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Some Questions about “Sister Lucy Truth”


The tangled saga of the Fatima apparitions, the history of the “Third Secret,” and the person of the last surviving seer Lucia dos Santos (later known as Sister Lucia or Sister Lucy in English) are unprecedented in Church history. Since this article is intended for those acquainted with the Fatima controversies, I encourage readers who are not familiar with the subject to consult one of the many resources (books and websites) that have ably outlined the history and characters of Fatima.

Several years ago, various commentators on the internet started documenting the startling changes in the appearance and testimony of Sister Lucy over the years to suggest that she had been replaced by an imposter. For me personally, the likelihood that a Fake Sister Lucy had been introduced at some point, along with the controversy surrounding the Vatican’s release of the text of the so-called “Third Secret” in 2000, were major factors in my coming to accept the fact that the Vatican 2 “Church” could not be the true Catholic Church. After all, the true Church could not be so duplicitous as to (1) suppress for forty years a milquetoast message like the purported “Third Secret” revealed in 2000 and (2) conspire to deceive the world with an imposter Sister Lucy. If these things had happened, I reasoned, then the organization that had orchestrated them could only be an agent of Antichrist; it could not be the Holy Church of Christ.

Until the recent efforts of “Sister Lucy Truth” to assemble expert opinions on the images formerly compared by amateur sleuths on the internet, the whole question retained the foul odor of conspiracy theory. But now, thanks to the work presented on the organization’s website, Sister Lucy “Truthers” can point to objective evidence that a fraud was perpetrated in replacing the real Sister Lucy with the Fake Sister Lucy. I applaud the efforts of the organization to obtain and publish objective evidence in this regard.

Nevertheless, as is often the case with investigative reports such as this, the analysis presented raises several new questions. In this two-part article, I will discuss two main issues that remain to be explained in connection with the data already presented on the “Sister Lucy Truth” website:

    1. The division of the photographic evidence into two categories of “pre-1967” and “post-1967,” and in particular, the division of the pre-1967 Sister Lucy images into groups labeled “Subject A (Age 10 – 18)” and “Subject B (Age 20 – 40).”
    2. The necessity of a fake Carmelite community in Coimbra in order to maintain the career of Fake Sister Lucy.

To avoid a confusing repetition of “Sister Lucy,” the following acronyms will be used throughout Parts I and II:

SLTOrg = Sister Lucy Truth, the 501(c)3 organization that commissioned the expert reports

FSL = Fake “Sister Lucy”[1]

Unless it appears in a quotation from the SLTOrg website, the name “Sister Lucy” will always refer to the real Sister Lucy, God rest her soul.

Part 1: The Division of Photographic Evidence

The criteria for image groups?

According to SLTOrg’s own admission (or omission), the grouping of photographs into pre-1967 and post-1967 sets of images was not based on the opinion of the experts. “We note here for clarification that in most reports already conducted and still forthcoming, we have divided photographic evidence of the two Sister Lucys into four groups: Subject A, B, C, and D as seen in our photo galleries.”[2] Since SLTOrg does not offer a rationale for this division, it appears to be either an arbitrary classification or one biased by a prejudicial assumption that everything was fine until FSL emerged on the scene at the 50th Anniversary of Fatima Extravaganza in 1967.[3]

Screen shot showing the two main categories of pre- and post-1967 Sister Lucy images

A more objective approach would have been to present the experts with all the available images and to ask, “Are all these photos of the same person? If not, please organize them into sets according to facial characteristics.” To present the experts with photographs in groups pre-labeled “Subject A”, “Subject B”, and so forth is to commit the logical fallacy of “begging the question”—i.e., to assume as true the very conclusion that one is seeking to demonstrate.[4]

The fallacy is especially apparent—and especially misleading—in the division of the pre-1967 Sister Lucy into “Subject A (Age 10 – 18)” and “Subject B (Age 20 – 40).”

Pre-1967 Sister Lucy image set A, screen shot
Pre-1967 Sister Lucy image set B, screen shot

The Subject B image set includes a mix of photos of Sister Lucy as a Dorothean Sister and photos of an individual wearing the habit of a Carmelite nun; however, it is not at all clear that the Carmelite is the same person as the Dorothean Sister Lucy. In fact, although the Carmelite nun has some facial characteristics similar to Sister Lucy’s, the Carmelite looks like a different person. The assumption that they are the same person is especially misleading for two reasons:

    1. It drastically alters the timeline one accepts for the perpetration of this outrageous fraud.
    2. It skews the analysis of the experts who either:

(a.) used only Dorothean images from the “Subject B” set—known pictures of Sister Lucy—to compare with the “Subject C” and “Subject D” images of FSL. Since the Carmelite pictures are grouped with the known Dorothean Sister Lucy pictures in the “Subject B” category, the result is that the experts seem to confirm that the Carmelite photos are in fact images of Sister Lucy, even though these photos are never compared with her known images or any of the images of FSL.


(b.) included the unknown Carmelite’s facial measurements to compute averages in the mathematical analysis of “Subject B.”

A complete discussion of  problem #2  will be the subject of a forthcoming article on the details of the expert reports. For now, I will focus on the first issue—the timeline of the fraud.

Did Sister Lucy really enter the Carmelite order?

Besides the questionable photographs of a woman dressed as a Carmelite nun who may or may not be Sister Lucy, to my knowledge there are only two other pieces of publicly verifiable evidence[5] supporting the mainstream narrative that Sister Lucy transferred to the Carmel at Coimbra in 1948:

    1. The report in the 1989 book The Whole Truth About Fatima that “the [Vatican] Secretariat of State, in the name of Pope Pius XII, asked the Bishop of Porto to facilitate Sister Lucy’s passage from the congregation of Dorothean Sisters to the order of Carmel.”[6] In a footnote, the author cites a work by Vilalta Berbel (Los secretos de Fatima, p. 66) to point out that “the document bore the signature of Msgr. Montini, then the undersecretary for ordinary affairs.”[7]
    2. The (in)famous 1957 visit to the Coimbra Carmel by Father Augustine Fuentes, then-postulator for the beatification cause of her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto.[8]


The first piece of evidence is beyond the scope of this article and must be deferred to a future post, but the second item can be explored (and dismissed) now.

The persuasiveness of the Father Fuentes interview as evidence that Sister Lucy actually became a Carmelite hinges on one question: Had Father Fuentes ever seen Sister Lucy before meeting her in the Coimbra Carmel? My research indicates that he only met with “Sister Lucy” twice—once on August 10, 1955 and again on December 26, 1957, after which the ensuing brouhaha prevented him from continuing in his capacity as postulator. If he had never met Sister Lucy during her Dorothean days, how would he have known whether he was meeting with Sister Lucy or FSL? I believe that he was deceived into thinking that he met with Sister Lucy and acted in good faith when he reported what she told him, a report that resulted in his public shaming, the end of his career as postulator, and the so-called “silencing” of “Sister Lucy.”

If anyone can provide evidence that Father Fuentes was acquainted with Sister Lucy prior to her purported entry into the Coimbra Carmel in 1948, please let me know; and I will retract this claim. Until then, I maintain that Father Fuentes unwittingly met with FSL.

SLTOrg’s dental report supports Sister Lucy as Carmelite?

Oddly enough, Dr. Ruud Karsten, the expert dentist commissioned by SLTOrg to contrast and compare the images, seems to have the inside story on Sister Lucy’s dental history. Unlike the other experts who limit their analysis to the photographic evidence in front of them, Dr. Kartsen’s report invokes an unnamed external source to explain the obvious difference between the teeth of Dorothean Sister Lucy and the woman in the Carmelite habit (subject B3 and subject B13 respectively in the following excerpt, bold added for discussion below; italics indicate my notes). He writes:

Only two photographs of Lucia I show usable details of the dentition, being B3 and B13.

B3 shows an irregular tooth row, some teeth extruded, probably due to periodontal disease, which causes a lack of tooth support, enabling the teeth to grow out.

B13 shows Lucia I appearing with a regular row of nice teeth. In January, 1948, her dentist, dr. Alcino Magelhaes, proposed to Lucia I, that all teeth be removed, and a denture be made for replacement. He already removed two teeth then, which may have been the most extruded ones of the upper front. In March, 1948, two more teeth were extracted.

In May, 1948, Lucia I suffered of severe inflammatory disease in her mouth, which indicates that several teeth with periodontal disease, and/or root apex inflammation, still existed in her mouth. Around that time dr. Alcino Magelhaes expressed his astonishment that not all teeth had already been removed, as was planned in January, 1948, but later he understood why. He has then finished the dental extraction treatment, and the replacement with artificial teeth. (See: Tooth Background – 2). [This “Tooth Background” section is not included in the report available on SLTOrg’s website.—LB] Although it is written that he ‘implanted’ artificial teeth, we must take it that he had a full acrylic denture made for Lucia I. The real implantation of artificial teeth in jaw bone, using titanium screw type “roots”, on which a dental tooth structure of metal and porcelain is built, the so-called supra-structure, was not possible in 1948.

Photograph B13 shows a natural aligned row of front teeth, which supposedly are the teeth of the artificial upper denture, made by dr. Magelhaes, or, under his supervision, by a dental technician, and subsequently adapted in the mouth of Lucia I. The teeth seem to have proper interdental contacts, which means that the teeth were naturally positioned in contact to each other, without spacing in between them. The latter is relevant, if we compare with a denture worn by Lucia II. (See below.)

From the information which is known to me, I can’t date photograph B13. But it should be after May, 1948.[9]

My question about Dr. Karsten’s analysis is simple enough: How does he know all that? Did he have access to Sister Lucy’s dental records? To Dr. Alcino Magelhaes’ diary? If so, will SLTOrg consider publishing these resources as context to his analysis or at least reference them so that others can investigate?

Or rather, did Dr. Karsten in fact rely on published accounts by FSL (and others after her) to reconstruct the details of this dental history? If this is the case, then his entire report is compromised and should be dismissed as another case of begging the question and useless for proving anything.

A final note: In the portion of the report in which Dr. Karsten compares the “denture” of the Carmelite with that of FSL “Subject C” and “Subject D” (referenced in his parenthetical “See below” comment in the excerpt above), he writes: “So, the teeth of both Lucia I and Lucia II in photograph 3 (of 7) in the ‘Shape of Smile’ series most probably are artificial. Based on this finding, it is not possible to distinguish Lucia I from Lucia II.[10] [Emphasis added.] In other words, denture-wearing Carmelite cannot be distinguished from FSL-Subject C or FSL-Subject D because the teeth are fake. Perhaps the Carmelite is the same person as Subject C and Subject D! But the real Sister Lucy can be distinguished from all of them by her natural teeth. So again, why are the real Sister Lucy’s photographs grouped with the denture-wearing Carmelite’s in the “Subject B” image set?

Subject B3 screen shot (enlargement not available on the site)
Subject B13 screen shot (enlarged)

But if the Carmelite photos are not Sister Lucy, what became of her? And when?

It seems obvious that Sister Lucy either died or was murdered on or prior to March 25, 1948—the date that she reportedly entered the Carmel at Coimbra. I believe this to be true for the following reasons:

    1. The photographs of “Sister Lucy” as a Carmelite do not look like Sister Lucy as a Dorothean.
    2. The Carmelite portraits in themselves are odd—they look like modern photographs that have been photoshopped to look older than they are. (I will discuss this matter in a forthcoming post.)
    3. It is impossible that the Mother Superior and nuns of a legitimate Carmelite convent would tolerate the deception of an FSL replacing Sister Lucy after her death.
    4. It is equally impossible that a religious sister, especially one who had experienced the profound mysteries that Sister Lucy had and who had lived all of her adult life—more than 20 years!—in a legitimate Dorothean convent, would be content to reside for nearly ten years (perhaps more) in a Carmelite convent that was either actively conspiring to (or was capable of eventually conspiring to) replace its most celebrated member with a fraud. She would have known that there was something fishy about the place. Those who believe that Sister Lucy really became a Carmelite in Coimbra in 1948 must either explain how a legitimate religious community tolerated her replacement with FSL between 1958 and 1967 (the date range during which they believe the imposter was imposed) or explain how Sister Lucy so unsuspectingly lived for a decade among a brood of vipers that would ultimately go along with her replacement.
    5. The timing of the so-called vocation to the Carmelite order provides a plausible cover story for the disappearance of Sister Lucy in 1948 and her replacement by FSL on several fronts:
      • (a) Sister Lucy herself may have accepted the idea of a transfer to the Carmelite convent as a matter of obedience to her ecclesiastical superiors in Rome. Such an order may have served to lure her away from the safety of her known community so that she could be disposed of.
      • (b) Sister Lucy’s superiors, confessors, and fellow sisters would have been satisfied that she was leaving the convent to pursue a more rigorous rule, especially if she was acting in obedience to an order from the higher authorities.
      • (c) Sister Lucy’s confessors, fellow Dorothean sisters, and relatives would not question why Sister Lucy was suddenly no longer visible or accessible since she was purported to be living the hidden life of a cloistered nun.
      • (d) A fraudulent Carmelite convent could hide behind the excuse of cloister to limit visitation and knowledge of its inner activities. Who knows whether a community even existed behind the convent walls or whether agents would occasionally gather there to give the appearance of religious life. No one in the neighborhood would suspect that anything was amiss, even if they never saw nuns—they would accept that the sisters lived a cloistered life.
      • (e) If and/or when testimony from Sister Lucy was required, it would be easy to present a partially concealed FSL behind the convent grille and feed her pious-sounding lines to satisfy the inquisitors.
      • (f) Even Sister Lucy’s relatives could be fooled on the rare occasions of family visits if they were unable to meet with her face to face, as has been reported. (As it happened, Sister Lucy’s family did not visit frequently even when she was a Dorothean sister; so they may have lost familiarity with her personal characteristics between 1921 when Sister Lucy entered boarding school and 1948 when she supposedly entered the Coimbra Carmel. Any strangeness detected by family members could be easily dismissed as the mysterious development of a holy soul.)
    1. The argument from silence: There are scores of references in the Fatima literature to Sister Lucy’s purported desire to enter the Carmelite order, yet all of them are assertions by third parties without a single reference to any original source documents known to be written by the real Sister Lucy. I realize that an argument from silence is weak, but I believe that if the real Sister Lucy ever indicated such a desire, all the compilers of the various collections of Sister Lucy letters, documents, and memoirs would certainly have presented it because it would support the narrative that the transfer was her own long-suffering, cherished desire. Instead, we see assurance after assurance, with no proof whatsoever, that Sister Lucy always wanted to be a Carmelite. Arbitrarily asserted, arbitrarily denied!
    2. Although I am no expert on religious life, my professional experience includes working for a congregation of conservative Novus Ordo religious sisters in the U.S. from 2007 to 2011. I can say from my personal experience with these sisters that final vows are akin to marriage vows and are rarely, if ever, broken—especially since there is ample opportunity during the novitiate and postulancy to ascertain the fitness of a sister to the community prior to first vows. In fact, final vows have always been viewed by the Church as permanent:

All the vows of religious orders are ordinarily perpetual, though there are exceptions; moreover, a simple profession must precede the solemn profession, otherwise the latter is null and void. The dispensation from vows, even from simple vows, is reserved to the Holy See.[11]

Now, if this is the case for ordinary sisters even today, what are the odds that someone like Sister Lucy—who had conversed with the Blessed Virgin, who had seen hell, who had been entrusted with “heaven’s secrets,” who had professed final vows as a Dorothean sister after thirteen years of life within the community, who had subsequently lived obediently under her superiors for another fourteen more years as a professed religious (for a total of 27 years in the community), and whose sense of fidelity and obedience was so strong that she was literally incapable of composing her own memoirs without an explicit order from her bishop—would secretly nurse a longing to be transferred to another religious order and then one day take it upon herself to make it happen? I wouldn’t bet on it.


By grouping images of Sister Lucy as a Dorothean sister together with photographs of an unknown women dressed in a Carmelite habit in the “Subject B” group of pictures, SLTOrg gives the impression that it is an established fact that Sister Lucy entered the Coimbra Carmel in 1948 and was replaced by FSL sometime afterward. The differences between the photographs of Dorothean Sister Lucy and the Carmelite “nun” do not justify their being grouped together, however; and common sense itself suggests a completely different timeline that would exclude the possibility that the real Sister Lucy ever entered the Coimbra Carmel. The issue can be easily resolved by a new analysis of SLTOrg’s “Subject B” image set that compares the Dorothean Sister Lucy with the woman wearing the Carmelite habit. I believe that such an analysis will establish the difference between the real Sister Lucy and the imposter posing as a Carmelite nun.

Either way, since the Carmelite convent at Coimbra remains at the center of this fraud, Part II of this article will take a closer look at the suspicious history of this community. After all, you can’t have a Fake Sister Lucy without a Fake Carmelite Convent.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


[1] There may have been more than one actress/agent posing as Sister Lucy throughout the years. For the purposes of this article, I will lump them all together as FSL without designating the “version.”

[2] Sister Lucy Truth website. 27 Mar. 2020 <>. If there is an explanation somewhere as to why the photographs were grouped as they are, I failed to find it. Also, there seems to be an assumption implicit in the phrase “two Sister Lucys”—if only two, then why four subjects? Is it not possible that there are three or more FSLs? Or just one person who is the subject of all the photographs?

[3] If the experts did in fact group the images according to some criteria, then SLTOrg should publish the data so that we can understand how they arrived at their classification.

[4] Which I happen to be doing right now in assuming that SLTOrg offered the experts pre-selected sets of images labeled as Subject A, B, C, and D. 😊

[5] Excluding the writings of FSL and those dependent upon her testimony.

[6] de la Sainte Trinite, Frere Michel (translated by John Collorafi), The Whole Truth About Fatima. Vol. III. Buffalo, NY: Immaculate Heart Publications, 1989, p. 183. Epub downloaded from Internet Archive, 27 Mar. 2020 <>.

[7] de la Sainte Trinite, TWTAF-v.3, footnote 410.

[8] Again, I encourage readers who are not familiar with the timeline of the Fatima/Sister Lucy narrative to consult one of the many resources (books and websites) available. A simple Google search will provide the necessary background information on Father Augustin Fuentes.

[9] Dr. Ruud Karsten Dental Report on the Sister Lucy Truth website. 27 Mar. 2020 <>.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Vermeersch, Arthur. “Religious Life.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 28 Mar. 2020 <>.