Deaths Elsewhere

February 20, 2005

Sister Lucia de Jesus dos Santos,

97, the last survivor of the three Portuguese shepherd children who told of a series of apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the village of Fatima in 1917, died Feb. 13 in her convent in Coimbra, Portugal.

She had lived in near-isolation since 1948 in the Carmelite Sisters' convent, where she had devoted her life to prayer.

Sister Lucia, who was born Lucia Abobora, was 10 when she and her two cousins, Francisco Marto and his sister Jacinta, said they first saw the Virgin Mary in a field on May 13, 1917. Sister Lucia said she was the only one of the three who could hear what the Virgin said.

Their reports, which said the appearances continued for five months, were greeted with skepticism, but in 1930, Roman Catholic officials completed an exhaustive investigation and declared the Fatima apparitions "worthy of belief." The site became revered, and tens of thousands of Catholics visited the shrine that was built there. Francisco and his sister died in the influenza epidemic of 1918.

Samuel W. Alderson,

90, the inventor of crash test dummies that are used to make cars, parachutes and other devices safer, died Feb. 11 at home at his home in Los Angeles of complications from myelofibrosis, a bone marrow disorder.

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