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2nd Designated Witness Pierre Marie Derrien

DESIGNATED WITNESS II:

PIERRE-MARIE DERRIEN

The following testimony is one of the most modest and simple statements in the whole Process. It is no more than a humble layman’s token of gratitude to Thérèse of the Child Jesus in acknowledgment of the great things he owed to her intercession.

Born in Senven Lehart (diocese of Saint Brieuc, Britanny) on 15th November 1880, and the son of humble labourers, the witness became sacristan of the Carmelite Convent of Lisieux in 1913. He relates numerous instances of Thérèse’s intervention in his life. Despite its brevity, the testimony not only proves the power of the holy Carmelite’s intercession, but also demonstrates her simplicity and the nature of her spirituality.

He testified on 29th and 30th September 1916, in the 66th and 67th sittings of the Process, and his testimony can be found on pages 1313-1316 and 1323-1325 of the public transcription.

[Sitting 66: 29th September 1916, at 9 o’clock.]

 [The witness answers the first question satisfactorily.]

 [Answer to the second question:]

My name is Pierre Marie Derrien. I was born in Senven Lehart, in the diocese of Saint Brieuc, on 5th November 1880 to Jean François Derrien, a labourer, and Marie Josèphe Raoult. I am sacristan of the chapel of the Carmel of Lisieux.

[1314] [The witness answers questions three to five satisfactorily].

[Answer to the sixth question:]

I give my testimony in all freedom.

 [Answer to the seventh question:]

I did not know the Servant of God during her lifetime, but since being encouraged to pray to her, she has granted me special protection, and I have shared this fact with the Reverend Mother Prioress of the Carmel.

 [Answer to the eighth question]:

Since being introduced to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, I have had a very faithful devotion to her because I’ve noticed that she has helped me to love God better than I used to. I hope she will be beatified, because I believe that once she is, everyone will have greater faith in her and it will greatly benefit souls.

 [After omitting questions nine to fifty-eight inclusively, the designated witness is asked questions fifty-nine to sixty-five, which concern the reason he was summoned. - Answer]:

In 1911, I had been suffering from the serious illnesses of acute bronchitis with high fever for three years, and then typhoid fever followed by mucomembranous enteritis. It was thought I would not recover. Madame [1315] de Lehen, for whom I worked, gave me a picture of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and advised me to ask the little saint to cure me. Praying before this portrait one day, I heard a voice inside me clearly say, “Pierre, I’m looking for souls for Jesus, do you wish to be one of my friends?” I answered with this promise, “Sister Thérèse, if you will cure me, I shall put 100 Francs towards your beatification cause.” I prayed no less than four successive novenas, to no avail. I was feeling very discouraged when, at 10 in the morning on 21st March 1911, as I was praying alone in my bedroom before Sister Thérèse’s portrait, I heard a tiny voice inside me say, “Pierre, if God cures you completely, you won’t be one of my friends, you will turn back to offending him as you did before!” My feelings about suffering then changed, and I exclaimed, “Oh, how good it is to suffer for you, my God!” My suffering therefore continued for several months, but I had no wish to be delivered from my pain, so much inner solace did it bring me.

Once I had mastered this absolute resignation, Sister Thérèse cured me gradually, even though I had given up all the treatments the doctors had prescribed, and I promised to make a pilgrimage to Sister Thérèse’s burial place. I made the pilgrimage the following year, on 11th April 1912, and was granted great spiritual blessings there. [1316] In March 1913, I was able to make the pilgrimage again. Whilst I was praying at her grave, I heard the same inner little voice. It said, “Pierre, ask to come into my service.” Not quite knowing what this meant, I began cleaning and tidying her grave and those of her Sisters. Then I went to the Carmel and asked the Extern Sisters whether the Mother Prioress needed a sacristan. They replied that they did not need one at that time. I therefore returned to Brittany and, whilst waiting for the words I had been told to come to pass, I strove to spread news of the Servant of God around me. Above all, I sought to imitate her and to let her inspire me. She influenced my soul enormously; she inspired me to joyfully accept all criticism and mockery without trying to justify myself, and to work for God alone and to never complain.

DESIGNATED WITNESS II:  Pierre Marie Derrien

I promised her I would give my money to the poor as and when I earnt it. Several times when I asked her to help me comfort the needy, she had me find either a five-Franc coin or a two-Franc coin on the ground or path.

[Sitting 67: 30th September 1916, at 9 o’clock.]

[1323] [The witness resumes his answer to questions fifty-nine to sixty-five]:

In June 1913, I made a pilgrimage to Rome. There I had the honour of offering the Holy Father the fruit of my work, and more importantly, of offering my life for him. I then began spitting blood for two days and two nights, and I thought I was to die. I asked Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus only to help me return to France. When I arrived, the doctor said I was lost, but on the last day of a novena to the Sacred Heart through the intercession of Thérèse of the Child Jesus, I felt life flood back into me. From that moment on, I was delivered from all my symptoms; and apart from a light pain which I’ve asked her to kindly leave me, I’m in very [1324] good health.

In August 1913, I decided to leave my job as a postman, but hesitated as to the direction in which I ought to orientate my life. I didn’t know whether I ought to join a monastery, or to return to Rome and be a caretaker in a convent as it had been suggested to me, or to go to Lisieux and enter the service of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus as she had told me to do. I prayed to Our Lady of Lourdes and promised her I would recite the Chaplet daily until 30th September if she would help me, through Sister Thérèse’s intercession, to discern God’s Will for my soul. At 4 o’clock in the afternoon on 29th September, I received a telegram from the Reverend Mother Prioress in Lisieux asking me if I would like to become a servant to the little Thérèse. I easily saw God’s Will in this unexpected request, and it is with absolute joy that I now work for the little Carmelite who transformed my soul and shared with me her own love, faith and self-surrender in order to raise me to God.

[1325] [As regards the Articles, the witness claims to know nothing other than what they have already declared in response to the preceding questions. - Here ends the questioning of this witness. The statements are read out. The witness makes no alteration to them and signs as follows]:

Signatum: I, PIERRE DERRIEN, witness, have testified as above according to the truth. I hereby ratify and confirm my testimony.