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Witness 14 - Victor‑Louis Domin

 

Victor‑Louis Domin (01.10.1843 - 13.06.1918) was, for over forty years, chaplain of the Benedictine Abbey of Notre-Dame du Pré in Lisieux, and as such, was particularly well placed to become familiar with and observe young Thérèse Martin (see vol. I, pp. 530‑534). Thérèse wrote of him, “He would call me his little doctor because my name was Teresa” (MA “A” 37v).

Father Domin was overly solemn in his testimony, in the sense that we would have liked him to give us a little more information on Thérèse as a child. He had encountered her frequently at the house of her uncle, Isidore Guérin, who was a relative of his also.

In the manner of the two preceding witnesses, he in turn underlines the Servant of God’s love for religious teaching: “I knew her best when I was her catechist, in the year preceding her First Communion, and in the years that followed until she left. I remember that she always knew her lessons perfectly and was extremely attentive to my explanations, never taking her eyes off me whilst I was talking. When I would ask a more difficult question, I would sometimes say, ‘Let us ask one of our doctors,’ thereby designating the most knowledgeable pupils, who were Thérèse and one of her classmates” (pp. 986‑987).

The witness testified on 16th September 1915, in the 50th sitting (pp. 985‑990 of the public transcription).

[Sitting 50: ‑ 16th September 1915, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.]

[985] [The witness answers the first question satisfactorily.]

[Answer to the second question:]

My name is Victor‑Louis Domin. I am priest, chaplain and confessor at the Benedictine monastery of Lisieux. I was born on 1st October 1843 in Caen, in the Diocese of Saint‑Sauveur, to Louis Domin, a printer, and Euphémie Delos.

WITNESS 14: Victor‑Louis Domin

 [The witness responds satisfactorily to questions three to five inclusively].

 [Answer to the sixth question:]

I am entirely free of all inner and outer influences.

 [Answer to the seventh question]:

When Mr Martin moved to Lisieux in 1887 following his wife’s death, he visited the Abbey and introduced his children. This was the first encounter I had with the Servant of God.

After that I met her several times at the home of Mr Guérin, her uncle, to whom I am related.

Yet it was primarily during her time at the Abbey school as a day boarder (October 1881 to January 1886), that I grew familiar with the Servant of God. [986] During that time, I was her confessor and I was her catechist for the year preceding her First Communion and the two subsequent years. When she definitively left the Abbey, I stopped seeing her.

 [Answer to the eighth question]:

Since the Servant of God’s death, I have professed for her a sincere and active devotion, based on the knowledge I have acquired of her virtues from reading Story of a Soul.

Not a day goes by that I do not pray to her specifically. I dearly hope she will be beatified because of the mission that I have had the privilege of accomplishing by her side, and also for the honour that it will bring to the monastery.

 [Answer to the ninth question]:

Regarding what happened before the Servant of God came to Lisieux, I know nothing save for what I have read in her biography.

 [Answer to the tenth question]:

I know practically nothing about what took place in the school classes. I announced the marks each month, and I remember that in general she was always near the top of the class and had excellent marks, despite being one of the youngest, if not the youngest in her class.

I knew her best when I was her catechist, [987] in the year preceding her First Communion, and in the years that followed until she left. I remember that she always knew her lessons perfectly and was extremely attentive to my explanations, never taking her eyes off me whilst I was talking. When I would ask a more difficult question, I would sometimes say, ‘Let us ask one of our doctors,’ thereby designating the most knowledgeable pupils, who were Thérèse and one of her classmates.

As her confessor, following the example of Bellarmin in the canonisation process of Saint Louis de Gonzague, I think I am able to say that my impression today of that time is that the Servant of God never committed any fault that was entirely wilful.

She prepared for her First Communion very conscientiously. I remember she said to me after the absolution, “Oh, Father, do you think Jesus is pleased with me?” These words, and especially the tone with which she spoke them, drew my attention to the sensitivity of her soul and the fervour of her dispositions.

 [Answer to questions eleven to fifty-three inclusively]:

I have no personal information with regards to these questions.

[Answer to the fifty-fourth question]:

I attended the funeral service in the Carmelite convent [988] chapel on 4th October 1897. I noticed nothing out of the ordinary about the ceremony.

 [Answer to the fifty-fifth question]:

I did not see anything resembling liturgical worship on these occasions.

 [Answer to the fifty-sixth question]:

I pay my devotions at her burial place as often as possible. I began doing this long before the first informative process commenced. Even at that time, I saw groups of pilgrims there. Since then, the number of visitors has grown daily. These days, every time I go to her grave, I see 8, 10, or 15 people there, sometimes more. Priests are often among these pilgrims, and people come not only from the surrounding area but from as far away as Oceania. Even at the beginning, soldiers could be seen there; since the war broke out, they have come in much larger numbers. I think these pilgrimages are the spontaneous result of popular devotion and that nothing has prompted them to develop. On her grave, pilgrims pray with deep reverence.

[Answer to the fifty-seventh question]:

On the day of her funeral, Father Rohée, the Senior Parish Priest of Saint‑Pierre Church in Lisieux, said [989] to me, “Now here is a burial without any mourners,” meaning by this that everyone was certain she was in heaven.

Today the opinion that she is a saint is widespread, and almost worldwide. I believe people have formed the opinion that she is holy by reading her biography, and more importantly due to the countless blessings that people have obtained by praying to her, for these favours fulfil the prophetic words she spoke: “After I die, I will let fall a shower of roses.”

I don’t think that anything has ever been done to hide what could be detrimental to the Servant of God’s renown for holiness. I also do not think her reputation was artificially created. As for the means taken to spread knowledge of the Servant of God’s holiness, which is in fact real, some people thought them a little excessive, perhaps with reason. However I consider that these human means, whatever people think, cannot explain the universality of devotion to the Servant of God.

 [Answer to the fifty-eighth question]:

I know of no serious objection to the Servant of God’s reputation for holiness.

WITNESS 14: Victor‑Louis Domin

 [Answer to questions fifty-nine to sixty-five inclusively]:

Many people who come to the Abbey in memory of Sister Thérèse confirm to have received favours through her intercession, either spiritual blessings [990] (conversions, etc.), or temporal blessings (healings, all manner of assistance), but I have not been a direct witness to any of these miracles.

 [Answer to the sixty-sixth question]:

I have nothing to add.

[As regards the Articles, the witness claims to know nothing other than what they have already stated in response to the preceding questions. - Here ends the questioning of this witness. The Acts are read out. The witness makes no alteration to them and signs as follows]:

Signatum: L. DOMIN