Ekaterina Fyodorovna Kolyschkine Doherty, better known as Catherine Doherty, CM, Servant of God (August 15, 1896–December 14, 1985)
was a social activist and foundress of the
Dance of the Sun at Fatima
Portugal was very poor, and the illiteracy was very high, especially in the rural areas. Maria’s sister, Vincentia, had an apostolate to these poor people, especially those living in the mountains. She taught them writing and arithmetic. There was another interesting thing about Vincentia: she had been present at Fatima for the “Miracle of the Sun.”
In her apostolate with the poor she had heard one day about some children seeing Our Lady and that on a certain day Our Lady was going to give a special sign of some kind. Vincentia was single and had that day free, so she took her car and went up into the mountains to Fatima. She told me the whole story, and I still shiver whenever I think about it.
Thousands and thousands of people were there that day. Newspapermen (who by and large were atheistic in those days) were there, not only from Portugal, but from all over the world. The children said that a miracle would happen.
The press sat at tables in the field, and Vincentia took her place just behind them. Suddenly the sun began to rotate and move toward them! She closed her eyes because the sun was so bright it was intolerable. The newspapermen began to run, but it seemed that the sun was following them. Suddenly it disappeared into an abyss, then reappeared two minutes later on the other side. It kept coming toward them, growing bigger and bigger and bigger. Vincentia fainted.
Vincentia took me to Fatima, and I saw it in its primitive state. Pilgrim-like, I walked up the hill to the bush upon which Our Lady had stood. It was on top of a little cave by a brook. That bush is no longer there because people constantly plucked its leaves to take home as souvenirs and relics.
I didn’t touch the bush. Sick people lined up while a priest offered Mass in the open air. Then he took the Blessed Sacrament and blessed each sick person with the monstrance. Every once in a while somebody would cry, “I’m cured!” We slept under a tree that night. Vincentia told me that she also had seen Our Lady. For several years immediately afterwards she lived near the shrine at Fatima.
Catherine de Hueck Doherty
Fragments of my life
Ch.11. Assignment in Europe
Priests and their mistresses
I visited churches all over the country. One day I was in Maria’s quinta and she said, “We are going to the parish church.” By the entrance of the church I saw one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. She was beautifully dressed, wearing a red apron, a large, colorful skirt and a beautiful coif. Next to her stood another beautiful girl about 14 years old who looked just like her.
I whispered, “Who is this beautiful woman?”
“Oh.” said Maria, “she is the mistress of the priest.”
I didn't say anything. We attended mass and received Holy Communion from him.
A few days later I had an interview scheduled with the Patriarch of Lisbon. I asked him about the priest.
“Well, Madame,” the Patriarch said, “the majority of our priests have mistresses.” This particular priest has had a child by her. I have his assurance that he will not live with her anymore, but I permit her to remain his housekeeper, which is what she was in the beginning. That’s the tragedy of the priests in Portugal. The Pope doesn’t want them to be married, but the Latin temperament is such — I close my eyes for a long time and don’t see anything. Then, when they are in their 40s or 50s, I begin to see. Then I suggest that they desist from all relationships.”
So that beautiful woman was living with the priest as his sister. He was now in his 60s, so according to the Patriarch, there was no problem. The people seemingly were not scandalized by any of this. So much for the priests in Portugal!