Testimony of Marie of the Angels of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D. at the diocesan inquiry into the life of Saint Thérèse
Although I rarely saw the Servant of God during her illness, so as not to tire her, I saw her often enough to realize how heroic her courage was. I can confidently say that hers was the most beautiful death I have witnessed in Carmel. It was a harrowing experience to see he pain increase day by day. On the afternoon of 30 September we felt the end was near, and we all gathered at her bedside. At 4:30 p.m. her agony began, and she thanked the community with a pretty smile for having come to help her with their prayers. She held the crucifix in her failing hands, a cold sweat bathed her brow, and she was shaking all over. Shortly before 7 p.m. Mother Prioress sent the community away, for the agony looked like dragging on for some time. Only Mother Prioress and her own three sisters stayed on. But we had hardly left when we were summoned back again. I was convinced this was the end. Back at the bedside, I saw her bend her head as she looked at the crucifix, and we heard her say: "Oh! yes, I love Him . . . My God I love You . . ." Suddenly she raised her head erect with surprising energy.he opened her eyes wide and gazed in a marvelous sort of way at a point above the statue of our Lady. We felt she was looking at something supernatural at that moment. I thought it must have been our Lord. Almost immediately afterwards, her head fell back on the pillow: it was all over. I shall never forget that look of hers, nor so beautiful a death.

It is marvelous to see how the Servant of God's "furore in the world" has gone on increasing since her death. The phrase I quote is the expression a religious used recently in the parlor. She seems to be everywhere -- in communities, in seminaries, and in families. Every day we have letters telling us how much she helps priests and missionaries. In China, they tell us, she has converted whole villages.

In my own family I can see devotion to her growing steadily; they pray to her, they feel free to ask anything of her, and are always asking me for books, pictures, novena leaflets, etc.

We turn out these pictures by the thousand here, and still cannot meet the demand. Sometimes we receive as many as 100 letters in one day acknowledging favors and telling of the devotion they all have to the Servant of God. Some of these are read to us at recreation, and they establish beyond question her worldwide reputation for holiness.

The numerous letters from so many different quarters establishing the Servant of God's fame also prove that the faithful everywhere are confident of obtaining extraordinary temporal and spiritual favors through her intercession. There are numerous accounts of cures, conversions, and all sorts of favors. I am not very well informed about these, but I am sure it would be easy to collect a multitude of such attestations.

In our own convent, there have been numerous instances of sweet-smelling perfumes, which do not appear to have any natural explanation. Two or three months ago I learned of an extraordinary thing that happened to one of our young lay-sisters, Sister Jeanne-Marie of the Child Jesus, whom I regard as an angel of virtue and piety. A few days after the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1910, she found that she was almost completely out of the little printed seals which Mons. Teil, the vice-postulator, had given her to stick on pictures and souvenirs by way of authentication. The sister who was helping her in this work, by cutting up sheets of them into individual seals, told her she did not have time to cut out any more just then. Sr. Jeanne-Marie recommended herself to the Servant of God and went back to her room. To her great surprise and delight, she found her little box of seals filled up again. There were over 500 of them there. The matter was looked into, to see if any of the other sisters had done it go give her a surprise, but no one had done it. Besides, it was unlikely that they would have done so, because the work could not have been undertaken without Mother Prioress's permission, and also because we are forbidden to enter each other's rooms.

It was Sr. Jeanne-Marie, too, who was similarly favored last year, when she found a certain water tank inexplicably filled up for her at a time when she was doing her duty in spite of being very tired.

Sweet Saint Thérèse, pray for us!

from the testimony of Marie of the Angels of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D. [Saint Thérèse's novice mistress] 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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