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Witness 21 - Étienne Frapereau

 

Etienne Frapereau was born in La Jumellière (Diocese of Angers) on 12th April 1831.

First a parish priest in Beaucouzé (1870-1876) and La Salle-de-Vihiers (1876-1908), he then retired to the priestly community of Saint-Martin in Beaupréau (Maine-et-Loire) where he died on 27th December 1913.  

Father Frapereau reports that a vision of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus was seen by an elderly priest, Fr. Roussignol, who was thereby freed from the anguish he felt at the prospect of God’s judgment.

The witness testified on 30th March 1911, in the 72nd session, pp. 1161v-1164r of our Public Copy.

[Session 72: - 30th March 1911 at 8:30am]

[1161v] [The witness answers the first question correctly].

[Answer to the second question]:

My name is Etienne Frapereau, born in La Jumellière, in the Diocese of Angers, on 12th April 1831, of the legitimate marriage between Charles Frapereau, a watchmaker, and Jacquine Colaisseau. I am a priest, and am now retired at the community of Saint-Martin in Beaupréau, in the Diocese of Angers. I spent my priesthood exercising parish ministry, and was successively curate in Beaucouzé (1870-1876) and La Salle de Vihiers, in the Diocese of Angers (1876-1908); I have been in Beaupréau since 1908.  

[The witness correctly answers questions three to seven].

[1162r] [Answer to the eighth question]:

My testimony pertains to one miraculous event that I heard about from the very person it happened to, as I will demonstrate when I recount the event.

[Answer to the ninth question]:

I cannot say that I have a particular devotion for the Servant of God. We have talked about her a great deal in the community where I live and I’ve read her Life Story which was greatly edifying.

[Questions ten to twenty-eight inclusive are omitted, because the Vice Postulator summoned the witness to confirm one fact alone, that is to say the vision of the Servant of God. We therefore immediately move on to the twenty-ninth question. The witness answers]:

The person who was accorded this vision is Father Rossignol, who is about 76 years old. He had been a professor at the Major Seminary of Luçon for about 26 years where he had taught dogmatic then moral theology. For about four years he had been a member of our community [1162v] of retired priests at Saint-Martin in Beaupréau. Father Rossignol had the reputation of being a very distinguished professor and a most saintly priest throughout the Diocese of Luçon. In the community, we all considered him as a “saint”. He was a timorous soul; the shadow of a venial sin would have made him tremble. He spent two whole hours every day before the Blessed Sacrament, and he would kneel for the duration of that time, despite his age and infirmity. When he died, several penitential instruments he had used were found, and nobody was surprised. His judgment was very calm and very sure; he was a man of experience and wasn’t prone to flights of fancy. For a long time he suffered from a chronic intestinal complaint, but this didn’t prevent him from taking part in all communal activities and in no way did it give us cause to anticipate his almost sudden death two days after he saw the vision. Reading the life story of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus inspired him with a very great devotion for the Servant of God. Here is the plain account of the extraordinary event that happened to him:  

In the morning of 16th January last, [1163r] I asked him how his health was; he replied: “Thank you, my night was good, very good, considering my condition, but what was particularly good, very good, was my waking and rising this morning. At that instant I saw little Sister Thérèse, it was really her; I could see her clearly and recognized her from her photograph. She was standing beside my bed; she was looking at me smiling and had me understand through signs and her facial expressions what it was she had come to tell me: ‘I’m taking care of matters… the matter; it will come soon, you can be sure of it.’” He added: “it wasn’t a dream, I was perfectly awake.”

What do Father Rossignol’s words here mean? Discretion prevented me from asking. He happily walked away, advising me not to speak to anybody about it. The death of the holy priest two days later released me from my promise and today allows me to tell people what he wanted to hide, and this out of humility, I have no doubt. I was told that Father Rossignol was overly terrified of God’s judgment, hence we inferred that his vision of the Servant of God was to [1163v] announce his imminent death and reassure him. The fact is that at the moment of his death, he made the sacrifice of his life, in my presence, with extraordinary transports of joy, without any sign of fear or fright. But I must say that he had never revealed his inner apprehensions to me, I know about them from talking with Father Arsène, a Trappist friar from Belle-Fontaine, his ordinary confessor, and also with Father Gaignet who had been his colleague at Luçon for 16 years. Father Arsène also informed me that on 16th January Father Rossignol had described the same vision to him as he had to me. Moreover, I have in my hand, to add to the Trial, the written and authenticated attestation of the afore-mentioned Father Arsène, a document that was drafted at the request of Mgr. de Teil, the Vice Postulator.      

[The judges recognize the document’s authenticity and, after having shown it to the Promoter of the Faith, order me, the notary, to include it at the end of the present attestation].

[1164r][Answer to the thirtieth question]:

I’ve said all I know.

[Concerning the Articles, the witness says he knows nothing other than what he 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 amendment to them and signs as follows]:

Signatum: Testis deposui ut supra secundum veritatem, ratum habeo et confirmo.

ETIENNE FRAPEREAU, Presbyterian

[1164v] [Authentic rapport of Reverend Father Arsène]:

I undersigned attest that on sixteenth January 1911, I received a visit from Father Rossignol who would come to me for confession. He said that on waking that morning he had seen the Servant of God Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. She was standing near his bed. I personally know that he had a great devotion for her. I was privy to his fears of God’s judgment at his death. I was pleased to learn that, two days later, a few hours before he died, he enthusiastically offered the sacrifice of his life to God.  

Signed: Brother MARIE ARSÈNE, O.C.R., Presbyterian