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Witness 14 - Marie of the Angels and of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D.

 

We are most fortunate to find here the testimony of Marie of the Angels and of the Sacred Heart, Sister Thérèse’s novice mistress.

Born in Montpinçon (diocese of Bayeux) on 24th February 1845, Marie-Jeanne-Julia de Chaumontel entered the Carmel of Lisieux on 29th October 1866 after having, not without difficulty, overcome the deep affection that held her to her family. She received the Habit on 19th March 1867 and made her Profession on 25th March 1868, with, as Novice Mistress, the Venerable Mother Geneviève of Saint Teresa, the founder of the monastery. Mother Geneviève guided her and comforted her in the inner battles that she had to endure until she made her Profession. She then experienced serene peace. She received the Veil on 26th June 1868, and adapted perfectly to life in the community where she was exemplarily silent and considerate (perhaps too much so). Without spurning the humblest posts in the monastery, she nevertheless became a master in sewing and embroidery. She was Subprioress from 1883 to 1886, while Mother Geneviève held the post of Prioress, and was Novice Mistress from 1886 to 1893. Reelected Subprioress in 1893 and then again in 1896 for three years, she was once more Novice Mistress after the Saint’s death (in 1897) until 1909.  

Thérèse defined her as a “real saint, as perfect as the first Carmelites” - MSA 70,2 – and moreover this was also the community’s opinion. Thérèse found it very difficult to open up to her, but subsequently succeeded and was brought much consolation by her. – LCA 2.IX.2 -. When the Saint began her religious life, this Mother worked next to her in the laundry room – LCA 13.Vll. -. Between October 1888 and October 1890 she addressed her seven brief messages revealing her affectionate unworldly understanding (cf. General Correspondance I, LC 91, p. 405; 92, p. 408; 104, p. 436; 109, p. 446; 119, p. 509; 120, p. 512; 141, p. 579). Her Mother, who was rather absent-minded and easily forgot what she had said, was often an involuntary cause of distress for Thérèse. After the Saint’s death, she more than once personally experienced the power of her intercession and related these favours not only in the course of the Ordinary and Apostolic Trials, but also in a notebook, where numerous pages are entitled “Souvenirs de ma petite Thérèse” (Memories of my little Thérèse) (Circular, p.10). She died on 24th November 1924*.

In her testimony, Mother Geneviève highlights, among other things, Thérèse’s discretion when it came to the inevitable difficulties of life in community, and also her virile detachment from her three blood sisters. She relates words either pronounced by the Saint or addressed to her which, without this testimony, would have been lost.  

The deposition took place on 15th-17th February 1911, in the sessions 57-59, pp. 594r-614r of our Public Copy.

[Session 57: 15th February 1911 at 11am and at 2pm]

[594r] [The witness answers the first question correctly].

[Answer to the second question]:

My name is Marie-Jeanne-Julia de Chaumontel, in religion Marie of the Angels and of the Sacred Heart. I was born in Montpinçon (diocese de Bayeux) on 24th February 1845 of the legitimate marriage between Amédée de Chaumontel and Elisabeth de Gaultier de Saint Basile. I am a Carmelite nun of the monastery of Lisieux where I made my Profession on 25th March 1868, and where I was bursar then Novice Mistress and Sub-prioress until November 1909.

[The witness answers questions three to six correctly]:

[Answer to the seventh question]:

The sentiments that are guiding me in this deposition are of the spiritual order and nothing can invalidate my testimony.

[594v] [Answer to the eighth question]:

I knew the Servant of God from when her Sister Pauline (Sister Agnès of Jesus) entered the Carmelite convent in 1882. It was then that I saw in the visiting room the little child of 9 who would soon, in turn, devote herself to God. When she entered the Carmel in 1888, I was Novice Mistress, and I was therefore able to observe and come to know her very well until 1892. Then I left the post of Novice Mistress and from then on have only had with the Servant of God the ordinary relations that nuns have with one another. I have above all used my recollections and observations to prepare this testimony. I have also used, to complete and clarify my recollections, the book “Story of a Soul” that she wrote. I don’t believe [595r] the composition to be tainted with illusions: the Servant of God expresses very sincerely and very exactly what she was feeling.  

le livre de l'« Histoire d'une âme écrite par elle-même.» Je ne crois [595r] pas que cette composition soit entachée d'illusions: la Servante de Dieu y exprime très sincèrement et très exactement ce qu'elle éprouvait.

[Answer to the ninth question]:

I pray every day for the success of this Beatification It seems to me that, through all the marvelous graces we hear about every day, the glorification of the Servant of God will contribute to the exaltation of Holy Church, to the glory of our Order, to the redemption of France and many souls.

[Answer to questions ten to fifteen]:

I don’t have any direct knowledge pertaining to the Servant of God’s earliest years. I will just say that when she came to the visiting room, between 9 and 15 years of age, to see her sister Agnès of Jesus, as well as her other sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, it was easy to see that this delightful little girl was blessed. When I was next to her, the effect she had on me was one of feeling close to the tabernacle. This angel emanated a calm, silent, gentle and pure atmosphere that compelled me to consider her with [595v] real respect.

[Answer to questions sixteen to eighteen]:

I have more to say about the Servant of God at this time, since I was Novice Mistress when she entered our Carmelite convent. From the moment she entered, she grew in grace and wisdom before God and the community, through her very constant correspondence to grace. This is what, in my opinion, accounts for the rise of such a young child to the most eminent state of holiness. Just recently an elderly and holy nun said to me about Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, when a novice: “We had honestly never seen anything like it!” Right from the moment she entered the convent, the Servant of God had an extraordinary intuition about the sanctity of religious life and the sacrifices that it requires. She set to work with invincible courage and didn’t shy away from any obstacle. I can also confirm that if, shortly after her Profession, she was effectively designated Novice Mistress, she was so perfect in every way that she could have easily been put at the head of our community. In other words all I had to do was teach her the rules and various customs of the [596r] community. I must also state that throughout her novitiate I never once had to point out an imperfection in this dear child, and that not one of the novices I had during the fifteen years that I was Novice Mistress equaled her in terms of virtue and perfection. What I have to say about her various virtues will confirm what I put forward here.

[Answer to the nineteenth question]:

Only after her death did I discover her composition of the Story of her soul.

[Answer to the twentieth question]:

A heroic Christian life consists in practicing with constant generosity all virtues down to the last detail. This perfect constancy must be very rare, presupposes an exceptional grace from God and also an exceptional correspondence to grace. I believe Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus attained this ever-constant faithfulness, exceeding that which I’ve seen in the most fervent of nuns.

[Answer to the twenty-first question]:

[596v] 1st ON FAITH. – During her novitiate, her faith appeared remarkable to me in her respect for her Mother Prioress and for her Novice Mistress. She would run up with childlike simplicity to tell me about the difficulties she was having with regard to our Mother Prioress, who could at times address her with severe remarks to which she was very sensitive, especially because all she could comprehend in her Mother Prioress’ behaviour was the expression of a human sentiment; but she kept this impression to herself. I can still see her running up to me one day and throwing herself into my arms to entrust me with her broken heart, yet without letting slip the least complaint; she saw God’s action on her little soul in this hardship that was so trying and smiled despite everything. She would also cheerfully come and tell me about her spiritual trials, generously accepting them so that God might in return give consolation to souls whom he could then draw to himself. She manifested heroic faith in the terrible hardship that afflicted her father. This gave her hours of terrible anguish. But, as she recounts in “Story of a Soul”, she surprised me one day by saying, gazing deeply towards the sky: “O my Sister, I can still bear greater trials” - MSA 73,1 - . However strong the storm, her soul remained as calm as a rock beaten by the waves. She had a rare knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, which can be seen by the use she made of them at every moment in her writing. She always carried the Holy Gospel on her. In those exercising authority she only saw God; whether the ciborium was made of gold or bronze, it was always to Our Lord that she was giving her faith, respect, love and obedience. On the eve of her Profession, her soul was plagued by the devil who wanted to persuade her that this life was not her vocation. She was reassured very quickly when she humbly told me about her temptation and heeded my words as if they had come from the mouth of God himself. In her long temptation against faith during the last year of her life, she herself admitted to having said more acts of faith in one year than in her entire life. In this trial, Jesus crucified wanted to associate her with Calvary’s darkness; but her indescribable suffering only purified her love, rendering it even more ardent.  

2nd ON HOPE AND TRUST IN GOD. – The Servant of God had many trials during the [597v] course of her life, both inner and exterior; but her trust in God was so unshakable that she never lost peace in her soul or even joy in the course of the most difficult of trials. She showed this on many different occasions in the story of her life. I was particularly struck by her constancy in the multiple difficulties she faced fulfilling her desire to enter the Carmelite convent at 15 years of age, then by the peace with which she bore our Reverend Mother Prioress’ severity in the early years of her religious life. The Servant of God never lost her serenity in the hardest of spiritual trials, or when she received fresh distressing news of her father’s state of health. Even before she entered the Carmel, it was with admirable trust that she prayed to God for sinners, even for the criminal Pranzini, for whom she dared say:    

“I am sure, O my God, that you will pardon him, and even if he went to his death without confessing, I believe that you touched him at the last moment.” Later, she was asked how she managed to avoid growing discouraged in the moments [598r] when it felt God had abandoned her: “It is not in vain” she replied “that the word of Job entered my heart: Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” -*Jb 13:15 according to the Vulgate – LCA 7-7 -. She even said: “For a long time, Lord, You permitted me to be bold with you. You have said to me as the father of the prodigal son said to his older son, you said to me: ‘Everything I have is yours’ - * Lk. 15:31 -. She said “I know how much Jesus loves the prodigal child who returns to Him: I heard His words to Mary Magdalene, to the adulterous woman, to the Samaritan woman. No, there is no one who could frighten me, for I know too well what to believe concerning His Mercy and His Love” - MSC 36,2 -. Shortly before her death, she said: “I have no fear of the last struggle, or of any pain, however great, which my illness may bring. God has always been my help… I count on Him now. My agony may reach the furthest limits, but I am convinced He will never forsake me” - MSA 46,1 -.

 

[Session 58: - 16th February 1911, at 8:30am and at 2pm]

[600r] [Continuation of the answer to the twenty-first question]:

3rd ON CHARITY. – She recounts numerous details in her life story proving the degree to which she loved Our Lord, even as a child, her ardent desire to take Holy Communion, her piety in prayer and her liking for all religious manifestations. Other than these, I am able to relate a few specific details about her religious life and that I directly witnessed. She accepted everything she had to suffer at the Carmelite convent, even early on, with love for the redemption of souls whom she wanted to win over to the love of God. She showed particular zeal for the redemption of great sinners, including the unfortunate Father Hyacinthe, for whose conversion [600v] she offered a great many prayers and sacrifices. Everything sang in her soul, as it had for Saint Cecilia, who had become Thérèse’s intimate friend ever since the day she had visited her tomb. One day during her postulancy, she explained why Saint Cecilia had been proclaimed patroness of music: “it was in memory of the virginal song she sang to her heavenly Spouse hidden in the depths of her heart” MSA 61,2 - . Sometime after she had finished her novitiate, she came to see me when we had permission to speak and told me what God was doing for her, the enlightenments she received on the life of grace within us. It filled me with wonder, and it was a few days later that, as I was presiding the washing in the laundry room, she asked me to sing and have the sisters who were there sing her magnificent canticle “Living on Love” - PN 17 – which filled me with admiration, for can there be anything more beautiful, more exalted? Everything she wrote in chapter 11' of her life story is a seraphim’s song: “O Jesus” she says in these lines written on her deathbed, “allow me to say to You that Your love reaches unto folly. In the presence of this folly, how can my heart not leap towards You? … One day I hope You will draw me into the heart of love and plunge me at long last in this burning Abyss that I may become for all eternity [601r] its happy victim” - MSB 5,2 -.

[Continuation of the answer]:

ON CHARITY TO HER NEIGHBOUR. – Once in the Carmelite convent, the Servant of God immediately proved full of consideration for all her Sisters, attempting to do everything in her power to assist them. In her novitiate, she showed charity to one of her fellow Sisters who she could see had many faults; she would give her little pieces of advice, and began leading her to virtue by setting her an example. Despite the many difficulties she gave her, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus surrounded her with tenderness, waiting patiently until she could later and more easily mould this young soul, on whom she would exert an endearing influence. I’m not aware of ever hearing her say something against anyone, or ever complaining when our Reverend Mother was severe with her: she was always smiling [601v] and extremely considerate to her. Later on, at the time of the 1896 elections, when the Reverend Mother Marie de Gonzague was elected Prioress with only a very minor majority, the Servant of God perceived the Reverend Mother’s disappointment and endeavoured, with ravishing tenderness and angelic tact, to console her, by writing her a magnificent letter that the poor Mother took very well - LT 190 -. The Servant of God again revealed her charity when she asked our Mother if she could assist in the duty of one of her Sisters whose character, embittered by illness, must have made her suffer a great deal. What virtue, what patience, and what zeal she showed in this very trying post! She was able to win over this poor soul with a combination of gentleness and firmness. The Sister clung to her like to a comforting angel. The same Sister worked with me in the sacristy; when she caused me trouble, I only had to entrust the matter to the Servant of God who knew how to influence this poor Sister’s soul so well that she would immediately come up to me and humbly ask for forgiveness. The story of her life is full of examples of her considerate and always self-forgetful charity.        

[602r] 4th ON PRUDENCE. – She showed a high degree of prudence for her age. She joined us at fifteen, but revealed that she was only a child in years. Right from the outset, she showed a capacity for self-possession that delighted me. Later on, what prudence she demonstrated in her behaviour towards the Sister with the difficult character, to whom she was so beneficial! The election of her blood sister Pauline (Mother Agnès of Jesus) to the position of Prioress created a delicate situation with regard to the former Prioress Mother Marie de Gonzague. The Servant of God demonstrated surprising discretion so as to avoid any tension. I often accompanied the three sisters to the visiting room when their esteemed uncle Mr. Guérin came to see them. If any misunderstanding arose relating to the family or to something else, the little cloud quickly disappeared under the influence of the Servant of God. She was an angel of peace for everyone. If we needed advice, it was to her, the youngest, that her sisters turned, and what she said was gospel truth. When giving advice, she liked to teach what she called “her little way of surrender and spiritual [602v] childhood.” This doctrine consisting of simplicity, love and trust, which she bequeaths to “little souls”, attracts the admiration of the most eminent figures versed in the subjects of holiness and science. A priest told me one day that on reading the Servant of God’s writings he had found the enlightenment he had been vainly seeking for a long time.

5th ON JUSTICE. – The cult of God, the Virgin Mary and the Saints had immense charm for the Servant of God, even in her earliest years. In the Carmelite convent, she was indescribably happy spending her free time decorating with flowers a small statue of the Child Jesus that she had been entrusted to look after. At Christmas time, it was with great joy that she would decorate the nativity crib and praise the Child Jesus through her poems which overflowed with tenderness and love. In the sacristy, how carefully she would prepare the sacred vessels and everything to do with divine worship, but above all the holy ciborium and the hosts! In the choir, her very dignified and religious posture revealed that she was filled with the presence of God and aware of the greatness of quiet prayer and the Divine Office. Her favourite Saints were, [603r] after the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, our Mother Saint Teresa, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Cecilia, Saint Agnes, Blessed Théophane Vénard and Blessed Joan of Arc.

Her love for Holy Communion was extreme, and she suffered from not being able to take it every day. She had predicted that later on we would have the consolation of daily Communion, and this prediction came true just as she had said. In the Servant of God’s piety there is one thing that particularly strikes me which I had never seen before in our convent, and which I had never heard about in the Lives of Saints: it is the role she gives to flowers. Every one of them had a specific language for her, revealing to her the infinite love of God and his perfections. She also used them to tell God of her own love and her heart’s feelings. On summer evenings, during the hour of silence, and often during the recreations on feast days, she would throw flowers on the Calvary in our inner courtyard. What delightful thoughts she wrote in her canticle entitled “Throwing Flowers” - PN 34 -! The act of unpetalling flowers was only an image of what she was doing to herself for Our Lord through the hundreds of sacrifices she made for him in her everyday life. [603v] Right up to the end of her last illness, she continued to adorn her crucifix with the fragrant petals of roses we brought to cheer her up. One day when some of the Sisters were gathering rose petals that had fallen on the infirmary floor she said quite seriously: “Gather up these petals, little sisters, they will help you perform favours later on… Don’t lose one of them” LCA 14-9 -. I was informed of this comment by Mother Agnès of Jesus and Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart who were present.

Mother Agnès of Jesus said to her one day when the community was standing around her bed: “Will you cast some flowers at the community?” She replied “Oh, no, little Mother, don’t ask me to do this, I beg you; I don’t want to cast flowers at creatures. I would do it for the Blessed Virgin or St. Joseph but not at any other creatures” – LC p.791 -.

[604r] [Continuation of the answer to the twenty-first question]:

6th ON STRENGTH. – The Servant of God’s courage was above all visible in her even-temperedness even in the greatest physical or moral suffering. I mentioned when speaking about her charity the strength of will with which she endured her neighbour’s faults and the sorrows that beset her following her father’s illness and her own inner struggles. When sickness came to nail her to the cross, she showed admirable strength in suffering. She was always gentle and smiling and reacted to pain with only a heavenly smile, without ever complaining in the slightest. God allowed it so that, to beautify her soul, our very good and devoted doctor who came to see her often didn’t think to soothe her suffering with sedatives discovered by science that would have alleviated her long martyrdom; she endured it to the end with heroic courage.

[-604v] 7th ON TEMPERENCE. – The Servant of God was a perfect example of the mortification that is true and exempt from illusions of pride and self-love. The spirit of God inspired her with it right from when she was a child. To prepare for her entrance into the Carmelite convent, she made hundreds of little sacrifices, growing accustomed to breaking her will and doing little things to assist those around her, since her young age didn’t allow for her to do more. Once in the Carmel, never did she utter a complaint, and I have no knowledge of her ever asking me during her novitiate to relieve her at all. She suffered terribly from the cold; but never said a word to me about it, and I only discovered it recently; she suffered so much, apparently, that it felt like she was freezing to death. Ah, if I’d known, I would have done anything to remedy this! Moreover I now think to myself: what heroic virtue this dear child had! Her mortification can be summarized in these words: endure everything without ever complaining, not even for clothes or food. Regarding the latter point, what a lot of sacrifices she offered to God! How many times did I see with a heavy heart this child so young and frail be deprived of indulgences or leniencies in her diet which she [605r] certainly should have been granted. But instead God allowed that many times she was served nothing but leftovers or food that even a solid stomach would have had trouble tolerating. The same went for rest, sleep; but the dear child never said a word, so happy was she to have these opportunities to suffer. In the greatest of hardships she remained unfailingly serene. It was surprising; later we would know the real reason behind it: “When things that are irritable or disagreeable befall me, instead of assuming an air of sadness, I respond by a smile. At first I was not always successful, but now it is a habit which I am very happy to have acquired.” – SS 12   

She was no less admirable in her ability to control her inner feelings. We were able to notice on many occasions the generosity with which she denied her natural instinct, which must have been to seek the company of her three blood sisters, over that of the other nuns. She actually adopted the opposite approach, and here are a few examples. After her long retreat that had kept her from seeing her sisters for eleven days, she could have requested and easily obtained [605v] permission to go and see them in their cells. She did nothing of the sort. Her sisters believed that at recreation their little sister would at least come looking for them and even sit by them, but she didn’t, for fear of giving in to her nature. When the venerate Mother Geneviève, our holy founder, was told about this, she reprimanded her severely for it to test her, telling her that she had acted as would a heartless child, and that the perfection that religion required didn’t lie therein. Another time, Sister Agnès of Jesus was very ill. When the Servant of God didn’t visit her, she told her she was hurt by this. She replied: “But, Mother, do the other Sisters come and see you.” “No”, replied Mother Agnès. “Well then,” said the Servant of God, “I must deprive myself as well”; this shows how well she understood that religious perfection required the mortification of the heart. On her deathbed, she said to the same Mother Agnès: “When I am dying, don’t think, my little Mother, that my last look will be for you; it will be for Mother Marie de Gonzague, and also for those whom I think it could help. Do not be distressed by this. I only want to do what is unworldly” –LCA 20-7-. [606r] It was Mother Agnès of Jesus herself who told me she said this.

8th ON POVERTY. – The Servant of God loved poverty intensely. I can remember catching her in the sacristy one day removing a loosely threaded lace trimming from an altar cloth. She gently took out the stitching, for like the poor she wanted to keep it and use it again. So many people would have cut the thread for quickness’ sake! But she found this task a good opportunity to practice poverty. Her poverty above all consisted in contenting herself with what she was given, joyfully doing without what she didn’t have, and not saying anything when objects she used were taken from her. She considered that time didn’t belong to her either and she never spent time that was meant for work on her consolation; for her that would have been living too comfortable a life.  

9th ON CHASTITY. – In relation to all matters pertaining to this virtue, I have only one thing to say about the Servant of God, which is that she was an angel in a mortal body. Never did an inconsiderate word, no matter how small, come from her lips. She would rather have been thrown in flames than risk that the slightest whisper should tarnish her baptismal innocence. Her purity was reflected in her wholly celestial physiognomy that was so calm, so gentle and so dignified. Allied to this very reverent exterior was a little childlike air which suited her marvelously, conferring her with a perfume of candour and innocence. There was something about her that commanded respect and seemed to say: Don’t touch me. Her modesty struck those who met her. During the influenza epidemic, Fr. Youf, our chaplain, had to come into the monastic enclosure several times to visit the sick and the dying. He immediately noticed her exceptional modesty and made the following remark to me: “Not one of you equals the little Sister of the Child Jesus in her perfectly calm and religious posture.” The gardener himself, on seeing her pass through the cloisters when he was working in the inner courtyard, recognized her despite her long veil from her very edifying posture. One day he said, in his working-class accent: “Oh! Little Sister of the Child Jesus. I never see her run.” [607r] Her angelical purity is for me the reason God gave her such admirable knowledge of Holy Scripture. The following words of Our Lord were certainly true in her case: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God” – *Mt. 5:8 -.

10th ON OBEDIENCE. – The Servant of God was perfectly obedient. During her novitiate, she never objected but was absolutely docile. A short while ago, one of her companions said to me: “Do you remember what Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus was like during her novitiate? When you explained something to us, or made an observation, she never said a word; she always listened to everything with profound respect.” Neither did she ever apologize when I reprimanded her, even by mistake, as she recounts in her story with the incident of the little vase that got broken (by another) and which made me tell her that she was completely disorderly. At the beginning of her postulancy, I suggested a thought that I believed could help her in prayer, although it was very tiring for her, which I only discovered later. [607v] She loved our Holy Rule very much and she found nothing more trying than not being able to follow it to the letter because she was too young. Her obedience appeared heroic to me when she silently and without uttering a word of complaint submitted to our Reverend Mother Prioress’ refusal to let her go back to discussing matters of the soul with the retreat preacher, Reverend Father Alexis, even though he understood her inner state very well and had restored peace and joy to her soul. I remember one rather improper incident which demonstrates the promptness with which she would obey a summons. One winter’s day when, as was custom for the Carmelite nuns, she had taken off her damp tights to dry next to the stove during recreation, she was informed that someone was at the sacristy. Simply putting on her canvas sandals that we call “alpargates”, she passed through all the cloisters bare-legged, without thinking about the imprudence of doing so. So many would have said: Just a minute please! But for her, it was the voice of God himself to which she had to respond, and she did so without thinking about herself. [608r] In “Story of a Soul”, she explains her convictions well when she says: “How happy are simple religious! Their only compass being their Superiors’ will, they are always sure of being on the right road… But when they cease to look upon the infallible compass, then they wander off onto arid paths where the water of grace is soon lacking.” - MSC 11,1 -

11th ON HUMILITY. The Servant of God was truly a completely hidden violet. She made herself so small that, while it was obvious she had a heavenly soul, we thought of her as no more than a child because she was so simple. She would keep to the last place, seeking to go unnoticed, never saying how she felt, unless she was asked. Due to this humility that kept her in the shadows, everyone in our convent, amazed by the great things she is doing after her death, now say: “Ah, little Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who was so hidden, so little during her lifetime; what a noise she is making now! She is rousing the entire world! Who would ever have believed it?” On many occasions she had to demonstrate dedication, know-how, wisdom [608v] and prudence. Bestowed with all possible gifts of spirit and heart, she used her treasures to glorify God, to assist and please those around her; but she did so without fuss, without self-interest, and with a simplicity that revealed her humility. To support these claims, I could cite many events that are mentioned in “Story of a Soul” and which have become well-known.    

When I consider the Servant of God’s virtues, I compare her to the sky because the longer we contemplate it, the more stars we discover.

[Session 59: - 17th February 1911, at 8:30am]

[610v] [Answer to the twenty-second question]:

I haven’t personally been aware of any miraculous or extraordinary events taking place during the Servant of God’s lifetime; it was only by reading “Story of a Soul” that I learnt she once or twice experienced “transports of love” – MSA 52,1 -.

[Answer to the twenty-third question]:

[Réponse à la troisième demande]:

I learnt that even before the Servant of God joined the Carmelites her angelic look was [611r] striking. The nephew of one of our Sisters (Sister Saint Stanislaus), on seeing this young girl walk by with her father, the venerable Mr. Martin, said to his sister, who told me: “Look at Miss Martin! There goes an angel! You know what I think? Well, she’ll be canonized one day, you’ll see.” A girl who made her first communion together with her, Miss Delarue, told me at the time: “There is nothing comparable to her air of purity, candour and innocence, and the ingenuity of her answers that we’d never have been able to give.” At the Carmelite convent, it seemed to us that she was noble of soul, totally remarkable in her reverence and faithfulness to her duties. I’m not aware of anyone else in the community having a different opinion of her.

[Answer to the twenty-fourth question]:

Even though I only saw the Servant of God rarely when she was ill, so as not to wear her out, I saw her often enough to see her heroic strength. I can confirm that it was the most beautiful death I’ve ever seen at the Carmelite convent. Her pain grew [611v] worse and worse every day, it was a distressing sight. In the afternoon of 30th September, seeing the end was near, we gathered around her bedside. At half past four, her agony began; smiling gracefully, she thanked the community members who’d come for praying with her. She held the crucifix in her failing hands, her face was bathed in a cold sweat, and her whole body was trembling. Shortly before seven o’clock, as it seemed her agony was to be further prolonged, our Reverend Mother Prioress sent the community away, while she remained alone at the Servant of God’s side with her three blood sisters: Mother Agnès of Jesus, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart and Sister Saint Geneviève. We had hardly had the time to take a few steps when a loud bell ring called us back. Back at her side, I saw her lean her head forward while looking at her crucifix. She then said: “Oh, yes, I love Him… My God, I love you.” – LC 30-9-. Suddenly, she lifted up her head with a strength that was very strange, and opening her eyes wide, gazed upwards with a magnificent look, above the statue of the Blessed Virgin. It seemed to us she was seeing something sublime. [612r] I thought it must be Our Lord. Almost immediately afterwards, her head fell back on the pillow: it was all over. I will never forget her look and most beautiful death.      

[Answer to the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth questions]:

Having never left the monastery enclosure, I haven’t visited the Servant of God’s grave, but I know, from what members of my family or other people tell me in the visiting room when they come to see me, that her tomb is constantly visited by pilgrims of all ages and all walks of life. After the transferal of the Servant of God’s remains last September, the wooden cross that was on the first grave was brought to the monastery. I’ve seen this cross and it’s completely covered with inscriptions and prayers or thanksgiving messages.

[Answer to the twenty-seventh question]:

Since the Servant of God’s death, it’s amazing to see how she is more and more “the rage in the world.” It’s the expression a nun used recently in the visiting room. She is known in all parts of the world, in communities, seminaries and families. She helps priests and missionaries as letters arrive daily to tell us. She is converting villages in China, as the missionaries letters testify. In my own family, I see how venerated she is every day: they pray to her, they dare to ask her anything, and every day I receive letters from people asking for books, pictures, novenas, and so on. We make pictures in their thousands at the monastery, and we don’t manage to satisfy the demand. The monastery often receives over a hundred letters a day recounting graces that have been obtained and expressing everyone’s devotion for the Servant of God. In recreation we are read some of these letters that come from many different countries and incontestably establish the Servant of God’s universal reputation for holiness.

[Answer to the twenty-eighth question]:

I know of no opposition to this reputation for holiness.

[613r] [Answer to the twenty-ninth question]:

The huge quantity of letters that come from so many different places and which establish the Servant of God’s reputation for holiness also prove that the faithful everywhere trust they will obtain extraordinary temporal and spiritual graces through her intercession. Numerous accounts tell of healings, conversions, and favours of all kinds. I am not sufficiently aware of the precise contents of the letters; but it would be easy to gather a host of attestations of that kind. In our Carmelite convent, we have smelt perfumes on many occasions where no natural explanation, I think, could have accounted for them. I became aware, two or three months ago, of an extraordinary incident that happened to one of our young lay sisters, Sister Jeanne-Marie of the Child Jesus, whom I consider to be an angel of virtue and piety. A few days after the Immaculate Conception in 1910, she found she only had a few remaining copies of the printed seal that Mgr. Teil, the vice-postulator, had tasked her to stick, as a mark of authenticity, on the pictures and keepsakes [613v] to be sent out. The Sister who helped her in her work by cutting out the seals that were printed in groups on sheets of paper, said she hadn’t the time to cut any more out at that moment. Sister Jeanne-Marie prayed to the Servant of God and was not surprised when, back in her cell, she found her little box completely full of cut out seals. There was a full 500 of them. Inquiries were made to find out if a Sister had wanted to secretly surprise her; but not one had filled the box with seals. Besides, whoever had done so would have needed our Reverend Mother’s permission, for it is forbidden that we enter other Sisters’ cells. The same Sister Jeanne-Marie of the Child Jesus was accorded a similar favour when, last year, she found that the reservoir of water she was supposed to fill up despite her tiredness was, amazingly, already full.

[Answer to the thirtieth question]:

I don’t believe I have anything to add.

[614r] [Concerning the Articles, the witness says she knows nothing more than what she has already deposed in answer to the preceding questions. – Here ends the interrogation of this witness. The Acts are read out. The witness makes no modification to them and signs as follows]:

I have deposed as above according to the truth, I ratify and confirm it.

Signatum: Sister MARIE OF THE ANGELS AND OF THE SACRED HEART.