Testimony of Mother Agnes of Jesus at the diocesan inquiry into the life of Saint Thérèse
About 3 p.m. she crossed her forearms and said to the prioress: "Mother, introduce me to the Blessed Virgin quickly please; prepare me to die well." She also repeated: "All I have written about my desire for suffering is quite true; I do not regret having offered myself to Love; quite the contrary."

A few minutes after 7 p.m. Mother Prioress decided that the patient was holding her own, and she sent the community away. The poor victim sighed: "Mother, is it not the agony yet? Am I not going to die?" "Yes, my child," replied the prioress, "it is the last agony, but perhaps God wants to prolong it for a few hours." She answered bravely: "All right, then . . . let’s go on . . . wouldn’t want the time of suffering cut short." Fixing her eyes on the crucifix, she slowly said: "Oh! . . . I love him . . . My . . . God! . . . I . . . love . . . You!" Having pronounced these words she fell back gently, her head a little to the right. Mother hastily summoned the community to return, and all were in time to witness her ecstasy.

Her face, which had become purple and contorted during her agony, had returned to its pristine freshness and the lily-white colouring of healthier days, her eyes stared upwards, shining with peace and joy. A sister drew near with a torch to get a better look at this sublime gaze, and the light of the torch produced no movement of the eyelids. This ecstasy lasted for the space of a Credo. Then I saw her close her eyes; she sighed several times, and rendered her soul to God.

After she was dead she preserved a sweet smile; she looked ravishingly beautiful. As is the custom in Carmel, she was laid out in the choir, by the grille. By Sunday evening, 3 October, there were some signs of decomposition, and the coffin was closed. She was buried on 4 October at the Lisieux cemetery, without anything out of the ordinary happening.

What I have just related about Sister Thérèse’s last illness is only a very incomplete summary of my memories. During her last months on earth, I wrote down daily, so far as I could witness them, the details of the day’s happenings, especially anything she said. The best thing I can do to complete my testimony is to present the tribunal with a copy of these daily notes.

She was buried in the Carmelite plot in the town cemetery. Her body has remained there to this day, in the same grave.

I have been told personally and in letters that people visit her grave every day, and that the number of people doing so is increasing daily. Obviously, I have not been able to check these facts for myself, as I am enclosed, but they are public knowledge.

Almost all the nuns who have entered this convent since the Servant of God’s death have done so because of her. The first to do so in these circumstances was Mother Marie-Ange of the Child Jesus. She took the Servant of God as her model, and advanced very fervently along the way of spiritual childhood. She was entirely devoted to her Cause, and when she was prioress she succeeded in having it officially introduced. She offered up her life for its success, and, after proving herself a worthy imitator of Sister Thérèse of the child Jesus during her seven and a half years in religion, she died at the age of 28 with the most admirable sentiments of trust in and love for God. All the others took up the same ideal of perfection, and just concentrated on following in the Servant of God’s footsteps.

from the testimony of Mother Agnes of Jesus [Pauline Martin] at the diocesan inquiry into the life of Saint Thérèse, given as a part of the process for the cause of canonization; from Saint Thérése of Lisieux by Those Who Knew Her, edited by Christopher O'Mahony, Dublin, Pranstown House, rep. 1989


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