Print

Witness 17 - Aimée of Jesus O.D.C.

 

Akin to the previous witness (Father Ducellier), Sister Aimée was one of the designated witnesses in the Ordinary Trial.

It is known that Aimée of Jesus (Léopoldine Féron), who was born on 24th January 1851 in Anneville‑en‑Saire (Diocese of Coutances), admitted to the Carmelite Convent of Lisieux on 13th October 1871 and died there on 7th January 1930, was never particularly close to Thérèse. As she had revealed at the beginning of her 1911 testimony (cfr. I, p. 572), she reiterates here (p. 1043), without saying anything more (like the first time), that she had been “one of the instruments that God used to sanctify her.” Sister Aimée was not in favour of four sisters living together in the same convent. This is why she was strongly opposed to Céline’s admission, but later she mysteriously changed her mind, thereby giving Thérèse the “answer” that Aimée had been awaiting from God as to whether her father Louis Stanislas had gone straight to heaven (cfr. MA “A” 82v).

The following statement brings particular value to her testimony: “I noticed that her blood sisters paid her a great deal of attention; but she, on the other hand, was perfectly detached from these family ties” (p. 1045).

In her rather brief testimony, the witness lingers on Thérèse’s reputation for holiness and the blessings that have been attributed to her intercession. It is moving to hear her express her gratitude to the Servant of God for the favours that she was setting aside in heaven for herself and her family.

The witness testified on 8th February 1916, in the 55th sitting, pp. 1043-1051 of the public transcription.

[Sitting 55: ‑ 8th February 1916, at 8.30 a.m.]

[1043] [The witness answers the first question satisfactorily.]

 [Answer to the second question:]

My name is Léopoldine Féron. I was born in Anneville in the Diocese of Coutances on 24th January 1851 to Ambroise‑Auguste Féron, a farmer, and Cécile Enault. I joined the Carmel on 13th October 1871 and was professed there on 8th May 1873 under the name of Sister Aimée of Jesus.

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

 [Answer to the sixth question:]

I give my testimony in all freedom. I have not been subjected to any influence.

 [Answer to the seventh question:]

I was already a professed nun of the Carmelite convent when Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus joined. Although I was never particularly close to her, I did share her life as a nun for the entire time that she lived in the Carmel. Concerning the years preceding her admission to the Carmel, I know only what I have heard said by her sisters, who are also Carmelites in the convent.

 [Answer to the eighth question]:  

I have a very sincere devotion to the Servant of [1044] God. I pray to her every day and I even believe that she has granted significant protection to my family. I pray every day that her beatification cause will succeed for the glory of God and also for the glory of the Carmel.

 [Answer to questions nine to eleven inclusively]:

As to the Servant of God’s early years, I know only what I have heard said by her sisters, who witnessed them directly.

 [Answer to the twelfth question]:

Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus joined the Carmel on 9th April 1888, aged 15 and three months. She received the Habit on 10th January 1889, was professed on 8th September 1890 at the age of 17 and 8 months, and received the Veil on 24th September of the same year. She died in the Carmel on 30th September 1897, aged 24 and 9 months.

During her life as a nun, she fulfilled the positions of sacristan and portress. She was also tasked with training the novices for several years.

 [Answer to the thirteenth question]:

I never saw Sister Thérèse fail in any way in her duties as a Christian or a nun.

[Answer to the fourteenth question]:

WITNESS 17 (DESIGNATED WITNESS I): Aimée of Jesus O.D.C.

[1045] The Servant of God was not only faithful to practising Christian virtues, but she was also very attentive to seizing every opportunity to practise these virtues.

 [Answer to questions fifteen to forty-six inclusively]:

What particularly struck me about the Servant of God’s life was her humility and modesty. She was able to pass unnoticed and keep hidden the blessings and gifts that she received from God and which many including myself did not discover until after her death.

I noticed that her blood sisters paid her a great deal of attention; but she, on the other hand, was perfectly detached from these family ties. Only once did she appear keenly affected by a hardship that had befallen one of her sisters, but this is hardly an imperfection and perhaps God Himself did not judge it as such. I never found her wanting in charity towards one of her fellow nuns, either in deed or word.

One of our Sisters told me she had been very edified by the humility with which Thérèse bore the Sister’s reproach when she was arranging some flowers sent by a worker around Mother Geneviève’s coffin.

 [Answer to the forty-seventh question]:

[1046] I have always thought that Sister Thérèse’s virtue could be compared to that of Mother Geneviève, the revered foundress of our community in Lisieux. She truly was her spiritual daughter in terms of her humility and charity. This proves the extent to which her virtue always struck me as heroic and beyond what is considered normal.

 [Answer to the forty-eighth question]:

Even when she first joined at the age of 15, Sister Thérèse seemed very judicious and very prudent in every way. There was nothing indiscreet about the way in which she practised virtue.

 [Answer to the forty-ninth question]:

I am not aware that during her lifetime she was granted any such extraordinary gifts.

 [Answer to the fiftieth question]:

It has not come to my knowledge that she performed any miracles during her lifetime.

 [Answer to the fifty-first question]:

I did not know of the Servant of God’s writings until they were printed after her death. I am not able to appraise them from a theological point of view. I believe her autobiography to be very sincere and very true. It is true that she comes across with more charm than she did during her lifetime; but that is credit to her humility, for it shows [1049] how she kept her virtues hidden.

 [Answer to the fifty-second question]:

I saw little of the Servant of God in the last months of her life, for I left the post of nurse at the beginning of her illness.

Only once did I have the joy of approaching her to help change her bedclothes. She could no longer speak by this time, but she thanked me with a heavenly glance so full of gratitude and affection that I treasure the memory of it, regarding it as a promise of her protection.

In her atrocious suffering, her face remained angelic and beamed with happiness.

 [Answer to the fifty-third question]:

I noticed nothing unusual about her funeral, except the large number of faithful who attended.

 [Answer to questions fifty-four and fifty-five]:

I know only from hearsay about the location of the Servant of God’s grave in the town cemetery.

 [Answer to the fifty-sixth question]:

I know of the stream of pilgrims who visit the Servant of God’s burial place from visitors to the convent and by what the Extern Sisters and Mother Prioress have told us. It is clear from all these testimonies that the number of pilgrims is very significant and that people go to the cemetery not out of curiosity, but religious sentiment [1048] and faith.

 [Answer to the fifty-seventh question]:

During the Servant of God’s lifetime, even at the time of her profession, but especially in the last weeks of her life, she was regarded in the community as a little saint. This opinion was widespread among us. At that time, we certainly did not envisage all the wonders that would happen later, but we saw her as a soul who had been exceptionally favoured by God.

Everyone in the community is in awe of the many blessings that have been obtained through her intercession since her death and nobody doubts that she truly is a saint.

 [Answer to the fifty-eighth question]:

I do not know what happens outside the convent, but here, nobody is in the least doubt as to the Servant of God’s holiness and power of intercession. Although she was not well known or appreciated by everyone during her lifetime, even those who knew her less held her in high esteem.

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

Every day, Mother Prioress receives numerous letters relating extraordinary blessings obtained through the Servant of God’s intercession. Many soldiers [1049] in particular claim to be indebted to her for miraculous escapes from the most dangerous of situations and unexpected recoveries from seemingly fatal wounds. (Here the witness presents to the Court several letters containing accounts of this kind. One relates the prompt ceasing of a haemorrhage following a cut to the brachial artery: this testimony is one of thousands of others.) The witness continues as follows:

WITNESS 17 (DESIGNATED WITNESS I): Aimée of Jesus O.D.C.

I am able to relate three miraculous favours that have been granted to members of my family: firstly, there is the unexpected conversion of my brother Arsène, which we obtained several months before he died by praying to the Servant of God. He had turned away from God many years previously. I related this conversion in my testimony at the Ordinary Process.

Secondly, my niece, the daughter of the converted brother I have just mentioned, was granted a child after praying to the Servant of God although her marriage had been sterile for four years. Moreover, when her child was born, she was healed of a life-threatening puerperal infection during the first days of a novena to Sister Thérèse.

Lastly, one of my cousins, Sister Marie‑Jeanne de Chantal of the Congregation of Our Lady of the Missions, a Novice Mistress in New Zealand, attributes the improvement in her health to Sister Thérèse’s protection. She had been suffering from pulmonary phthisis, and the doctor had declared it most serious. This cousin and nun has become a [1050] zealous promoter of prayer to Sister Thérèse. She wrote to me saying that, in Oceania, where she is on mission, people everywhere pray to the Servant of God in absolute faith.

 [Answer to the fifty-sixth question]:

Concerning her reputation for miracles following her death, we might add that soldiers and officers send medals they have won on the battlefield to the Carmel as votive offerings. I ask permission to show to the Court a case in which several of these crosses and medals are displayed. (The Court examines the case, which contains seven Legion of Honour crosses and as many war and army medals.)

[1051] [As regards the Articles, the witness claims to know nothing other than what they have already reported 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: SISTER AIMÉE OF JESUS.

I have testified as above according to the truth. I hereby ratify and confirm my testimony.