira and his code of honor based on the legendary Knights of the round table whom he truly believed to be a member. He was in fact the last great medieval knight!

At the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385, he dared to face a six times greater enemy and won more by the power of prayer than by arms. He became the Constable of Portugal and the head of the army. His mystique and military know-how won for Portugal many victories which ultimately permitted it to preserve its national independence and emerge as the great 15th century empire that discovered and evangelized more than half the world.


Six centuries before the greatest of Marian apparitions at Fatima, Nuno was providentially drawn to the Cova da Iria where he and his army experienced the awesome power of God which 532 years later, in that same spot, worked the greatest prodigy since the resurrection: the miracle of the sun !

It was August 13th, 1385 and the army was headed for Aljubarrota. Nuno had asked God for a sign that his outnumbered army would be victorious through the intercession of Our Lady Queen of Portugal.

Just as the troops crossed the mount of Saint Michael overlooking the Cova da Iria, a miraculous phenomenon occurred: The horses began to kneel and Nuno was led to the spot where in 1917 three little shepherds would hear from the mouth of the virgin that "most souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh, and that fashions would be introduced that would greatly offend God" - the Cova da Iria.

On the vigil of the feast of the Assumption, Nuno miraculously won the victory and freed Portugal. He later returned to the area in a pilgrimage of thanksgiving and built a church to Our Lady in nearby Ceissa. Who knows what role Nuno played in the liberation of the seers of Fatima who were imprisoned on August 13th and liberated on August 15th in the very town of Ourem of which he was 3rd Count? In that castle there had lived in the 12th Century, the Moorish Princess named Fatima -Oureana whose names were given to both towns.


In 1422, after having become a widower; he distributed all of his arms and jewels to his knights, his treasures to the poor and orphaned, his titles to his grandchildren, his many lands to those who worked them and built countless shrines in honor of Our Lady and the saints, the greatest of which are the Aljubarrota and Carmelite Monastery in Lisbon where on August 15th 1423 he took the habit joining as the lowest of members: a Donato servant Brother.

As he received the habit and the name Nuno of Saint Mary, he swore he heard the Image of Our Lady speak: "Come to me -wear my sign - and I will make you a saint... be perfect... find my Son... imitate me!"

Nuno had now become the Lieutenant-at-arms of Christ and Our Lady. Beneath his habit he still wore the sword and breastplate he had worn in battle. It was a sign that, he was ever ready to defend his King, Queen, Portugal, the Church, truth and honor! Nuno also knew that if Portugal should ever forget Mary as her Queen, she would be lost! The same was true of the entire world.

Nuno lived out the last years of his life dedicated to the Rosary and the Scapular, his two favorite devotions which he propagated in Portugal (having originated in England) and which Our Lady at Fatima held in her hands, to which Sister Lucia gave such importance.

Terrible arthritis attacked his body just prior to his death and he could hardly walk in the end. He died in his cell clutching a crucifix on April 1st, 1431 (formerly observed on November 1st and May 12th) as the words "Behold thy Mother" from the account of the passion of Christ in the gospel was read to him. In accordance with his will, no special Funerary honors were held, and the body of Portugal's greatest hero was buried in a simple dirt grave wrapped in a shroud and laid out on some stone slabs.


The love and service of this lieutenant-at-arms for Christ the King, and Our Lady Queen of Portugal, continued after his death. From the marriage of his daughter to the Duke of Braganca, son of King John I, there arose the royal dynastic house which ruled Portugal (from 1640 to 1910) after the period of Spanish rule was overthrown. Nuno's descendant, King John N, on March 25th, 1646, crowned Our Lady of Conception's stone image at Vila Vicosa (made by order of the great hero in England), with the Royal Crown as Queen of Portugal. From that moment on, the Kings and Queens of Portugal ceased to wear the crown and abdicated their throne to become Lieutenants-at-arms of the King of Kings and Queen of Queens whom the Portuguese swore to be Immaculately Conceived centuries before the Church had affirmed this as Dogma.


Miracles through the intercession of Nuno began occurring immediately after his death and he was popularly acclaimed "Santo Condestavel" : The Constable -Saint! So many miracles were wrought at his tomb that openings were made to allow the sick to touch and obtain dirt from the grave as relics. This dirt according to Church records, mixed with water and taken internally or applied, worked 12 resurrections, 24 cures of paralytics, 21 cures of blindness, 21 cures of deafness and muteness, 18 internal diseases, 16 fatal diseases, 10 recoveries from high fevers and blood loss and 6 apparitions of the great knight with special spiritual graces. (Chronica do Camlelitas I p.486 -559) Countless unregistered miracles were also worked through the relics of Nuno's cap, his walking stick, his rosary, his sword, his banner and his two personal reliquaries. The holes in the grave became so deep that in 1522 the remains were removed and sealed in a wall near the main altar under an identifying plaque.

In 1531, the remains were again removed and placed in a magnificent alabaster sarcophagus made in Florence by order of one of his descendants, Queen Joanna of Spain, who was daughter of Ferdinand and Isabelle the Catholic. The sarcophagus had upon it an effigy of Nuno and a bar relief of his famous standard depicting Our

Lord, Our Lady, with Saints John, George and James (depicted on front fold), Near it was buried the remains of his Saintly mother, Lady Irene, who survived him by 9 years.


On all Saints day 1755, this glorious memorial was destroyed along with the Carmo Monastery in an earthquake that leveled all of Lisbon. The few salvaged bones and ashes were transferred to a wooden replica of the sarcophagus on March 21st, 1768 and here they remained till March 14th 1856 when they were removed and plated in velvet-lined urn on March 9th of 1895.

Nuno's great monastery and final resting place has remained till this day the only building in Lisbon that was not restored since his memory became an uncomfortable reminder of purity and truth to the many who had adhered to the enlightenment and godlessness which culminated in the confiscation of Churches and suppression of all religious orders in Portugal. The name of Nuno became despised by many and his cult the object of most intense attacks. During the revolution of 1910 and the anti-clerical persecution that followed afterwards, Portugal again turned to Nuno and enshrined his relics in a beautifully sculpted silver reliquary urn in August of 1912.

Nuno responded to the call of a besieged Portugal and again miracles were worked which ushered in the apparitions of Saint Michael the angel of Portugal and angel of Peace in 1916 and those of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima in 1917. Ninety Five days after the Fatima miracle of the Sun, January 15th, 1918, the Sacred Congregation of Rites approved the feast of Nuno for November 6th. Eight days later Pope Benedict XV beatified him and gave him as a role model for those who were fighting in the great war : World War One.

For decades after, Nuno's intercession was again sought in many afflictions and trials but alas in recent years devotion again has dwindled almost to a halt. In 1967, a great equestrian monument was inaugurated at Batalha Monastery in his honor and previously in 1961, his relics toured all of Portugal with the hope that this would bring protection to Portugal. But again Nuno was dishonored with the sacrilegious theft of his relics from the reliquary which were never recovered. Other bones of the Constable-Saint kept elsewhere, replaced the stolen ones and are today venerated in the third order chapel near the ruins of his great monastery, (today headquarters of the Portuguese association of Archaeologists Museum).


The discovery of the original tomb of Blessed Nuno in 1996, (a year which marked the 350th anniversary of the coronation of Blessed Nuno's image of Our Lady of Conception as Queen of Portugal, the 50th anniversary of the Coronation of Our Lady of Fatima as Queen of the world by legate of Pius XII, and the 80th anniversary of the apparitions of the angel of Portugal and angel of Peace), seems providential in a time when so many evils threaten Portugal, land of Mary.

Fernando Ferreira, the archaeologist who discovered the grave, says:

"The tomb was of a style commonly used for the burying of important medieval Crusader-Knights and which had stopped being used about 100 years before Nuno's death. The body born on a wooden litter decorated with metal crosses (of which a few were also discovered), was laid on stone slabs placed underneath the ground with a special locus or compartment for the head so that it would not be in contact with the earth and quick lime (also discovered) which covered it. The reason for this type of uncommon burial is quite simple, Nuno, was the last great medieval knight in Christendom likened to the Knights of King Arthur's round table!"

In tile tomb there was discovered several bones of a 71 year old man, Blessed Nuno's age at death, however tests will have to be conducted to guarantee that the bones discovered in the tomb are from those of the same person carefully kept in the silver reliquary in the chapel of the third order. The recently discovered bones were either overlooked in the 1522 unearthing or else purposely left there in the tradition of the Church of leaving some bones as relics in the original tomb so that people could still pray there.

But the most identifying artifact discovered in the tomb was a lead seal with the inscription of Boniface IX (1389-1404) on one side, and the figures of two men on the other surmounted by the letters SPASPE (Saints Peter & Paul), from a disintegrated document buried with Nuno. Various possibilities for the text of the document presented themselves but after contacting the Secret archive of the Vatican, historian Carlos Evaristo of the Oureana-Fatima Historical Cultural Foundation in Ourem Castle, concluded a study that proved the document in question could only have been a personal Indulgence, which according to Carmelite Historian, Father Gabriel Pausback, was read to Nuno during the ancient 43 item rite of the dying which was administered.


It is hoped that this discovery in a time when Nuno's example and intercession for Portugal and the world are so greatly needed, will rekindle the love for the figure of the last great Knight whose memory is an ideal role model for the young and old alike for the 21st century. Nuno stands ready! Ready to combat the wave of pornography, abortion, drugs, and violence striking at the very heart of our families!

Let us invoke his intercession now in these turbulent times!

In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved!


0 Lady of Conception, Queen and patroness of Portugal, beloved of the Portuguese nation who had Blessed Nuno, Constable of Portugal and great defender of this your land under many and glorious invocations as faithful servant and fervorous apostle of your cult: obtain from your dearly beloved Son the necessary miracles for his

canonization and the quick granting of the grace that in this novena we ask through the intercession and merits of Nuno Alvares and through the mediation of Your Motherly heart united to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Amen.

1 Our Father. 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory be

O God, who enabled Blessed Nuno to fight the good fight and to win renown for his victory over self and the world, grant that we, your servants may overcome the disire of earthly pleasures and rejoice eternally in the heavenly homeland through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

300 Days Indulgence + Cardinal Manuel Goncalves Cerejeira

O Holy Knight now enjoying the eternal reward of your heroic virtues, come once again to the aid of your beloved Portugal and the other countries 'of the world today besieged by evils striking at the very heart of our families and grant the favor I humbly ask (Mention intention here). Amen. Blessed Nuno: Pray for us.

Address for obtaining literature and other information:

Fundacao Historico - Cultural Oureana, 2490 Castelo de Ourem, Portugal

In North America: Lay Apostolate Foundation, PO. Box 50 Asbury. N.J. 08802

Please report all favors received to: Father Francisco Rodrigues O. Carm.,

Ordem do Carmo de Portugal. Rua de Santa Isabe1 128, 1250 Lisboa, Portugal.

Written and Researched by Carlos Evaristo 

Download the following petition.

Get as many signatures as you can.

Send it to the Vatican as shown below.



We, ......................................................................................[1][1] with ...... [2][2] Number of members having been informed by the Vice-Postulator for the Canonization of Blessed Nuno de Santa Maria (D. Nuno Álvares Pereira the Holy Constable of Portugal and Precursor of Fatima), Rev. Father Francisco José Rodrigues, Order of Carmelites, of the desire, convenience and opportunity of requesting by petition the Canonization by Decree of Blessed Nuno de Santa Maria, formulated by the General Commission of the Order of Carmel in Portugal and by the Venerable Third Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, hereby by this means also join our petition for the Canonization by Decree for the Praise and Glory, the good of the Holy Church and the edification of Christians.

We also unite ourselves in the campaign of prayer and gathering of signatures for this most noble cause.


1. Name of the Order, Institution, Group, Society, Apostolate or Association

2. Number of members

3. Signature of President, Superior or Representative with stamp or seal if available

Send along with attached petition forms to His Holiness Pope John Paul II:

C/o Vice Postulator for the cause of the Canonization of Blessed Nuno de Santa Maria

(Holy Constable of Portugal and Precursor of Fatima)

Ver. Father. Frei Francisco José Rodrigues, O. Carm.

Rua de Santa Isabel, n 128

1250-208 Lisboa



Page Number


Passport or other I.D. Number





























Send along with attached petition forms to His Holiness Pope John Paul II:

C/o Vice Postulator for the cause of the Canonization of Blessed Nuno de Santa Maria

(Holy Constable of Portugal and Precursor of Fatima)

Ver. Father. Frei Francisco José Rodrigues, O. Carm.

Rua de Santa Isabel, n 128

1250-208 Lisboa

[1][1] Indicate name of Association, Apostolate or Order

[2][2] Indicate number of members

[3][3] Indicate other reasons you may have (personal reasons of the association) for wanting the Canonization