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The Process of non cultus

The process of non cultus, like that of the writings, is a little process; both frame the Ordinary Process. It was short; ten sessions during a long week. A majority of the witnesses were newcomers because this Process was different than the others. This process showed the way devotion to Thérèse was organized in Lisieux, around three poles: the Carmel, the cemetery and the Buissonets. The word was largely given to simple people of no rank, the sacristan of Carmel, a turn sister, the guardian of the cemetery, the tenant of the Buissonets, or yet, vicars doing burials. These depositions offered a precise view of devotion to Thérèse, in spite of the necessity of certifying the absence of a public cult. They mention the ex-voto, the candles, inscriptions on the cross and petitions on paper. We discover the manner in which the Carmel was converted to Thérèse by hanging her portraits on the walls and by creating a room baptized as “the memento storeroom”, in reality relics given for veneration to first-rate visitors.     Claude Langlois, historian 

 

The (translated) French sections

of the Non Cultus Process

The numbers of the questions are still in latin, and are maintained as references.

 

 
5. Auguste Ferdinand Acard, sacristan of the Carmel 7. Rev. Fr. Lamy, curate of St Jacques Church 8. Rev. Fr. Georges Marie, curate of St Jacques Church
 
 
 

 

 

I. Mother Agnes of Jesus

 

The Servant of God Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus died in the Carmel infirmary on 30th September 1897. In accordance with our monasteries’ customs, the Servant of God’s body was laid near the choir screen from the evening of Friday 1st October to the evening of Sunday 3rd October. During that time, an uninterrupted flow of the faithful came to pray and touch the body with various objects. This is not exclusive to the Servant of God’s case. It is common practice when our Sisters die; only there were more people. The attendance at her funeral, which took place on 4th October, was not exceptional and there was nothing remarkable about the signs of veneration she was given.

Et juxta 11 interr. proc. fol. 30 terg. respondit:

Since the Servant of God’s death, I have had more evidence every day of the universal trust in her intercession. As early as 1898, when the first edition of her life story was published, people began to tell us of the trust they have in her. The letters we received at that time prove it. Several missionaries from the Foreign Missions came to her tomb before leaving for distant Missions. Today, I can’t keep count of the number of prayer requests and letters of thanksgiving that come to the Carmel every day by the post. A daily mail delivery now comprises on average a hundred letters that come from all over the world. So as not to be diverted from our mission of prayer by this correspondence, which is becoming overwhelming, I have had to have different models of replies typed out which we send according to each case. It sometimes happens, during such shows of piety, for the faithful to use, out of ignorance and without dishonorable intentions, expressions that do not fully conform to Church rules. But we carefully object to this whenever possible. This was our reason in 1900 for writing a letter to the Most Reverend Father General of the Carmelite Order, asking him to tell us what is and what is not allowed in this respect. His answer, dated 29th July 1900, is a very complete directory on the subject and I make sure that we conform to it to the letter inside the Carmel and even outside whenever I can.  

I have therefore prevented our nuns from saying novenas that people have asked us to say to obtain graces in the choir. Having learnt that the refrain “Little Sister Thérèse, pray for us” was one day said in the choir in my absence, although it was outside any liturgical office, I advised the nuns not to let it happen again.

When out of ignorance the faithful send candles to the Carmel “to be burnt” in order to obtain graces through Sister Thérèse’s intercession, we have the candles burnt before the altar of the Blessed Virgin, where there is no picture of the Servant of God at all.

Sometimes we are sent ex-votos in recognition of graces that people say they obtained through the Servant of God’s intercession. These ex-votos are locked-away in a remote room of the monastery and piled on the floor against a wall.

I do not know of any litanies or special novenas that have been composed in the Servant of God’s honour; there is a prayer that people address to God for her beatification. This prayer, which is printed on the back of certain pictures, was approved by Mgr. the Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux.

We are so mindful to prevent all form of devotion that might be prohibited by the Church that we have at times given advice on the subject to people outside the monastery. Hence I had a letter sent to the Reverend Father Etienne, a Trappist Father from Mortagne, asking him to remove, “even though it had no nimbus or rays”, the portrait of Sister Thérèse that he had had put up in the Church near the painting of the Holy Face. I even took the liberty of having a letter sent to Mgr. Allgeyr, the Bishop of Zanzibar, dissuading him from the project, about which he had written to us, to put some of Sister Thérèse’s hair in his pectoral cross.

Et iuxta interr. 12 proc. fol. 32 respondit:

Not having left the enclosure, I only know about what takes place at the Servant of God’s tomb because it is common knowledge. Hence it is widely known that she was buried in the public cemetery of the town of Lisieux, in a plot of land bought for the burial of Carmelite nuns. We also know that on 6th September 1910, Sister Thérèse’s body was exhumed by order and in the presence of Mgr. the Bishop of Bayeux with the aim of better conserving her body. She was newly buried in a grave dug in the same enclosure and near the first location. We have a record of this exhumation which was drafted the same day and signed by Mgr. the Bishop of Bayeux and witnesses.

Et ulterius fol. 32 terg. sequitur:

I also learnt from reports that are constantly given to me that the tradition of going to pray at the Servant of God’s tomb has developed gradually. Today not a day goes by without several pilgrims going to pray at the tomb. As far as I know, nothing happens in the cemetery that goes against Church rules. However, once, some of the faithful, unaware of such rules, placed lighted candles on the tomb. When we learnt this, we had a notice painted on a wooden plank put up near the tomb, saying “As a precaution and to comply with the Church’s prescriptions, it is expressly forbidden to light candles on the grave of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus”. When one such candle burned the wooden cross on the grave, we had it replaced with an iron cross on 23rd May 1911. Apart from this particularity, Sister Thérèse’s grave resembles those of the other Carmelite nuns. In about 1902, when a priest wanted to decorate her grave by placing a statue of the Blessed Virgin on it, we objected.

Et iuxta 13 interr. proc. fol. 33 respondit :

At the Carmel we have relics and souvenirs of the Servant of God in very large quantities. My sisters and I, having lived with her from her earliest childhood, and having always been particularly fond of her, carefully kept the objects that reminded us of her, the most precious of which are carefully stored in the Carmel; the others allow us to satisfy the countless requests people make.

Regarding the relics that are kept here, the most important were placed in cases; the others are stored in crates and wardrobes. Yet both the cases and ordinary crates are in a room that is not only inaccessible to the public but also not even open to nuns for devotion. Furthermore the cases are carefully covered with curtains. Of course the Court can see all these details for itself. We sometimes show pilgrims who are particularly worthy of consideration, for example to Bishops etc., one or other of her souvenirs, and this we do in the turn’s office, without any form of religious ceremony. We never light candles or lamps in front of these relics: and we never exhibit them alongside Saints’ relics, or hold a liturgical office in their honour in church.

As for the relics that are sent to the faithful, they consist of little fragments of clothing, bed curtains, and fabrics that have touched the Servant of God’s bones. People everywhere request them; we can no longer satisfy their pious wishes. The graces that have very often been obtained through touching these simple fragments further increase people’s trust and desire to have one of them. The Carmels of Le Puy, Berberac, etc. help us to put these souvenirs on pictures or in tiny packets. Despite this, it is not enough because the demands are too numerous. When we send a slightly more valuable souvenir, we enclose a certificate that complies with the little form below:  

“It is expressly forbidden by order of the 1625 and 1634 decrees of Pope Urban VIII to publicly exhibit these relics for the veneration of the faithful or to place them amidst other relics of Saints or the Blessed.”

We don’t actually possess any relics of the Servant of God’s body, except for her hair and two teeth which were set apart during her lifetime. One of the teeth was given to His Eminence the Cardinal Gotti in 1899 or 1900. When the body was exhumed on 6th September 1910, Mgr. the Bishop of Bayeux did not allow for any other part of her body to be removed. A tiny piece of bone stuck to a fragment of clothing was taken by a worker and given to the Carmel a few days after the exhumation. We keep it with a note signed by Mgr. the Bishop of Bayeux authenticating the relic.

proc, fol. 34 terg. respondit et iuxta 14 interr.

Representations of the Servant of God are quite numerous, and are either drawings, paintings or photographs. This can be explained by the presence in the Carmel of one of my sisters (Sister Geneviève, aliter Céline Martin) who can draw and paint very well and who, being the Servant of God’s own sister, takes pleasure in recreating her image in all manner of ways. At the Carmel we have the original copies of these drawings. They were reproduced photographically and were used to illustrate the “Life Story of the Servant of God”.

For fear of breaching Church Rules, Sister Geneviève sought advice when composing her drawings from Mgr. Legoux, the former Vicar General of Coutances and Apostolic Pronotary, whom we know to be particularly competent in these matters. Moreover the pictures portray no attributes that the Church reserves for Saints and the Blessed: no halo, rays of light, or diadem can be seen. The pictures are neither placed on alters nor exhibited for public devotion amongst pictures of Saints or the Blessed: we never light candles to honour them.

At the Carmel we also have a statue of which there is only one copy. The work is actually a group. It represents the Child Jesus carried on a cloud and haloed; below, Sister Thérèse, without any sort of halo, kneels before the Child Jesus, who gives her roses that she scatters on the ground. This bronze statue was a gift from two families and is placed with no sign of devotion in a corner of our Chapter room. The work is approximately quarter life size.

The printed reproductions of the Servant of God’s pictures are copied in very large numbers by the various editors who cannot manage to satisfy the demands that are made. 

 

II. Sr Thérèse of St Augustine

 

I was at the Carmel on 30th September when the Servant of God died. Our Sisters gave no honour to her body other than that which we usually give to the mortal remains of nuns who die at the Carmel. Hence her body was laid by the choir screen. Considerably more people came than usual; but this can be explained by the fact that the Servant of God’s family was very well-known and held in high esteem in the town of Lisieux. Faithful came and touched rosaries to the body, crosses, medallions, jewelry etc., but this also happens when other Sisters die.

Et juxta 11 interr. proc. fol. 44 terg. respondit:

Without a doubt, devotion for the Servant of God is developing and growing considerably amongst the faithful.

1st. Our Reverend Mother sometimes tasks me with sorting the letters that arrive at the Carmel every day. It is clear, by the amount of letters (over one hundred per day at this present time), and by their contents, that devotion for Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus is becoming almost universal.

2nd. Yet to limit myself to remarks that my duties as sacristan allow me to make, I would say: 1. that the number of people who come to pray in the chapel during the day or come to Masses in the morning has greatly increased since the Servant of God’s death and especially since the beginning of the Informative trial; 2. I have also noticed that many more hosts are distributed to the faithful during Communions in the Carmel chapel than before; 3. Also more and more priests come from various countries to say Holy Mass in the Carmel Chapel. All these demonstrations of piety are without a doubt the result of the Servant of God’s renown for holiness.

Another form of devotion is the quite frequent sending of ornaments and liturgical objects for our chapel, for example chandeliers and alter crosses, corporals etc. People often send flowers and candles to honour “the Virgin who smiled at the Servant of God” or “the statue of the Child Jesus that the Servant of God liked to decorate”. I have never heard it said that these candles were destined for pictures of Sister Thérèse herself; in any case, we would never carry out these signs of devotion if they were asked of us, because we know it is forbidden. In the Community we never address public prayers to the Servant of God.

Et iuxta 12 art. proc, fol. 45 terg. respondit:

Naturally due to the enclosure, I have never seen the Servant of God’s tomb; but everyone knows it is in the town cemetery, and I hear it said everywhere that more pilgrims visit it every day. – I also know that Mgr. the Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux presided a transfer of Sister Thérèse’s remains from the first grave into a nearby tomb. There was nothing special about the ornamentation of Sister Thérèse’s first tomb in comparison with the tombs of the other Carmelite nuns. It bore only a wooden cross. If the cross was a little bigger than those used up until then it is because the plan was to bury Sister Thérèse’s remains very deep, so that other coffins could be laid on top to economize space and therefore several names would be put on the same cross. We later learnt that the town council, which is responsible for managing the cemetery, objected to bodies being superimposed in this way; so for the Carmelite nuns who have died since, we have reverted to using the former sized (smaller) crosses. I know that this year the wooden cross was replaced by an iron cross, because some of the faithful, unaware of the rules, wanted to leave candles burning; we would have them removed when we became aware of them: despite this, the wooden cross was burnt one day. I have heard it said that our Mother Prioress had a notice put up to remind people of the Church’s proscription.

Et iuxta 13 interr. proc. fol. 46 respondit:

We have many relics of the Servant of God at the Carmel. I do not think that all these objects, some of which have been kept from Thérèse’s early childhood, were set aside out of the belief that she was holy; but the nuns and especially her sisters loved her very much and, out of affection, kept all these family souvenirs. However, one or two of us anticipated her glorification to a certain extent; hence one of us thought of preserving her hair that was cut from time to time in accordance with the rule of the Monastery. I did not hear it said that at the Servant of God’s death or at the exhumation of her body on 6th September 1910, anything was taken from Sister Thérèse’s body.

On the latter occasion, Mgr. the Bishop strictly forbade it. It would appear that a worker who took a piece of clothing found a fragment of bone attached to it. Mgr. the Bishop made him hand it back. – The relics we possess are never exhibited in the chapel or oratories. We keep them locked in a store room. We have had quite a large number of ex-votos sent to us, and have stacked them on top of each other like stones on the wooden floor of the same room. We never let candles be burned before the relics, as I said; the candles people send us are lit in front of the Virgin Mary.

To satisfy the countless requests that are made to us, we send little fragments of clothing etc. stuck on pictures etc.: the souvenirs cannot be mistaken for relics of Saints or the Blessed, which are put in reliquaries for liturgical devotion.

Et iuxta 14 interr. proc. fol. 47 respondit:

There are several drawings representing the Servant of God, because her sister (Sister Geneviève) designs and draws them herself. Her different compositions are very well-known, for they have been copied either to make separate pictures or to illustrate the Story of her life. As everyone can see, none of these pictures depict rays or halos, or any other attribute that the Church reserves for Saints.

The original copies of these compositions, which we keep in the Carmel, are not used for public or ecclesiastical devotion. We make sure they are not placed on alters or in sacred places. They are sometimes shown to visitors to satisfy their pious curiosity, but they are not displayed for public veneration like those of Saints.

We have in the chapter room a little statue representing the Child Jesus offering flowers to Sister Thérèse who, at his feet, scatters them on the ground. The Child Jesus has a halo and Sister Thérèse does not. There is no other copy of this statue, which was given to us, and the few photographs that have been developed are not distributed to the public. The statue, like the drawings and paintings, are never used for public devotion.  

 

III. Sr Marie of the Trinity

 

I was present during the Servant of God’s last moments. She died in our monastery on Thursday 30th September 1897 in the infirmary at about 7 o’clock in the evening. I noticed nothing in particular about the honours that were then given to her mortal remains apart from the exceptional number of faithful who came to touch rosaries and other pious objects to her body while it was laid by the choir screen.

Et juxta 11 interr. proc. fol 50 respondit:

There is no doubt that devotion for the Servant of God exists: it became manifest as soon as her biography was first published. It was then that people began writing to us asking for pictures, relics, prayers etc. It was also at that time that our Rev. Mother thought of keeping these letters and tasked me with filing them. There has been an ever increasing number of them: the correspondence has grown extraordinarily since the process of Beatification begun. I will give an idea of how many we receive today by saying that since I testified at the informative trial, that is to say in the last six months alone, we have sent out in response to requests about three hundred thousand pictures (not counting the pictures that have been inserted into the various books and brochures relating to Sister Thérèse). In the last year the number of requests for pictures has doubled. I’ve also counted the number of letters of thanksgiving. Between January and June 1910 there were one thousand and thirty-seven of them. This year 1911, in the same lapse of time, from January to June the number has almost tripled: I’ve counted three thousand and seventy-five. We are aware of the decrees of Pope Urban VIII regarding the prohibition of public devotion to servants of God before their beatification. As soon as the general public took to the question of Sister Thérèse’s holiness our Mother advised us to make sure these decrees were obeyed, and we conform to them faithfully. When we notice in letters from the faithful that out of unawareness or inadvertence people fail to obey one of these rules, we hasten to advise they abstain from performing forbidden practices. –To my knowledge no litanies or prayers in honour of the Servant of God have been written. People sometimes ask us in their letters if novena prayers exist. We invariably reply that there aren’t any and that they must recite only the prayer for the Beatification of the Servant of God, which has been approved by His Excellency the Bishop of Bayeux. No liturgical ceremonies in honour of the Servant of God are ever held in our chapels. When people send us ex-votos, which is quite often, we hide them in a storeroom pending the Church’s decision concerning the Beatification of the Servant of God.

Quand on nous en voie des ex-voto, ce qui est assez fréquent, nous les ca­chons dans une chambre de dépôt,

Et juxta 12 in ter. proc. fol. 51 terg. respondit :

The Servant of God’s tomb is in the town cemetery; I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard it said and I have one of the photographs. I also know, for it has often been said, that the exhumation and transfer of the Servant of God’s remains to a nearby tomb took place in the presence of His Excellency the Bishop on 6th September 1910. Many people come on pilgrimage to Sister Thérèse’s tomb. I know this from the Extern Sisters’ reports, and also from letters in which people very often ask us the way to the cemetery and other directions, to the extent that we have had to print out a little map to use as a reply and spare us excessive work.

Et ulterius, fol. 52 sequitur:

To prevent pilgrims from engaging in practices that are contrary to the laws of the Church, our Mother Prioress has had an inscription put up near the tomb reminding people not to light candles etc. Unknowingly, some of the faithful would sometimes break these rules by lighting candles; one wooden cross was even burnt as a result. I’ve also heard it said that our Mother gave orders to the guardian of the cemetery to remove any candles that people put there.

Et iuxta 13 interr. proc. fol. 52 terg. respondit :

We keep many souvenirs of the Servant of God at the Carmel; her hair, clothes, and a whole host of objects that she used. We’ve even kept objects that belonged to her when she was a child or still in the world. Many of these objects were first kept by her family simply out of affection; today they have become precious. – But for me personally, having known the Servant of God during the last three years of her life, I believed even at that time that she was a saint. That is why I took great care to keep anything that was a souvenir of her, like her hair, writings, etc. – All these objects are very carefully kept here in boxes and wardrobes; our duty (especially Sister Geneviève’s) is to place in cases the most noteworthy souvenirs. All these cases remain locked in a storeroom with the ex-votos that I mentioned in answer to the 11th question. We never exhibit them in church or on the altars; they are never placed amid the Reliquaries of Saints or the Blessed. Neither are they shown any public devotion. – When people send us candles to burn during a novena to obtain a grace through the Servant of God’s intercession, we exclusively have them burned before the altar of the Most Blessed Virgin or the picture of the Holy Face. – In answer to requests from the faithful, we send little fragments of clothing or other objects that the Servant of God used; however, we take great care to prevent those souvenirs from being classed with relics of Saints or the Blessed. Consequently when we send more important souvenirs we enclose a printed note that conforms to the model I enclose.

“It is expressly forbidden by order of the 1625 and 1634 decrees of Pope Urban VIII to publicly exhibit these relics for the veneration of the faithful or to place them amidst other relics of Saints or the Blessed.” (Codex, p.221)

L. S. Ita est. / E. Deslandes Not. Act. dep.

Et iuxta 14 interr. proc. fol. 53 terg. respondit:

There is quite a large number of pictures of the Servant of God. The majority are drawings, paintings or photographs, and are the work of Sister Geneviève (her sister Céline). None of these pictures include halos, rays, or any other details prohibited by the Church. Moreover they have all been reproduced with the various typographic procedures and used to illustrate the different books about Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. – In the drawing [it is a charcoal] where Sister Geneviève depicts the Servant of God on her deathbed, Sister Thérèse is wearing a crown of roses on her head; such a crown is worn by all Carmelite nuns after their death in accordance with the prescriptions of our particular ceremonial ways and approved by the Congregation of Rites (Book 10, ch. 3, N. 4). -

There is also a small bronze statue that was a gift from a friend of Sister Thérèse and which was designed according to the instructions of our Mother Prioress and Sister Genevève. In this work the Child Jesus is carried on a cloud and haloed. Sister Thérèse is on the ground and not haloed. The artist had at first not taken care to observe these rules when making his model. (The Child Jesus did not have a halo and Sister Thérèse was placed like him on the cloud). Our mother obliged him to redo his work and modify these details so as not to contradict the Church rules. I know all of this because as I am responsible for everything concerning pictures of the Servant of God, I attended all the deliberations and conversations that took place regarding the subject. Moreover, this small statue has never been copied and the mould was destroyed. Some photographic copies of this work were printed, to be kept for our use, and likewise this picture has never been distributed nor revealed. I have prepared the complete collection of these different models and present it to the court in support of my testimony.  

These paintings and drawings decorate various interior rooms of our Community, but they are never publicly venerated; we never put them above altars, or in sacred places. We also do not burn candles before these pictures. 

  

IV. Marie-Elisabeth de Ste-Theresa, Extern Sister

 

The Servant of God died on 30th September 1897, on a Thursday, in the evening while the Angelus was ringing, I can remember it very well. Nothing special was done for her funeral: it was the same as for all the other Carmelite nuns. It’s true that there were a considerable number of people either to attend the funeral ceremony, or to touch chaplets, rings, pictures etc. to her body. But it must be said that since Sister Thérèse had family in Lisieux, and herself lived in Lisieux before entering the Carmel, this can in part explain the exceptional attendance.

Et iuxta 11 interr. proc. fol. 69 terg. respondit:

Devotion for Sister Thérèse is certainly growing. In the last three years especially, the number of visitors has increased prodigiously. Not a day goes by without people coming and sometimes the small rooms in the hall are overcrowded and the Extern Sisters overworked. The visitors request prayers and novenas; they buy the Servant of God’s Life Story and pictures. They pray in the chapel because Sister Thérèse prayed there. They request to be received in the visiting room, especially by our Mother and the Servant of God’s two other sisters.

All these aspects evidently confirm the devotion of the faithful for Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Our Mother had the following notice, which I present to the court, put up in the little shop that pilgrims frequent:

NOTICE

“Those wishing to recommend themselves to the prayers of the Community are humbly requested to please make their intentions known in writing or through the intermediary of the Extern Sisters. Due to the large number of pilgrims, the Carmelite nuns, to safeguard their withdrawal from the world as required by the Rule, have had to resolve to refuse interviews in the visiting room, which are too frequently requested of them. They only go there in very rare and exceptional cases. It is impossible for them to act as guides for those wishing to visit the tomb of the Servant of God, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Pilgrims can be taken there by the guardian of the cemetery”.

I do not know what happens in the inner chancel or rooms of the Community, because Extern Sisters are not allowed to enter them; but I know that in the public chapel and outside, prayers and public ceremonies in honour of Sister Thérèse are never held, and that there aren’t any souvenirs or pictures of the Servant of God in this chapel. When pilgrims have brought us ex-votos, I’ve conveyed them to the inside of the monastery, according to the order that I was given and I do not know where our Mother puts them.

When people bring us candles, which is often, we have orders to convey them to the inside of the Carmel as well and to explain to pilgrims that these candles will be burnt before the statue of the Blessed Virgin and not near pictures of the Servant of God.

Et juxta 12 interr. proc. fol. 70 terg. respondit:

I was present at the Servant of God’s funeral and I followed the cortege to the cemetery. The body was buried in a part of the cemetery that was bought for the burial of Carmelite nuns and delimited by iron railings. The Carmel previously buried its Nuns in another plot of earth, which had become full, and was replaced by the new acquisition I mentioned. Sister Thérèse was the first to be buried in the new burial plot. Her tomb is in the corner at the bottom right as you enter.

The grave was dug deep for reasons of economy; it was thought that in the future other coffins could be placed above the first. There was a wooden cross on the grave, as is customary for Carmelite nuns, with the simple inscription of the name “Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus” and below, the Servant of God’s following words: “I want to spend my heaven doing good upon earth”.

On 6th September 1910, the coffin was removed from the first grave and placed into another grave nearby. I attended this procedure also, together with my two fellow Externs. His Excellency the Bishop of Bayeux presided it, accompanied by quite a large number of priests. Two doctors were also there. All that was inside the plot of land was closed off with a canvas, hiding it from view. Outside this area there was a very large crowd. The priests weren’t wearing any sacerdotal ornaments; there was no liturgical ceremony: we only recited a few prayers (I can’t remember which now) under the presidency of His Excellency the Bishop. The old coffin with the bones it contained was enclosed within a leaden coffin, which was in turn put in an oak coffin and the whole was lowered into a new grave, at the front and to the left as you enter. At the bottom of this grave were bricks where the coffin would be laid. I think this transfer was to better ensure the conservation of the Servant of God’s bones. The new tomb bears no special ornamentation other than the large quantity of flowers that the faithful leave there. I know that there are an increasing number of pilgrimages made to the tomb every day. Either I or my fellow Extern Sisters go to the cemetery up to twice a week and we always find people praying there, reciting the rosary etc.    

Pilgrims who do not know the laws of the Church often take candles there; they even set alight a wooden cross this way, which had to be replaced with an iron cross. A sign was put up warning people not to light candles, and when we see any on our visits, we do not fail to remove them.

Et iuxta 13 interr. proc. fol. 71 terg. respondit:

I’ve heard it said that there were many souvenirs of the Servant of God inside the Monastery. I have seen some of them in the turn’s office, such as her hair, the clothes she wore as a Carmelite, her instruments of penitence etc. I also know that when the exhumation took place on 6th September, the Community was brought a few planks that had come away from the first coffin and a few fragments of the clothing in which she had been buried; as an Extern I was a witness to this fact. I do not believe that any part of the Servant of God’s body was removed either at her death or at the exhumation. I only heard it said that on the day of the exhumation the son of the carpenter who had made the coffin had taken a fragment of clothing, to which a little piece of bone was stuck, and that he handed over the little bone to the community, but I haven’t seen it.

Sister Thérèse’s relics, which are kept at the Community, are never taken into the chapel and I’ve never seen anyone pay any liturgical devotion to them.

The faithful who request them are given little packets or pictures decorated with pieces of the Servant of God’s clothing etc. …. These little packets are given gratuitously. As for the pictures, they are sold on account of the value of the picture alone.

Et iuxta 14 interr. proc. fol. 72 terg. respondit:

In our small shop we sell various pictures of the Servant of God; these pictures are known throughout the world. None of these pictures depict the Servant of God with a halo or rays of light. I saw some of my Sister Geneviève’s paintings when they were taken to the picture framer. But they are never taken out from inside the monastery to be exhibited in the chapel for the devotion of the faithful.

V. Auguste Ferdinand Acard, Sacristan of the Carmel

 

I was present at the Servant of God’s funeral on 30th September 1897. The nuns of the monastery did nothing extraordinary for her, but there were many people there; over the two or three days that she was laid out, there was an uninterrupted coming and going of visitors. I am of the impression that the presence of family relations in the town of Lisieux is not enough to explain the large crowd of people, and that most of them were drawn by a special feeling of veneration towards the Servant of God.

Et iuxta 11 interr. proc. fol. 74- respondit:

I’ve noticed that the movement of devotion towards the Servant of God grows with each passing year. This is judging from the now continual coming and going of people who come to pray in the chapel. The number of priests asking to say Holy Mass in the chapel is also growing. They come from many different countries and out of devotion for Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. On certain days this year I’ve had to prepare up to eight or ten Masses in the sacristy, which is an exceptional number, yet there have been one or two every day.

During shows of this devotion I’ve never seen anything resembling an ecclesiastical ceremony or public worship. I’ve seen neither pictures nor relics of Sister Thérèse in the chapel; neither have I ever heard any prayer formula being directly addressed to her.

People bring ex-votos; there must be about thirty of them, but they are put on the floor in a small room in the Monastery where I’ve seen them.

Et juxta 12 interr. proc. fol. 74 terg. respondit:

I was present at Sister Thérèse’s funeral just as I attend the funerals of all the nuns. She was at first buried in the plot of land newly bought for the interment of Carmelite nuns. The grave bore no mark of honour. I also attended the burial that took place on 6th September 1910. We found that the coffin had completely deteriorated and had to be consolidated with new planks, the body had remained in its skeletal state. His Excellency the Bishop was present, we recited the psalm Laudate, pueri, Dominum, without any other form of worship. What remained of the old coffin and the Servant of God’s body was placed within a leaden coffin and buried in the grave or sort of little vault that was situated five or six metres away from the old tomb. No part of the Servant of God’s body was taken away; only the little wooden cross that she held in her hand was taken and given to His Excellency the Bishop. A dried up palm leaf was also collected, along with a few pieces of clothing and a few planks from the old coffin.

There was a large crowd, even though no invitation was sent out and the plan had been kept secret. During the exhumation, stretched canvases around the area prevented people from seeing the perimeter of the tomb. Before burying the body again the canvases were removed, and those who were attending filed in silence passed the body, most of them touching rosaries, crosses and other pious objects to the body.

Since the second burial the crowds of pilgrims have been more numerous than ever. I go to the cemetery quite often to clean and tidy up. I go there about once a month, and I work there almost all day long. I then notice an almost uninterrupted coming and going of the faithful. These pilgrims pray, place flowers on the tomb and little pieces of paper on which they’ve written their requests or thanks. They also write in pencil on the cross which is covered with such inscriptions. I’ve never seen any religious ceremony at the tomb. I don’t think people frequently put candles on the grave; I only noticed it being done once or twice by ill-advised pilgrims who were unknown to me. Candles once set alight a celluloid wreath at the foot of the cross, and the wooden cross was partly burnt. It was therefore replaced with an iron cross and a notice was put up to prevent people from lighting candles in future.

Et juxta 13 interr. proc. 76 respondit:

Souvenirs of the Servant of God are kept in the monastery. There are a lot of them. I’ve seen them; they are locked in an inner room of the Carmel. These sorts of glass cases were made to keep them from gathering dust. The souvenirs are never brought to the chapel. I’ve never seen any ceremony of worship take place in their presence. As sacristan, I would have known whether anything of this nature had taken place, and it never has. The souvenirs are mostly made up of clothes and objects that belonged to the Servant of God. Apart from her hair, I don’t believe that the monastery have kept relics of her body, which must be whole in her tomb.

Et juxta 14 interr. proc. ibid. respondit:

When working inside the Monastery, I haven’t been able to see the various paintings and drawings that depict the Servant of God; I know they are the work of Sister Geneviève. They depict, but in much larger form, the subjects that were used to illustrate the “Life Story of Sister Thérèse” or, to be more precise, the prints in the books are reductions of the original drawings. The paintings in the monastery are hung in various rooms, but not in the chapels or on altars. They are never taken into the principal chapel that is open to the public either. These drawings depict neither halos nor rays of light. 

 

VI. Mrs. Hassebroucq, in charge of Les Buissonnets

 

There is certainly a great movement of devotion towards the Servant of God and it is growing with each passing day. Apart from the evidence we can draw from the crowds of pilgrims visiting the Carmel and the numerous letters that are sent there, I will mention in particular what I have noticed at “Les Buissonnets”. Many of the faithful come to ask me whether they can visit the house and especially the bedroom where the Servant of God, at 10 years of age, was miraculously cured by a vision of the Blessed Virgin. Since 7th May 1911, I’ve counted 624 pilgrims. They come from various countries (mainly France, but some come from England, America, Italy, Belgium, Scotland, Portugal etc.). These pilgrims show great devotion toward the Servant of God and pray with fervour.

In the various premises of “Les Buissonnets”, no relics or pictures contrary to the rules of the Church are exhibited. The pictures that decorate certain rooms of the house are the same as those that illustrate the book “Story of a Soul”; they don’t depict any halos, or nimbus; neither candles nor lamps are burned before the pictures and souvenirs. A statue of the Most Blessed Virgin has been placed in the main bedroom I mentioned above: it is before this statue that pilgrims kneel, mainly to pray.  

Et iuxta 12 interr. proc. fol. 85 respondit:

I wasn’t in Lisieux for the Servant of God’s funeral in 1897, or even when her body was transferred in September 1910. I go to the cemetery from time to time to pray at Sister Thérèse of the Jesus’ grave. I go once a month, my children go more often. Whether it is I or my children, we always find pilgrims praying at the tomb.

I’ve never seen forbidden shows of devotion at the tomb. Pilgrims pray in silence, and write various requests in pencil on the cross that is completely covered with these inscriptions. I’ve never seen any lamps or candles on the tomb.

Et iuxta 13 interr. proc. fol. 85 terg. respondit:

There are a great many souvenirs of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus at the Carmel. They are mostly objects that belonged to her. – I haven’t seen any relics of her body which I believe remains whole in the cemetery. I’ve only seen some of the Servant of God’s hair at the Carmel. These souvenirs are usually kept inside the Carmel. – I’ve never seen them exhibited in the chapel or presented for public veneration. They are sometimes brought out to show to a few privileged persons; it was in these circumstances that I saw them, and to my knowledge candles and lamps are never burned before these objects.  

Et iuxta 14 interr. proc. fol 86 respondit:

I don’t know of any pictures of the Servant of God other than those that are usually put on sale, and that are reproductions in various sizes of the illustrations of her “Life Story”. The images don’t depict any nimbus or luminous rays. – None of these pictures are on altars, or even in any corner of the chapel of the Carmel where, as I said, I go almost every day. I haven’t seen these pictures exhibited for public veneration in any form. Nor have I ever seen any votive plaques in the Servant of God’s honour.

 

 

VII. Rev. Fr. Lamy, vicaire at the Church of St Jacques

 

I have often noticed the existence of a devotion of the faithful towards the Servant of God. This devotion is not only persistent but also increasing every day. This is judging from the frequent requests that are sent to me, by either parishioners of St. Jacques or people outside, for souvenirs and relics of Sister Thérèse. I come to the Carmel chapel myself nearly every day to recite my breviary, and I notice on these occasions that the faithful come here constantly and in great numbers. I’ve never noticed people honouring Sister Thérèse with public and ecclesiastical prayer, I make sure of course that nothing of that nature takes place at St. Jacques and I haven’t noticed it happen anywhere else.

Et iuxta 12 interr. proc. fol. ibid. respondit:

The Servant of God’s burial place is well-known because she was interred in the town’s public cemetery. I did not attend her funeral, but I attended the exhumation that took place in September 1910. On this occasion, the faithful waiting outside the reserved area recited the rosary together. Inside the railings that surround the plot of land reserved for the burial of Carmelite nuns, was His Excellency the Bishop with a certain number of priests. We recited psalms when the coffin was being lifted out of the ground, but I cannot remember which psalms, because I was busy touching rosaries, and other objects of piety passed to me by the faithful, to the remains. The body had turned to dust; only the skeleton and clothes remained. These remains were enclosed within a new coffin without anything being disturbed. A priest took a piece of scapular and His Excellency the Bishop ordered him to replace it. However, several people surreptitiously took a few ribbons of fabric.  

The faithful go to the tomb to pray. I can confirm that pilgrimages are made there every day, because I often go to the cemetery for parish funerals and I always find people there in prayer. Most of the pilgrims recite the rosary, kiss the cross and lay flowers on the grave. I heard it said once that a stranger lit a candle whose flame damaged the cross on the tomb, but I’ve never seen any candles myself even though I go to the tomb to pray every time I go to the cemetery. I noticed that a sign has been put up forbidding lighting candles.

Et iuxta 13 in terr. proc. fol. 88 ter respondit:

I’ve seen some of the souvenirs of the Servant of God that are kept at the Carmel several times. I was in the company of visitors to whom they were shown. I don’t know in which room of the Carmel they are kept exactly. I noticed, among other objects, the Servant of God’s hair, her New Testament, instruments of penitence etc. I’ve never seen these objects exhibited in the church or presented for public veneration.

Et juxta interr. 14 proc. fol. 89 respondit:

I’ve very often seen the pictures of the Servant of God, which, I might add, have become widespread. They can be found in the form of little pictures to put in one’s devotional book and in larger format in the book “Story of a Soul”. These well known pictures do not depict halos, rays of light etc. I’ve never seen these pictures placed on altars anywhere or presented as objects destined for public veneration by the faithful.

 

VIII. Le R.P. Georges Marie, vicaire at the Church of St Jacques

 

During the year or so that I have been exercising the holy ministry in Lisieux, I’ve been able to observe a certain and very considerable movement of piety among the faithful towards the Servant of God, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Hence young children in great numbers, in preparation for their first Communion, go on pilgrimage to the Servant of God’s tomb and the Carmel Chapel; a great number of sick people (I could say “all those I’ve seen”) recommend themselves to the Servant of God and seek to acquire some of her relics.

I’ve never noticed in the shows of devotion anything resembling the public and ecclesiastical worship that is prohibited by the Church. In the Parish Church, we never say any official prayers or perform any liturgical office in the Servant of God’s honour: neither can her pictures or relics be found in the Church. When preaching, we never mention Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus as being among the number of the “Blessed”. Neither have I seen any ex-votos in her honour. Now, owing to my duties as curate, I would have noticed if these practices took place, at least in the parish church of St. Jacques.

Et iuxta 12 interr. proc. fol. 91 respondit:

As I’ve said, I didn’t attend the Servant of God’s funeral, but I’ve seen the tomb that everyone holds to be that of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Moreover, I attended the exhumation of the Servant of God’s body last year (6th September 1910) and to its transfer into a nearby grave. On this occasion there were a certain number of priests alongside  the Bishop of Bayeux. Outside the area that was closed off with railings and tarpaulins were several hundreds of faithful. His Excellency the Bishop was simply wearing a ratchet and stole, and the clerics were in town clothes without sacerdotal ornaments, acting as simple spectators.

There was no liturgical ceremony: we only chanted the psalm Laudate pueri Dominum when the coffin was being taken out of the first grave. All that was left of the body was bones and half-eaten clothes. Some ribbons of clothing were removed, along with a little wooden cross that the Servant of God held in her hands and a green palm leaf. I then heard His Excellency the Bishop announce that no piece of bone was to be removed and I believe that the body was indeed put whole into the new coffin.

The new grave is situated in the same Carmelite enclosure that contained the first tomb. The faithful go in large numbers to pray at the tomb. I know this because my duties call me to the cemetery for funerals nearly every day. I then notice that there are always a few people near the Servant of God’s tomb. Moreover, a certain number of the faithful who take part in the funeral corteges break away to pray at Sister Thérèse’s tomb before leaving the cemetery. During these visits many people recite the rosary. I’ve never seen any lit candles on the tomb; I’ve only seen the recent sign that forbids lighting them.

Et juxta 13 interr. proc. fol. 92 respondit:

I don’t precisely or fully know which of the Servant of God’s relics are kept at the Carmel. Two or three times, when accompanying distinguished visitors, I have seen five or six mobile glass cases in which were kept souvenirs of the Servant of God, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. These objects are shown to us in the turn’s office more to satisfy our curiosity than as objects of worship. I’ve never seen either these objects exhibited in the chapel or any liturgical office held in their honour.

Et juxta 14 interr. proc. 92 terg. respondit:

I’ve seen various pictures depicting the Servant of God. They are the same as those that can be found in “Her Life Story”. There are no attributes of sainthood in the pictures. Neither have I ever seen any of these pictures on altars, or in the church, or presented in any way whatsoever for public devotion.

IX. Sr Madeleine of Jesus

 

Unfortunately I had not yet joined the Carmel when the Servant of God died. I only know what happened on this occasion through what our Sisters have told me, but I haven’t heard it said that anything different was done for her funeral than what is done for all the nuns.

Et iuxta 11 interr. proc. fol. ibid. respondit:

Everyone in our Carmel has an unlimited devotion to and trust in Sister Thérèse. I also know that devotion to her is very intense outside; this is judging from the post that the Carmel receives every day: I see the abundant post delivery daily and I sometimes help go through its contents.

At the Carmel, not only do we not infringe the prescriptions of the Church in our shows of devotion, but on the contrary we are very careful, because as we greatly desire Sister Thérèse’s beatification, we would be sorry to compromise it by being careless. We also take advice so that we know what is allowed and prohibited on the subject. Never have any public prayers been addressed to the Servant of God in the choir or chapel. In our prayers, even outside the church, we never give her the title of Saint or Blessed.

Et iuxta 12 interr. proc. fol. 99 terg. respondit:

I can only know by hearsay that which concerns the Servant of God’s tomb. I wasn’t at the Carmel for the first burial. I heard about the exhumation that took place on 6th September 1910. We often hear our Extern Sisters talk about the crowds of pilgrims that have started coming to the tomb of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. We discovered that one pilgrim lit a candle, because we were brought news that the cross on the grave was a little burnt. The very next day, our Reverend Mother Prioress ordered me to have the workers make an iron cross and a notice informing people that this form of devotion is forbidden.

Et iuxta 13 interr. proc. fot. 100 respondit:

Objects that belonged to the Servant of God are preciously kept at the Carmel. We call them “Souvenirs” rather than “Relics”, in order to distinguish them from Saints’ Relics and also because they are more objects she used than her bodily remains. Nothing from her body was removed either at her death or at the exhumation that took place last year. Furthermore, on the latter occasion, His Excellency the Bishop expressly forbade taking any of the Servant of God’s remains. A worker seized a piece of clothing, and a small fragment of bone was stuck to it. When our Reverend Mother was informed, she told the Bishop and took action to have the bone returned to the Carmel, which was done. Apart from this piece of bone, we do not have any remains of the Servant of God’s body apart from what was taken during her lifetime; her hair, a tooth (another was sent to Cardinal Gotti) and a fragment of skin that a nurse, who was tasked with removing a vesicant during the Servant of God’s last illness, took the care of keeping.

We have great respect for the souvenirs we keep. The most precious ones were put in cases by the good offices of a few of our Sisters. The objects are all kept not in an oratory, but incognito in a room that has been allocated for this purpose.

This bedroom contains neither lit candles, nor lamps or any sign of worship. Sometimes the souvenirs are taken out of storage to be shown to a few pious pilgrims. But in this case, there is nothing that resembles an “Exhibition of holy relics”. It is into the turn’s office that the cases are brought and never into the church. They are placed on an ordinary table and never on an altar or amid Saints’ relics; and the veneration that is then paid by people who are shown them does not exceed the limit of private devotion. People continually ask us in letters for souvenirs of the Servant of God. In response to these requests we send fragments of fabric, clothes etc. which we stick onto pictures or enclose in little fabric or paper bags. The pictures and bags bear the Vice Postulator’s seal. When a slightly more important souvenir is sent out, which only happens exceptionally rarely, we enclose a little note with the packet indicating that the souvenirs cannot be placed with Saints’ relics.

People quite often send us votive plaques in thanksgiving for favours received through the Servant of God’s intercession. We place these plates in the private room that contains, as I said, souvenirs of Sister Thérèse. In this place, ex-votos are not hung on the wall but placed on the floorboards and piled on top of one another.

Et iuxta 14 interr. proc. fol. 101 respondit:

There are pictures at the Carmel, some charcoal drawings, others oil paintings, depicting the Servant of God at different stages of her life. These paintings are the work of one of her Carmelite sisters. These paintings have all been printed in small copies to illustrate the book on “Her Life” and to satisfy the requests made by the faithful. I don’t know these pictures in any other form. Now it is easy to see from the book that the compositions depict neither halo nor rays of light.

The pictures are not presented as objects for public or, more importantly, liturgical worship in the Carmel: they are not exhibited on altars, but hung here and there on walls of rooms. Neither candles nor lamps are ever lit in honour of the pictures.

At the Carmel we also have a small bronze statue depicting Sister Thérèse praying at the feet of the Child Jesus. In this composition also, the Servant of God bears none of the attributes that the Church reserves for Saints. Moreover the statue is kept inside the Carmel in the Chapter room.

X. Testis (2 ex off.) Rev. Fr. Aubey,  Curate at the Church of St Pierre

I know not only because it is public knowledge but also through my personal connections that a great number of souls have devotion for and trust in the Servant of God Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and that many people pray to her and go on pilgrimage to the places where she lived. I know from my ministry that the sick pray for her intercession. These are not isolated facts: the feeling is quite widespread. – However I’ve noticed no liturgical expressions of this devotion. At the cathedral there have never been any prayers said or public ceremonies held in honour of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.  

Et iuxta 12 interr. proc. fol. 104 ter g. respondit:

I attended neither the funeral nor the exhumation of the Servant of God, but, due to my ministry, I go to the town cemetery at least twice a month. Every time, or thereabouts, I noticed the presence of a few of the faithful at the Servant of God’s tomb. These visitors were in an attitude of prayer. I noticed nothing in the pilgrims’ acts that was contrary to the Decrees of the Church or which expressed public and official worship. I’ve never seen lit candles on the tomb. As for votive plaques, I’ve never seen any at this site nor anywhere else. I only noticed that the cross over the tomb was covered with inscriptions written in pencil; I read a few of the inscriptions: they expressed requests, and prayers to the Servant of God. I also noticed that there were papers on the tomb, which were hand-written entreaties placed at the foot of the cross.

Et iuxta 13 interr. proc. fol. 105 respondit:

Once I saw a few cases at the Carmel, one of which contained the Servant of God’s hair and other objects that she used (instruments of penitence, etc.). These objects were briefly shown to a few clerics.

They were not exhibited in the church, or even outside the church, as Saints’ Relics are exhibited for the veneration of the faithful, but rather as objects to satisfy pious curiosity. I do not know whether there are any relics other than these at the Carmel.

Et juxta 14 interr. proc. fol. ibid. respondit:

I do not know of any other images of the Servant of God other than those that are commonly put on sale. I have never noticed any signs that the Church reserves for canonized Saints on these well known pictures. I have never seen these pictures destined for public worship in the church of St. Pierre or anywhere else. They are not placed on altars, and candles are not burnt before them.


XI. Marie of the Angels

 

I, the undersigned Sister Marie of the Angels and the Sacred Heart, hereby swear and promise on the Holy Gospel, on which I place my hand, to tell the truth in answer to all questions put to me; and this under penalty of perjury; so help me God and his Holy Gospels. 

I have taken the above oath.

Signatum: Sr. Marie of the Angels and the Sacred Heart

My name is Marie Julie Jeanne de Chaumontel, in religion Sister Marie of the Angels and the Sacred Heart. I was born on 24th February in Montpinon, in the Diocese of Bayeux. – I have been a nun at the Carmel of Lisieux since 1866: I was professed there on 25th March 1868. I was Novice Mistress to the Servant of God, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and I lived with her in the Carmel for the whole of the time she spent there.  

Interrogata an sciat Servam Dei in hoc coenobio habitasse et obiisse, respondit:

It was indeed in this monastery of Lisieux that Sister Thérèse spent her holy religious life and where she died a most admirable death. I was a direct witness to all these events.

Interrogata quaenam sint coenobii loca quae specialius memoria referunt Servae Dei, respondit:

1. The oratory where she painted a fresco; 2. The Choir; 3. The Refectory; 4. Her cell; 5. The Archives; 6. Finally the infirmary where she died.

Interrogata num in his Iocis inveniantur imaginis vel alia quae publicum redoleant, respondit:

None of these places contain any pictures of the Servant of God that are contrary to the Decrees of the Holy Church: her pictures do not depict any halos or rays of light: we do not hold any liturgical office in their honour, we do not light candles or lamps before these pictures. Her relics are not venerated either. I know that this is so, because living in the Carmel, I can observe the layout of the premises daily. I have deposed as above in the name of truth.  

Signatum: Sister Marie of the Angels and the Sacred Heart.   

XII. Aimée of Jesus

I, the undersigned Sister Aimée of Jesus and the Heart of Mary, hereby swear and promise on God’s Holy Gospels, on which I place my hand, to tell the truth in answer to all the questions that will be put to me and this under penalty of perjury: so help me God and his Holy Gospels.

I have taken the above oath.

Signatum: Sister Aimée of Jesus and the Heart of Mary.

Interrogata de nomine etc. respondit:

My name is Léopoldine Féron, in religion Sister Aimée of Jesus and the Heart of Mary. I was born on 24th January 1851 in Anneville-en-Saire, in the Diocese of Coutances. I entered the Carmel of Lisieux in October 1871 and I was professed on 8th May 1873. I was therefore the Servant of God’s contemporary in the Carmel.

Interrogata an possit testificari Servam Dei Theresiam a Puero Jesu reapse ibi vixisse et decessisse, respondit:

I can confirm that it was indeed in this Carmel that Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus lived and died. I witnessed all the events of her religious life and likewise I know that she died in the infirmary that is situated on the ground floor, at the corner of the cloister.

Interrogata de praecipuis locis quae documenta retinent Servae Dei respondit:

1. The Oratory. – 2. The Choir. – 3. The Chapter room. – 4. The Refectory. – 5. Her cells. – 6. The recreation or Community room. – 7. The storeroom or souvenir room. – 8. The Infirmary.

Interrogata an in Monasterio et praecipue in praefatis locis sint aliqua quae cultum ecclesiasticum redoleant, respondit:

We have never held liturgical ceremonies in the Servant of God’s honour anywhere in our Monastery. The pictures that decorate the above-mentioned premises do not depict any halos or any of the attributes reserved for Saints or the Blessed: no candles are burnt before her pictures or relics.

I have deposed as above in accordance with the truth.

Signatum: Sister Aimée of Jesus and the Heart of Mary.

 

 

 

[A tour of the premises follows]

 

 

I. Oratory (Plan – Ground floor W.)

This oratory adjoins the shrine of the main chapel by means of an opening that is fitted with a grille. In the opening the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for the adoration of the nuns.

Around this “exposition” is a fresco depicting adoring angels that was painted by the Servant of God.

II. Statue of the Child Jesus, called Sister Thérèse’s Child Jesus.

(Plan – Ground floor No. 11).

The Servant of God took religious care to decorate this statue with flowers where it stood against a cloister pillar. In memory of the Servant of God, this statue is always highly decorated with flowers and lights.

III. Nuns’ Choir (Plan – Ground Floor, No. G).

There is nothing particular other than a little bronze plaque on the third stall on the right bearing the following engraved inscription:

“Last stall to be occupied by Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus”.

IV. Refectory (Plan – Ground floor 0).

A small engraved plaque marks each of the four places that the Servant of God successively occupied.

V. Community room or Recreation room

(Plan – Ground floor S).

You can see an oil painting, the work of Sister Geneviève, depicting the Servant of God with a harp as an attribute. Item a large charcoal drawing depicts Thérèse at 15 years of age at the feet of H. H. Pope Leo XIII. These pictures were copied and popularized notably in the large edition of “Story of a Soul”.

VI. Infirmary of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

(Plan – Ground floor U).

It was in this infirmary that the Servant of God died. The bed on which she expired has not been moved. A charcoal drawing, the work of Sister Geneviève, which hangs on the wall, depicts the Servant of God on her deathbed. A small copy of this picture illustrates the volume “Story of a Soul”. On the door of the infirmary, which looks onto the cloister, and outside, there is an engraved plaque bearing the following inscription: “Infirmary where, full of virtues and merits, Our Revered Mother Geneviève of Saint Teresa Founder of this Carmel, and the little victim of merciful love Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, fell asleep in the Lord (5 X.ber 1891 – 30 7.ber 1897).

VIL Novitiate or Novices’ assembly room.

(Plan – Upstairs R).

In this room, which is used for pious meetings and is not an oratory in the liturgical sense, there is the portrait of Sister Thérèse on the wall alongside pious images.

VIII. Chapter room where the Servant of God was professed.

(Plan - Upstairs I).

In this room, in the corner to the left of the doorway, a statue in bronze stands on a pedestal: the Child Jesus, depicted with a nimbus, is standing on clouds, with one hand on a cross that is draped with the Holy Shroud marked with the Holy Face; with his left hand he is lifting up a corner of the Holy Shroud, thus forming a pocket that is filled with roses. Lower down, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, depicted without a nimbus, is on the floor bending the knee. On a scroll, an inscription bears two sentences that were pronounced by the Servant of God: “I want to spend my heaven doing good upon earth”. – “After my death I will let fall a shower of roses”.

IX. Oratory of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

(Plan - Upstairs J).

This room is next to the chapter room and forms the foyer of the Servant of God’s cell (F.e). On a small altar (where Holy Mass is not said) is the miraculous statue of the Most Holy Virgin which one day came to life and smiled at the Servant of God when she was 10 years old. – The altar is highly decorated with flowers, - candles are lit before the statue of Mary. On each side, there are two cups where we put the entreaties and prayer requests that the faithful send. Hanging on the walls of this room are charcoal drawings, the work of Sister Geneviève, which have all become well-known in the form of the small printed copies that can be found in “Story of a Soul”. They are: 1. Thérèse at 4 years old with her mother. 2. Thérèse at 15 years old with her father. 3. Thérèse the day she took her First Communion. 4. Portrait bust of Sister Thérèse, a Carmelite nun at 23 years of age.

X. Last cell to be occupied by the Servant of God (from August 1894).

(Plan - Upstairs Fc.)

On the door leading to the previously described oratory, a bronze plaque bears this engraved inscription: “Last cell to be inhabited by Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.”

There is nothing particular inside the cell.

XI. Storeroom where Souvenirs of Sister Thérèse are kept.

(Plan - Upstairs K).

This room is an ordinary cell that has been allocated for storing souvenirs of the Servant of God. One can observe:

About forty marble votive plaques piled on the floor.

Two wooden crosses which were brought from the cemetery, that is to say the cross that was placed on the first grave and the one which, placed on the 2nd grave, was damaged by fire from a lit candle. These crosses are literally covered with pencil “graffiti”, expressing prayers to the Servant of God and messages of thanksgiving.

Several silk cases with glass lids, some on the furniture, others on the walls, containing the most exquisite souvenirs of the Servant of God, notably 1. Her baptismal robe. – 2. The dress she wore when, as a small child, she strew flowers before the Blessed Sacrament on the day of the feast of Corpus Christi. – 3. Her First Communion robe. – 4. Her hair which was cut on the day of her clothing. 5. A hair shirt, a horsehair belt!, a discipline, an iron chain bracelet with spikes; a small iron chain cross with spikes. A few other objects she used. – 6. A copy of the new Testament that she wore on her heart from 1896 onwards; it contains the Apostles’ Creed that she wrote in her blood towards the end of her life when fighting against terrible temptations against faith. – 7. Another, larger copy of the New Testament, which she wore before 1896. – 8. A molar (tooth) extracted in 1884 and kept with a note written by Mr. Martin, the Servant of God’s father. – 9. The Act of Oblation to Merciful Love written by the Servant of God. – 10. The Crucifix she wore the day she took the Habit and which was placed in her hands on her deathbed. (Another cross that she wore during her lifetime was given to her sister Léonie, a nun at the Visitation Convent of Caen) ….

- 11. Some planks that came away from the Servant of God’s first coffin at the exhumation on 6th September 1910. – 12. A crown of cornflowers, with which the Servant of God decorated the picture of the Blessed Virgin, and rose petals from when she unpetalled them over her crucifix during the last days of her life. – 13. The dried up palm leaf that was placed and then rediscovered in her first coffin; - some wood from this coffin and debris of clothing that were taken from the first coffin at the exhumation on 6th September 1910.

In addition, locked in a wardrobe, a white stole decorated with painted flowers on satin, which the Servant of God painted; - similarly a black chasuble decorated with painted lilies with the Holy Face in the middle, work of the Servant of God.

Closed drawers and boxes contain the clothes that the Servant of God wore at different stages, and notably her Carmelite clothing; - item some of her hair that was cut from time to time during her religious life according to the Holy Rule. Finally some locked wardrobes contain a large quantity of objects that belonged to the Servant of God even in her early childhood.

XII. Chapel and exterior sacristy

(Plan – Ground floor, d.e.f.J)

They do not contain any souvenirs of the Servant of God.

XIII. Marie Hassebroucq

 

I, the undersigned Marie Hassebroucq, hereby swear and promise on God’s Holy Gospels, on which I place my hand, to tell the truth in answer to all the questions that will be put to me, and this under penalty of perjury: so help me God and his holy Gospels.

I have taken the above oath.

Signatum:

Marie Hassebroucq

My name is Marie Elisabeth Hassebroucq. I was born on 13th September 1893 in Comines, in the Diocese of Cam­brai. I have been living at Les Buissonnets with my mother and sisters for six months.

Interrogata an sciât hune esse locum in quo Serva Dei mansit, respondit:

The house we live in is the property of Doctor La Néele, the Servant of God’s first cousin. It is well-known that this property called “Les Buissonnets” is indeed where Thérèse Martin lived with her father and sisters from her arrival in Lisieux at the age of four and a half in 1877, until she entered the Carmel in 1888. My mother specifically rented this house out of devotion for Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

The specificities described by the Servant of God herself in the story of her life can be found on the premises.

Interrogata an in his locis fiat ecclesiasticus et publicus cultus in honorem Servae Dei, respondit:

Many pilgrims come to Les Buissonnets requesting to visit the house out of devotion for the Servant of God. Souvenirs of Sister Thérèse are explained to the pilgrims, who kneel on the prie-dieu that she used, recite the rosary, and touch their pious objects, pictures etc. to her belongings. But there are no pictures anywhere in the house representing the Servant of God with rays of light or halos: candles are not lit in the presence of these pictures or the objects that belonged to her.

I have deposed as above in accordance with to the truth.

Signatum: Marie Hassebroucq

XIV. Maryelle de la Tour d'Auvergne

 

I, the undersigned Maryelle de la Tour d'Auvergne, hereby swear and promise on God’s Holy Gospels, on which I place my hand, to tell the truth in answer to all the questions that will be put to me and this under penalty of perjury: so help me God and his Holy Gospels.

I’ve sworn the above oath.

Signatum: Maryelle de la Tour d'Auvergne.

Quo juramento praestito, interrogavit eam R. D. Promotor Fiscalis, de nomine, patria etc. cui illa respondit:

My name is Maryelle Françoise de la Tour d'Auvergne. I was born on 16th January 1881 in Versailles. I have been living at Les Buissonnets for six months.

Interrogata de dispositioue hujusce loci respondit:

I came here at the kind invitation of Mrs. Hassebroucq: in the house I can see the souvenirs of the life of the Servant of God Thérèse of the Child Jesus. In particular, one can observe the bedroom where she was healed at about 10 years of age by a vision of the Blessed Virgin.

Interrogata de concursu peregrinorum et de cultu Servae Dei exhibito, respondit:

I was very surprised to how many pilgrims have started coming here. There are some every day: they pray with great fervour, particularly before the statue of the Blessed Virgin in the bedroom where Thérèse was healed. But there is, strictly speaking, no public or official worshipping of the Servant of God in the house. None of her pictures depict a nimbus or rays of light; none are on altars or even in pride of place in the rooms of the house. More importantly, candles are never lit in her honour.

I have deposed as above according to the truth.

Signatum: Maryelle de la Tour d'Auvergne

The “Property” known as Les Buissonnets borders the town of Lisieux and the surrounding countryside, to the north. It consists of a small courtyard entrance arranged in the style of an English garden; a detached house with two storeys at the front and only one storey at the back due to the slope of the land; lastly a large vegetable garden behind the house. In the dining room, which is on the ground floor and faces the courtyard, the pieces of furniture have been left in their respective places, the very same furniture that was in the room in the time of Mr. Martin, the Servant of God’s father. There are, here and there in the rooms, by way of decoration, one or other of the pictures that illustrate the book “Story of a Soul” hung on the walls. The only interesting room in terms of the trial is the bedroom situated at the west end of the house, on the 1st floor looking onto the courtyard and lit by the first three windows on that side. It was in this room that the Servant of God was looked after during the illness she had when she was 10 years old and where she was granted a vision of the Blessed Virgin. A statue of the Most Blessed Virgin has been placed on a wardrobe that forms a table, in the very same place that the miraculous statue, which is now in the Carmel, stood. In front of this small shrine, there are two prie-dieu that the Servant of God used. The bed has been placed where it stood when the Servant of God had her illness and miraculous healing. It is to this room that pilgrims first come: they kneel on the prie-dieu in front of the picture of the Most Blessed Virgin. – On the walls are various pictures that are identical to those that can be found in the book “Story of a Soul” and the alcove contains the portrait of the Servant of God that forms the frontispiece of the afore-mentioned book.  

People also sometimes visit “Le Belvédère” which is the four-windowed bedroom situated on the second floor looking onto the courtyard. The Servant of God mentions the “Belvédère” in her life story. The bedroom contains no objects used for worship.

XV. Gaultier the father [of Pierre Gaultier]

 

I, the undersigned Pierre Gaultier, hereby swear and promise on God’s Holy Gospels, on which I place my hand, to tell the truth in answer to all the questions that will be put to me and this under penalty of perjury: so help me God and his Holy Gospels.

Signatum: Gaultier the father

Gaultier Pierre the son, summoned witness

Quo praestito juramento, Rñdus Promotor Fiscalis interrogavit praefatum testem de nomine, patria, aetate etc. . . . cui ille respondit:                

My name is Pierre Gaultier. I was born on 21st November 1860 in Brin-sur-l'Aution (Diocese of Angers). I have been the guardian of the cemetery of Lisieux since the year 1900. 

Interrogatus au sciat ubi Serva Dei Theresia a Puero Jesu fuerit tumulata, respondit :

When I arrived at my post of guardian of the cemetery, Sister Thérèse had already been buried for over two years. But there’s no doubt that her grave was N°. 1 in the first row at the bottom right against the wall, in the special enclosed plot reserved for Carmelite nuns, and apart from the cross that bore the inscription “Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus”, public testimony proved beyond any shred of a doubt that Sister Thérèse was buried in the place I described. – Moreover I attended the exhumation that took place on 6th September 1910, and I worked that day. The coffin that was lifted out of the first grave did indeed contain the young Carmelite’s remains. It was then transferred with all the remains it contained into the tomb that is on the left as you enter and surrounded with brick paving. A vault has been built in the grave which itself contains the old coffin enclosed within a double coffin of lead and oak.

Interrogatus an sit circa praedictum sepulchrum species aliqua cultus ecclesiastici, respondit:

Many pilgrims come to pray at the grave: I see some every day and from many different countries; I would say that the average is currently 80 per day. They pray at the grave, but they don’t hold ceremonies as in the church. Only once did I notice that someone had lit a candle and that it had set fire to the wreaths that had been put on the grave: since then, a sign has been put up forbidding it and people don’t light them any longer.  

I have deposed as above in accordance with the truth.

Signatum: Gaultier the father

Gaultier Pierre the son, summoned witness.

XVI. Dr La Néele

 

I, the undersigned Francisque La Néele, hereby swear and promise on God’s Holy Gospels, on which I place my hand, to tell the truth in answer to all the questions that will be put to me and this under penalty of perjury: so help me God and his Holy Gospels.

I have sworn the above oath.

Signatum: Dr. La Néele

Quo juramento praestito, Rmus Dñus Promotor Fiscalis interrogavit Testem de uomine, patria, etc. cui ille respondit dicens:

My name is Francis La Néele, I am a doctor of medicine living in Lisieux, 19 rue Paul Banaston. I was born on 18th October 1858 in Paris. The Servant of God, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus was my wife’s first cousin.

Interrogatus an sciat ubi corpus Servae Dei fuerit inhumatum, respondit:

I was present at her funeral, and the plot where she was buried is the property of our family. She was buried in the corner of the Carmel’s plot, at the bottom right as you enter, that is to say in the north-east corner. This first grave was dug very deep, because the intention was to put another coffin on top of the first. I also attended the change of grave that took place on 6th September 1910, at the order and under the presidency of His Excellency the Bishop of Bayeux. This transfer was intended to ensure the conservation of the Servant of God’s remains and facilitate finding them at a later date. The Bishop saw fit to ask me as a doctor to identify and note the state of the remains. It was in this capacity that I signed the exhumation report. There is no doubt whatsoever that the coffin lifted from the first grave contained the body of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus in the state that I meticulously described in the report. The coffin containing her remains was enclosed within a lead coffin, which was placed in an oak coffin, and the whole was sealed bearing the coat of arms of the Bishop Lemonnier and Mgr. de Teil the Vice-Postulator. The inner coffin also contains a lead cylinder with an authentic copy of the exhumation report inside. The whole was put in a small vault, covered with earth, and is situated immediately on the left as you enter the enclosure (1st row) towards the south-east corner. This site can be exteriorly recognized by the paving slabs that were put around it owing to visits made by pilgrims.

Interrogatus an sciât utrum sit circa hoc sepulchrum aliquis cultus publicus, respondit:

I come to the cemetery quite often, at least every three months and my wife comes here more often. I know that pilgrims come in large numbers, but I’ve never seen any liturgical worship take place at the Servant of God’s tomb. I did hear at the Carmel how a candle was lit and damaged the cross, but I myself have never seen any lit candles on the tomb. Generally, pilgrims pray in silence or recite the rosary.

I have deposed as above in accordance with the truth.

Signatum:

Dr. La Néele.

His peractis, idem Rmus Judex, una cum Promotore Fiscali et Testibus infrascriptis specialiter vocatis, meque Notario Actuario, cœmeterii communis et Servae Dei sepulcbri externam dispositionem et formam attente inspexit mihique Notario mandavit ut sepulchrum necnon circumposita loca describerem, quod et feci sequenti modo, annuente R. D. Fisci Promotore, videlicet:

The large cemetery that serves the various parishes of Lisieux is outside the town, about one kilometre away from the last houses, to the south, on the land belonging to the Parish of St. Jacques’. It stretches from west to east in a long rectangular shape that is about 300 metres long and 100 to 150 metres wide. Towards the east end and in the south-east corner, there is a rectangular area delimited by a small brick wall topped with an iron railing. This area is allocated to the burial of Carmelite nuns: it is about 10 metres long (west-east) and 5 m. 50 wide (north-south). The entrance to the enclosure is marked with an upward step and a small door in the iron railing, in the middle of the south side. In this plot there is first a row of seven graves along the north side. The last of these seven graves on the right, in the north-east corner of the burial plot, no longer bears a cross: it is simply an irregularly-shaped mound of turned-over earth; this is where the Servant of God was first buried.

In front of this row of seven tombs there is the start of a second row, therefore further south and nearer the entrance. At the right of the entrance, one tomb alone takes up approximately half the space between the entrance door and the west wall. This is where the Servant of God is currently buried, and she has been there since 6th September 1910. The area around the grave was consolidated by means of brick paving slabs that were laid at a distance of about 0 m. 80 all around it. On the grave is an iron cross, painted white, without decoration, but a bit larger than the wooden crosses that are on the other graves. This cross bears an inscription written in black, similar to those that can be seen on the other graves in the enclosure. It says, 1873-1897.- Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. “I want to spend my Heaven doing good upon earth”. This cross is literally covered with “graffiti”.

Near the surrounding wall and to the left of the door, a metal plate hangs on the railing with this inscription on it: “

As a precaution and to comply with the prescriptions of the Church, it is expressly forbidden to light candles on the grave of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus”. Lastly it is worth noting that the cemetery of Lisieux contains another plot also delimited by a railing and a small wall and previously allocated to the burial of Carmelite nuns; but this older burial plot is situated near the centre of the cemetery whereas that which contains the Servant of God’s tomb is at the east end.

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