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The articles. 3 – Blessings and Miracles Obtained

 

 

[77r] THIRD PART

BLESSINGS AND MIRACLES OBTAINED THROUGH THE SERVANT OF GOD’S INTERCESSION

God has worked numerous wonders through the intercession of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus; with every passing day, she increasingly fulfils her dying wish: “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.”

121 - Mrs Héloïse Debossu, who lives in Reims, currently at 9 Rue Luiquet and formerly at 5 Avenue de Laon, had suffered for about ten years from a fibrous tumour in her left lung a little above the ribs. The numerous doctors that were consulted insisted she have an operation, the need becoming more urgent by the day. The patient refused to consent. Out of desperation, she was subjected to various massage and electrical stimulations, which brought her only temporary relief. In January 1901, her state worsened to such an extent that she was confined to her bedroom and even to her bed almost continuously. Her emaciation and pain had become dreadful. In September 1902, she was further diagnosed with peritonitis. The doctors said she was lost and, even with an operation, could not guarantee her recovery. At that moment, finding no help on earth, Father D. Petit, the former director of the Seminary of Versailles and parish priest of Marnes-la-Coquette (Seine-et-Oise), sent the invalid a lock of hair of the venerated little [77v] Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, urging her to participate in a novena that he was to request from the Carmel. The result was immediate. On the last day of the novena, the invalid was able to go to her parish church and take Holy Communion in thanksgiving. Since then, she has gone from strength to strength. Her face is the picture of health, and her emaciation has been replaced by a certain portliness and a glowing complexion that leave no doubt about her recovery. All those who know her and had seen her so sick and forlorn agree that dear little Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus is the wondrous agent of her recovery.

It is impossible to describe Mrs Debossu’s gratitude toward her benefactress. – As will be shown . . .

122 –The same Father D. Petit, parish priest of Marnes-la-Coquette, witnessed a second healing the following year. He addressed the following account to the Carmel of Lisieux:

“Marnes-la-Coquette (Seine-et-Oise),

23rd January 1903.

A certain Mrs Jouanne, a gardener’s wife and mother of two children, the eldest of whom is ten, underwent an operation over a year ago for a double strangulated hernia. It almost killed her. Afterwards she could barely walk and was extremely thin. Approximately three weeks ago, this lady fell seriously ill with appendicitis, which degenerated into complete peritonitis. The doctors claimed she was lost. One morning last week, her husband rushed to see me. ‘Come quickly, Father. She is dying.’ Having been called by a colleague in Ville-d'Avray, a great surgeon from Paris, the same who had operated on her double hernia, had arrived [78r] the previous day to attempt an operation. The patient had been put to sleep. Her stomach was cut open, but revealed so many abscesses and widespread puss that all operation was forsaken. Once the wound had been patched up with a few stitches, it was declared that she had only hours to live, a day or two at most.

I went to see her immediately. The invalid could no longer speak, had the pallor of death, was ice-cold, and seemed to have only a breath or two left in her. However she was conscious. I offered her a few heartfelt words. I advised her to inwardly entrust herself to the protection of our beloved little Thérèse, then I gave her absolution and the indulgence for a good death. I had forgotten the holy oils, perhaps by God’s providence . . . .

The sister nurse said her state was worsening by the minute. Therefore, with the invalid’s assent, I slipped under her pillow one of the little sachets containing some rose petals with which Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus had caressed her crucifix.

That same day, the vomiting, which had been continuous for six days, ceased completely. Two days later, the doctors declared that she was out of danger and she was allowed some food. Five days after that, her husband came to me to express the invalid’s joy and all his gratitude towards the dear little saint.

As you can see, dear Reverend Mother, even a trifle that this angel has touched has immeasurable value and virtue . . . .”

From the same, 23rd July 1907

“Mrs Jouanne, the gardener’s wife who was miraculously cured about five years ago by Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, moved away from my parish to Versailles quite some time ago. I have seen her several times in [78v] perfect health. She holds the most deep and abiding gratitude to our dear little saint. Like me, she attributes her astonishing, radical and sudden recovery to Sister Thérèse’s relic alone. In her name and in my own, I hereby confirm once more that all the details I gave you following her recovery are absolutely true and correct.

Father D. Petit,

Parish Priest of Marnes-la-Coquette.

- As will be shown . . .

Nancy, 5th May 1905- 123 – “Miss Marthe Bourgon, a young lady of nineteen and a close friend of my family, had appendicitis. When the doctors diagnosed the illness, it was already too late. However, after a long hesitation, it was decided she would have an operation, but gangrene had already spread to the surrounding tissues, and the operation had to be cut short. A week later, the poor young lady was desperately sick and it was expected that she would die imminently. Furthermore, a breach had opened in her intestines and had critically complicated the case. In short, according to all human expectations, all hope was lost.

I hastened to take to the dying girl my dearest possession: some hair of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and a novena was begun. Two days later, the breach suddenly closed, and since then, the improvement has continued. She has been recovering so well and so fast that the dear invalid is now absolutely out of danger, rises from bed for several hours a day and needs only regain some strength. I cannot describe the doctors’ astonishment. “I admit,” said the chief surgeon, “I never had [79r] even the faintest hope. I thought she was truly lost. This recovery is out of the ordinary. It’s simply incomprehensible.

You and I, dear Reverend Mother, comprehend it well!

M. Robert.”

- As will be shown . . .

124 - Reverend Casimir Konopka, S. J., provided details of the following recovery:

Krakow, 19th May 1906

“Friar Ignace Boron, the co-adjudicator of our Company of Jesus, cruelly suffered from liver stones from Christmas 1905 until 20th March this year. Drs Parenski and Domanski, both university professors, declared the disease incurable. A famous surgeon, Professor Kader, said that an operation was necessary. After having prayed several novenas in vain, we commenced one to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Blessed Virgin through the intercession of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus of Lisieux. On the second day of the novena, the friar suffered a fit, and on the third, he rose from his bed completely cured, to the great astonishment of the doctors, who declared the incident unknown to medicine.”

On 19th May 1906, Reverend C. Konopka went to the Carmel of Krakov to celebrate a thanksgiving Mass, and Friar Boron took Communion there. The latter said that he felt completely rejuvenated, completely renewed and healthier than ever. – As will be shown . . .

125 – At the end of June 1908, Sister Catherine Clarke, then a postulant in the novitiate of the Congregation of the Good Shepherd in Finchley, London, slipped down two steps of a staircase and severely sprained her ankle. The rest and [79v] various other remedies prescribed by the doctor brought no improvement; her foot remained swollen and pale and the nun could not walk. By means of X-rays performed at the Royal College Hospital, her foot was scanned and then fixed in a plaster splint. The surgeon ordered that it remain that way for six weeks. Once that time had lapsed, as the pain had in no way lessened and the nun was in a great deal of pain, a vesication was attempted to reduce the swelling, also without success. Finally, the hospital specialist was called to Finchley. After consulting the convent doctor, he performed a very thorough assessment of the ailment and claimed that he could hope to heal it only under his own personal and specific surveillance.

Discovering that the novice’s parents in Glasgow wished for her to be treated at home, the specialist said he would write to a certain Scottish professor, giving him advice as to an operation. Furthermore, he warned that the greatest of precautions would have to be taken for the journey, for the smallest shock would suffice to worsen the condition and render an amputation inevitable. The following Tuesday, 3rd November, Reverend Clark, the novice’s brother, arrived from the parish of Saint Patrick, Schieldmuir (near Wishaw), with the intention of taking her home. He was very distressed by the state of her foot, and seeing it so discoloured, swollen and utterly shapeless, he quickly understood that it needed operating. Measures were taken for an ambulance to be ready as soon as the invalid arrived in Glasgow. The necessity for Sister Catherine’s departure had hitherto been hidden from her. She pleaded to stay in the monastery, but her condition was too serious and she had to accept the trial. She therefore sadly bade farewell to the novitiate, and the car, which was to take her far from the convent she loved and [80r] cherished so dearly, was requested for eight thirty the next morning.

At the time of the accident, a medallion of the Sacred Heart had been placed upon the injured foot, and water from Lourdes had been used for the dressings. Novenas were prayed to the Sacred Heart, the Blessed Virgin, Saint Gerard Majella, and the Venerable Mother Pelletier, foundress of the Good Shepherd Institute. Other saints were also invoked, but heaven seemed deaf to all entreaties.

On 30th October, the surgeon’s decision made, Sister Catherine began a novena to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus upon her Mother Superior’s advice, and placed among her bandages a rose petal with which Sister Thérèse had once anointed and caressed her crucifix on her death bed. As it happened, the convent had a great devotion to the young nun.

“On the evening of Friday, 30th October,” wrote Sister Catherine, “I began a novena to the ‘Little Flower’ [name given to the Servant of God in England] in great faith. I did not lose sight of her for a moment. I kept asking her to have pity on me and to heal me, that my vocation be saved. On 3rd November, the eve of my departure, I went to bed at about 9 o’clock. I once again begged the ‘Little Flower’ to obtain my healing from Almighty God. Every time I awoke, I made her the same entreaties. At about three o’clock, I awoke again, but this time, my cell was filled with light. I did not know what to make of this splendid brightness and I cried out, “O God, what is this?” I remained surrounded by this light for about three quarters of an hour, and I couldn’t fall back to sleep, despite my efforts. Then I had the impression of someone removing the covers from my bed and urging me to stand up. I moved my foot [80v] and to my great astonishment, I found the twenty-three feet of bandages, which had been tied very tightly and which I could not have been without, completely removed. I looked at my foot. It was perfectly cured. I stood up, walked, and, feeling no pain, I fell to my knees, crying out, “O Little Flower of Jesus, what is this you have done for me this morning? I am healed!

When it was time for Mass, someone came to fetch Sister Catherine to help her to the chapel, but she said she did not need the support of an arm or the cane she usually used. She descended the staircase by herself and ran towards her Mother Superior:

“The ‘Little Flower has healed me, Mother!” she said, and immediately the news spread through the community like a lit fuse. A climate of fear descended on the household with the feeling that God had passed through there. The Mother General soon came and saw for herself what had happened. To prove she really had been healed, the novice walked up and down outside the church, and showed she was wearing her ordinary shoe instead of the invalid’s shoe that had been prepared for her due to the swelling. She remained kneeling throughout Mass and walked with a sure foot to receive Holy Communion from the hands of her brother. The latter was unaware of the miracle, but he admitted afterwards that not since his first Mass had he experienced so many divine consolations as during that particular Mass. This is yet another touching testimony of Sister Thérèse’s power of intercession in favour of priests, for whom she enjoyed praying!

Immediately after Mass, the Mother Prioress went to tell him what had happened. Very moved, he launched into the Te Deum. The novice, standing, and the whole community [81r] joined in with indescribable joy and emotion.

An examination of the foot revealed that the discolouring, swelling, and vesication and punctual cautery marks had disappeared and that it had returned to its natural shape. – As will be shown . . .

126 – In 1905, Father Charles Anne, a seminarian in Lisieux, suffered several episodes of abundant haemoptysis, which heralded the beginnings of the terrible lung disease. The symptoms reoccurred the following year, and Dr La Néele appraised the case on 24th August 1906 as follows:

“I observed in this patient an inflammatory eruption of tuberculosis in the upper part of the right lung around quite a wide area of softened tissue. Severe haemorrhages, abundant expectoration, a constant fever and considerable breathing difficulties made the prognosis very serious. Over the following days, the lesions spread rapidly in breadth and depth. The left lung became infected in turn and the upper part reached the softening phase very quickly. The very abundant spittle contained Koch’s bacteria. Despite antipyretics, the temperature remained very high, the breathing difficulties increased further and haemorrhages threatened to take the patient at any moment. At that time, on 1st September, I took a fortnight’s leave and entrusted the patient to one of my colleagues.” 

Father Anne, who had promised to publish his story if he was cured, wrote:

“My tearful parents prayed for my recovery to Our Lady of Lourdes through the Intercession of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and I put round my neck a sachet containing some of the little saint’s hair. During the first days of the [81v] novena, my condition worsened. I suffered such a violent haemorrhage that I thought I should die. A priest was quickly summoned. Yet although I was urged to prepare for my death, I could not resign myself to do so and I waited in trust for the novena to end. On the last day, no improvement occurred. Then Thérèse’s memory came to mind, and the words that had so clearly underlined her nobility of soul filled me with indescribable confidence: ‘I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.’ I took the young Carmelite nun at her word. She was in heaven. Oh, yes! I was sure of that; I was on earth, suffering, on the point of dying: there was good to be done, and she had to do it. Therefore, holding the precious relic tightly to my chest, I prayed to the little saint so ardently that, if truth be told, the very exertions made with a view to staying alive could have killed me.

We commenced another novena, this time asking Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus herself for my healing, promising to publish the account of it if she cured me. The very next day, my temperature dropped suddenly, and a few days later, after examination, the doctor announced my recovery with the same conviction as he had pronounced my imminent end. There was no sign of the cavity in the lung, my breathing difficulties had ceased and my appetite was returning rapidly. I was cured.”

The replacement doctor had equally observed, “aside from severe haemorrhages, advanced pulmonary lesions of a tuberculous nature had also led to a very serious prognosis.”  

Doctor La Néele saw the patient again towards 18th September, astounded to see he had withstood the disease for so long. His report states as follows: “The patient’s temperature had returned to normal by Monday 10th September, having begun to drop on Monday 3rd September. The cavity in the right lung had disappeared and I [82r] observed at the top of the right lung merely some hard tissue due to scarring. In the left lung, there were rales of soft tissue. These gradually disappeared and the patient regained some strength. The lungs have long shown no trace of the substantial or severe lesions with which they were affected. I see the patient every year and he continues to enjoy excellent health.” He added, “This recovery is absolutely extraordinary and inexplicable from a scientific point of view. Medical history has witnessed the most diverse forms of tuberculosis heal naturally, but never when they have presented a character as serious as the preceding case. This acute and very rapidly spreading form remained in a larval stage for a long time, and then passed through its three phases within a mere few days. This is what characterises the most serious cases of rampant phthisis, faced with which medicine remains powerless.

Lisieux, 7th March 1909.”

The young seminarian, now a priest, is presently the curate of a large parish and tirelessly manages a laborious ministry. As will be shown . . .

127 – A wondrous healing took place in January 1907 in favour of 41 year old Sister Joséphine, a Lay Sister of the Carmel of Nîmes, exiled to Villa Dolgorouky in Florence. Below is the account written by the Mother Prioress and the invalid, with the Florentine doctor’s observation:

“Sister Joséphine, one of our Lay Sisters, was diagnosed on 18th January 1907 with reported infectious pneumonia. Within four days she was at death’s door, her temperature having risen to 43°C. As soon as I realised the seriousness of her condition, I appealed to the angel of Lisieux with unshakable [82v] faith. I placed her picture on the invalid’s bedside table, despite the occupant’s wish not to recover. However, on the sixth day of her illness, the doctor left us with no hope, advising us to administer to her the last sacraments, fearing that she would not see the following day through. I wished to spend that last night beside our dear child, but our Sisters obliged me to go and take some rest, which I did in order not to upset them, but I addressed increasingly insistent prayers to our heavenly Sister. At about two in the morning, I was awoken by a mysterious force, with the feeling that Sister Joséphine was suffering her last agony. I immediately went to her side and, as I had feared, saw that she about to breathe her last. She was black . . . her eyes were glazed over . . . . In a strangled voice she murmured, ‘Mother I cannot die!’

To Mother Saint-Pierre, who was urging me to say the prayer for the dying, I said, ‘No, little Thérèse will cure her.’ And I recited the Credo with all the energy of my faith. In the depths of my soul, I experienced what felt like a shiver, as though our little Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus had touched me, to signify that the miracle had been granted. And I had faith in this unforgettable touch, and I said out loud, ‘Sister Joséphine is saved!’ And indeed she was. Her choking fit subsided, and life and light returned to her eyes. The following day, the doctor came and saw for himself the one whom he had expected to declare dead risen to life.”

Professor Maestro gave the following diagnostic of Sister Joséphine’s ailment in two successive reports:

“Bilateral fibrinous pneumonia following influenza. Very aggravating conditions: persistent fever over 40 degrees; intermittent, filiform and very rapid pulse (over 150 beats a minute); respiration of the Cheyne–Stokestype; [83r] pronounced signs of asphyxia and bulbar intoxication; almost total anuria. The patient is cured on the seventh day, all of a sudden and contrary to my expectations, through help from up-above!”

The patient’s declaration merits to be cited as it shows her state of mind and what she felt at the moment she was cured.

“In honour of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, I want to say, much to my dismay, I did not recite one Ave Maria for my healing for the entire duration of my sickness. I did not look at the picture of her that always hung from my bed. I did not wish to recover, and I did not say thank you to her. Today I say a huge thank you. I pray she might do for my soul what she did for my body. When I fell sick, I realised that I was very likely going to die. I had never experienced so much pain. The night our Mother Prioress came, I was physically exhausted, everything was dying inside me, and I could sense that I could not live any longer. However a force held me on earth and I could not die. There I was, suspended between a life that was ebbing away and a death that would not come. I was in great suffering, I couldn’t breathe. I cannot remember how long this state lasted. But after a while, once Mother Prioress was by my side, I felt myself come back to life, which is why I said that our Mother Prioress was the one who cured me. She had prayed to the angel of Lisieux, who brought me back to life. Afterwards, I experienced no more pain, but I was very weak.” As will be shown . . .

128 – Sister Saint-Foy of Jesus, of the Carmel of Rodez, had for six years suffered from overall physical weakness, and [83v] in addition, from total voice loss for sixteen months. Human remedies had been without success and prayers had brought about no improvement. Reading of the many blessings obtained through praying to the Servant of God prompted the convent to appeal to her. It was decided that a novena would be prayed to the Holy Face of Our Lord through the intercession of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, with the promise, if the healing was granted, of spreading devotion to the Holy Face and of making known the Servant of God.

The novena was commenced on 26th April 1908. As early as the second day, the invalid felt better and was able to hum the following two lines from the hymn Living on Love: “Living on Love is not setting up one’s tent at the top of Tabor.”

On the third, her voice was clearer, but grew hoarse during psalmody. By the fourth day, Sister Saint-Foy had recovered and recuperated full use of her voice. Her general health was also better; all weakness had gone, even after strenous labour such as laundry. Her voice was actually stronger than before the illness.

Having observed what had happened, his Lordship the Bishop of Rodez insisted on obtaining a medical certificate. This was provided, three months later, on 27th July 1908, and reads: “Sister Saint-Foy of Jesus, born Louise Chincholle, a nun at the Carmelite Convent of Rodez, had for sixteen months suffered from very manifest overall weakness, frequent spitting of blood and complete voice loss, symptoms which all suggested the presence of laryngeal tuberculosis, particularly as all medications used had been unsuccessful . . . At the end of April 1908, when the patient was no longer taking medication, all the above symptoms [84r] disappeared; her voice returned to normal, she ceased spitting blood, and her overall condition improved considerably. Chest examinations had revealed no sign of pulmonary lesions, and the few traces of bronchitis that were at times visible are no longer present today. The patient does display a few signs of nephropathy, such as ocular anaesthesia and loss of the pharyngeal reflex, but all fear of tuberculosis must, it seems, be ruled out.” – As will be shown . . .

129 – Below is a medical report concerning the young Reine Fauquet, aged 4 and a half, from Lisieux, who suffered from phlyctenular keratitis and was cured on 26th May 1908.

“Reine Fauquet had never had any illnesses, apart from measles when she was one. On 11th January 1906, she contracted an eye disorder. Her eyelids were sticky and filled with puss, and her eyes were red and irritated. After a fortnight, she was taken to see Doctor D., who treated her for over a year. The patient would have periodic remissions followed by more serious relapses. She saw three eye specialists: Doctor D. in Lisieux and Doctors M. and L. in Caen. These latter told the mother not to bring the child back, as her eyes were lost. Indeed, they were streaked with blood and covered with whitish leukoma (a dozen or so). The child suffered a great deal, particularly at night. She could not see where she was going and could not identify objects placed in front of her. She kept her eyes closed and wore spectacles to lessen the pain. Moved by this case, Sister Saint-Edmond of the Sisters of Providence of Lisieux and mistress of the infant class, advised the mother to pray to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus for her little invalid’s recovery, and to take her to her grave, insisting that her faith should be all the greater [84v] given that her daughter was called Reine, the same name by which Mr Martin, Sister Thérèse’s father, liked to call her. The mother hesitated. However, she made up her mind after reading the abridged Life of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and took the child to the cemetery. She requested a novena of prayers from the Carmel. The following day, 26th May 1908, two days before Ascension, she attended the six thirty Mass and placed a candle before the Blessed Virgin, in honour of Sister Thérèse. Once home, she learnt that her daughter had suffered an outbreak more painful than the others. ‘Put on your spectacles, since they bring you relief,’ said the mother to the little girl. But the latter cried out happily, ‘Mamma, I don’t need them anymore, I can see as well as you now!’ The mother took the child nearer the window and called her husband. ‘Look at your daughter! You mocked my faith. Look at her eyes! She is cured!’ Indeed, the wide-open eyes were no longer red; gone were the puss, swelling and leukoma, and the child could see everything around her distinctly. There has been no relapse since. Doctor D. pronounced her completely cured from phlyctenular keratitis and issued a certificate dated 6th July 1908. Very frequent in children with fragile and lymphatic constitutions, this disease is characterised by corneal ulcers. It is prone to very frequent relapses at first, but these become increasingly rare as the child grows stronger. It can therefore heal only very slowly, and almost always leaves indelible traces in the form of varyingly opaque leukoma.

Lisieux, 7th December 1908.

Dr La Néele.”

The family went to the Carmel of Lisieux to express their gratitude and to recount to the nuns any details of the healing [85r] they wished to know. In the summary of this interview, which was written and signed on 5th February 1909, the nuns state as follows:

“Marie Fauquet, aged 9 and a half, told us that, on the morning of 26th May, she saw her little sister suddenly grow calm after her bout of pain, then fix her eyes on something smiling, then give a friendly wave with her little arm, and finally fall peacefully asleep. ‘I thought,’ she told us, ‘she was recovering and was looking at objects at the far end of the bedroom. I asked her afterwards what she had been staring at and why she had laughed. She answered, ‘I saw little Thérèse, there, right beside my bed. She took my hand, she smiled at me, she was beautiful, she had a veil, and there was light all around her head.’ The child said the same to us. In our presence, her mother tried to frighten her by saying she should take care not to lie, otherwise “Little Thérèse” would take back her eyes. She turned towards her mother and repeated confidently, “Mamma, it’s true, I saw her . . .’ ‘What was she wearing, little Queen?’ We asked her. ‘The same as you!’ - As will be shown . . .

130 – The Reverend Mother Prioress of the Carmel of San Pol de Mar (Spain), wrote to the Reverend Mother Prioress of Lisieux on 15th December 1908, concerning the healing of a nun in her convent:

Carmel of San Pol de Mar, Spain, 15th December 1908.

“Dear Reverend Mother,

I have the consolation of writing to Your Reverence as follows: one of our Sisters, Sister Marie-Michel of the Blessed Sacrament, aged thirty or so, was diagnosed by the doctor with [85v] tuberculosis and given a maximum of two years to live. We commenced a novena to the Immaculate Conception through the intercession of your amiable little saint, which ended on 20th September with a Holy Communion. Seeing herself in the same condition, the invalid said to me, ‘Mother, the 30th of this month is the anniversary of the death of little Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. On that day I believe she will do something for me.’ Upon seeing her faith, we commenced another novena and, the day after it ended, I sent for the doctor. After examining our dear Sister, he said to me in astonishment, ‘Why, she is much better!’ However, I believed we ought to wait a while before announcing a complete recovery. A few days ago, I had her examined again. Afterwards, the doctor turned to me and said, ‘No hay nada màs! There’s nothing there, she is cured!’ He readily promised the certificate that I’m sending you. You will read that, ‘this very prompt recovery seems strange and wondrous to him.’”  

Certificate of Doctor J. Marqués: “Sister Marie-Michel of the Blessed Sacrament, a nun of the cloistered Carmelite convent of this town, was examined by me on 19th April of the present year 1908, and diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis. Today, 15th November of the same year, she is in perfect health. Although, during this lapse of time, the said nun underwent a medicinal and hygienic treatment appropriate for this disease, such a prompt recovery seems strange and wondrous to me.

In witness whereof I sign the present certificate. 15th November 1908, Doctor Joseph Marqués.”

The recovery was verified on several occasions, and confirmed again by the same doctor in March 1910. – As will be shown . . .

[86r] 131 – Miss Marguerite Chabaud, born in 1884, had suffered from stomach pains for four years. When admitted to Saint-Joseph hospital in Paris on 1st January 1909, she had already vomited blood several times. She was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer.

After three weeks of treatment, her condition improved. She left the hospital for the convalescent home of the Sisters of Saint-Thomas of Villeneuve, in Issy-les-Moulineaux (Seine). The patient, who claimed she felt better, still displayed symptoms of a round ulcer, transfixion, acid belching, etc., according to the institute’s doctor. On 8th February, she had a serious relapse with the repeated and abundant vomiting of blood, and as her stomach could endure no more, she had to be fed via artificial means. The tranquilisers produced no improvement and her nights were sleepless. It was in these circumstances that the Mother Superior decided to refer the patient to the Bon-Secours hospital, believing that a person so seriously ill ought not to be kept in a convalescent home.

At that moment, it was suggested that a novena be commenced to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. The whole community was to join Miss Chabaud’s prayers, in union with the Carmel of Lisieux. The Carmelites had sent a small sachet containing some wool from the Servant of God’s pillow, and the invalid immediately affixed the relic to her scapular. The novena was said with fervour, but the pain kept increasing. Shortly afterwards, Miss Chabaud related what happened at the end of the novena as follows: “On 21st February, the last day of the novena, I insisted on going to 6 o’clock Mass, wishing to take Communion, convinced that I would be cured. For the entire duration of the Mass, I was in terrible pain, but I prayed with great fervour and had very great hope. Upon returning from the Holy Table, after having struggled [86v] up to it, my pain increased two-fold. Finally, at the third Ave Maria recited by the priest at the foot of the altar, I felt an atrocious pain in my stomach, and a similar pain in my back; it felt as though my stomach was being ripped out. Then I had the distinct feeling of a hand coming to rest on the sick area and anointing it with a heavenly ointment . . . then, there was nothing more but a great calm . . . I was cured!

I then realised I was hungry and I drank a large glass of milk, which I found delicious. I then stayed for the 7 o’clock Mass out of thanksgiving, and I heard it kneeling. After this second Mass, I went to the refectory where I had a large hot chocolate and two pieces of bread, which was quite something considering I hadn’t eaten a mouthful of bread for four months! And I was still hungry! Judging from my feeling of well-being, it is as though I had never been ill. I am completely cured.”

She confirmed the telegram sent on 21st February by the Mother Superior of the Sisters of Saint-Thomas of Villeneuve to the Carmel of Lisieux as follows:

“Patient completely cured by Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.”

From that day onwards, she ate perfectly normally. The doctor who had been informed of the novena said, “This sudden recovery from a round ulcer is all the more astonishing given that patients generally improve slowly and recovery takes a long time. Furthermore, having been examined on the neural level, the patient displays neither in her antecedents nor at the present time any symptoms of neurosis. Her sensitivity to touch and pinpricks is normal.” He added, “Before pronouncing a definitive verdict, it would be wise to wait a few months to see if the recovery really is permanent.”

[87r] No later than 18th May he wrote:

“Miss Marguerite Chabaud, the 24 year old nurse living in Rue Ernest Renan, Issy-les-Moulineaux (Seine), whom I treated in February for a stomach ulcer that healed suddenly, is still in good health. She experiences no pain in the depths of her stomach or in her back, eats all that is placed in front of her, does not have constipation, etc. In a word, she has a very good complexion and exudes health.

Issy-les-Moulineaux (Seine), 18-5-09. Tison.”

132 – Below are the details given by Father J. Lamy, curate of the church of Saint-Jacques in Lisieux, on 16th April 1909, concerning the healing of young Louis Legot.

“In March 1908, a small five year old child contracted a most severe case of meningitis. I urged his mother to pray to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. A novena was commenced. The child was in a constant state of delirium and yet, when we asked him to kiss the relic of Sister Thérèse that he carried on him, he held it and pressed it to his heart. He grew worse. ‘He should have been dead for two days,’ said the doctor. But his mother did not lose heart. Even though he was on the point of dying and had not been able to utter a single word for several hours, she came to the church, confessed and, before returning home, said the following prayer to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, ‘Sister Thérèse, if I am to believe that you are willing to cure my son, when I return from Mass, have him ask me for a drink.’

‘Mamma, give me a drink,’ said the child, as soon as she set foot into his bedroom.

After that, he went from strength to strength. I saw him myself the [87v] following day, and his awful disease had gone. Today he is well and looking forward to going back to school.” – As will be shown . . .

133 – The healing of Sister Marie of Calvary, in Mangalore (West-Indies), is related by her Reverend Mother Prioress in a letter to the Carmelite nuns of Lisieux as follows:

“Carmel of Mangalore, West-Indies, 7th June 1909.

Dear Very Reverend Mother,

You will be happy to hear that your little Sister, who so loved the Carmelite missionary monasteries, saw fit to favour us with one of her visits. One of our dear Sisters fell very ill with pneumonia complicated by a liver disease and a kidney infection. The doctor had little hope, especially given that our beloved invalid did not wish to recover, so happy was she to be able to glimpse the object of all her heart’s desires: heaven. She had just received Holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction with touching piety when the post brought the circular relating the wondrous events worked through the powerful intervention of your amiable little saint with God. The community commenced a novena for the healing of our dear patient, who willingly joined our prayers with the aim, through her recovery, of bringing God glory and of contributing as much as possible to the Servant of God’s glorification. She relates herself how she was cured. This grace obtained at the Carmel caused a sensation in town and people have requested novenas from us. We [88r] would be very grateful if you would send us a few relics and pictures.

Sister Marie of the Child Jesus, Prioress.”

“Without fully understanding the serious diseases I had contracted, suffering from a high fever, and spitting blood and what looked like pieces of lung, I asked the doctor whether my life was in danger, that I might receive the last sacraments. He replied that, for three days, I had been in that position. I therefore asked our Reverend Mother Prioress to procure me the grace of the sacraments without delay and, that same afternoon, 16th March 1909, I was given Holy Communion in Viaticum and Extreme Unction, and prepared myself as best I could to pass from time to eternity. Seeing that the doctor had increased his visits to three or even four a day, and had appointed another doctor in consultation, I was upset by his concern to snatch me from death, for I felt most happy to be leaving this earthly exile. I told him of my sorrow, chastising him for acting against God’s designs when He was calling me. He was saddened by my dispositions, which, he said, went against science’s efforts to cure me. In his piety, however, he had more hope in the power of prayer than in human assistance. That very day, the community commenced a novena for a miracle through the intercession of the Servant of God, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

Long after the doctor had left, I felt something I cannot explain; I was alone and wide awake. It seemed to me I was as though suspended in space. I could not see anything, but heard a voice ask me, ‘Why [88v] do you wish to die?’ Believing I was speaking to God, I said, ‘To see You.’ But the voice replied that God would be more glorified if I surrendered myself to Him, be it to live or to die, and joined in a novena that the community was praying. I can still hear the voice say, ‘What greater glory for God, for Holy Church, for your Order and your community, than to hasten the glorification of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus through the miracle of your healing!’ Immediately my dispositions were completely altered, and I replied, ‘I no longer wish to crave death. I shall pray and commence a novena.’

When the doctor returned that afternoon, I apologised for the rebukes I had directed against him. That very day, at my request, I was given a picture of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, which I placed by my bed. I prayed to her constantly, in great faith, in proportion with my suffering, which was increasing as the novena progressed. The day before it ended, 23rd March, at about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, whilst the whole community was in the Choir for oration and I was alone with the nurse, I suddenly experienced several violent choking fits. At the fourth, which was the last, I endured asphyxiation in all its agony. Having risen from my bed in my extreme suffering, I gripped the Sister who was holding me in her arms, believing, like her, that I was going to die. Air was completely denied to me. When I had recovered from this terrible struggle, as soon as I could speak again, I urged the poor, emotional Sister to thank God. ‘That I am still alive,’ I said, ‘is proof our prayers will be answered.’ I had hope that I would be cured the following day at Holy Communion. I passed a very bad night. By 3 o’clock [89r] in the morning, I was enduring real agony. I was bathed in a cold sweat, and shivering, despite the summer heat and the woollen blanket covering me. I even asked for another, warmer one. At half past 3, I experienced a sudden feeling of well-being. I said to the Sisters nursing me, ‘Return to your cells, go and rest, I no longer need anyone to watch over me, I am cured! As soon as Mother Prioress awakes, please tell her so.’

With that, I slept well until the Angelus. Only the previous day, I had received Holy Communion in Viaticum whilst in bed and had had difficulty swallowing a piece of the Sacred Host. On that, last day of the novena, I rose from bed, dressed, took Holy Communion and remained kneeling, without support, for about half an hour. After thanksgiving, I sang one of the hymns written by our dear Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

A few moments later, the doctor came to examine me and declared that there was no trace of the pneumonia that had brought me to death’s door, or of the liver infection and no less serious kidney disease that had complicated my condition. My health, which had been very poor for several years, had returned better than before. Within a few days, I was able to resume and perform my duties as Portress without interruption, along with other tiring occupations. The night of Maundy Thursday, 7th April, I was able to hold vigil before the Blessed Sacrament with the community. I eat the same food as the other Sisters in the refectory and feel none of the discomfort of the previous diseases. I have since learnt through a nun of the Third Order that, when the doctor was questioned as to my condition on the evening before I was healed, he had said, “She may well die this night.” Glory be to God and to the dear soul who deigned to intercede for her [89v] unworthy little Sister! I pray she might now complete her work by obtaining me the invaluable grace of walking faithfully in her footsteps in terms of practising religious virtues.

Sister Marie of Calvary.”

Letter accompanying the doctor’s certificate.

Carmel of Mangalore, West Indies, 31st July 1909.

“The health of our miraculously cured Sister is very, very good. Having endured many years of cruel suffering, and been deprived of community activities, she now partakes of everything. Joy has flooded her entire being. One can tell that a divine transformation has taken place inside her. We shall never forget the expression on our beloved Sister’s face the day she was healed. She was transfigured, as though in rapture, and to this day, when speaking of her heavenly benefactress, she positively beams with gratitude and love.

Sister Marie of the Child Jesus, Prioress.”

Here is the translation of the certificate from the community doctor, Doctor L.-P. Fernandez, dated 31st July 1909:

“In April of this year, I had the privilege of treating Sister Marie of Calvary when she had a case of pneumonia. The whole of the right lung was infected; the advanced age of the patient, 66, and her weak health in general, namely the unhealthy state of her kidneys, rendered her condition extremely serious. To make things worse, the dear old Sister had sentenced herself to death and desired to go to heaven. She often begged me not to prevent her blessed desire from coming to pass. As the days passed, I lost all hope of curing her. [90r] Meanwhile, the community and invalid prayed a novena to Venerable Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus for her recovery. This saving saint, I am in no doubt, interceded for my patient, because she renounced her wish to die and began desiring to live a long life in order to suffer and earn merits. On 24th March 1909, she was completely cured, and now is in much better health than she was for several years before her illness. Signed: Fernandez. B.A.L.M.S.”

In January 1910, the Servant of God’s protégée was Novice Mistress and had experienced no pain whatsoever since her recovery. As will be shown . . .

134 – A supernatural healing was obtained at the convent of Perpetual Adoration in Quimper.

On 1st December 1908, thirty one year old Sister of the Heart of Jesus was diagnosed with an infectious brain and spinal cord disease, complicated by phlebitis in both legs. On 16th March, having observed that the phlebitis had disappeared, but that the right leg was stiff, the doctor bent both legs himself in order to allow the Sister to walk. This only added to the invalid’s already numerous problems because, when invited to walk, her legs gave way and were incapable of supporting her. First of all, it was believed she was merely weak and it was hoped that time would tell. Alas! Although the invalid’s colour returned and her waist thickened, she remained immobile, and the doctor said that she would probably remain paralysed for the rest of her life and only Our Lady of Lourdes could heal her. This was on Thursday 3rd June. On Friday 11th June, the invalid awoke feeling [90v] even weaker than usual and experienced considerable pain during Holy Mass. When the time came for Communion and the nurse came to help her to the Holy Table, she almost fell, so uncontrollable were her legs. Once in the infirmary again, the Sister said to the invalid, “When alone, you should try to raise yourself out of your chair.” She replied sadly, “I can’t! I often try, but it’s impossible for me to move my hips.” The nurse did not insist further, convinced that she was indeed immobile. She took her by the arm and helped her to walk round the room. At that moment, the Sister coadjutor (assistant for the sick) arrived and said to the nurse, “Why are you tiring yourself so? We are no closer to getting this Sister to walk than on the first day.” The nurse helped the invalid back into her chair, then went and found a book containing a picture of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus accompanying her poem “The Angels at Jesus’ Manger”. She held the picture up for the patient to kiss and, moving a few steps away, said to her, “Now come and get the picture.”

Immediately, the Sister moved her hips slightly, leant on the arm of the chair, rose, and followed the nurse who, holding the picture in her hand, began walking around the room. Visibly impressed, she said to the patient, “Return to the chair and stand up without leaning on the chair.” And she did!

Since that day, she has been able to walk, and goes wherever the community goes. She has resumed her duties and is very well. One would never think she had remained immobile for six months. Doctor Pilven of Quimper carefully described her illness and observed her recovery: “I, a Medical Doctor of the Faculty of Paris, declare that Sister Heart of Jesus, a nun at the convent of Perpetual Adoration in Quimper, was diagnosed on 1st December 1908 with an infectious disease of rapid onset, [91r] which at first displayed the appearances of typhoid fever and chiefly exhibited the following cerebral symptoms: severe cephalalgia, vomiting, and considerable prostration. The early epistaxes, diarrhoea and intestinal haemorrhages over the course of the infection tended to confirm this diagnosis. However, just a few days later, aside from the cephalalgia, the patient complained of intense neck pain, back pain, and shooting pains in her lower limbs, and displayed opisthotonus, which persisted up until the end. She let out ‘encephalitic’ cries and her appearance was that of a meningitic. It was then that I thought of the possibility of a cerebrospinal meningitis, an infection hitherto unknown in our region and which I had never seen before. However the coexistence of the all-so-distinctive intestinal disorders did not allow me, despite the aforementioned symptoms and the considerably erratic temperature, to settle firmly for this new diagnosis. Be that as it may, the disease lessened in intensity at the beginning of January 1909; but despite the temperature drop, the patient retained a certain degree of stiffness in the neck, of paresis in the limbs, chiefly the lower limbs, and her face retained a dazed expression.

On 16th January, phlebitis appeared in the right lower limb and, a fortnight later, the left lower limb contracted it in turn. The two limbs were a considerable size and an oedema had spread to the lumbar region. A month later, Sister Heart of Jesus was subjected to a massage treatment. The stiffness of the joints subsided to a certain extent, and a few voluntary movements became possible. However the oedema persisted and the paresis in the limbs was such that the [91v] patient could not stand upright spontaneously or support herself when lifted from her chair. Carried by two nuns, she would place one foot in front of the other, but her legs would give way and, if she had not been supported, the nun would have fallen. She remained in this condition until 15th June, when her normal state of motility very suddenly returned, at the same time as the oedema disappeared almost completely from her lower limbs and lumbar region. When I saw Sister Heart of Jesus the following day, she could walk with greater ease, and her previous expression of torpor had left her face.

Today, no trace remains of her disease aside from a slight oedema in the right leg, which is a little larger than the left leg. The differential diagnosis between typhoid fever and cerebrospinal meningitis would have been confirmed only by extensive laboratory analysis the like of which is impossible in Quimper. However it was the incontestable existence of cerebrospinal disorders, of typhoidal or meningococcal origin, that led me to a negative prognosis in terms of the paresis of the lower limbs, a paresis that suddenly disappeared, without it being possible, in my opinion, to advance any valid reason.

Quimper, 28th July 1909. 

Signed: Dr. A. Pelvin.” – As will be shown . . .

135 – Recovery of Trappist Friar Marie-Paul.

Account of the Most Reverend Abbot of Fontfroide Abbey, refuged in Spain:

Tàrrega, Spain, 27th June 1909, “In September last year [92r], our Brother Marie-Paul (previously named Philippe Tobzane, born in Narbonne, Diocese of Carcassonne, Department of Aude, on 12th June 1877, entered religious life on 9th May 1905), a Lay Brother of our monastery, experienced, in the region of his heart, the first ravages of a condition to which, at first, he paid no heed. But that which in the beginning was but a mere shortness of breath gradually developed into such intense pain that any extensive or tiresome labour became impossible for him. The consultant doctor claimed that the condition was in his stomach and subjected the patient to an exclusively milk-based diet. After six months of this treatment, an improvement occurred, and our Brother thought he could resume community life. But barely had two months elapsed when the pain returned, deeper and more intense than the first time and we had to resort to the same treatment as before. This time, it was without success. The pain worsened by the day and his suffering became so excruciating at times that, to soothe the invalid, we had to use morphine injections.

   Our Brother had to cease all activity, for he was extremely weak. Eating was positively torture for him. His could not keep anything down, not even a few spoonfuls of broth, which only gave him severe pain. Also, the invalid would sometimes spit what looked like minced flesh, and furthermore, his breath was so foul that charity alone could bring us to stay with him. After another examination, the doctor diagnosed a stomach ulcer, one that could easily degenerate into cancer, and told me that an operation would be wise in the case of serious complications. To sustain the invalid to some extent, the doctor prescribed egg and milk enemas but this method of feeding [92v] could be only temporary, for our Brother was growing weaker and withering before our very eyes. To conform to the doctor’s recommendations, our dear invalid took a short walk every day. On Monday 3rd May, he returned more weary than usual, even though he had walked for less than a quarter of an hour. When he saw Father Sub-Prior, he said to him, ‘Pray for me, Father, for I feel that this is the end . . .’

There was still hope, however, and the very next day Our Lord revealed the power wielded over His Merciful Heart by the intercession of his little Thérèse. ‘Since human means are powerless to help you,’ said our brother infirmarian to the invalid, ‘offer a novena of prayers to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, the Carmelite nun of Lisieux who died a few years ago in the odour of sanctity.’ The proposition was joyfully accepted, particularly as the friar trusted greatly in the “little White Flower”, having read a summary of her life in the little booklet entitled “Call to Little Souls”. From that day onwards, he carried a photograph of Sister Thérèse on him, saying she would bring him luck. She did not betray his trust. The following day, Tuesday 4th May, our invalid was unable to retain the enemas, and the pain around his kidneys was so intense that once more we had to resort to morphine. The poor friar could not take any more. ‘This cannot last,’ he said to the infirmarian. ‘Would you please ask Father X . . . for a relic of Sister Thérèse. I will place it on my stomach, and I’m sure she will cure me.’ That evening, the infirmarian brought him the relic and advised him at the same time to take another enema.

[93r]     But our invalid had other ideas. Full of faith, he resolved to drink the liquid. He prayed to the “Little Flower” to return him to health that he might help his Brothers, who were already struggling with the workload. Then he broke a few pieces off the relic and put them in his drink. After having swallowed a few mouthfuls, he feared it had been unwise of him to want to assimilate such a large quantity of liquid (3/4 of a litre). Yet, still trusting he would recover, he added a few more pieces of the relic to it and drank it all. He waited . . . The pain was gone! The terrible stomachaches were gone! All symptoms had completely disappeared, and our Brother was cured. He went out, took a long walk, and climbed the plateau looking over our monastery without feeling dizzy or tired. He returned very cheerful, felt strong and healthy, and immediately asked for something to eat. ‘Eat some eggs,’ said the infirmarian. And our Brother, who could not keep down even the lightest of foods, ate not only some eggs, but also some fried potatoes, raisins, walnuts and dried figs, and he washed down his dinner with a large glass of wine, a beverage from which he had been obliged to abstain for eight months . . . . He felt no discomfort whatsoever!

Our fortunate Brother told me of his recovery, which thoroughly delighted me, and the very next day, he resumed community life, the monastery’s austere diet and his strenuous labour. He continued his novena, transforming it into a prayer of thanksgiving. At the end of the novena, as his recovery had held, I thought it my duty to send you first news of it. Almost two months have now elapsed since our Brother received this manifest blessing, and all of us here can confirm that he feels none of the discomfort of his previous condition, colour has returned to his cheeks, and he continues the work that obedience has imposed upon him with generosity and joy.

[93v] In our Abbey of Notre-Dame du Suffrage this 27th June 1909.

Rev. Marie Havur, Abbot of Fontfroide Abbey.

(Having taken refuge with his community in the Abbey of Notre-Dame du Suffrage).”

Doctor Alexandro Ubach treated the friar for nine months. He confirmed in writing that the monk had a serious stomach condition and that, according to the symptoms, he could infer the existence of a stomach ulcer. He added, “the case was serious, because the affected organ could not hold any food, and the patient had reached a state of exhaustion so severe that he could be fed only through enemas. His pain would subside a little following morphine injections. In light of his condition, the doctor advised, as a last resort, a surgical operation, which was never performed because despite the seriousness of his condition and without any change being made to his treatment, which had hitherto proved ineffectual, the patient suddenly recovered, being able to tolerate all foodstuffs, and having ceased all medical treatment. The improvement has lasted to this day, even though a month has elapsed since the sudden change for the better in the state of the monk’s health.”

The doctor added, “having questioned the Father Superior as to the sudden and extraordinary change in Brother Marie-Paul, I was informed that it had coincided with the celebration of a novena in honour of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, offered for the patient’s recovery through her intercession.” The certificate was signed in Tàrrega on 15th June 1909, by Alexandro Ubach. As will be shown . . .

136 – Sister Marie-Bénigne wrote the subsequent account on the subject of her healing, which took place upon the intervention of Sister Françoise-Thérèse (Léonie Martin), blood sister to the Servant of God.

[94r] “Visitation Monastery of Caen (Calvados), 25th July 1909.

In December 1908, I began suffering from stomachaches. I was however able to continue our Lay Sisters’ labour until February. But at the beginning of that month, I began having onrushes of pain so intense that I felt as though my stomach was being devoured by an animal. When these pains took hold of me, I could not walk, and when I had to eat a little food, they increased still further. The doctor, who diagnosed a stomach ulcer, sentenced me to complete rest and had me follow a diet consisting of only milk diluted with Vals mineral water. But soon the vomiting resumed and became more frequent. Four to five times a day, I would bring up the little milk that I had drunk and, every time, there was blood mixed with the vomit. Finding myself in this sorry state, I was inspired to pray a novena to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. We commenced it on Thursday 24th June. Our Sisters prayed with me. During the novena, my pain only worsened. Despite this, my faith remained unshakeable. On the last day of the novena, towards noon, I experienced a very violent bout of pain. It felt as though my stomach was being ripped out. The pain was the same in my back and lasted for about a quarter of an hour. At 1 o’clock, Sister Françoise-Thérèse, the sister of beloved little Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, gave me a glass of water in which she had placed a rose petal that Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus had used to caress her crucifix. And at the same time, trusting fully in the power of our little saint’s intercession, Mother Superior knelt and recited the Laudate and the Gloria Patri. Her [94v] trust was not betrayed . . . As soon as I had drunk the miraculous water, I felt something very gentle healing the wound. From that moment on, I have felt no pain. I immediately drank a cup of milk, which went down very well, then over the rest of that day, I drank over a pint and a half without experiencing any discomfort. The following day, at breakfast, I was served the same as the community. I ate some omelette, peas and lettuce . . . in a word, I find myself today in the best of health. I have prayed a thanksgiving novena to thank my dear benefactress, and my heart will be eternally grateful to her.

Sister Marie-Bénigne.”

The doctor’s certificate, dated 29th July 1909, confirms that “from February to 2nd July 1909, Sister Marie-Bénigne Martin showed evident signs of a stomach ulcer, with abundant vomiting of blood, and that, as from 2nd July, these symptoms completely disappeared.”

The very sudden recovery of health has lasted to this day. As will be shown . . .

137 – Healing of Miss Mary Antes.

Account of the healing of Sister Mary Antes sent by Sister Antonia, Dominican Sister of the Convent of the Holy Cross in Brooklyn, Montrose and Graham Avenues.

“New York, August 12, 1909. To the glory of Almighty God and His servant Thérèse, the Little Flower of Jesus, I shall recount the great blessing that was obtained through the intervention of the holy little Carmelite Sister. This blessing is the extraordinary healing of our [95r] mortally wounded Sister. Our dear Sister was walking the streets of New York on the morning of July 30, 1909, when an untamed horse knocked into her, trampling her. Her face was terribly bruised and she received a blow to the head so strong that it was covered in blood. What was worse, her broken ribs pierced a lung; her heart was also injured and compressed; in a word, she was a very sorry sight. Despite her intense agony, she did not lose consciousness and was able to confess in the street to a priest who had rushed over from the nearest church. The New York ambulance doctor did not think she would make it to the hospital and said that, in all hope, only one in a thousand people could survive such terrible injuries. All day long, the poor young woman hung between life and death and, at about midnight, all hope of her recovering was abandoned. Each breath seemed to be her last. She remained in this agony until August 3. It was then that a nun who is very devoted to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus advised us to entrust all our hope to the Carmelite and commence a novena to her. I gave my Sister a relic picture of the little saint. With great faith, she placed it on her crushed body. On the last day of the novena, the invalid was saved.

Sister Antonia.”

- As will be shown. . .

138 – Healing of Henriette Luchini.

Account addressed to the Carmel of Lisieux.

“Carmel of Piacenza, Italy, 25th September 1909.

A lady has just visited the convent telling us that she has received a manifest blessing through the intercession of [95v] our dear little saint. It consists of the healing of one of her children who was suffering from persistent enteritis. How did this woman hear about Sister Thérèse? This is how: I do not know whether it is due to absent-mindedness on the postman’s part or something else, but the little parcel containing relics of Sister Thérèse that you sent me was delivered to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of this town. One of them, in good faith, distributed the relics and pictures to the above-mentioned person, who is her cousin. Vainly I demanded that the objects belonging to me be returned. All I received was the little book relating the blessings and the piece of paper clearly and accurately headed with my name and address. God must have allowed all this to happen for his glory and for the glorification of his faithful servant. Praise be to God!”

Here is the account provided by the parents of the miraculously cured child:

“Our little daughter Henriette, aged 11, suffered from a persistent case of acute enteritis for two years. None of the treatments administered had succeeded in curing or even alleviating it. She was in hospital for a month, was subjected to treatments prescribed by the most distinguished of doctors, but her condition only worsened. Her intestines could not hold any food and our poor little invalid had grown extremely weak. Emaciated and pale, she had only to close her eyes in the sleep of death. She was prescribed sea bathing at the Baths of Salsomaggiore; nothing did her any good. Her doctor stamped his feet to see the ineffectiveness of science. Distressed and discouraged, we had no hope left in either doctors or treatments. It was then that we were providentially given an object having belonged to a Carmelite nun, Thérèse of the Child Jesus. A novena was commenced and on the last day, our daughter regained perfect health. [96r] Today, two months later, it is as though little Henriette had never been ill. There has been no relapse or threat of relapse. We consider it a miracle, because the long duration and seriousness of her condition, plus her sudden recovery when the illness seemed to worsen, are facts that we are unable to explain with our limited human reasoning.

M. M. Luchini.” As will be shown . . .

139 – Healing of Mrs Antpballadum in Smyrne.

“Smyrna, Asian Turkey, 18th October 1909.

For the greater glory of God and the glorification of His saints, I hereby confirm the following:

Last June, my sister in law, who was five months pregnant, received a serious blow when her first two year old child collided into her whilst playing. She subsequently experienced pains so intense that the doctor, who had been called in haste, declared that there was an immediate risk of either her suffering a severe haemorrhage or of her baby being born crippled. I immediately recommended the dear invalid and her child to the prayers of the Carmelite nuns of this town. They asked God to ensure the mother’s recovery and at the same time the child’s perfect health, through the intercession of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who died in the odour of sanctity in the Carmel of Lisieux. At the same time, they gave me a fragment of the said saint’s clothing for the invalid. As soon as the relic was placed on the mother’s body, the pain subsided and she rose from bed the following day and resumed her usual activities. Afterwards, everything went well and no further pain [96v] occurred. The mother was saved . . . It remained to see the state of the child. On 13th October a little girl was born into the world in perfect health and in no way crippled, to the doctor’s astonishment. As a token of gratitude, the whole family has unanimously decided that the child will bear the full name of Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

Antpballadun, Chaplain of the Carmel of Smyrna. - As will be shown . . .

140 – Healing of the young Pichard boy.

“Nogent-sur-Seine (Aube), 2nd November 1909.

On 2nd August last, my five year old son contracted peritonitis following measles. Despite the doctor’s treatment, the child grew weaker with every passing day, to the extent that we feared his lungs and heartmight be affected. He had a high fever, a pain in his chest and had become extremely thin. After two months, the doctor having declared that no doctor or medication could cure him, we appealed to a specialist, who only confirmed the doctor’s diagnosis, not hiding the fact that the child was a lost cause and that the only thing we could try was fresh air and overfeeding. We realised that only a miracle could save him. The Mother Superior of the Carmel advised us to pray a novena to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, having experienced her powerful intercession for herself. God answered our prayer! On the eighth day of the novena the dear child rose from bed, his appetite returned, and the intestinal obstruction gone. He had positively risen to life. How very grateful we are to [97r] Sister Thérèse! We pray that God grants us her prompt beatification that everyone might know and love her!

A. Pichard.”

- As will be shown . . .

141 – Healing of Mr Adrien Henri, professor at the seminary of Nice.

“Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), 21st November 1909.

Very Reverend Mother,

I fulfil a sweet duty, one dictated by my conscience, by writing you these few lines. Having suffered a stomach condition for over twenty years, I thought I was at the end of a long road of suffering when, last July, my pain worsened alarmingly and my doctor’s hope all but left him. My medication was no longer working and brought me no relief. I had no appetite and could no longer sleep. The professors and students were due to go on holiday camp towards 8th July, and I had long since renounced the pleasure of accompanying them due to my exhaustion, as my poor stomach could no longer hold any food, not even a few mouthfuls of milk. I was then paid a visit by a young seminarian who told me in very moving terms about the growing devotion to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. He suggested I join the Carmelites in offering a novena of prayers for my recovery. I prayed ardently, inspired by my friend’s faith, and on the evening of 6th July, I embarked on a long journey. [97v] A fortnight later, I was able to participate in an excursion and walk 25 miles in a single day! Many friends who had seen me so close to dying would today readily testify to my miraculous recovery. It is my wish that Sister Thérèse might be known, venerated and soon glorified on our altars.

Adrien Henri.”

- As will be shown . . .

142 – Sister Thérèse’s protection is felt in Madagascar.

“Ambatolampy, Madagascar, 19th December 1909.

Our little saint continues working hard for the mission and has once more revealed to us the truth of her words, ‘I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.’ I notice that she particularly enjoys doing good for those who are most humble, poor, and deprived of the goods of this world and even of grace. I had one poor crippled woman who, for over ten years, could not move. After several novenas to Sister Thérèse, she was healed and can now walk. She has just been baptised and has chosen the name Marie-Thérèse. But I have another wonder to share with you. A month ago a poor Madagascan woman came to me carrying a perfectly healthy baby in her arms, a baby whom I had just baptised at death’s door. And, as she showed him to me, together with a picture of Thérèse that we had given her, she said, ‘The pretty lady you gave me cured my son in the night. I thought he was dead and had already began mourning him when she appeared wearing a white robe, which she placed on him, and when my boy awoke, he was cured.’

[98r] These are fine details to put in “Shower of Roses”, do you not agree, Reverend Mother?

Sister Berchmans, Mother Superior of the Mission. - As will be shown . . .

143 – The following letter from the Mother Prioress of Gallipoli informed the Carmel of Lisieux of a most extraordinary personal favour, one that has already been investigated by the local bishop. [Here follows the letter from Sister M. Carmela of the Sacred Heart (of the Carmel of Gallipoli) to the Mother Prioress of the Carmel of Lisieux (f. 98r-99r). It is copied in article 145(b), which is why it is omitted here.]

[99r] 144 – Account of the healing of Mrs Dorans, in Glasgow (Scotland).

For eleven years, Mrs Dorans suffered almost continual pain as a result of a developing tumour. It is believed that this tumour was caused by the lady overly straining herself in the nursing of her husband, whose fatal illness had rendered dependent. Situated in her right lung, the tumour grew deep roots. Nevertheless, Mrs Dorans was able to attend to domestic duties and look after her large family for several years. As time passed, the pain grew more intense and the tumour larger in size. For three years prior to her recovery, the invalid had not a moment’s respite; she would have restless nights, plagued by the incessant pain, never sleeping for longer than seven minutes at a time.

[99v] Her illness and pain became such that, towards the end of April 1909, her doctor said that her only hope was to go to hospital for an operation.

Mrs Dorans was examined by several surgeons, including the head surgeon, and it was decided that any operation would be fatal, the tumour having spread to all her organs. The poor invalid therefore returned home towards the middle of May. From that moment on, until the day she was miraculously cured, she gradually grew weaker and was in a great deal of suffering. Her stomach could not hold anything; the invalid went for ten weeks without eating any solid food. She could drink only sparkling water mixed with a little alcohol, or suck a little ice-cream, but even this light dish caused bouts of vomiting. The tumour, which had become enormous, pressed against her inner organs and paralysed all their functions.

Numerous priests, nuns and friends joined in the successive novenas that were prayed for the invalid, but with no visible success. Her life had seemingly reached its end and she was once more on the point of being administered the last sacraments. Prayers had been said to the Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Lourdes, Saint Joseph and all the saints whom she most loved. On 22nd August 1909, the doctor having said that she did not have long to live, she was merely waiting for God’s call when one of her friends came to see her. They had known each other for a long time and, aware of the depth of the dying woman’s faith, the visitor immediately suggested a novena be commenced in honour of Sister Thérèse, “the Little Flower of Jesus.” Mrs Dorans eagerly accepted, on the condition not to lack faith in the Sacred Heart, the Most Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph. [100r] It was agreed that the novena would invoke them, through the intercession of the holy little Carmelite, that she might request the recovery of Mrs Dorans from the most loving Heart of Jesus.

The novena was therefore commenced on Sunday 22nd August 1909. Over the following four days, the invalid’s condition deteriorated rapidly and on the Thursday, those who were watching over her did not expect her to last the night. Her sufferings were intense. The confessor, who visited her regularly and zealously attended to her spiritual health, suggested he once more give her the last sacraments. Thinking she could live through the night, the dying woman asked him to wait until the following morning, wishing to have the assistance of the Church in her last moments. One hour before midnight, having eaten a little ice-cream, the invalid experienced a bout of vomiting that completely exhausted her; then she fell asleep at about eleven thirty. Her eldest daughter rested in a neighbouring bedroom whilst her youngest daughter watched over their mother: both of them were extremely tired. The invalid, who had barely been able to see for two days and had suffered many sleepless nights, slept peacefully until about five thirty in the morning. On Friday 27th, she was awoken by a light touch on the shoulders, as though someone were leaning over her; at the same time, she felt a soft warmth on her, much like a breath, and realised there was an invisible presence around her. Opening her eyes, she distinctly saw everything about her, down to the design on the wallpaper. All pain and suffering had vanished; she felt perfectly well, and was able to move her limbs freely. Dear little Sister Thérèse had come to spend a few moments of her heaven with her, bringing her health and restoring happiness to the distraught family. With her heart [100v] overflowing with gratitude for the blessing she had just received, the scale of which she could not yet comprehend, Mrs Dorans looked at the picture of the Sacred Heart opposite her bed, said a fervent prayer of thanksgiving, and then fell asleep again for about twenty minutes.

When she awoke, she placed her hand over the tumour and, with great astonishment and great joy, noticed that the terrible swelling which had caused her such terrible suffering had completely disappeared. She called her daughter, who awoke with a start, fearing upon seeing the daylight that she had been unintentionally careless. But her mother reassured her, telling her that a restorative sleep had done her good. She then asked her for a drink and was able to swallow a glassful of sparkling water before resting for half an hour.

When she re-awoke, she felt so well and so hungry that she asked her daughter to make her a nice cup of tea and give her a fresh bread roll. The girl assumed this was some dying whim and, so as not to upset her mother, agreed, but not without fearing the consequences. This was the first cup of tea that Mrs Dorans had been able to enjoy in three months. She ate half of the bread roll, to the astonishment of her children, whom she had not yet informed of the great change to her condition, and then laid back down again with a feeling of well-being. Instead of the unpleasant consequences feared, her condition further improved and her digestive system functioned normally. Then without delay, Mrs Dorans sent for the doctor, hoping that he would examine her and confirm the miraculous recovery that she knew had taken place.

The doctor arrived immediately, prepared to find his patient in the throes of death, if not deceased. Imagine his astonishment upon entering the house [101r] to find her cheerful and full of life! He asked her what had happened. “That is for you to find out,” she replied. The doctor set to his examination. An hour later, he sent for the youngest daughter and, in the presence of both daughters, said that their mother’s condition had certainly improved, and that her heart, lungs and other organs were working well. The swelling had disappeared, without visible reason, leaving only a small lump on her chest, like a small marble, as though to prove that the tumour had existed. There was no trace left of its roots, which could previously be traced all the way to the invalid’s back.

The doctor was very intrigued and, although a Protestant, said that if another doctor saw Mrs Dorans as she was then, and was told how critical the patient’s condition had been a few hours previously, they would not believe their eyes. He also said that she had defied medical possibilities and that a higher power had brought about this recovery, since it could not have been wrought by human means.

On 21st January 1910, the doctor wrote this general assessment: “I hereby confirm that I have treated Mrs Dorans, residing at 9 Stanley Street (Glasgow), for the past eight years and that I always found her in very poor health. I learnt that, previously, her ill-health was such that she was not expected to recover. She was admitted to Western Infirmary on three occasions. The last time was in early May 1909. She was sent home towards the twelfth of that month, after having stayed in hospital for less than a fortnight, because Professor Samson Gemmil believed she had only a few days left to live. From that moment until 27th August, she was bedridden, being extremely weak and, judging by all appearances, at death’s door. She had a sizeable abdominal tumour evidently caused by a neoplasm.

[101v] On the morning of 27th August, she felt remarkably better and more comfortable. Up until that day, she had been unable to eat any food whatsoever, but following 27th August, she was able to eat as normal and can now move with ease, not only at home, but also outside.”

She attends Mass every day and goes about her business as normal. – As will be shown . . .

145 – It is true that God has granted numerous blessings, and that He regularly works other wonders and miracles through the intercession of his servant Thérèse of the Child Jesus, as will be reported by the witnesses.

Hos Articulos pro nunc, salvo semper, etc.

Here ends the first edition of the Articles (1910). It was followed by the edition’s Table of Contents.

 

 

[Session 79: 7th August 1911) at 2 o’clock in the afternoon]

[New Articles]

[The following new Articles were added in the second session by the Vice-Postulator to those already drafted]:

[105v] 145[b] - The following letter from the Mother Prioress of Gallipoli informed the Carmel of Lisieux of a most extraordinary personal favour, one that has already been investigated by the local Bishop.

“Carmel of Gallipoli, Italy, 25th February 1910.

Dear Reverend Mother,

The Heart of Jesus has chosen to use me, the most unworthy member of this community, to reveal to the world His infinite mercy. I send you herewith the account of the miracle accomplished in our favour. But there is already a long document in Rome signed not only by all our Sisters, but also by our Most Illustrious Bishop and a commission of priests. In the night of 16th January, I was feeling very unwell and was preoccupied with serious problems. The clock had just struck three and, feeling exhausted, I raised myself up in bed a little to ease my breathing. Then I fell asleep and, as though in a dream, I felt the tender brush of a hand as the bedcovers were brought up to my face. I thought that perhaps one of our Sisters had come in and shown me this kindness, and, without opening my eyes, I said to her, [106r] ‘Leave me be, for I am covered in perspiration, and what you are doing is making a draft.’ Then an unfamiliar voice said to me gently, ‘No, what I’m doing is good.’ And continuing to cover me, she added, ‘Listen, God uses the inhabitants of heaven as He does those of earth to assist his servants. Here are 500 lire with which to repay your community’s debt.’

I replied that the community’s debt amounted to only 300 lire. She answered, ‘Well, the rest is extra. But you cannot keep this money in your cell, so come with me.’ How can I go with her, I thought, covered in perspiration? Reading my thoughts, the heavenly vision added with a smile, ‘We shall use bilocation.’ And with that I found myself outside my cell, in the company of a young Carmelite nun whose habit and veil shone with such heavenly brightness that they lit our way.

She led me downstairs to the Turn Room, had me open a wooden drawer containing the community’s bill of debt, and put the 500 lire inside. I looked at her with joyful admiration and knelt down to thank her, saying, ‘O holy Mother . . . !’ But, helping me up and embracing me affectionately, she said, ‘No, I am not our holy Mother, I am the Servant of God, Sister Thérèse of Lisieux. Today, heaven and earth celebrate the Holy Name of Jesus.’ Moved, baffled, and at a loss for words, I strove to express what I felt in my heart, ‘O Mother . . .’ but I could say no more. After placing a hand on my veil as though to straighten it, and giving me a sisterly embrace, the angelic nun walked away. ‘Wait,’ I said, ‘you might go the wrong way.’ With a heavenly smile, she answered. ‘No, I won’t, MY WAY IS [106v] RIGHT AND I MADE NO MISTAKE IN FOLLOWING IT.’  

I awoke and, despite feeling exhausted, rose from bed, went down to the Choir, and took Holy Communion.

The Sisters watched me and, noticing I was not my usual self, suggested the doctor be sent for. I walked past the sacristy and the two sacristans insisted I tell them what the matter was. They too were determined to send me to bed and to call the doctor. To prevent them, I said that I was overcome by something I had seen in a dream and I very simply told them about it.

The two nuns then urged me to go and open the drawer, but I replied that dreams were not to be believed in. Eventually, upon their insistence, I did as they wished. I went to the Turn, opened the box and . . . truly found the miraculous sum of five hundred lire inside! Reverend Mother, I leave it for you to draw your own conclusions . . . All of us here feel at a loss before such goodness and we pray for the moment when our great protector, little Sister Thérèse, is raised to the altars.

Suor M. Carmela del Cuore di Gesù, u.c.n., Prioress.”

ADDITION TO THE SECOND EDITION

OF THE ARTICLES

By the same, September 1910.

“Dear Reverend Mother,

It costs me dearly to reveal to you what dear little Sister Thérèse has done for us since January. Yet I can no longer resist your prayers, or my little saint, who obliges me to reveal the wonders that God has worked through her. At the end of January, despite the care with which [107r] our Sister Procuratrix, Council Sister and two Turn Sisters keep the books, we found an extra 25 lire in our income, which we could not explain other than assuming that Sister Thérèse had slid it in our till. His Lordship the Bishop then told me to separate the community money from the two notes that remained of the ten that had been brought down from heaven.

At the end of February, March and April, we noticed the same strange occurrence; except the sum varied. In May, I saw little Thérèse again; first she spoke of spiritual things, and then she said, ‘To prove to you that I was the one who brought you the money that was found surplus on each balance sheet, you will find a 50 lira note in the drawer.’ Then she added, ‘The word of God does what it says.’ Dear Mother, I will avow that I was most baffled. Once again, I did not dare go and look inside the drawer but, willing me to see the new marvel, God saw to it that a few days later, two Sisters asked, out of devotion, to see the two miraculous notes again. And, Mother, what can I say? You can imagine how moved we were when, instead of two banknotes, we saw three!

In the month of June, we found 50 lire in the customary way. In the night of 15th to 16th July, I saw my beloved Sister again; she promised she would soon bring me 100 lire. And then she wished me a happy feast day, giving me a 5 lira banknote. Yet I did not dare accept it, so she placed it at the foot of the Sacred Heart statuette in our cell. Shortly afterwards, once the wake-up bell had rung, I found the banknote where I saw her leave it. A few days later, his Lordship the Bishop said in passing that he had lost a 100 lira banknote when doing the accounts [107v] for his clergy, and that he hoped Sister Thérèse would bring it to us.

Then came 6th August; it was the eve of his Lordship’s feast day, his name being Gaetano. I saw my beloved Sister Thérèse again and in her hand she held a 100 lira banknote!!! She told me that ‘in His power, God can withdraw or bestow just as easily in temporal matters as in spiritual matters.’ Upon finding the 100 lira banknote in the drawer, I quickly sent it to his Lordship along with the community’s best wishes, but he sent it straight back to me.

Since then, she has not brought us any more money, because as a result of all these wonders our poverty became public knowledge and we have therefore received some alms. But, on 5th September, the eve of her exhumation, I saw her again and, after speaking to me as she always does about the spiritual good of the community, she declared that nothing would be found ‘but a few bone fragments’. And then she had me understand something of the miracles that she will perform in the future. Rest assured, dear Mother, her blessed bones will work amazing miracles and prove powerful weapons against the devil. Almost every time that she has appeared, it has been at about dawn, at a time of prayer. Her face is very beautiful, radiant even; her clothes shine with a light akin to translucent silver, and her voice sounds like angel song. She tells me of the great and occult sufferings that she heroically bore on this earth . . . Little Thérèse suffered very, very much!!! What more should I say? Dear Mother, it suffices you to know that we feel your angelic child’s presence around us. In their sincere and fond veneration, all of the Sisters confirm that, aside from the temporal graces granted to the community, [108r] they have all received very great personal blessings . . .

Suor M. Carmela del Cuore di Gesù, u.c.n., Prioress.”

145a – Tasked by his Eminence the Bishop of Bayeux to conduct the Process of Beatification of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, the ecclesiastical court requested, upon learning of these accounts that I, Vice-Postulator of the Cause, should visit the site in order to clarify a few important details. Having been granted specific permission by Monsignor Gaetano Muller, Bishop of Gallipoli, I was authorised to enter the Carmelite convent, see the nuns and examine the places where the extraordinary events in question took place. I crossed the convent threshold on 22nd October 1910 with Canon Cavallera, penitentiary of the cathedral of Gallipoli, who had been appointed to accompany me and serve as interpreter. The convent is an old and very destitute building. The rooms are small, and the garden is limited to the square inside the cloisters. There is little space in that part of the town given that Gallipoli is built on a small rocky island, which is joined to the mainland by a bridge of a few arches. It is situated on the Golf of Taranto in southern Italy.

On the first floor is the cell of Reverend Mother Maria-Carmela of the Heart of Jesus, Prioress. She met us there, where the vision was first sighted, with two of her companions. Her emotion was visible and only out of obedience to her bishop did she relate the blessings she had received, blessings which had been recorded in the canonical inquiry opened upon the wise initiative of Monsignor Muller. The account conformed in every way to that which was addressed to the Carmel of Lisieux; yet expressed aloud, on the very scene of the vision, it took on a lively intensity, and was spoken with clarity and perfect sincerity [108v] despite the difficulty experienced by the Reverend Mother to enumerate certain details affecting her very closely. The convent of Gallipoli had not heard of the Carmel of Lisieux before the summer of 1909. At that time, Sister Maria Ravizza of the Congregation of Marcellines in Milan (*), a teacher at the boarding school of Lecce, accompanied a few young girls to the seaside. In her visits to the Carmelite convent, she spoke with contagious affection of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and left them an Italian copy of “Story of a Soul.” Reading it proved edifying, but did not inspire any strong devotion.

When the trials of January 1910 came, the convent’s destitution was such that the Sisters had only a little over two pounds of bread per person a week, and equally meagre portions of pasta. Sometimes, finding nothing on the tables at dinner time, the Carmelites would go to the chapel to pray. It was then that they remembered the Servant of God. The Mother Prioress and a few nuns prayed a Triduum to the Holy Trinity through her intercession; from that moment on she became defender and special protector of this humble Carmel.

Duly informed of the circumstances in which the Servant of God had become known and invoked by the Carmel, I asked if I might follow the path that the vision had taken. I was led down from the first floor to the ground floor and across a part of the monastery to the Turn Room. It is destitute in appearance and modest in size. It contains quite a low writing desk with several drawers; the bottom drawer opens to form a writing table, and the back of this drawer has been fitted with a small chest bearing a special keyhole, the key to which is always carried by the Prioress. The chest contains a till-box lined with fabric, where the community’s money is [109r] placed. On 16th January, it contained no more than seven lire, even less in fact, because beside the small copper coins were the creditors’ bills requiring urgent settlement.  

The radiant vision in the Carmelite habit had the prioress open the safe and place inside the box a roll of ten fifty lire (franc) banknotes from the Bank of Naples. The banknotes that were brought at a later date were found in the same safe. Although each Carmelite benefitted from the repeated instances of material help, and although the Mother Prioress was granted special instructions as to her Sisters’ conduct, each readily acknowledged that she had received special personal blessings. The Sisters in the convent developed a deep gratitude towards their heavenly benefactress along with a generous desire to follow her way of sainthood. – As will be shown . . .

145b – Below is an account of another event that took place in Gallipoli, on 16th January 1911, on the anniversary of the first vision:  

Monsignor Nicolas Giannattasio, the Bishop of Nardo, near Gallipoli, made an in-depth study of the Servant of God’s life and her intervention at the Carmel in southern Italy on 16th January 1910. According to him, the vision’s words, “My way is right” (pronounced to reassure Mother Carmela, who was worried she might lose her way when leaving) should be taken above all in the spiritual sense to mean the way of trust and self-surrender that Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus advocated so strongly. He had always regretted that this interpretation had not been pinpointed and highlighted in the canonical inquiry: interpreted in this way, the words reveal one of the main aims not only of the wondrous apparition [109v] but also of the several following interventions that took place in favour of the same convent.

With this idea in mind, and to further obtain for himself and his diocese the pious Carmelite’s protection, he decided to celebrate the anniversary of 16th January 1910. He would offer the Carmel the same sum of 500 lire, money which would be placed in the Turn Room in the same way as the preceding year.

Monsignor Nicolas Giannattasio was then unaware of what Sister Thérèse had said to a few of her novices during her lifetime: “Believe everything I have said to you about the trust you are to have in God and about the way I have taught you to go to Him, which is through self-surrender and love. I will return to earth and tell you whether I was mistaken and whether my path is right. Until then follow it faithfully.” [HA ch.12]

He carried out his plan as follows: Having just received a donation that he was free use as he pleased, he took a 500 lira banknote and placed it in an envelope; without anyone seeing, he also slipped inside one of his visiting cards, on which he wrote:

“In memoriam! MY WAY IS RIGHT, I WAS NOT MISTAKEN.

Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus to Sister Maria-Carmela in Gallipoli, 16th January 1910.

Orate pro me quotidie ut Deus misereatur mei.

And on this envelope, which he left open, he again wrote, “In memoriam!” The first envelope was then sealed inside a larger envelope made of strong English paper and lined inside, and [110r] sealed closed with a wax stamp bearing the Bishop of Nardo’s arms. Instead of an address, the person entrusted with the envelope at the end of December saw him write the following instructions on it: “Da riporsi nella solita cassettina e da aprirsi dalla madre priora suor M. Carmela del S. Cuore di Gesù, il 16 gennaio 1911” (* To be placed in the customary little box and to be opened by the Mother Prioress, Sister M. Carmela of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on 16th January 1911.)

The instructions were accompanied with the spoken request that his wishes be respected. When he attended to these preparations, Monsignor Giannattasio’s intention was not to receive an answer or confirmation of his personal interpretation, but simply to offer a testimony of his faith and devotion to the Servant of God.

A few days later, he went to the Carmel to lead the spiritual exercises. Mother Carmela had suggested they take place on 16th January, as the date was favourable for maintaining the nuns’ grateful fervour and convenient for the preacher. It must be said that the latter was aware of the wish entertained by several of the Carmelites to have an ornament in their destitute convent chapel, which would cost about three hundred lire; they did not have the money. The Mother Prioress had therefore shown opposition to the plan. She had then authorised her daughters to pray to the little saint from Lisieux, their manifest benefactress, for the money.

On 16th January 1911, the Bishop of Nardo left the bishopric of Gallipoli for the Carmel. He soon learnt that his letter was intact and still in the box where it had been left, as per his wish. The Mother Prioress fetched it and invited him to open it. He asked her to do so herself. He watched her carefully through the visiting room grating. First she tore off a corner of the envelope, and with her finger [110v] opened it along the top side, then she passed it to Monsignor Giannattasio, saying, “Your Lordship, please take what belongs to you.”

Imagine the Bishop’s astonishment to find, beside the small, easily recognisable envelope, four new banknotes: two of two hundred lira and another two of fifty, amounting to an extra 300 lire. Before taking his 500 lira note out of the small envelope, the Bishop thought that it must have been exchanged for others of lesser value. Yet the Prioress replied, “This money is yours, Your Lordship, but please count it . . . If it amounts to 300 lire, would it not be what the community faithfully requested of Sister Thérèse? If you are willing, I will summon the Sisters and you can give it to them yourself.” This was done, much to the gratitude of all the nuns, and the donation was again entrusted to the Mother Prioress. Beforehand, when he was recounting the banknotes, he noticed that one of them exuded a scent of roses, so he piously kept it and replaced it with another. His Eminence examined the envelope very carefully; the stamped seal with his arms on it was intact, and the folds forming the envelope had not been unstuck; it had not been opened. How, then, had the banknotes got inside?

Reverend Mother Carmela admitted that, having looked at the envelope a few days previously, it had appeared fatter than when it had first been placed in the drawer, and had guessed as to the assistance that her beloved Sister Thérèse had brought her in response to her Sisters’ prayers. Monsignor Giannattasio then told her that in this extraordinary intervention, he saw a second, higher [111r] motive: through this miracle, the Servant of God seemed to want to confirm the spiritual meaning of her words “My WAY is right...”

He then showed the Mother Prioress the five-hundred lira banknote with the inscription he had written on his card. This new demonstration of the Servant of God’s protection, given the circumstances, could not possibly go overlooked.

Monsignor Muller, the Bishop of Gallipoli, led the strictest of inquiries. Given the facts, which he studied carefully, and the eminent quality of the witnesses, who were against all thought of fraud, he gratefully attributed the extraordinary events of the preceding year to the protection of the Servant of God, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She had provided the Carmel of Gallipoli, which had been placed under Papal enclosure, with significant resources whose origins remained a mystery. She had therefore pulled it from the state of distress and poverty to which it had been reduced. In addition, according to the best of judges, she had brought all the nuns nearer to perfection and encouraged the most perfect observance of the Rule among them. These are undeniable facts. –As will be shown . . .

RESTORATION OF AN ELDERLY MAN’S EYESIGHT

146 - “Saint-Jean-de-Luz (Basses-Pyrénées) 23rd July 1910.

Dear Reverend Mother,

Please fin enclosed, at last, the account of the truly miraculous recovery of my eyesight. I have allowed time the leisure of stamping this recovery with the seal of reality and perseverance. If, immediately after the initial [111v] improvement and even following further, still more astonishing progress in my eyesight, I had made this miraculous blessing public, people would have reasonably asked the same question that I first asked myself, ‘Is this not one of those temporary and purely incidental abilities to see that sometimes occur in people of my age (I am 75), abilities that are fleeting glimmers and prove nothing?’

Very simply and truthfully, what happened was this:

In the spring of 1900, Dr X. of C., whom I consulted for anaemia, incidentally looked into my eyes and said, ‘Did you know that you risk contracting cataracts?’ ‘Me? Cataracts?’ I replied. ‘But I can still see quite well for my age, and no one in my family has ever suffered from it.’ ‘Protest all you like,’ he insisted, ‘but you display the characteristic signs of early cataracts.’ I thought the doctor must have made a mistake. However, when I was in Paris the following September, I went to see the distinguished eye specialist Doctor Abadie, in Boulevard Saint-Germain. I was seen by one of his assistants. ‘I can’t see anything,’ he said, ‘but come with me.’ And he led me into the dark room. There, he examined my eyes meticulously, with an electric light. ‘Yes,’ he admitted, ‘you have the beginnings of cataracts, but don’t let it worry you; it will develop later . . . and in ten years or so, when it’s mature, you can come back and we will give you an operation free of charge.’

‘Meagre consolation!’ I thought as I left. ‘To live for ten years with the prospect of having one’s eyes butchered for free! And what would be the result?’ After that, I consulted no other eye specialists or doctors about my eyes, and took no treatment. I waited for the cataracts to ‘mature’. However, it did not take long for the prognosis of Dr Abadie’s assistant [112r] to become reality. Although slight at first, my eyesight trouble gradually became so severe that, as early as 1906, I could no longer easily read or write, even with strong spectacles. It was as though I had a veil over my eyes, and the veil grew thicker as the years passed.

By the beginning of 1908, I could no longer recognise my best friends at twelve paces. When dusk came, I would not dare to venture outside for fear of bumping into passers-by, tripping over the pavement or being run-over by cars. In May 1909, a passing optician who wanted to sell me some spectacles had me look through his instruments and read printed letters of various sizes at various distances, first with both eyes and then each eye separately. He concluded that the ‘right eye was completely blind and the other eye severely impaired.’

He had exaggerated somewhat, for I could still see the silhouette of someone standing two paces from me with only my right eye, but the silhouette was faint, blurry and shapeless, so I couldn’t say whether it was a man or a woman. The vision in my left eye had become so poor that on Palm Sunday 1909, I fell over at the bottom of the choir steps, which I could no longer see, and in front of the whole parish. After that, I would tremble every time I walked down the altar steps, having to feel my way with my feet.

In short, I risked going completely blind imminently, and felt I was on the verge of being unable to recite the breviary and celebrate Holy Mass. I was already dreading the journey I would have to make to Paris for the famous free operation, an operation which in itself was perilous and dubious. But divine Providence, which arranges everything superbly, had already, without my knowledge, put me into contact with the companions of an ‘eye doctor’ who [112v] could restore sight to the blind without ointment or surgical scalpel.

Last spring, the Reverend Mother Prioress of the Carmel of Bordeaux, exiled in Zarautz, Spain, called upon my beekeeping talents, and I had to inform her that my failing eyesight made me incapable of satisfying her request. Yet she, with her staunch Carmelite faith, replied, ‘Since prayer is all-powerful, we will storm heaven with our prayers, and God will be obliged to restore your eyesight.’ A few days later, I was astonished at the ease with which I could read and see the altar steps at my feet. I therefore went to the Carmel of Zarautz, and learnt that the community had prayed a novena for the recovery of my eyesight through the intercession of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, whom I had not known existed until then.

Therefore, for a priest who did not know her, and who had (personally) not asked anything of her, your angelic sister obtained from her Divine Spouse a remarkable improvement in his eyesight. I say ‘improvement’ because as great and surprising as this change for the better was, I had not recovered full and clear vision. The Mother Prioress and I therefore agreed to say a second novena, and she gave me a relic picture of the nun whom I would henceforth refer to as ‘my heavenly eye doctor’, advising me to place it on my eyes each evening of the novena. Now, the novena had not yet ended before I could easily read the “Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites”, which is printed in very small characters at the beginning of the Roman Breviary by Tournay (printed in 1902 by the Saint John the Evangelist Society) and which beforehand had appeared to my eyes as an indecipherable smudged page. Furthermore, I could then recognise people over a hundred paces away.

[113r] We commenced the novena during the Octave of Pentecost (19th May). Towards mid June, I returned to Spain to put the Carmelite convent’s hives in order. We decided to pray a third novena, this time out of thanksgiving, and at the same time to obtain the ability to see with even more perfect clarity. And once again, my heavenly eye doctor answered our prayers! Having recovered my eyesight, I decided to resume my beekeeping. I therefore bought a colony of bees; a few days later, I visited my hive and found several royal cells there, some containing newly hatched larvae and others simply eggs. Oh, to see those minuscule bee eggs, which look like tiny bits of bluish-white sewing thread! For years I had been unable to see them, even with powerful spectacles, and now I could see them again with the naked eye! With immense gratitude, my eyes instantly turned heavenwards, where my heavenly eye doctor had just carried out her resolution to do good on earth.

There is therefore no room left for doubt: the recovery of my sight is real and lasting. And of course I owe this recovery, which is undeniably miraculous as it came about without human assistance or treatment, to the intercession of the nun to whom we prayed: Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who died in 1897 at the Carmel of Lisieux.

Glory be to God! And thanks be to my heavenly eye doctor!

Father Ch. Wéber, diocesan priest.”

A VISION OF THE SERVANT OF GOD

147 – The Servant of God often said that one of her intentions upon joining the Carmel was to intercede [113v] for priests; she strove to help them in their work through her prayers and sacrifices, and, in death, she continues to show a pious interest in assisting them. This is proven by her intervention on 16th January 1911 in favour of octogenarian Canon Rossignol, who lived in the retirement home for clergy in Saint-Martin-de-Beaupréau, in the diocese of Angers.

For twenty-six years, he had very competently held the Chairs of Dogma and Morality at the Major Seminary of Luçon and, after a life of good deeds and priestly zeal, he had lost nothing of his lucidity or intellectual faculties.

Despite the dreadful austerities he inflicted on his weak body, despite his prayers and orations, which were his only occupation during the day and a large part of the night, he trembled at the prospect of God’s judgement and feared the moment of his death. His directors of conscience revealed after his death that the same fears had haunted his life. He hid these fears from his peers and was a constant source of edification. He had a strong devotion to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, the nun who had heavily advocated the way of self-surrender and trust. She had said, “I expect as much from God’s justice as from His mer­cy. It is because He is just that ‘He is compassionate and filled with gentleness, slow to punish, and abundant in mercy,’ for He knows our frailty, He remembers we are only dust. As a father has tenderness for his children, so the Lord has compassion on us!” (Ps. 102:8-13, 14) (LT 226)

The Carmelite would not abandon this pious old man in his last days. On 16th January 1911, she appeared to him, as he acknowledged to a trusted elderly priest, Father Frappereau, a few hours later. The latter recounts as follows:

[114r] “It was on the morning of 16th January, after breakfast, and we were returning up to our rooms. I asked him how he had slept, as he had had long had trouble sleeping. He replied, ‘I had a good night, thank you, very good in fact, all things considered, but what was particularly good was that, when I awoke this morning, I saw little Sister Thérèse! It was really her; I saw her clearly and recognised her from her photographs. She was standing beside my bed, looking at me and smiling, and, through gestures and her whole facial expression, she had me understand what it was she had come to tell me: ‘I’m taking care of matters… Your time will come, you can be sure of it.’ He left me, looking very happy, and requesting that I tell nobody of his vision. He died the following day, which allows me today to reveal what, through humility no doubt, he strove to hide.” That same morning, Canon Rossignol confessed to Father Arsène at the Trappist Monastery of Bellefontaine, and described the vision to him. The friar testified, “his usual fear of divine justice seemed to have disappeared and his face shone with an air of remarkable trust and serene joy.” Two days later, on 18th January, and in the presence of Father Frappereau, his first confidant, he experienced chest pains so severe that they foreboded his imminent death. Whilst he was being urged to offer his pains up to God, who was perhaps calling him, he interrupted and, raising himself upright in his chair, his face transfigured, he zealously offered God the sacrifice of his life and died a few hours later.

The priests who knew him and who were aware of what had happened do not doubt the reality of the vision. As will be shown . . .

[114v] INSTANTANEOUS HEALING OF A

TUMOUR FOLLOWING SEVERAL YEARS OF

SUFFERING

148 - Sister Marie-Dominique of the congregation of Saint-Gildas-des-Bois has been employed at the hospice in Vertou (Loire-Inférieure) for 23 years. The 52 year old nun used to suffer from terrible stomach pains. At the slightest evidence of excessive weariness, or at the lightest knock to the stomach, she would be obliged to stop working, sometimes for several days. In March 1910, when her pain was particularly severe, and her overall health seemed more worrying, Doctor H. was called to examine her. He said, “I observed a tumour the size of a newborn baby’s head occupying the whole of the left iliac fossa. Sister Dominique had grown thin and lost her appetite. She was developing a yellowish complexion and there was a risk of serious complications occurring. In May, I saw her again, and found her condition to be more serious. Unable to prescribe any medical treatment that I thought would produce a result, I advised her to have an operation.”

As the nun feared the very thought of an operation, her Mother Superior had her consult Doctor B., a surgeon, on 26th May, and kept quiet about his colleague’s diagnosis. The surgeon, too, observed the presence of a tumour, declaring that it needed operating, and as soon as possible. On 3rd June, she consulted Doctor P., a surgeon and professor at the Nantes school of medicine. He merely confirmed the diagnosis and the first two opinions. He even recommended that she have an operation the following day or within the next few days. “If the tumour is not removed,” he said, “it will have serious implications.” Nothing could persuade the nun, such was her fear of surgical intervention.

“When I refused,” she wrote, “the Doctor added, ‘You [115r] can wait another six months, unless any complications arise, but if ever you should have a fever, come and find me immediately, and I will operate.’ These words comforted my poor heart somewhat, and I resolved to take advantage of the delay to pray harder to God for my recovery. My fellow Sisters shared my fears and promised to pray with me. First we prayed three successive novenas to little Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, through whose intercession I hoped to be healed. At times when the pain was particularly severe, and I could not sleep, I would invoke the dear little Sister, praying her to plead my cause before God. I would often touch her relics to my stomach in great faith.

The three novenas ended, and my condition did not improve. We therefore offered a novena of Holy Communions and my Sisters and I continued to pray to the dear little Carmelite. My condition worsened and I felt my strength leaving me. I therefore said to myself, I will pray to the Blessed Virgin, and to make sure that my prayer is answered, I will beg Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus to ask our heavenly Mother to heal me. We prayed another three consecutive novenas, without seeing any improvement and yet without losing hope. The closer we drew to the deadline given by Doctor P., the stronger I felt my fervour grow. I begged little Thérèse of the Child Jesus to ask Mary to heal me without an operation.

‘Come now,’ my companions said to me one day, ‘you’ll have to resign yourself to having an operation. You have been praying for five months without success. Why do you persist in asking for a miracle?’

‘Oh, give God the time to answer my prayer!’ I replied. Still in pain, I nevertheless had hope, and looking at the picture of little Thérèse, said, [115v] ‘Oh, please ask the Blessed Virgin to heal me.’

I was in a great deal of suffering in the last week of September and especially on the first two days of October. On the 2nd, which was the Feast of the Holy Rosary, I prayed very fervently, and all the time through the intercession of my little intermediary. The pain obliged me to go to bed early, and was so severe that I could not rest at first. At last, sleep came and I slept well. During the night, I awoke, and found myself lying on my left side, which was a great surprise because I had not been able to lie on my left side or on my back for a very long time. I felt no pain whatsoever. I rolled onto my back and felt very comfortable. I placed my hand on my stomach . . . there was no lump! I was completely healed!

The thought occurred to me to call my Sisters who were sleeping in the same dormitory, but fearing that my less than enthusiastic Mother Superior would not believe me, I kept silent. In my gratitude, and without tiring, I kept telling Immaculate Mary and Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus how I thanked them for having obtained this manifest blessing for me, and at the same time, I asked them to join me in giving thanks to Our Lord.

The following morning, I performed a prostration to make sure that I really was cured. It came so easily that it was as though I had never had a tumour. Then I told Mother Superior of my recovery. She didn’t believe me and told me not to cry miracle until the doctors had declared my tumour gone. That same day, whilst still doubting my recovery, Mother Superior and my companions were very surprised to see that my tortured expression of the previous days had gone and that I worked without growing tired.”

Here is Doctor H’s written report:

[116r] “I did not see Sister Dominique again until early October, when I was rather unexpectedly called to examine her. To my great astonishment I found her in very satisfactory health, fatter, and very rosy in complexion. She looked in excellent health. An examination of her stomach revealed no trace of a tumour. I closely examined the skin and saw no operation marks. Believing my diagnosis to have been incorrect, I was feeling rather disconcerted when I was saved from embarrassment and informed of the examination performed by my two colleagues, of their diagnosis, which was absolutely identical to mine, of Sister Dominique’s novena, of her astonishment when she had awoken that morning lying on her left side and found no growth, and of the very rapid recovery of her health, which has allowed her to resume all her laborious occupations. I consequently concluded that the abrupt disappearance of her tumour, which had come about without any medical or surgical intervention, could be attributed only to miraculous intervention.”

The two surgeons also noted that the growth had completely disappeared, and devotion to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus grew in the congregation of Saint-Gildas-des-Bois. “The more we pray to her, the more we feel inspired to invoke her,” wrote the Mother Superior recently. – As will be shown . . .

THE HEALING AND REGROWTH OF AN ELDERLY MAN’S TONGUE FOLLOWING PARTIAL DESTRUCTION BY GANGRENE, AT THE SAME TIME AS THE PRECEDING HEALING

149 - Ferdinand Aubry was admitted to the home for the aged run by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Lisieux in May 1910. He was very weak, and speaking had become difficult [116v] for him following a paralytic stroke. He looked like an old man of 80 despite being only sixty. When he arrived, he was seen to have stains on his tongue and it was feared he had a severe infection. The pain that he experienced in the beginning quickly increased.

  On a first examination, performed at the end of August 1910, the institute’s doctor noted a thick coating completely covering his tongue, as well as abundant salivation, difficulty in swallowing, and quite severe pain. Soon the patient was not able to eat meat or hot food, his tongue presenting a thick and dark saburral coating. By 24th September, his tongue had grown so enormous that the man could not close his mouth. An ulcer, which the nurse estimated to measure at least two centimetres wide by over three long, covered the end of his tongue and spread quite deeply down the left side. The entirety of the ulcer, which rested on a hardened base, was covered in a thick coat of sphacelous tissue: it was gangrene, resulting from the chronic swelling of the tongue. His neck glands swelled further, breathing became very difficult and, despite frequent washes with oxygenated water, the wound exuded an absolutely unbearable smell.

The doctor prescribed his immediate transfer to a surgical service in the town hospital; but his admission was delayed on account of administrative formalities. Aubry pleaded not to leave the Home of the Little Sisters and stayed there. On 25th September, the chaplain found it very difficult to give him Holy Communion with even a tiny piece of Sacred Host.

The Little Sisters of the Poor decided to pray to the Servant of God and, as poor Ferdinand gave thanks following Communion, they brought him one of her pictures with a relic. They knew that this most pure and fervent soul possessed something of Jesus’ compassionate goodness for the poor and those in suffering. The [117r] Mother Superior had happily chosen to read her patient the passage in Story of a Soul (ch. 11) where Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus speaks of a poor old cripple whom she herself had sought to help as a young child by giving him alms. The memory of him had engrained itself so deeply in the six-year-old’s heart that she had prayed for him specifically on the day of her First Communion.

Ferdinand needed no more persuasion. He had found a saint who loved the sick and the poor, and he placed all his trust in her. His companions agreed to join him in praying a novena for him. It began on 25th September with two of the Little Sisters taking a pilgrimage to the Servant of God’s grave. He rapidly deteriorated, taking on an even worse appearance: his tongue was disintegrating, and ribbons had come away to reveal the extent of the damage sustained, damage which medicine was powerless to stop. On Wednesday 28th, the Little Sisters asked the Carmelite convent for one of the rose petals with which Sister Thérèse had caressed her crucifix on her deathbed. They placed the relic in a little sealed sachet beside the old man. Yet the latter, inspired by faith, broke the seal and swallowed the petal. There was an immediate and lasting improvement. His pain subsided, but the patient could not speak. On the second of October, he suddenly announced, “I am healed!” “Since when?” asked the nun. “Since I swallowed the petal.” There remained a black spot on his tongue. By the third of October, the black spot had disappeared.

On the last day of the novena, the doctor was summoned. He found it hard to believe the nurses’ story. Yet when, with visible happiness, Aubry opened his mouth [117v] to show the doctor his tongue, the latter noted his recovery. That the tongue was in the process of healing was clear from the fleshy buds that appeared on it and from the absence of the previous symptoms: sphacelous tissue, repulsive odour, etc.

Then, in a voice that was barely comprehensible as a result of the ulcer having destroyed a sizable portion of his tongue, the old man asked the doctor, “Will my tongue grow back?”

“Oh, I’m afraid not, my friend,” replied the doctor. “Forget about it, it’s impossible.”

And yet, that day marked the beginning of another intervention in favour of the poor old man on the part of the Servant of God. He had prayed to her, he said, with a two-fold request in his heart. Through a second, even more amazing miracle, he was granted the wish that was so explicitly conveyed by his question, Will my tongue grow back? Despite having been mutilated by gangrene, his tongue gradually grew back, and three weeks later, the doctor observed the almost perfect reconstruction of tissues, that is to say, the same size, same shape, same consistence and same colour as before, without any separation line to reveal which was the new part, as shows the photograph enclosed with the doctor’s certificate. 

Ferdinand Aubry did not ask to be healed of the consequences of his paralysis. His main wish was to not die of his cancer, because he believed he had tongue cancer. His condition remained stable for a while, allowing all the elderly residents in the home and numerous witnesses to admire the effects of his heavenly benefactress’ intercession. On 8th December, he was even able to go to the cemetery in a car in order to thank the Servant of God. That was his last trip. On 18th December 1910, he died a very calm death. In his last agony, as [118r] he was being encouraged to imagine going to see his angelic protector in heaven, he humbly asked, “But will I be allowed to enter the room she is in?” As will be shown . . .

ADMITTANCE OF A PRESBYTERIAN

PROTESTANT MINISTER FROM EDINBURGH

INTO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

150 – Following the bodily healings, it is worth demonstrating, in a recent example, how the Servant of God leads souls to the truth. More numerous than the healings and easing of temporal evils, such blessings usually rely on discretion in terms of testifying to struggles and victories. The need to demonstrate his deep gratitude to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and the hope that his personal blessing could guide other souls, inspired Reverend A. J. Grant to write the following letter to the Reverend Mother Prioress of the Carmel of Lisieux, asking for it to be published:

“34, Warrender Park Terrace, Edinburgh, 23rd April 1911.

Dear Reverend Mother,

It was over a year ago now that I first became acquainted with the autobiography of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus (English translation). I opened it randomly and was immediately halted by the beauty and originality of her thoughts. I considered that what had fallen into my hands was the work of a genius as well as a theologian and first-rate poet. I turned to the beginning of the book and read it from cover to cover. The impression it left upon me was as lasting as it was extraordinary [118v]. I felt what a person might feel if the invisible world was suddenly opened up before them, and once, I cried out, ‘Thérèse is in this room!’ The thought of this beautiful soul haunted me. At times, I felt my worship of her bordered on idolatry, so gracious did she appear to me. Then, frightened, I caught myself before taking that dangerous path, telling myself I was being superstitious . . . It was to no avail. Her image soon sprang back to mind and my heart was once more enslaved by her, because she adamantly refused to leave me, saying, ‘This is how the Saints love Jesus Christ. Listen to me! Choose my little way, because it is right and the only true path.’

Spellbound by these suave words, I replied, ‘Well then, my Little Flower, (*As stated earlier, this is the name given to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus in England.) if you help me, I will strive to follow your advice, because since I have known you, my soul has aspired after your most delightful and divine path. You have really changed my heart.’

These few words are a poor approximation of the impression that this angelic soul left on me. I will always remember the day when I first opened the matchless book that is ‘Histoire d’une âme’ (French edition), which, by Providential design, I bought on the same day as, unbeknown to me, some friends finished praying a novena to ‘little Thérèse’. Yet it was in fact only recently that I began praying to her for help.

For a Protestant minister, this was not easy to do at first. My fifty year old prejudices were there to prevent me. With a little perseverance, however, I was able to continue, to my immense joy. One day, as I was about to pray to her, she suddenly said to me, ‘Why do you ask me to pray for you while you [119r]refuse to know and invoke the Blessed Virgin? Suddenly, (for it was as though I had been struck by a bolt of lightning) I realised how illogical it was to invoke Thérèse and to ignore the Mother of God. Everything became clear and I immediately prayed to the Blessed Virgin. The promptness of her response astonished me. At that moment, my soul was filled with an ardent, newfound love, and this love grew to become what is now an ocean. My prejudices vanished and I knew I needed to treat Mary in the same way as a child embraces their Mother. The consequence of this new state of mind was that I threw myself into studying the Catholic faith more carefully and thoroughly.

The following Saturday, when I left for X ***, where I was to preach, I took several Catholic books with me and read them on the journey and at the presbytery. Studying these books imprinted certain favourable impressions deeper into my soul. However, I was far from ready to embrace the true faith. The huge quantity of notes that I took at that time (and which are still on my desk) show how undecided I still was, but at the same time reveal my weakening attachment to Protestantism and my growing attraction for the Catholic Church.

The struggle grew fierce and less than a week had passed before I realised I needed to surmount it. I lingered in anxiety and the agony of uncertainty as one week turned into two. Many times during that fortnight I had to endure attacks from Satan. He would whisper that this was all madness, that I had absolutely nothing to gain from it. My anxiety was such that I almost lost reason and on more than one occasion I almost followed the Tempter’s advice and turned back.

Then Thérèse intervened. With penetrating sweetness, [119v] she softly said to me, ‘Follow me. My way is right.’ At the same time, echoing in my ears were these words from the Gospels, ‘Whosoever does not bear his cross and follow Me cannot be my disciple.’ Thérèse triumphed! I decided to join the true Church and, to curtail the enemy’s attacks once and for all, I immediately wrote to my then superiors announcing that my relations with the Protestant Church were over.

Through a striking coincidence, not the first (but which was not pointed out to me until later) it was on 9th April, the very day on which your child broke the ties keeping her from joining the Carmel, that I broke mine and took refuge in the blessed ark of the Catholic Church. After a few days of religious instruction, I joined the only true sheepfold on Thursday 20th April, choosing for my baptismal names those of my heavenly liberators: Franciscus-Maria-Teresia.

What a momentous moment that was for me! I have never been so moved in my life. I will never forget it, much less the following morning, when I took my first Communion. Yet as Thérèse said, “These things cannot be put into words.” [MSB 2,1.]

And now, how could I ever prove my gratitude to her? I owe her the very great joy of faith; she was the star that led me to Bethlehem . . . If it had not been for her, I would still be an unfortunate Protestant, erring in the dark night. If it had not been for her (and here I shall repeat what I said in the press and elsewhere, and to which I will always avow) if it had not been for her, I would never have lent an ear to the voice of Catholic truth. I would therefore be grateful, dear Reverend Mother, if you, too, would publish the immense blessing that I have received, that more might know [120r] of the powerful intercession of the saint from Lisieux and that, through her, other souls might be enlightened and redeemed.

Dear Reverend Mother, please accept my profound respect, and pray for me, that I might better understand my heavenly Mistress’ doctrine, and, like her, become a little child in God’s hands. For is this not the ‘right path’ that she so insistently urged me to follow?

FRANCIS-MARY-TERESA GRANT (*).”

[* Rev. Alexander J. Grant, member of the United Free Church of Scotland, was admitted to the Catholic Church by Rev. Widowson, S. J., on 20th April 1911 in Edinburgh.

He is the first minister of the United Free Church to have become Catholic. Rev. A. J. Grant is Scottish and was born in Caithness. He studied at the Free Church School in Edinburgh under the most distinguished of masters, of whom he constantly proved himself worthy through his work and talent.

In Fort William, Inverness, Ullapool and Tiree, where he successively exercised his ministry, he won the people’s esteem and affection through his remarkable qualities of heart and mind. In 1896, he was nominated Minister of Lochranza on Arran, where he stayed for twelve years. It was while he held this post that his wife embraced Catholicism. Her conversion rendered his position among a population entirely refractory to Catholic ideas so difficult that Rev. A. J. Grant took the decision to resign and move to Edinburgh. He continued preaching for the United Free Church in that town and surrounding area, for he was a famous orator and very well-known for his erudition, until the day when the truth made itself clear to his mind. The above-quoted letter reveals the different stages of his conversion.

Cf. - Glasgow Observer, 21st April 1911. Tablet, 29th April 1911. (Magazine of the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of Consolation, for the return of all English-speaking peoples to the Catholic Church, 25th May 1911)

151 – The truth is that, every day, God renders more manifest the merit of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face in favour of those who appeal to her intercession: she obtains help for souls in the most diverse of difficulties and guides them in the practice of virtues; she comforts the afflicted and, when she does not obtain physical healings or relief, she helps [120v] people to suffer with resignation in union with Our Lord. – As will be shown . . .

Hos Articulos pro nunc exhibet salvo semper.... etc.

R. de Teil

Vice-Postulator