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Witness 25 - Alexandre-Charles Maupas

 

Alexandre-Charles Maupas was born in Mesnil-Auzoul (Calvados) on 27th August 1850 and was ordained priest in Bayeux on 29th June 1874. Vicar at the Church of Saint-Jean in Caen (1876) and parish priest in Bretteville-sur-Odon (1889), he succeeded his cousin, Canon Delatroëtte, in 1895 as parish priest of Saint Jacques’ in Lisieux and as Superior delegate of the Carmel. He was therefore in a good position to receive information about Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and was in direct contact with her during her lifetime and especially the last two months. By right, it was Father Louis-Auguste Youf’s duty (born in 1842) to attend Thérèse, but he was already very ill and would die in 1897, just a few days after the Saint. This is why Fr. Maupas was able to visit Thérèse, hear her confession and give her Extreme Unction on 30th July 1897. He died in Lisieux an honorary Canon on 19th February 1920. The witness testified on 7th August 1911 during the 79th session, pp. 1228r-1235r of our Public Copy.

[Session 79: - 7th August 1911 at 8:30am]

[1228r] [The witness answers the first question correctly].

[Answer to the second question]:

[1228v] My name is Alexandre-Charles Maupas, I was born in Mesnil-Auzouf on 27th August 1850 of the legitimate marriage between Alexandre Maupas, a farmer, and Jeanne Marie. I am a priest, an honorary Canon, and have been the parish priest of the Church of Saint Jacques in Lisieux since 1895; I therefore began to perform this last duty about two years before the Servant of God died.  

[The witness answers the third question correctly].

[Answer to the fourth question]:

I was summoned before the civil judge at the separation of the Church and the State in France (December 1906) to answer to the offence of having celebrated Mass without the required certificate from the government. It’s an offence I’m very proud of.  

[1229r] [The witness correctly answers questions five to seven].

[Answer to the eighth question]:

I believe it is pointless to repeat in my testimony what I know from reading “Story of a Soul”, since everyone knows the work. I will only relate the personal information I have: I was in direct contact with the Servant of God when I was Superior of the Carmel. I saw her quite frequently during the last months of her illness. Since the chaplain was seriously ill, I visited the Servant of God five or six times and administered the last sacraments to her. I also then collected testimonies about the Servant of God from the Carmelite Superiors and the chaplain of the monastery.

[Answer to the ninth question]:

I have a trusting devotion [1229v] for the Servant of God and I hope the day will come when the Church will officially recognize her holiness; my hope is based on the great esteem I hold with regard to her holiness and the power of her intercession, which has been observed not only by others but also by myself.

[Answer to questions ten to seventeen]:

I have nothing to say with regard to all these points except for what I read in her autobiography. For the personal information I have only dates back to the time when I was Superior of the Carmel (1895).

[Answer to the eighteenth question]:

My duties as ecclesiastical Superior didn’t put me in direct contact with all the nuns of the community. But I can remember that the reverend Mother Prioress, Marie de Gonzague, singled out Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus as an exemplary [1230r] and exceptionally fervent nun. I believe that she put her in charge of looking after the novices, even though she was only 22 years old. The Carmel’s chaplain, Fr. Youf, said he considered Sister Thérèse as an exceptionally virtuous nun.

[Answer to the nineteenth question]:

I can remember that when she was drafting the customary obituary after the Servant of God’s death, the reverend Mother Prioress said she was in possession of very precious notes on Sister Thérèse’s life which Thérèse had written herself at the Prioress’ order.  

[Answer to questions twenty to twenty-three]:

I didn’t know the Servant of God well enough to be able to give a more precise testimony than what I said in answer to the eighteenth question.

[Answer to the twenty-fourth question]:

The Servant of God died from tuberculosis at the infirmary of the Carmel of Lisieux, on 30th September [1230v] 1897. The first time I was called to visit her was about two months before her death. I found her very radiant and smiling. When I expressed my surprise at finding such a blooming patient, she replied she was happy at the thought of soon going to see Jesus in heaven. From the few visits I made to see her at that time, I’ve kept the general yet very clear impression of a childlike candour, and of a very simple surrender to God’s designs. When I gave her Extreme Unction and the Plenary Indulgence at the Hour of Death, I told her that “these graces would purify her soul as on the day of her baptism.” I see in her Life Story that these words struck her and made her very happy.    

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

I’m aware it is public knowledge that the Servant of God’s tomb, in the cemetery of our town of Lisieux, is constantly visited by pilgrims who come from all over the [1231r] world to pray and give thanks. My vicars go several times a week to the cemetery for the parish services and tell me that most of the time they see the faithful praying on the Servant of God’s tomb. This pious movement has lasted a long time and is not slowing down.

[Answer to the twenty-seventh question]:

Everywhere the faithful pray to the Servant of God in the same way people pray to a saint.

[Answer to the twenty-eighth question]:

I have never heard anything said against the Servant of God’s renown for holiness.

[Answer to the twenty-ninth question]:

Being the parish priest of the Church of Saint Jacques, I have noticed that the trust the faithful have in the Servant of God’s miraculous intervention is, so to speak, universal. As soon as an illness appears, people most often think to recommend themselves to her prayers through novenas and other pious practices. Among the different favours that have been attributed to the Servant of God’s intercession, there are two cases in particular about which I can testify:  

1. My vicar, Father Lamy, informed me himself of his observations regarding the healing of young Legot, who had been suffering from a case of meningitis that the doctor pronounced [1231v] incurable. The matter is related in the Vice Postulator’s “Articles” under the n° 132 and the account my vicar gave me is wholly conform to this report.

2. Father Anne, whose healing is recounted in the same “Articles” (n° 126) was, when he was ill, living in my parish. I was able to see that he was “at death’s door”. There was no hope of him recovering; it surprised his family and friends; I still see him from time to time, now that he’s a vicar in Pont l’Evêque, and I see he’s in good health. I also know that he attributed his recovery to the Servant of God, to whom he prayed. Nevertheless, other people who knew him prayed to Our Lady of Lourdes at the same time for his recovery.

In my functions as pastoral minister, I have several times recommended to the Servant of God’s prayers people who are dying and whose conversions prove particularly difficult. In three different cases, I’ve attributed [1233r] (* The Public Copy goes from p. 1231 to p. 1233, therefore omitting p. 1232.) these patients’ return to God to the intercession of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. One of the patients, who was mixed up in an affair regarding the theft of Church goods in France, and who couldn’t receive an ecclesiastical burial without first making a public revocation, refused at first to make his revocation. I recommended him to the Servant of God’s prayers, asking her, as a sign of her intervention, to have the sinner call me himself, which is what happened. He spontaneously sent his home nurse to find me, revoked his scandals, received all the sacraments, and died a Christian death. In the few trips I had the opportunity of taking in France and Switzerland, I noticed that Sister Thérèse’s renown for holiness had spread to just about everywhere. Six or seven years ago, when the Carthusians were still in their monastery at Grande Chartreuse, the bursar with whom I stayed on one of my trips said to me that reading Sister Thérèse’s life story very markedly influenced the friars [1233v] to greater fervour.    

[Answer to the thirtieth question]:

I can’t see anything in particular to add.

[Concerning the Articles, the witness says he knows 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]:

Ita pro veritate deposui, ratum habeo et confirmo.

Signatum: A. MAUPAS.