Fr Adrian Fernandes
Serving in the Vatican Secretariat since July 1, 2004, Sr. Lucy carries many fond memories of her many, many years spent in service here.
In her 15 years of service, Sr Lucy was blessed to serve three Popes – Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis and expresses her joy to work in the same premises where the Popes lived and worked as she often encountered them.
Speaking about her experiences, Sr Lucy highlighted a prominent trait of each of the three Popes she served – Pope John Paul for his charismatic personality, Pope Benedict for his scholarly brilliance and Pope Francis for his love for the poor.
“In all of them, however, there were the common traits of humility, simplicity and being steeped in prayer,” she recalled, adding that though Pope John Paul II was very old and weak when she had begun her service at the Vatican, she was surprised to witness the throngs of people who visited, even though they knew he was bedridden.
Such was the impact the great Pope had left etched on thousands who were impressed with his personality and whom he met during the course of the hundreds of visits across the globe.
Pope emeritus Benedict XVI she affirmed is an exceptional scholar.
“A philosopher, theologian and novel thinker, his treasury of writings has left behind a legacy. His book, ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ is a masterpiece of deep spiritual insights,” she says, quick to add that despite Pope Benedict’s ‘next to none’ capacity, he is a very humble man to the core and was very much loved by the personnel of the Secretariat.
In Pope Francis, it is his simplicity has been inspirational to her. She feels that the prelate does not carry any sign of being superior to anyone. She recalls vividly that he was found perennially unassuming, he would humbly walk in the office, interact with anyone, share meals with the poor and intermingle with anybody present. She is in praise for his deep love for the poor and fearlessness to stand for the truth.
A few days before leaving the Vatican, Sr Lucy was invited to participate in the Holy Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at the Casa Santa Marta at Vatican where the Pope personally thanked her for her dedicated services.
Blessing her, he gave her a special rosary which he normally gives to the special dignitaries visiting him at the Vatican City.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State, who is sometimes described as the Prime Minister of the Vatican, conveyed the gratitude of the Church in the following words: “Viva gratitudine per la fedele ed apprezzata collaborazione che hai reso con generosa dedizione alla Santa Sede” (in Italian) which is translated as “Deep gratitude for the faithful and appreciated collaboration that you have rendered with generous dedication to the Holy See”.
Fr Adrian of Assolna is a member of the missionary congregation of the Society of Pilar. At present he
is pursuing his Doctoral studies in RomeFROM Cuncolim to the Vatican
ROME: Hailing from Cuncolim, Sr Lucy spent her younger years in Goa and Mumbai. Always inspired by the pedagogical dynamism of the Jesuits during her school days, she desired to one day teach as they taught. Reading about the lives of St. Bartolomea Capitanio and St. Vincenza Gerosa (founders of the congregation of Sisters of Maria Bambina) left a deep impact on her.
Her formative years were not easy. Six months after joining the convent, her father expired. However, her determination to shoulder her difficulties after the example of Jesus’ sufferings and her intent to serve humanity, kept her single-minded to give her best till date.
Completing her elementary studies in Mumbai, Nashik and Goa, Lucy pursued her BA in English Literature, Political Science and Psychology in Hyderabad after which she completed a Bachelor’s degree in Education at St. Anne’s, Mangalore where she was awarded a scholarship by the governments of India and France.
She then obtained a Master’s in French from Hyderabad after which she taught French for 17 years there.
Returning to Goa in 1994, she served as the first Principal of Maria Bambina HS School, Cuncolim and the superior of her religious community there.
She arrived in Rome in 2003, before serving for three years as the superior of the community and incharge of a working girls hostel in Mumbai.
Sr Lucy’s commendable multi-linguistic competency for French, English, Italian and also to a considerable extent, Spanish, proved to be very effective in the department she served so efficiently. Besides her fluency in Portuguese and Konkani, she is comfortable with Hindi, Marathi and could considerably decipher German and Polish, too.
“There were varied promising prospects for my future, but nothing surpassed my desire to serve Jesus and offer my life in charity for humanity,” she affirmed.
Sr Lucy could have continued her service in the Vatican, however, she requested a termination in a bid to pave the way for a swifter and younger replacement who would continue contributing to the Secretariat of the Holy See.