The letter of the bishop of Leiria, D. Jose, to Pius XI (1937 year)

Letter [1] of D. Jose to Pius XI


A. M. Martins, R. Fox (red.),
Documents on Fatima & Memoirs of Sister Lucia. Pictorial Documentary & Historical Update,

third edition, Alexandria, 2002, p. 329-330.

Internet adaptation by

Dr. Wojciech Kosek

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The remark of Dr. Wojciech Kosek:

It is very important to notice that on 13. September 1939, bishop Jose made public the devotion of the first Saturdays but to this reparatory devotion did not he include the five kinds of sins against Mary about which he wrote to Pope Pius XI in the name of Sister Lucia. So, it is obvious, such limitation of the reparation which Sister Lucia tried to make on it (as a result of the revelation which she had in Tuy in 1930, and which was never approbated by the Church) was not accepted by the Church. It is the most important conclusion, such limitation was only private opinion of Lucia and it was never accepted by Pope!

The most important confirmation of the correctness of this conclusion is the article from Voz da Fátima in 1939 year, where it was presented this original form of the practice of the First Five Saturdays which was officially given by the bishop of Leiria, José, on 13. September 1939.

About bishop Jose’s act of publication of this devotion see two historical articles in Voz da Fátima, 13. October 1939 – click, please!

Most blessed Father:

Humbly prostrate at the feet of your Holiness, I judge that I must present following to your Holiness:

There is in this diocese the sanctuary of our Lady of Fatima, which is the major center of piety in Portugal and whose devotion is dispersed through many nations. From the recommendations made by the most blessed Virgin in 1917, especially the devotion to the Holy Rosary, aversions to license, and penitence, it is clear that our Lady was preparing the battle against the communism from which Portugal has been preserved so far, despite its proximity to Spain. We, Portuguese bishops pledged in the past year, after the retreat which we made at the sanctuary, to call a great national pilgrimage if until the end of 1937 our country will not be invaded by the terrible calamity of communism. Thank to the Most Holy Virgin we have been at peace.

Of the three children to whom our Lady appeared, two have died and the one surviving is a religious at the Institute of Saint Dorothy in Spain.

The religious asks me to communicate to your Holiness that, according to a heavenly revelation, the good God promises to end the persecutions in Russia, should your Holiness

This devotion would have as its purposes:

Reparation for the blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception, the Virginity, the Maternity of the most Blessed Virgin and the offenses against the images (p. 330) of our Lady, supplication for our children, in whose hearts has been implanted contempt and even hatred for the Mother of Heaven.

Here, most Holy father, is the communication which I have received for transmission to your Holiness.

In the pilgrimages to the Sanctuary we pray always for your Holiness.

Finally, I humbly beg your Holiness for your Apostolic Blessing for this diocese, your humble pastor and the pilgrims of the sanctuary of our Lady of Fatima.

[1]  I found a copy of this Letter amongst the pages of Fr. Jose Bernardo Gonzalves, S. J., with this only indication: 1937.
The remark of Wojciech Kosek: „I found a copy…” – it is the note of A. M. Martins. Besides, it is necessary to notice that some commentators made a mistake concerning the authorship of this letter, imputing it not to the bishop José Alves Correia da Silva, but to Father José Bernardo Gonçalves, the confessor of Sister Lucia. However the title itself – “Letter of D. José to Pius XI. Document” – given by Martins, bears witness that the bishop José is its author. In addition, on page 143, the same Martins as the editor wrote about the bishop José: “… the bishop of Leiria, who refused to approve the Devotion of the First Saturdays before the outbreak of the World War of 1939. … However, it is important to remember that in spite of his not yet having approved the devotion of the First Saturdays, he did not hesitate, at the opportune time, to write to Pius XI, and thus bring the Seer’s petitions to the Pope’s notice.”