Questions for the interrogation of witnesses


Ordinary Trial




With the aim of facilitating the reading of each deposition, here is a summary of the thirty questions put to the witnesses during the interrogation.

1 - Oath: - a very serious matter, sincerity, integrity; - under pain of excommunication, duty of confidentiality.

2 - Presentation of the witness.

3 – Sacramental observance of the witness.

4 – Has the witness ever been publicly accused of a crime?

5 – Has the witness ever been placed under ecclesiastical sanction?

6 – Has the witness been under any pressure with regard to the Trial depositions and, if so, in what way?

7 – In what frame of mind does the witness come to testify? If he is related to the Servant of God, does he feel free from all family bias?

8 – The witness’ sources of information: personal contacts with the Servant of God? Information from third parties? Information drawn from writings? – If Story of a Soul is a source, what does the witness know about its origins, its purpose, its objectivity, its integrity, etc.?

9 – The witness’ devotion, love for the Servant of God. Does he desire her beatification? Why?

10 – Birth, childhood, family background, education of the Servant of God. – Who took care of her after her Mother’s death?

11 – Reputation, faith, behaviour, piety, character of the Servant of God’s parents.

12 – The Servant of God’s baptism.

13 – Education given by her parents: to their children in general and to Thérèse in particular. – If the witness mentions a predilection on Mr. Martin’s part for his daughter Thérèse, ask whether this gave her reason to be vain or attached to her own will.

14 – The Servant of God’s childhood, education at the Benedictine Abbey of Lisieux, first communion, confirmation.

15 – Why was Thérèse withdrawn from the Benedictine Abbey before the end of her education? – How did she subsequently behave in her family? Her qualities, faults, religious practices, notably communion.  

16 – Origin of her vocation to be a Carmelite. – How old was she when she felt the call? What signs did she give that proved her vocation was authentic?

17 – The novitiate, the profession. – Attitude of the Ecclesiastical Superior. The Servant of God’s behaviour during her training.

18 – The Servant of God’s help with the novices. Why was she not Mistress of novices? Her pedagogy. –Did she fulfill other offices in the monastery?

19 – Did the Servant of God leave writings? If so, which ones?

20 – Heroic virtues. – Did the Servant of God demonstrate an alert and constant fervour that was above average in the practice of virtues throughout her life?

21 – Theological virtues.

Heroic faith. – Positive exercise of faith through words and actions. – Adherence to the infallible teachings of the Church and Popes. – Fight against temptation.

Heroic hope. – Eternal beatitude and her joys. Trust in God.

Heroic charity, love of God. – Abhorrence of sin, zeal for the glory of God, the Servant of God’s Love for Jesus Christ: what was her preferred way of demonstrating this?

Heroic charity, neighbourly love. Physical care of the poor. The sick. – Spiritual influence. – Tolerance in the face of insults, vexations, opposition. – Equal love for everyone or limited by preferences? – Love free or not of sensual and even strong affection?

Cardinal virtues.

Prudence. – The Servant of God’s attitude in times of notable difficulty. – Flight from dangerous situations, recourse to positive means. – Help given to others in difficulty.

Justice. – Cult of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints. – Obedience and respect owed to Superiors. – Care for the truth. – Respect for the rights of friendship; affability in daily relationships.

Strength. – Patience and constancy in adversity. Perseverance and magnanimity in difficult, wearisome tasks. Works. Corporal mortification. Psychological mortification.

Temperance. –Food and drink. Modesty in clothing. Manner of speaking. – Did the Servant of God have to fight against a nature given to violence, anger? Did she manage, and if so how, to control herself in a spirit of leniency?

Associated virtues and religious vows. – Observance of religious vows according to the rule and constitutions. Heroic exercise of obedience, poverty and chastity. – Humility: contempt for herself, acceptance of disdain or contempt from others.

22 – “Extraordinary” gifts. – Visions, revelations, gift of prophecy, reading consciences, ecstasies, etc.

23 – Reputation of holiness during her life: - In the world, then in the monastery: Was her reputation controversial? If so, for what reasons?

24 – Last illness, receiving the sacraments, submission to the will of God.

25 – Burial, any transfers, current location of the burial place. What did people say about the Servant of God at the time?

26 – Has the witness been to the Servant of God’s burial place? What does he know of the number and social background of the believers who visit the Servant of God’s tomb?

27 – Reputation for holiness after death. – Is this reputation a fact? If so, where is it spreading? In which circles? Is it in decline or is it developing? Where did it originate? Might it come from some kind of industrious zeal?

28 – Is this reputation for holiness provoking any opposition? If so, from whom? How? Why?

29 – Graces and miracles after death.

30 – The witness is invited to complete or correct part or all of what he has declared during the course of the interrogation.