Portugal’s most important city for over 200 years, Coimbra remains second only to Lisbon culturally and historically. Known as the medieval capital of Portugal for over 100 years and located approx.. 95 miles north of Fatima is the city of Coimbra, Portugal. This lovely region of Portugal is dotted with steep hills, narrow lanes, lush parks and convents. Santa Cruz church in Coimbra is also the burial place for the first two kings of Portugal. Located halfway between Lisbon and Oporto and set on the east bank of the Rio Mondego, this enchanting city is also known for its historic significance and universities.
But, Coimbra remains closest to the hearts of many, as the home of the Convent of Santa Clara, where Sr. Lucia dos Santos of Fatima lived a hidden life as a cloistered nun for the last 57 years of her life. Sr. Lucy, who with her two cousins Jacinta and Francisco, were the three young visionaries from Fatima, Portugal
About Santa Teresa Convent:
As a Discalced Carmelite Convent, this is similar to many other Carmelite convents; however, there has been one notable occupant of the convent: Sister Lucia, one of the visionaries of Fatima. The Fatima apparitions took place in 1917, and Sister Lucy moved to Porto in 1921. In 1925, she entered the Institute of the Sisters of St. Dorothy as a postulant in the convent in Tui, Spain, just across the northern Portuguese border.
She returned to Portugal in 1946 (where she visited Fátima incognito). In 1948 she entered the Carmelite convent here in Coimbra and took her vows on May 31, 1949, taking the religious name Sister Maria Lúcia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart. As a cloistered nun, she had little contact with the outside world (perhaps her most famous visitor was Pope John Paul II). She lived here until her death in 2005.
Address: Carmelo de Santa Teresa , Rua de Santa Teresa, nº 16 , 3000-359 Coimbra – Portugal
Tel: (+351) 239 781 638
Email: [email protected]
Memorial & Museum of Sister Lucy:
Attached to the Convent is a small museum. You can follow an itinerary that covers the time starting with the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fátima, up to Sister Lúcia’s death, on February 13, 2005, in her cell at the Carmelite Convent.
The visitor is invited to go through the steps of Sister Lucia’s life chronologically, by seeing the display of objects, pictures, and brief explanations, many of those handwritten by herself.
At the beginning, one can see objects used by Sister Lucia in the time of the Apparitions, like her first rosary, her scarf and the rope she used around the waist, like her cousins Francisco and Jacinta.
The museum has a replica of her cell, some objects given to her by Pope John Paul II and other Popes, and personal items belonging to her, including items she made, objects used by here at the time of the apparitions as well as a multimedia room of photographs of Sister Lúcia.
Check their website for times they are open…there is a small admission charge, but well worth it.
Finding the Memorial to Sr. Lucy:
Address: Memorial da Irmã Lúcia, Av. Dr. Marnoco e Sousa, 54 3000-359, Coimbra
Tel: (+351) 239 781 638
E-mail: [email protected]
Coordinates: N: 40º12’22, W: 8º25’4
Click here for the official museum website
Traveling to Coimbra:
It is about one hour’s drive north of Fatima, and we are surprised that more Catholic tours do not stop here at the convent, rather than just a quick tour of the city.
There is frequent train service from Fatima, so you could easily make this a day trip. Fares are cheap, and the trip takes about one hour. Note: Coimbra has two train stations, simple referred to as Coimbra A and Coimbra B. Coimbra B station is on the main Lisbon to Porto train line (which includes Fatima) but is about 1 mile from the city center. Coimbra A is in the city center but the intercity trains do not stop there, so will probably want to take a taxi.