Testimony, Witness 1
Diocesan Process of Beatification
Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus
My name is Marie-Pauline Martin. I was born in Alençon in the diocese of Séez on 7th September 1861, of the legitimate marriage between Louis-Joseph-Aloys-Stanislas Martin, originally from Bordeaux, and Marie-Zélie Guérin, originally from Gandelain, near Alençon in the diocese of Séez. My religious name is Sister Agnès of Jesus, nun, Prioress of the Carmelite Convent of Lisieux, blood sister of the Servant of God.
I primarily knew the Servant of God as a result of the constant family relations that I had with her and of living together, first in the family home, from 1877 to 1882, then in the Carmel from 1888 until she died. During the first five years of her life (1873-1877), I was at boarding school, away from home. From 1882, when I joined the Carmel, until 1888 when she joined the same convent, I was parted from her, but we kept up family relations. I myself had seen and witnessed what she relates in Story of a Soul, which she wrote herself, and reading her writings added little to my knowledge of her life. On her deathbed, she said to me, “You alone know all the recesses of my soul.” [Last Conversations, 16 July, no. 4].
I have great affection for her and great trust in her because I believe she is close to God and has power over His heart. I pray to her often, not because she is my sister, but because of her holiness; I have genuine respect for her; during her lifetime, I had respect, but mostly affection. I greatly desire her beatification, because she will bring God glory, and more importantly, spread news of His mercy. People will trust His mercy more and fear His justice less. This is what Sister Thérèse called her “little way of trust and surrender”, which she wanted to teach souls after her death.
She was born on 2nd January 1873 in Rue Saint-Blaise in Alençon, in the parish of Notre-Dame, diocese of Séez. […] She was baptized in the church of Notre-Dame in Alençon on 4th January 1873.
[How do you know this?]:
Because I was there.
[Do you know why she was not baptized until two days after her birth?]:
Because we were waiting for her godfather. During that time, our pious mother was in a state of continual panic, regretting having waited and fearing that the child would come to some harm. She kept imagining that the child’s life was in danger. All the other children had been baptized on the day they were born. The baptism certificate must be in the Vice Postulator’s files, for that matter.
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