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Witnesses of the Apostolic Process

 

In 58 sittings spanning less than one year, the court heard twenty or so witnesses, some of whom were of the highest authority. In their testimonies, which at times continued for several successive days, they displayed truly exemplary bravery and perseverance. This was because the world was at war and the difficulties created by the hostilities were already making themselves felt as far away as Normandy.

The closing hearing, which took place on 25th August 1916, in fact related to the currently raging war. Premonstratensian Father Godefroy Madelaine, the famous “grandfather of Story of a Soul” as he liked to call himself, should have been questioned. The Acts of Suppression had forced him to leave Saint-Michel-de-Frigolet and seek refuge in Leffe, in the diocese of Namur, Belgium. He ought to have travelled from his Belgian refuge to testify at the Apostolic Process. However, Belgium was under German occupation, and a journey could not be envisaged for someone who was not even reachable by letter. This was the reason for his questioning having necessarily been postponed until a later date.

Mention is made of other persons who, having testified in the earlier Process, were not present for various reasons. Three of these people, Auguste Valadier, Claude Weber and Etienne Frapereau, had died. Father Elie of the Mother of Mercy, a friar of the Monastery of Mount Carmel in the Holy Land, was not able to make the journey due to the war.