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Witness 2 - Lucien-Victor Dumaine

 

Lucien-Victor Dumaine baptised Thérèse Martin on 4th January 1873 at the church of Notre-Dame d’Alençon.

Born in Tinchebray (Orne) on 8th September 1842, he was ordained a priest in Séez on 15th June 1867.  Nominated Curate first in Lande-Patry en 1868, then at the church of Notre-Dame d’Alençon, it was there that he baptised Thérèse Martin on 4th January 1873.  He held Mr Martin in particular esteem and his affection for the family did not diminish when they moved to Lisieux.  Parish Priest of Tourouvre and Montsort successively, then Archpriest of Séez Cathedral, he also became Vicar General from 1899 to 1910, then Vicar General and Canon of the cathedral.

Erudite and pious, and devoted to religious historical research at a regional level, he enjoyed looking after the soldiers with whom he had been in contact during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, and became their chaplain.  He died in Séez on 25th September 1926, therefore after the canonisation of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

His testimony is very sober and adds precious little to what he had already said in the Investigative Process on 25th November 1910 (vol. I, pp. 332-338).

A close friend of Thérèse’s father, the witness above all evokes, albeit in a more summative form than in 1910, the memories he has kept of the Martin family when they lived in Rue Saint-Blaise in Alençon, qualifying the family as a “deeply Christian milieu” (p. 247).

Mr Dumaine testified on 20th April 1915, in the 5th sitting (pp. 244 -252 of the Public Transcription).

[Sitting 5: - 20th April 1915, at 8:30 am.]

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

 [Answer to the second question]:

My name is Lucien-Victor Dumaine. I was born in Tinchebray in the diocese of Séez on 8th September 1842.  I am the Canon of Séez Cathedral and honorary Vicar General to his Lordship the Bishop of Séez.

[The witness answers questions three to five satisfactorily].

 [245] [The witness answers the sixth question satisfactorily].

 [Answer to the seventh question]:

As Curate of the church of Notre-Dame d’Alençon, I myself baptised the Servant of God, Thérèse Martin, on the evening of Saturday 4th January 1873.  All of her sisters were present and signed the baptism certificate, a true copy of which was placed in the Investigative Process case file.

I knew the Martin family well; I even occasionally practised pastoral care for members of the family.  All contact came to an end when the Martin family moved to Lisieux in 1877.

 [Answer to the eighth question]:

I pray to her every day.  After reading Story of a Soul, I had no doubt as to her holiness.  It is my ardent desire that this Cause be successful for the glory of God and the exaltation of His Servant, for she is already making the power of her protection felt in a most marvellous way.

 [Answer to the ninth question]:

She was born in the parish of Notre-Dame d’Alençon, opposite the prefecture in Rue Saint-Blaise, on 2nd January 1873.

Her father’s name was Louis Martin. He was the son of a former officer stationed in Bordeaux, if I [246] remember correctly.  He had worked as a watchmaker and jeweller in the parish of Saint-Pierre de Montsort in Alençon.  He had been retired professionally for a few years and was relatively wealthy.

Her mother’s name was Zélie Guérin, and she was from Lisieux, I believe.  Once Mr Martin had retired from his business, Mrs Martin manufactured the lace that is called “Point d'Alençon”.

Her father was deeply pious; he was a member of the Night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Society.  He took communion frequently. I believe he attended Holy Mass every day. He would readily spend his spare time fishing and often sent his catch to the Poor Clares of Alençon.  Her mother was also very pious and went to church often, but I knew her less well than Mr Martin and I would not be able to go into much detail where she is concerned.

The Servant of God was baptised at her parents’ request on Saturday 4th January 1873.  As I have already said (Question n° VII), I had the pleasure of ministering her baptism.  Recently a commemorative plaque of the event was erected in the baptismal chapel of the church of Notre-Dame d’Alençon.

Thérèse Martin was the last of the couple’s children, but numerous children were born before her.  Three of her sisters [247] are still Carmelite nuns in Lisieux; another is a Visitandine in Caen. I can remember burying a little brother, and I think that other children had died previously.

The family constituted a deeply Christian milieu. The children were brought up admirably. Little of their lives was spent outside of the family.

WITNESS 2: Lucien-Victor Dumaine 109

They all had the same tastes and Christian habits, and preferred to stay together.

I am relating all these details as an eye-witness given that, as I have said, I knew the family well when I was Curate in Alençon, where I lived for ten years (1868-1878).

 [Answer to the tenth question]:

I know a few details concerning the first few years of the Servant of God’s life, up until her mother died and the family moved to Lisieux.  As the child’s health declined as a result of living in the town, she was sent to a wet nurse in Semallé.  Reverend Father Roger, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate who comes from Semallé, told me that when he was a young man and still lived with his family, he saw little Thérèse Martin at the home of her nurse, and had been struck by the child’s mild and gracious expression.  Mrs Martin died in 1887. Soon afterwards the family left Alençon and I lost sight of them then.

[248] [Answer to questions eleven to fifty-five]:

I know nothing about any of these points except what I have read in Story of a Soul and what I have learnt from a few, fairly recent conversations with the Reverend Mother Prioress of the Carmel of Lisieux.

[Answer to the fifty-sixth question]:

I visited the Servant of God’s burial place once, in about 1911; I did so to satisfy my piety and a pious curiosity.  During the half hour that I was there, I saw three people come to Sister Thérèse’s grave to pray.  Furthermore, I know that it draws a considerable number of pilgrims, and I personally know a good number of people in the diocese of Séez who have made the pilgrimage; his Lordship the Bishop of Séez is one of them.  The number of visitors continues to grow day by day.

[Answer to the fifty-seventh question]:

I know nothing directly of the Servant of God’s reputation for holiness before she died. However since her death, I have noticed that throughout the diocese of Séez, which I have travelled extensively in the capacity of Vicar General, everyone, both clergy and faithful, is in no doubt as to the heroic holiness of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.  She is commonly known as “the little saint of Lisieux”.  Furthermore, many people from outside the diocese with whom I have [249] found myself in contact have expressed the same conviction to me either in person or by letter.  Several people have recommended themselves to my prayers for the very reason that I baptised the Servant of God myself.

On 8th July 1912, in response to a prayer request made for my recovery during an audience, the Sovereign Pontiff Pius X wrote this prayer beneath a picture of the Servant of God, knowing that I had baptised her.

I am currently an Ambulance Chaplain for wounded soldiers in Séez. I have seen several soldiers visibly wearing a holy card or keepsake of the Servant of God. Since I learnt of her renown for holiness, it has certainly not lessened, and is in fact growing.

The Carmel may have been slightly overzealous in its dissemination of holy cards, books and other objects concerning Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.  But I do not believe that it strove to create a reputation for holiness for her sake.  This renown spread very naturally, which is why I am sure no efforts have ever been made to hide anything that might prejudice the Cause.  Her Carmelite sisters are certainly not indifferent to the success of the Cause, but they have acted with very righteous intentions, I am sure of it.

[250] [Answer to the fifty-eighth question]:

I am not aware of anybody being opposed to her reputation for holiness, and I would be very surprised if anyone expressed a contrary opinion.

[Answer to the fifty-ninth question]:

I know as a result of my personal contacts:

1stly that it is a very widely held opinion that Sister Thérèse will fulfil her adage, “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth”.

2ndly a large number of people have admitted to me to have prayed to her for either spiritual or temporal favours and have acknowledged the efficacy of her intercession.  I myself pray to her daily and I attribute the improvement in my health to her protection.

3rdly I cannot remember having seen for myself any of the cases related in “Shower of Roses” or the “Articles”.  Yet several of these facts, which appear to have been confirmed by the testimonies that avouch them, seem to me to constitute true miracles.

4thly I am able to relate two events more specifically:

A) Claude Prosper Arthur Cholet, a soldier from the Lyon area, whose address is 60, Rue Vivy, Cours (Rhône), was treated in the ambulance [251] of which I am Chaplain in Séez for a very serious injury that he suffered in the battle of La Marne.  He was shot in the back with a bullet that exited the upper part of his chest after puncturing one of his lungs. He presented the very alarming symptoms of fever, choking, and suppuration. One particular night it was believed he was in imminent danger of dying and I had him administered the Eucharist in the form of Viaticum; the Medical Officer himself had said that he was at serious risk.  I advised the patient to pray a novena to the Servant of God.  He did so; after the novena his condition improved, and has steadily continued to do so since. The soldier is today recovering with his family and has sent a letter to the Carmel of Lisieux expressing his gratitude.

B) Sergeant Major Ernest Gabriel Maxime Cholet from Saint Georges-sur-Loir near Angers,

WITNESS 2: Lucien-Victor Dumaine 111

who was treated in the same ambulance, was shot in the thigh, injuring his femur.  The wound was nasty and very painful. The surgeon thought that it would need amputating, something that the young man deeply apprehended.  I advised him to pray a novena to the Servant of God.  Following the novena, his condition improved and he is on the road to recovery.

 [Answer to questions sixty to sixty-five]:

I have nothing particular to say.

[252] [Answer to the sixty-sixth question]:

I can think of nothing to add.

[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 of them and signs as follows]:

Signatum:       Lucien DUMAINE