We see opposite the first page of the bubble, parchment paper that has withstood the bombardments from 1944 but twisted under the effect of the heat.
[The original text is in Latin]
17th May 1925
SERVANT OF GOD'S SERVANTS
For perpetual memory
It is with feelings of vehement joy and the liveliest joy that on this day, and during this year of mercy, We, who have included among the number of Blessed Virgins the young Thérèse of the Child- Jesus, Nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, and have proposed her to the beloved Sons of the Church, as a most loving model, We celebrate, in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and by Our own authority, his solemn Canonization.
This truly wise and prudent Virgin walked the way of the Lord in the simplicity and ingenuity of her soul, and, consummated in a short time, furnished a long career. Still in the flower of her youth, she flew to Heaven, called to receive the crown that the heavenly Bridegroom had prepared for her for eternity. Known to few people during her life, immediately after her precious death, she astonished the Christian universe with the noise of her fame and the innumerable miracles obtained from God through her intercession. As she had predicted before her death, she seemed to spread a shower of roses over the earth. It is because of these marvels that the Church decided to grant him the honors reserved for the Saints, without waiting for the ordinary and fixed deadlines.
She was born in Alençon, a town in the diocese of Séez, on January XNUMX, XNUMX, of honorable parents: Louis-Stanislas Martin and Marie-Zélie Guérin, remarkable for their singular and fervent piety. On the fourth of the same month, she received Baptism with the names of Marie-Françoise-Thérèse.
Aged four years and seven months, to her immense pain, her mother was taken away from her and the joy died out in her heart. Her education was then entrusted to her two elder sisters Marie and Pauline, to whom she endeavored to be perfectly submissive, and she lived under the assiduous and watchful care of her beloved father. At their school, Therese rushed like a giant on the path to perfection. From her earliest years, she delighted in speaking often of God, and lived in the constant thought of not saddening the Child Jesus in any way whatsoever.
Having conceived, by a benevolence of the divine Spirit, the desire to lead an entirely holy life, she took the firm resolution never to refuse God anything that he would seem to ask of him, and remained faithful to it until death.
When she had reached her ninth year, she was entrusted for her instruction to the Religious of the Monastery of the Order of Saint Benedict, in Lisieux. She spent the whole day there to attend the lessons, and in the evening returned home. If she yielded in age to her boarding school companions, she surpassed them all in progress and piety. She learned the Mysteries of Religion with so much zeal and penetration that the chaplain of the Community called her “the theologian” or the “little Doctor”. From that time, she learned from memory and in full the book of the Imitation of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Scriptures became so familiar to her that, in her writings, she often quoted it with authority.
A mysterious and serious illness made her suffer a lot. She was miraculously delivered from it, as she herself recounted, by the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared to her smiling, during a novena where she was invoked under her title of Our Lady of Victories. Then, full of angelic fervor, she took all her care to prepare for the sacred banquet where Christ gave himself as nourishment.
As soon as she had tasted the Eucharistic Bread, she felt an insatiable hunger for this heavenly food. Also, as if inspired, she prayed to Jesus, in whom she found her delight, to “change for her all human consolations into bitterness”. From then on, all burning with love for Christ and for the Catholic Church, she soon had no greater desire than to enter the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, in order, by her immolation and her continual sacrifices, " to help the priests, the missionaries, the whole Church”, and to win countless souls to Jesus Christ, as, near death, she promised to continue to do so before God.
During her fifteenth year, she experienced great difficulty, on the part of the ecclesiastical authority, in embracing religious life, because of her great youth. However, she overcame them with incredible fortitude, and, despite her natural shyness, she expressed her wish to Our Predecessor Leo XIII, of happy memory, who, however, left the matter to the decision of the Superiors. Frustrated in her hope, Thérèse felt great pain, but she fully acquiesced in the divine will.
After this hard test of her patience and of her vocation, on the ninth of April of the year one thousand eight hundred and eighty-eight, she finally entered, with the approval of her Bishop and in all the joy of her soul, the Monastery of the Carmel of Lisieux.
There, God operated admirable ascents in the heart of Thérèse, who, imitating the hidden life of the Virgin Mary in Nazareth, produced, like a fertile garden, the flowers of all the virtues, above all of a burning love for God, and of an eminent charity for her neighbour, for she had perfectly understood this precept of the Lord: "Love one another as I have loved you." »
In her desire to please Jesus Christ as much as possible, and having read and meditated on this invitation from Sacred Scripture: "If anyone is small, let him come to me", she resolved to become small according to the spirit , and, consequently, with the most filial and the most complete confidence, she gave herself up forever to God as to the most beloved Father. This path of spiritual childhood, according to the doctrine of the Gospel, she taught to others, especially to novices, whose formation in religious virtues had been entrusted to her by her Superiors; and then, by her writings full of apostolic zeal, she taught, with holy enthusiasm, to a world puffed up with pride, loving only vanity and seeking falsehood, the way of evangelical simplicity.
Her divine Spouse Jesus inflamed her again with the desire for suffering of body and soul. Considering, moreover, with deep sorrow, how much the love of God is misunderstood and rejected—two years before her precious death—she spontaneously offered herself as a victim to his “merciful Love”. She was then, as it is reported, wounded with a stroke of celestial fire. Finally, consumed with love, rapt in ecstasy, and repeating with extreme fervor: "MY GOD, I LOVE YOU", she flew away joyfully to her Spouse, on the thirtieth of September of the year one thousand eight hundred and eighty. seventeen, at the age of twenty-four, thus deserving of the praise so well known—already quoted above—from the Book of Wisdom "consumed in a short time, it provided a long career."
Buried in the cemetery of Lisieux, with the appropriate honors, she immediately began to be famous throughout the whole universe and her sepulcher became glorious.
The promise that she had formulated before her death to "make a shower of roses fall on the earth" — that is to say, of graces — had scarcely reached Heaven, she carried it out to the letter by innumerable miracles, and she still does it today. This distinguished Servant of God who, during her life, had acquired the sympathy of all those who approached her, has seen, since her death, this feeling take on prodigious strength and extension.
Moved by such a reputation for holiness, a large number of Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, Patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops, of France in particular, many also Apostolic Vicars, Superiors of Congregations, Abbots of Monasteries and Superiors of Religious, addressed to Our Predecessor, Pius X, of holy memory, Postulatory Letters to obtain the Introduction of the Cause of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, accompanying them with many entreaties and testimonies.
This Pontiff welcomed them very favorably, and on the ninth of June of the year nineteen hundred and fourteen, he signed, with his own hand, the Commission for the Introduction of the Cause, entrusted to the very diligent Postulator General of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Father Rodrigue de Saint-François de Paule.
All the phases of the Process having been gone through according to the rules, and the question of the Heroicity of the Virtues examined, the General Congregation met on the second of August, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-one, in the presence of Pope Benedict XV, Our Predecessor, d happy memory. The Very Eminent and Very Reverend Cardinal Antoine Vico, Ponent of the Cause, there proposed for discussion the following Doubt: "Is it certain that the theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity towards God and neighbour, as well as the cardinal Virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance, and the annexed Virtues, were practiced to a heroic degree by the Servant of God THERESE OF THE CHILD-JESUS, in the case and for the effect of which it is ? All the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church present and the Father Consultants each gave their opinion. The same Pontiff, having listened to them with benevolence, nevertheless reserved his supreme judgment, wishing first to implore from God greater light in a matter of so much importance.
On the eve of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Predecessor finally manifested his decision and solemnly pronounced:
“It is certain that the theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, towards God and neighbour, as well as the cardinal Virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance and the annexed Virtues, were practiced by the Venerable Servant of God, THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS and TO A HEROIC DEGREE. »
He ordered to publish the Decree, to insert it among the Acts of the Sacred Congregation of Rites under the date of August fourteen, nineteen hundred and twenty-one.
This Cause had such a rapid and happy progress, accompanied by so much joy, that two miracles were immediately proposed for examination, chosen from a multitude of various wonders which were said to have been obtained throughout the Christian universe. , through the powerful intercession of the Venerable Thérèse. The first concerns Sister Louise de Saint-Germain, of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross, suffering from an organic disease, namely: an anatomical and pathological lesion, that is to say a very severe stomach, hemorrhagic form. After imploring the intercession of the Venerable Thérèse of the Child Jesus to God, the patient recovered to perfect health, as three eminent doctors unanimously recognized, having each given their opinion, in writing, at the request of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. The second miracle, quite similar to the first, is the healing of the young seminarian, Charles Anne, sick with hemoptysic pulmonary tuberculosis during a cavitary period. He confidently invoked the help of the Servant of God and recovered perfectly, as is evident from the conclusions of three doctors and the series of arguments on which their decision was based.
Also all those who were called upon to give their opinion were in a position, after having maturely weighed all things, to formulate a certain and indubitable judgment on the question submitted for examination. After the two Preparatory and Preparatory Congregations, then, came the General Congregation, on January thirtieth, nineteen hundred and twenty-three, in which was discussed, in Our presence, the following Doubt: “Is there certainty of miracles, and what miracles, in the case and for the effect in question? The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church present, and the Father Consultors explained, each in turn, their point of view. After having listened to them attentively, We thought we could suspend Our decision, according to custom, to obtain, in such a serious matter, more abundant help from the Father of Lights.
Finally, on Quinquagesima Sunday, feast of the Apparition of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, at Lourdes, and the eve of the first anniversary of Our coronation, We wanted, on this doubly happy day, to manifest Our decision; and, in the presence of the Eminentissime Cardinal Antoine Vico, Bishop of Porto and Sainte-Rufine, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Rites and Ponent of the Cause, as well as the other dignitaries of this Congregation, We solemnly declared: "II There is certainty of a miracle in the two cases proposed, namely: the instantaneous and perfect healing of Sister Louise of Saint-Germain, of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross, of a very serious stomach ulcer, of hemorrhagic, and the instantaneous and perfect cure of the seminarian Charles Anne, of a hemoptysic pulmonary tuberculosis in cavitary period. » And We gave orders to publish the Decree and to insert it in the Acts of the Sacred Congregation, on the eleventh of February of the year one thousand nine hundred and twenty-three.
Shortly afterwards, that is to say on March XNUMX of the same year, in a general meeting of the same Congregation, the same Cardinal-Ponent of the Cause proposed, in Our presence, the following question: "Given the recognition of the Virtues and the two miracles, can we, in complete safety, proceed to the solemn Beatification of the Venerable Servant of God, Sister THERESE OF THE CHILD-JESUS? All those present answered with one voice: "YOU CAN WITHOUT ANY SECURITY." »
To pronounce Our final judgment, however, We have chosen the happy day of the Feast of the Holy Patriarch Joseph, illustrious Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the universal Church, and We have solemnly declared:
“We can, in complete safety, proceed to the Beatification of the Venerable Servant of God, Sister THERESE OF THE CHILD-JESUS. »
And We ordered to publish the Decree and to insert it in the Acts of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, on the date of March nineteen nineteen hundred and twenty-three, and to send Apostolic Letters, in the form de Bref, for the celebration of the ceremonies of the Beatification in the Vatican Basilica.
These Solemnities of the Beatification were celebrated in the Patriarchal Basilica of Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, on the twenty-ninth of April following, with a great concurrence of clergy and people and in the outpouring of universal joy.
On the account of new prodigies of Blessed Thérèse of the Child Jesus, We ordered Her Sacred Congregation of Rites, on the twenty-fifth of July of the year one thousand nine hundred and twenty-three, to resume the Cause of this same Blessed. Two miracles having been proposed for its examination, the Trials instructed and the witnesses heard, the Sacred Congregation issued this Decree: "We are assured of the validity of the trials carried out, by the apostolic authority, in the dioceses of Parma and Mechelen, about miracles attributed to the intercession of BLESSED THERESA who had been solicited, in the case and for the effect in question. This Decree was ratified and confirmed by Us on the eleventh day of June in the year one thousand nine hundred and twenty-four.
The two miracles proposed for discussion were the following: The first is the healing of Gabrielle Trimusi, the second, the healing of Maria Pellemans.
Gabrielle, who entered the Congregation of the "Poor Daughters of the Sacred Hearts" at the age of twenty-three, whose Mother House is in the city of Parma, began to suffer from left knee pain in nineteen hundred and thirteen. Employed in domestic work, she used to break on her knee, with the strength of her arm, the wood to be burned. The repetition of this act ended by producing, without her noticing it, a lesion in the joint, which degenerated into a tuberculous affection. At first she felt only a feeling of dull pain, then came a trembling of the knee, the loss of appetite and the patient's weight loss.
Two called doctors visited the Sister and ordered remedies, but without success, so that after three years she was sent to Milan where heliotherapy, baths,
blisters, injections and the like, without any result; on the contrary, after four years, the backbone was affected in its turn. Sister Gabrielle returned to Parma where several doctors who visited her recognized a lesion of a tuberculous nature, and ordered general remedies. The ordinary doctor of the Community, noting that the condition of the spine was also getting worse, advised to take the patient to the hospital. In the meantime, he carried out the radioscopic examination of the diseased knee and noted periostitis at the top of the tibia. Received at the hospital, she was again subjected to the application of X-rays. During this stay at the Milan hospital, suffering from the so-called Spanish flu, she experienced new pains in the dorsal part of the spine. which continued to increase.
As all the remedies remained useless, an ecclesiastic who visited her advised, on June XNUMX, XNUMX, to make a novena in honor of Blessed Thérèse of the Child Jesus, in front of a small image where was also printed a prayer to the Blessed.
The patient joins in, more concerned about the health of the other sisters than her own. As the last day of this novena coincided with the closing of a solemn Triduum, celebrated in honor of the Blessed in the Church of the Carmelites, very close to the Convent, some of the Sisters, and the patient herself, asked permission to go. On the way back, after covering this short distance with a slow and very painful step, Sister Trimusi entered the Chapel of the Community where the other sisters were gathered, as usual. The Superior exhorted the patient to pray with confidence, and enjoined her to return to her place. Wonderful thing! the cripple, unconsciously, knelt without feeling any pain and, without more difficulty than if he had been perfectly healthy, remained thus, resting on his sick knee, and not noticing this wonder, because her attention was absorbed by the pains in her back which, at this moment, tormented her most cruelly. She went to the refectory with the Sisters. When the meal was over, she climbed the stairs slowly, entered the first room she came across, took off her device and cried aloud: "I'm cured!" I am cured! »
She immediately resumed the employments and labors of her condition and the exercises of religious life, without any suffering or fatigue, giving thanks to God for the miracle wrought by the intercession of Blessed Thérèse of the Child Jesus.
The physicians, appointed by the Sacred Congregation, discussed this cure at length, and ruled that the lesion of the knee was a chronic arthrosynovitis, and that of the spine, an equally chronic spondylitis. These two organic lesions, rebellious to all remedies, yielded to the Almighty Power of God, and Sister Gabrielle miraculously recovered her health, and persevered there.
The story of the second miracle, as told by Maria Pellemans, who was favored by it, is shorter. In the month of October nineteen hundred and nine, she was ill with well-known pulmonary tuberculosis; then came on enteritis and gastritis, also of a tubercular nature. She received medical care, first at home, then in a sanatorium called “La Hulpe”. Returning to her house, she undertook, in the month of August nineteen hundred and twenty, a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Lourdes, in the hope of obtaining her cure, but it was without success. In the month of March XNUMX, she joined a group of pilgrims who were visiting the Carmel of Lisieux, and, at the tomb of Blessed Thérèse of the Child Jesus, having confidently invoked her intercession, she immediately regained perfect health.
Three physicians, automatically summoned by the Sacred Congregation of Rites to give their opinion on these two miracles, all expressed, and in writing, a favorable response.
In these cures, the truth of the miracle appeared beyond doubt, it even shone with an unaccustomed splendor, because of the particularities with which these prodigies were surrounded. This is why those who have been called upon to give their vote have been able to do so, relying on the authority which results from the unanimous agreement of men of the art; in the General Congregation, held, in Our presence, on the seventeenth of March of the current year, and during which Our dear Son Antoine Vico, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Ponent of the Cause, proposed the following Doubt: “Is there a certainty of miracles, and of what miracles, in the case and for the effect in question? » The Most Reverend Cardinal Fathers of the Holy Roman Church, the Prelates and the Father Consultors expressed their opinion, each in turn. After having heard them, in the joy of Our soul, We have, however, postponed making Our thought known, wishing to implore again, by instant prayers, for such an important decision, a more powerful and more effective help from the Father of Lights.
Shortly afterwards, however, We chose and fixed the nineteenth day of March, on which the Church rejoices on the Feast of the holy Patriarch Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the universal Church, and, in the presence of the Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites and of the main dignitaries, We solemnly pronounced: “There is certainty of a miracle in the two cases proposed. »
Then, on the twenty-ninth day of the same month, after having collected the unanimous suffrages of the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church and of the Consulting Fathers, We solemnly declared:
BLESSED THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS, Virgin, Professed Nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, of the Monastery of Lisieux. »
After all these preliminaries and these Decrees, in order to observe to the end all the wise prescriptions of Our Predecessors in view of the celebration and the splendor of such an august Ceremony, We first summoned Our dear Sons, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, to a secret Consistory, on the thirtieth of March, to ask their opinion. In this Consistory, Our Venerable Brother Antoine Vico, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Bishop of Porto and Saint Rufina, and Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, eloquently explained to Us and to the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church , the life and miracles of Blessed Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the other new Saints, and asked with great ardor that she be elevated to supreme honours. This discourse ended, We have collected the votes of the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church on this question: "Must we come to the solemn Canonization of this Blessed?" and each of the Cardinals expressed his opinion.
Then, on the second day of April, We held a public Consistory in which, after having heard with pleasure a very learned discourse on Blessed Thérèse of the Child Jesus, by Our dear Son Jean Guasco, lawyer of Our Consistorial Court , all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, with a unanimous voice, exhorted Us to the supreme decision of this Cause.
We have also taken care to send Letters from the Sacred Consistorial Congregation to the Venerable Bishops, not only to the nearest ones, but even to the most distant ones, to advise them of this solemnity, so that, if possible, they came close to Us, to give Us also their feeling. They came from various countries, and they attended, on the twenty-second of the month of April, a semi-public Consistory, in Our presence, after having learned of the Cause, by a Summary, which was given to each , as much of the life, virtues and miracles of Blessed Thérèse of the Child Jesus, as of all the Acts performed in Our presence and in the Sacred Congregation of Rites. And, not only Our dear Sons, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, but also Our Venerable Brothers the Patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops, with unanimous agreement, urged Us to celebrate this Canonization. From all these suffrages, Our dear Sons, the Apostolic Protonotaries, drew up the Acts to be preserved in the Archives of the Sacred Congregation of Rites.
We have therefore decided to celebrate the Solemnity of this Canonization on this day, the seventeenth of May, in the Vatican Basilica, and, in the meantime, We have urged the Faithful of Christ to redouble their fervent prayers, especially in the churches where the Most Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration; so that they themselves taste more abundantly the fruits of such a great solemnity, and that the Holy Spirit deigns to assist Us more effectively in such a serious exercise of Our charge.
On this day, therefore, so happy and so desired, the Orders of the Secular and Regular Clergy, the Prelates and Dignitaries of the Roman Curia and all that Rome has of Cardinals, Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops and Abbots, assembled in the Basilica Beautifully ornate Vatican. In their presence We made Our own entrance.
So Our Venerable Brother Antoine Vico, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Bishop of Porto and of Sainte-Rufine, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites and responsible for the pursuit of this Cause of Canonization, after a speech by Our dear Son Virgile Jacoucci , Advocate of Our Consistorial Court, Presented to Us the good wishes and prayers of the Episcopate and of the entire Carmelite Order
Discalced, so that We may place among the Saints Blessed Thérèse of the Child Jesus, whom We have already declared Patroness of the Missions and of the Novitiates of the Order of Carmel.
The same Cardinal and the same Advocate renewed their request a second and a third time with greater and greater authority. We, then, having fervently implored celestial light, "for the honor of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, for the growth and glory of the Catholic Faith, by the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saints Apostles Peter and Paul and Ours, after mature deliberation and with the suffrage of Our Venerable Brothers the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, as well as the Patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops, We have declared that the said BLESSED THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS, Nun Professed of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, is SAINT and must be listed in the Catalog of Saints. »
We have ordered that His memory of this Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus be celebrated each year, on October XNUMX, and noted in the Roman Martyrology.
Finally, We rendered fervent thanksgiving to the Most Good and Most Great God for so great a benefit, and We solemnly celebrated the Holy Sacrifice, and very affectionately granted a Plenary Indulgence to all those present: and, for perpetual memory, We have ordered to write and publish the present Letters which will be signed by Our hand and by the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church.
Faithful of Christ, the Church presents to you today a new and admirable Model of Virtues which you must all contemplate without ceasing. For the proper character of the holiness to which God called Thérèse of the Child Jesus consists above all in the fact that, having heard the call of God, she obeyed him with the greatest promptitude and the most entire fidelity. Without her way of living being out of the ordinary, she followed her vocation and consumed it with such fervor, generosity and constancy that she attained the Heroicity of Virtues.
It is in our time, when men seek with so much passion temporal goods, that this young Virgin lived, in the serene and courageous practice of the virtues, with a view to eternal life and to procure the glory of God. May his example confirm in the exercise of the Virtues, not only those who dwell in the cloisters, but the faithful who live in the world, and lead them to a more perfect life!
Let us all implore, in our present needs, the protection of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, so that, on us too, through Her intercession, a Rain of Roses will descend, that is to say, the graces we need. .
With certain science, and in all the plenitude of Our Apostolic Authority, We affirm and confirm all that precedes, and again We decree and order it, and We want that the copies of these Letters, even printed, provided however that they are signed by a notary public and bear the seal of a personage of ecclesiastical dignity, have the same value as if Our original Letters themselves were produced or shown.
Let no one therefore dare to attack or contradict these Letters of Our Decision, Decree, Mandate or Will; if anyone had the temerity to attempt it, let him know that he would incur the indignation of Almighty God and His Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
Given at Rome near St. Peter, in the year of the Lord one thousand nine hundred and twenty-five, the seventeenth day of the month of May, of Our Pontificate the fourth year.