The day of March 28, 1907, was Holy Thursday.
In the morning [Lucia’s mother,] Maria Rosa attended Mass and received Communion, intending to return in the afternoon for a visit and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. She could not return, however, because the “shepherdess” was born.
The fact that her mother had received Communion that morning was a great pleasure for Sister Lucia who liked to say she made her first Communion before birth.
Antonio did not want to wait too long to have his child baptized, but knew the parish priest would refuse to administer baptism on Holy Saturday to a child who was less than eight days old, and it was a very busy day. He also did not want his girl to spend Easter without being baptized, and wanted to avoid having two feasts on the same day—Easter and Baptism.
Thus, he solved the problem with a “white lie”—he registered the girl as being born on March 22 so the pastor could not refuse. This is why Sister Lucia always celebrated her birthday on March 22 and only learned of her true birthday later in life when she heard her mother’s explanation to a family friend, Fr. Formigão.
In the last years of her life Lucia celebrated her birthday on two days – the 22nd for the outside world, and the 28th for the Community of Carmel because the 22nd was always too busy with correspondence and visitors, and the Community could hardly be with her.
Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Carmel of Coimbra
Chapter 1: Birth and baptism
of St. Teresa Coimbra Portugal, C 2015, A pathway under the gaze of Mary : biography of Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart O.C.D., translated from the Portuguese by Colson, J, World Apostolate of Fatima USA, Washington NJ.
Featured image: Lucia dos Santos in 1917. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)
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