the Carmel

At the Apostolic Process: verification of the tomb and recognition of the remains of the Servant of God

Tomb and remains of Sister Thérèse

[Verification of the grave and recognition of the remains of the Servant of God]

According to the norms of law, before concluding the Apostolic Process, the Servant of God's tomb had to be verified, her mortal remains exhumed and the relics kept in the Carmel of Lisieux recognized.

Regarding the verification of the tomb, Father Alexandre-Charles Maupas, parish priest of Saint-Jacques de Lisieux and superior of the Carmel, who had already been fifteenth witness to the inchoate Apostolic Process (p. 1543) and Sister Marie-Elisabeth Hamard de Sainte Thérèse (1860‑1935), Carmel tourière, were called to lay their depositions in the Carmel chapel, during session 80, on August 9, 1917. They had attended Thérèse’s burial in 1897 and in 1910 at the first exhumation: this is why they were able to speak with certainty of the tomb of the Servant of God.

After these depositions of pure formality, the Tribunal had to take care of the exhumation. This is why we have, in our Public Copy, all the relative documentation, preceded by a very careful description of the cemetery of Lisieux and of the part reserved for the Discalced Carmelites, place of Thérèse's tomb. The text also includes a graphic (plan of the Carmelite concession in the cemetery), with an original photograph and two maps relating to this concession, and especially to the tomb of the Servant of God (pp. 1546-1550). In the afternoon of August 9, in the presence of the Tribunal and in front of a veritable crowd that had come running without having been warned or invited, Thérèse's tomb was opened: the coffin of 1910 was removed, then transported, with the required legal formalities. , in the central chapel of the cemetery, the door of which was then closed and sealed. Throughout the night four guards and a few men who volunteered to guard the entrance (pp. 1551‑1582).

On August 10—the anniversary of the opening of the Ordinary Trial (1)—the 1910st session took place, devoted to the opening of the coffin, the recognition of the bones and other remains, the redeposition of these remains, wrapped in silk and fine linen, in a new coffin of oak, enclosed in turn in two other coffins of lead and rosewood. In the Trial there are several photographs of these coffins, while the narration of the proceedings of the session goes down to the smallest details. It should be noted that at the recognition were present two Carmel nuns, authorized by the Bishop to come out of the enclosure to dispose themselves of the precious bones, once recognized. The two nuns were Sister Geneviève of Saint Thérèse (Céline) and Sister Madeleine of Jesus (81‑1), who entered Carmel in 1875 and therefore had not known the Servant of God (pp. 1940‑1898).

After the triumphal transport from the chapel of the cemetery to the first sepulchre, partly renovated and better protected against humidity, the Tribunal moved to the Carmel of Lisieux (to which was given the coffin which had contained Thérèse's bones since the exhumation of 1910) for the examination of the various relics of the Servant of God kept at the monastery. The Prioress Agnès of Jesus was called to testify as sole witness, with, to confirm her oath of truth, Sister Geneviève of Saint Thérèse and Sister Madeleine of Jesus. Eight reliquaries were presented to the Tribunal—among these, of particular importance and value, the reliquary containing Thérèse's complete hair, cut at the Vesture—which sealed them.

On August 11 the Tribunal met again in the sacristy of the Carmel for the reports that the two medical experts were to make on the state of Thérèse's body, as a result of the recognition of the previous day. Doctors Alexandre Damase de Cornière (pp. 1567‑1571) and Paul Boisnel (pp. 1571‑1584), already well known, testified at length.

With this, the Apostolic Process of Bayeux-Lisieux was practically over. The successive sessions (83‑90), which took place on September 10, 19, 20, 22, 24, 29 and October 6, 1917, were devoted to the final additional legal formalities and the collation of the two copies of the Trial intended for Rome. (pp. 1586‑1694).

The last session, the 91st, celebrated publicly in a very solemn manner in the marvelous Gothic cathedral of Bayeux on October 30, was the closing session of the Trial (pp. 1694-1705).

[Session 80: - August 9, 1917, at 3 a.m. of the afternoon]

 [1542] [From the place of the Servant of God's tomb]:


[1543] [Answer from the first witness]: My name is Alexandre Charles Maupas, born August 27, 1850, in Mesnil-Ozouf. I am a priest, pastor of Saint-Jacques de Lisieux and superior of the Carmel. I attended the burial of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus in 1897. She was buried in the town cemetery, in the

Tomb and remains of Sister Thérèse

part reserved for the Carmelites, in the background, on the right.

I also attended the exhumation which was carried out by order of Monseigneur de Bayeux, on September 6, 1910. The body of Sister Thérèse was then transferred to another tomb, located on the left as you enter, in the same land of the Carmelites. This is where his body rests now.

Signatum: ALEXANDRE MAUPAS, superior, I have sworn as above.


 [Answer from the second witness]:

[1545] My name is Marie Hamard, born in Couternes, diocese of Séez, on October 13, 1860. I have been a tourière nun in the Carmel of Lisieux for 27 years.

I was present at the burial of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, at the beginning of October 1897. She was buried in our cemetery, that is to say in the part reserved for us in the cemetery of the [1544] city. His grave was on the right as you entered, at the back, in the angle against the railing.

It was exhumed on September 6, 1910, to be placed in the vault where it is now. I was present at this translation. The new tomb is at the entrance to the nuns' cemetery on the left. I often come on pilgrimage to the cemetery. The pilgrimage is also very popular, and it is well known that the body has not been taken out of this tomb.

Signatum: Sister MARIE-ELISABETH.

[The judges, sub-promoters and witnesses go to the cemetery].

[Jeanne Bonnelle, guardian of the Lisieux cemetery, is asked to indicate the place of the burial].

JEANNE's testimonial


[Asked about his marital status, the witness answers]:

My name is Jeanne Bonnelle, Bonhoure woman, born in Lisieux, July 26, 1877. I have been the guardian of the public cemetery of the city of Lisieux since the year 1912.

[Where was the Servant of God, Thérèse of the Infant Jesus buried?]:

I did not attend the first burial of Sister Thérèse, nor the translation. The guards who did the service before me told me that they had attended these ceremonies, that the first tomb was in the part on the right, at the end of the Carmelite concession. I witness that there is an uninterrupted pilgrimage to the second vault which is on the left as you enter.

[Asked to do so by whom it may concern, the notary drafted the following relationship]:

[1546] The large cemetery, common to the various parishes of Lisieux, is outside the town, at a distance of about one kilometer from the last houses, on the south side, in the territory of the parish of Saint-Jacques. It extends in the shape of an elongated rectangle from west to east over a length of about 300 meters and a width of 100 to 150 meters.

Towards the eastern end, and in the southeast corner, is a rectangular space bounded by a small brick wall surmounted by an iron gate. This space is assigned to the burial of the Carmelites: it measures about 10 meters in length (west-east) and 5 meters 50 in width (north-south). The entrance to the enclosure is formed by an ascending step and a small door in the iron gate, in the middle of the south side.

In this ground there is first, along the north side, a row of seven tombs. The last on the right, of these seven tombs, in the northeast corner of the concession, no longer bears a cross: it is a simple irregular mound of disturbed earth. This is the site of the first burial of the Servant of God.

In front of this row of seven tombs, there is a second row in formation, therefore further south and towards the entrance. To the right of the entrance there are three tombs. To the left of the entrance, a single tomb which occupies approximately the middle of the space between the entrance door and the [1547] west wall. This tomb is the current burial of the Servant of God; she has been resting there since September 6, 1910. The space surrounding this tomb has been consolidated by a brick paving, at a distance of about 0,80 m. all around. On the tomb is fixed an iron cross, painted in white, without ornaments but a little larger than the wooden crosses which are on the other tombs contained in the enclosure. Only, in the name of the deceased nun, which only the other crosses include, a word spoken by the Servant of God has been added here. It therefore reads: “1873‑1897. - Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.” This cross is literally covered in “graffiti.” The mound is all covered with flowers.

Near the entrance to the enclosure, to the left of the entrance door, a sheet metal plate is suspended from the grid, bearing this inscription: "For prudence and to obey the prescriptions of the Church, it is expressly forbidden to light candles on the tomb of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus.”

Finally, it is worth noting that there is, in the cemetery of Lisieux, another piece of land also bounded by a gate and a small wall, and formerly assigned to the burial of the Carmelites, but this older concession is towards the center of the cemetery, while that containing the tomb of the Servant of God is at the eastern end.


Tomb and remains of Sister Thérèse

[Session 81: - August 10, 1917, at 9 a.m. and at 2 o'clock. afternoon]

[1555] [1556]

~ Reading is given of excommunication to incur "ipso facto" by anyone presuming to take or deposit anything during the opening of the tomb.

The bishop then gives the order to open the tomb. We find the 'loculus' two meters deep. It is perfectly railed and measures two meters twenty by one meter.

The oak coffin is removed and taken to the funeral chapel of the cemetery. It measures two meters 08 in length 60 centimeters in height on the side of the head and 52 on the side of the feet. 86 centimeters wide from the side of the head. and 66 on the side of the feet.

The following inscription can be read on a metal plaque on the coffin: "Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, Marie‑Françoise‑Thérèse Martin, 1873‑1897."

Everything is recognized as conforming to the acts of the previous recognition and deposition of the body of the Servant of God.


By order of the bishop. the oak coffin is opened, and a lead coffin is taken out of it. It is about two 02 meters in length, 80 centimeters in width on the head side and 60 centimeters on the feet side, 64 centimeters in height on the head side and 46 centimeters on the feet side. The four seals of Thomas-Paul-Henri Lemonnier, bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux, and Roger de Teil, vice-postulator, were intact at the four corners of the coffin. Description is given.

The lead coffin bore the same inscription as the oak coffin.

By order of the bishop. the lead coffin is opened. We then find another wooden coffin. but without 'cover' and partly damaged.

This coffin contained: 1) bones of the Servant of God; 2) clothes of the same, some older, others more recent 3) a lot of dust and sawdust 4) a lead tube sealed with the bishop's seal. This tube was opened. It contained a Parchment, the content of which is as follows:

"The year of the Lord 1910, on September 6, in the presence of his greatness, Monsignor Lemonnier, bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux, of Monsieur A. Quirié, vicar general, of Monsieur Canon Dubosq, superior of the major seminary, of Monsieur Deslandes, archivist of the diocese, the priests of the three parishes of Lisieux, Monsignor R. de Teil, several canons and priests, the doctors of Cornière and La Néele, a few other people and the commissioner of Lisieux police, the remains of the Servant of God Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, Marie-Francoise-Thérèse Martin, were exhumed, on the order of the Bishop of Bayeux, desiring to better ensure their preservation. The body, dressed in the [1558] Carmelite costume and placed in a pine coffin, was buried on October 4, 1897, in front of several of the people named above, at a depth of 3 meters.

The grave, which has not been excavated since then, was located in the first place at the southeast corner of a rectangular site, enclosed by walls, assigned to the burial of the Carmelites, in the cemetery of the town of Lisieux. , section JA3.

Tomb and remains of Sister Thérèse

The coffin rested in the place and at the depth indicated; it was reassembled, with great care, by the official gravediggers of the cemetery, in a state of almost complete alteration at the lower part. Withdrawn with religious respect, before being placed in a lead coffin, it is received with the psalmody of the psalm "Laudate pueri Dominum." At the opening of the coffin, we find only the bones wrapped in the homespun of Carmel. So the witnesses present signed this report to be placed in the lead coffin, enclosed in a metal tube.

Done in Lisieux on the day and year above.

+ THOMAS, bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux. Quirié - Dubosq - Deslandes - Doctor de Cornière - Doctor La Néele - For police commissioner Fourquemin - Ducellier - Chachelou - Pitrou - Maupas - R. de Teil - Bisson - Durel.


 Doctors Alexandre de Cornière, surgeon, and Paul Loisnel, doctor, carried out a meticulous examination of the Servant of God's bones.

In the afternoon these bones are placed in a new oak coffin. carefully prepared for this purpose: length, one meter 24; width. 40 centimeters; height, 30 centimeters. Present as helpers and witnesses called by the bishop, Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face and Sister Madeleine of Jesus. The bones recognized by name are wrapped in linen and silk by the medical experts and thus placed back in the coffin in order. The small pieces of bones are collected in three small glass vases, placed in the same way in the coffin and bearing respectively the following inscriptions: “1° Numerous bones of the feet; (2) hand bones; 3° fragments of the skin of the head and hair.”

Is, moreover. placed at the bottom of this coffin a small lead plate which had already been placed in the coffin of the first burial in 1897.

I, a notary, then wrote on parchment an epigraph briefly testifying to what had just been done on August 10, 1917 by the apostolic authority. This epigraph duly signed, I put it and closed it in a pewter cylinder, then deposited it in the coffin. This coffin was then closed and then placed under seal, then placed in turn in a slightly larger lead coffin.

Fragments of clothing are then placed in small silk bags bearing the following inscriptions: “1° Fragments of the clothing with which the Servant of God was first buried (in 1897).” "2° Fragments of clothing brought on the occasion of the exhumation of September 6, 1910."

These small bags were placed in the lead coffin at the foot of the wooden coffin, with also the inscription on lead of the previous exhumation (1910).

 Duly closed and sealed, the lead coffin containing the oak coffin was placed in turn in a rosewood coffin one meter 56 in length, 65 centimeters and a half in width, and 55 centimeters in height, decorated a cross of the same wood on the upper part and bearing, on a metal plate, the following inscription: Hic ossa..., etc.

Tomb and remains of Sister Thérèse

 The coffin was taken to the tomb where the body of the Servant of God had previously rested, precautions having been taken there against humidity. The iron cross was replaced where it was previously with the same inscription, namely:

1873‑1897 - Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.”

 Wrapped in white linen and placed under seal. the previous coffins were handed over to the sacristan sister of the Carmel of Lisieux to be kept with the relics of the Servant of God's clothes.

 Were then brought. by order of the bishop, the eight reliquaries containing respectively: I) the complete hair; 2) compound flowers with hair; 3) a small tooth, and, in the other five, hair. Each of the reliquaries was provided with the bishop's seal.

[Deposition of the Reverend Mother Prioress, Agnes of Jesus,

about the relics of the Servant of God kept in the monastery].

[1563] [Is there something of the body of the Servant of God in the enclosure, apart from the relics which are in the tomb in the cemetery; and, if so, what is it? -- Answer]:

We keep in Carmel:

1° Full hair of the Servant of God.

2° Reserves of hair cut at different times.

3° An ornate reliquary with the hair of the Servant of God.

4° A tooth preserved since the year 1884.

[1564] 5° Before the discovery of the remains made on this present date, a large number of small sachets, containing a few fragments of hair were distributed as a souvenir almost everywhere.

Signature. SISTER AGNES OF JESUS, I filed as above.

[Session 82: - August 11, 1917, at 9 a.m.]

 [Doctors review].

[Examination by Doctor Alexandre de Cornière].

[1567][Name and Status]:

My name is Alexandre Damase de Cornière, honorary chief surgeon of the Lisieux hospital, born in Bonnebosq, October 26, 1841.

II. [Asked about the report of the exhumation, the doctor reads the following report which he will submit to the court]:

We, the undersigned of Cornière Alexandre, doctor of medicine, former provisional intern of the Hospitals of Paris, honorary chief surgeon of the hospital of Lisieux, on the requisition of the ecclesiastical tribunal, proceeded to the examination of the coffin of Sister Thérèse of the Baby Jesus and the Holy Face.

When the coffin is opened, the contents appear in the form of brown dust, a tan color from which the ends of a few important bones emerge. By exploring this kind of soil with our hands, we found in the upper part of the coffin a certain quantity of bones completely isolated from each other; the most important are at the other end of the coffin. We found a lot of scraps of cloth, some of which were barely recognizable: there was no appearance of a robe or tunic. However, a silk ribbon with inscription was fairly well preserved. Much of the dust was formed by sawdust.

[1568] Here is now a detailed description of the bones as we found them.


The skull is completely bare; some hairs are still found in its vicinity. The sutures are complete. The temporal begins to disunite.

The upper jaw bears ten teeth; the left wisdom tooth protrudes from the socket there. The two unguis bones come off. The frontal and the parietal are intact. The ethmoid is in place: its lower end as well as the upper turbinate of the nose are intact. The sphenoid and the occipital are normal: the latter is smooth. To the left of the atlas there is a small cavity, beginning of destruction. The right temporal is normal and the styloid process no longer exists. The left temporal is normal and the parietals are both intact: structure and relationships.

Tomb and remains of Sister Thérèse

The right upper jaw is detached in two fragments; the adherent upper left jawbone is intact, The two upper incisors are missing. The left malar bone is intact as well as the zygomatic arch. The clean bones of the nose are, the right fractured in the middle, and the left intact. The palatine bones are very friable, especially the right. We can't find the vomer. No hyoid bone. The lower jaw is well preserved. The penultimate right molar is missing and the left penultimate is square. There is an inclination of the two canines on the incisors. In general, the teeth are well implanted in the alveoli.


The cervical spine is complete. The atlas and the axis [1569] present nothing particular. Apart from a few transverse processes, the others are intact. There are only eleven dorsal vertebrae. There are five lumbar vertebrae; part of the transverse process of the last missing.

The sacrum is intact and the two upper parts are fused. The coccyx is represented by only one piece; the others cannot be found.

There are only twenty-three ribs. The sternum is fused in its three upper parts: the xiphoid appendage has not been found. Both collarbones are intact. The right scapula has its glenoid cavity in good condition, The left scapula is fractured.

Upper members

The right humerus is 0,30 cm. length. The sutures and ossifications are normal and the articular surfaces are intact. A small part of the epicondyle is missing.

The right ulna is normal except for a small portion towards the inferior articular surface.

The left ulna gives like the right 0,23 cm. length. Ossifications and sutures are complete.

The right radius has no head; there is a fracture at the neck.

The left radius has a length of 0,21 cm.: ossification and complete sutures. He is normal.


The transverse diameter is 0,13cm.1/2. The antero-posterior diameter is 0,13 cm. The oblique diameter 0 m. 14cm. l/2

The iliac bones are well preserved and the cotyloid cavities normal. The holes are triangular. The iliac spines [1570] are normal. Pubis: normal suture lines and ossification.


The right femur bears 0,46 cm. in length: its ossification is complete and the rough line can be seen very distinctly.

For the left femur same length and same ossification.

Fully ossified normal kneecaps. The right tibia carries 0,34 cm. length; he is normal.

The right fibula is 0,34 cm. l/2 in length; normal state.

The left tibia carries 0,34 cm. l/2 in length; he is normal.

There is a small erosion at the level of the head of the left fibula which is normal by the way and has the same length as the right fibula.

The right calcaneum is normal as well as the astragalus.

We only find a scaphoid and a cuboid which have lost some of their shape.

We only see four cuneiform bones in all. All metatarsals are intact.

For both feet, the right big toe has an intact phalanx; the left big toe, two.


Five left and right metacarpals are intact. For the right carpus we only find the scaphoid and the similunate; the rest is missing. For the left carpus we only find the hooked bone, the scaphoid and the pyramidal; the rest is missing.

Fourteen phalanges, phalangines or phalangettes [1571] are preserved.


There are only eleven ribs on the left of which seven are fractured towards the external part.

There are twelve ribs on the right, two of which are fractured.

In summary, from the skeletal data and mainly from the shape of the pelvis we can deduce that this is the skeleton of a woman in the age of perhaps twenty-three to twenty-five years old and whose height must have been about one meter sixty centimeters.

In witness whereof we have signed this report which we declare to be exact and true.

Lisieux, August 11, 1917.

Signatum: DE CORNIÈRE.

 [Examination of Doctor Paul Loisnel].

I. [Name and position]:

[1572] My name is Paul Loisnel, born in Lisieux on May 23, 1862, to Alexandre Loisnel and Justine Ménard. I am a doctor of medicine, residing in Lisieux, 11 boulevard Duchesne‑Fournet; I am assistant surgeon of the city hospital.

II. [Asked about the report of the exhumation, the doctor reads the following report which he will submit to the court]:

I, the undersigned Loisnel Paul, doctor of medicine from the Faculty of Paris, assistant surgeon at the Lisieux hospital, medical examiner, oath previously taken on the Holy Gospels, in the presence of the Bishop of Bayeux and the members of the ecclesiastical tribunal for the purpose of examining the mortal remains of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, carried out the mission entrusted to me on August 10, 1917.

The coffin placed in the chapel of the cemetery, is open. It contains bones that have retained no anatomical relationship, mixed with sawdust, scraps of planks, pieces of black cloth (remains of the veil), a cloth in brown cloth and another in White sheet. Carefully and after careful examination of all the contents of the coffin, we lay the bones on a special table, clean them with alcohol, then proceed to reconstruct the skeleton, forming anatomical groups. It is impossible to find traces of the soft tissues

Tomb and remains of Sister Thérèse

of the corpse (skin, cellulo‑fatty tissue, [1573] aponeuroses, muscles, nerves, tendons, viscera and intrathoracic and intraabdominal organs). The hair surrounded by the black fabric of the veil is clumped around the skull. Light chestnut in color, almost blond, they measure 8 to 10 centimeters in length. In the middle of them is a living beetle insect, and the remains of another insect, then a small green mass, broken into several fragments to which adhere the hair, and which consists of an oxidized copper pin.

Examination of skeletal bones

A. - All the bones of the skull have retained their anatomical relationships. The sutures are intact, not disjointed.

1° The frontal bone has not undergone any deformation, is not the seat of any fracture line; the orbital arch is particularly thin and almost sharp. The forehead is low.

2° The ethmoid, very friable, is relatively well preserved. We observe intact the anterior part of its perpendicular plate, the cribriform plate, the ethmoidal cells; the lateral masses alone have suffered the disintegration of their anterior part.

3° The sphenoid adheres well to the neighboring bones. The large wings are intact, the anterior or orbital surface of the large wing very friable, presents in its center a solution of continuity, with loss of a small fragment of osseous substance; the lower end of the fractured pterygoid process is absent.

4° The occipital, in perfect connection with the neighboring bones [1574] is not the seat of any fracture; its external table over an area of ​​about one square centimeter, near the occipito-atloid joint, has disappeared. The external occipital hump is not very prominent, the bony crests serving for the muscular insertions are slightly accentuated.

5° The two temporals are intact. The left has the upper part of its scaly portion detached from the parietal for an extent of 5 to 6 centimeters. The mastoid process is small. The right styloid process no longer exists; the lower third of the left apophysis has disappeared, its two upper thirds are remarkable for their thinness. The integrity of the other portions of the temporals is complete.

6° The two parietals are intact, in perfect connection with the other bones.

B. - Bones of the face.

1° The left upper jawbone is intact. The upper right jawbone is detached, fractured in the middle, the maxillary sinus separated into two parts, two molars came out of their sockets but were found intact; two upper incisors are detached.

2° The left malar bone is intact, adhering to the zygomatic arch and the orbit. The right has a disjunction line near the zygomatic arch.

3° The two unguis, very thin, very friable, crumble under the pressure, small splinters belonging to them have fallen into the orbit.

4° Proper bones of the nose: the left is intact. The rectus, perforated in the middle, is easily detached from the neighboring bones.

5° The palatine bones, very thin, do not resist a weak pressure; they are disjoint on the median line, [1575] their posterior edge has lost small fragments.

6° The vomer has been broken in the middle; its upper two-thirds are gone.

7° In the nasal cavities, a few very thin, softened bone lamellae, mixed with sawdust, are the remains of the turbinates.

8° The lower jaw is well preserved. His ossification is complete and the chin line solid. The articular condyles are intact; rising branches are normal; the bony projections for muscle insertion are poorly developed. The penultimate right molar is missing: I could not find it. Both canines incline inwards and overlap slightly on the incisors. The penultimate left molar has a decayed crown. All the teeth have retained their fixity in the alveoli and have no mobility.

C. - Neck region.

The only bone in the region, the hyoid, has disappeared and could not be found.

D. - Thorax.

1° The sternum has its three parts ossified and in perfect connection. At the level of the handle I note the integrity of the right and left sterno-clavicular joints, and of the costo-sternal joints. The xiphoid appendix detached from the sternum could not be found.

2° 23 ribs out of 24 were recognized: 12 for the right side and 11 for the left side. On the right two of them are fractured at the level of their anterior third; on the left 7 ribs are fractured, 3 of them no longer have their anterior extremity.

All the costal cartilages have disappeared.

E. - Vertebral column.

1° Cervical region. The 7 vertebrae making up the cervical spine are available for our examination. The atlas, the axis, are absolutely intact, likewise the 5th, 6th and 7th; the spinous and transverse processes, the articular facets are not the seat of any fracture or loss of osseous substance; only the 3rd cervical shows a fracture line, at the level of its left transverse apophysis.

2° Dorsal region. Eleven vertebrae, out of twelve, composing the dorsal column, are under our eyes. These eleven bones are remarkable for their state of preservation. The vertebral bodies, the transverse spinous processes, the articular facets show no deformation or solution of continuity. The missing vertebra is the second dorsal.

3° Lumbar region. The lumbar spine which consists of five parts is complete. Apart from the disappearance of the end of the left transverse apophysis of the 4th, I do not notice any loss of substance or fracture of the vertebral bodies or apophyses. Character common to all the vertebrae: ossification is complete.

F. - 1° Sacrum. - This bone consists of five false vertebrae fused together. These five pieces are intact. Their ossification is complete. On its anterior face I note that the line of suture of the 2° and the XNUMX° part is not complete, a not very deep furrow separates them besides. The four anterior sacral holes

Tomb and remains of Sister Thérèse

are normal. No solution [1577] of continuity resulting either from a fracture or from a loss of substance, exists on the surface of this bone. The posterior sacral crest is intact, but the projection formed by the union of the spinous processes is poorly developed. The articular apophyses of the sacrum are well preserved, with the same finding relating to the sacroiliac joint facets.

2° Coccyx. - A fragment of the first piece adheres alone to the sacrum; the other 3 pieces could not be found; the first piece comes off easily.

3° Iliac bones. - Each iliac bone is made up of the meeting of the pubis, the ilium, the ischium, their central point of junction is the bottom of the cotyloid cavity. The two iliac bones that we are examining are intact and their suture lines, clearly visible, meet in a Y at the bottom of the cavity mentioned above. Ossification is complete. I do not notice any loss of substance or fracture of these bones. To reconstruct the bony pelvis, we join the sacrum to the iliac bones, and we notice that the iliac fossae are wide, more spread out, less concave than those presented by the parts of a male subject, that the obturator hole has a triangular shape, finally the measurement of the different diameters of the basin gives us the following figures:

Anterior-posterior diameter 12 cm. 8. Transverse diameter 13 cm. 5. Oblique diameter 14 cm. 5.

This measurement, together with the general conformation of the greater and lesser pelvis, constitutes a valuable diagnostic element for the determination of sex.

G. - Upper limbs.

[1578] 1° The two clavicles whose ossification is complete are slender, and show no deformation or solution of continuity.

2° Shoulder blades. - These two bones have a common characteristic: their very thin thickness at the level of the over and infraspinous fossae.

The spine ‑ the acromion ‑ the coracoid apophysis ‑ the glenoid cavity are normal, likewise their internal and external edges are intact.

At the level of the lower third of the infraspinous fossa, there is a solution of continuity on the right scapula, a complete loss of substance forming a hole with irregular edges measuring two centimeters in height, and 1cm. 1/1 cm wide. On the left, the same loss of substance occurs 2 centimeters above the tip of the bone, but is of somewhat smaller dimensions

3° Humerus. - The right and left humerus have their complete ossification. The suture lines of the epiphyses are apparent, but the union is solid; it is impossible to force the ephiphyseal disjunction. If these bones are not bulky (they measure 18 millimeters at the middle part of the diaphysis), they have a normal structure and show no malformation, deformation, fracture, apart from a small loss of bone substance at the level of the posterior face of the bone. the epicondyle (right humerus). At the level of the anatomical neck, upper part, the line of suture of the head of the left bone, presents a small furrow; at this point (1 1/2 cm.) the suture is incomplete. The length of both humeri is 30 centimeters, 5 mm.

 [1579] 4° Ulna. - Right ulna: complete ossification, visible epiphyseal lines, solid sutures; the olecranon, the coronoid process, the diaphysis are intact. The lower end of the bone broke off 1 cm. about 1/2 from the end of the styloid process and could not be found; the surface of section is unequal and sits below the epiphyseal line; the loss of substance is due to the mortification of the bone tissue.

The left ulna, well shaped, is intact; it measures 22 and a half centimeters in length.

Character common to both ulna: these bones are slender.

5° Radius. - Complete ossification, and complete epiphyseal fusions on both bones. They measure 21 centimeters in length. The right radius, at the level of its neck presents an irregular section, the head has disappeared; its diaphysis and lower extremity (styloid process) are normal and intact. The left radius shows no deformity or loss of substance.

6° Carpal bone. - Two rows of small bones, 8 in number, make up the carpus. For the right wrist we can only find and recognize four bones: the scaphoid, the semilunar, the large bone, the hooked bone. Two carpal bones (the scaphoid and the pyramidal) are the only ones found and recognized as belonging to the left wrist.

7° Metacarpals. - Five metacarpals constitute the first part of the skeleton of the hand. We find intact the five metacarpals of the right hand and the left hand.

8° The skeleton of the fingers is made up of 5 phalanges, [1580] 4 phalangines and 5 phalanxes (the thumb has only one phalanx and one phalanx).

We were only able to find and recognize 7 first phalanges, 4 for the right hand, and 3 for the left hand. Fourteen other small bones more or less altered were classified as belonging to the skeleton of the fingers, but could not be identified separately.

H. - Lower limbs.

1° The two femurs measure 44 centimeters in length; the diameter of their dyaphysis at the middle part is 26 millimeters. Normally shaped, these bones present the following characteristics in common: intact femoral head with the insertion dimple of the round ligament, intact neck, oblique, complete ossification, apparent epiphyseal lines, complete union, large and small trochanter not very voluminous; the rough line of the posterior surface is clearly visible, but not very prominent and not rough.

2° The two kneecaps are intact, their ossification is complete.

3° Tibiae. - The right tibia measures 35 centimeters in length; the left 34 cm., 8. These two bones, well ossified, with apparent but solid epiphyseal fusions, present themselves with a conformation of the normal articular surfaces; they are not the seat of any fracture, but their anterior and external surface is rough and uneven due to the destruction of superficial layers of bony lamellae.

4° Fibula. - The right fibula measures 34 cm., 5; the left 34 cm., 3. These two

Tomb and remains of Sister Thérèse

bones are complete, well ossified, without deformation, without solution of continuity; their [1581] anatomical characteristics are preserved. They are slender, but the weakness of their thickness is due to the destruction, on all their faces, of superficial bone lamellae

5° Tarsal bone. - Seven bones make up the tarsal bone mass.

We find intact, without solution of continuity, well shaped and ossified, exempt from fracture, loss of substance, for the right foot: the calcaneum, the astragalus, the scaphoid, the cuboid; for the left foot: the calcaneum, the astragalus, the scaphoid, the cuboid. For the two feet we would have to be in the presence of six cuneiform bones, we were only able to find four of these bones; the slight deformations of their protruding parts, some loss of substance at the level of the articular surfaces caused these bones to lose their normal appearance; we have not been able to classify them and designate their precise topographical situation.

6° The five metartasians of the right foot and of the left foot are found and recognized. Apart from a slight loss of substance at the level of their metatarsophalangeal articular surface, these bones are intact.

7° The phalanges and the phalangines could not be determined.

In summary, the anatomical parts of the skeleton which are lacking are few in number, and the preservation of the bones is almost complete.

The observations made will allow us to determine: the sex, the age, the approximate size of the subject examined.

[1582] A. - Determination of sex

On the whole subject, skeleton and soft parts intact, the determination is easy; when there is only a denuded skeleton, the solution presents difficulties, and its elements must be drawn from the examination of the pelvis, the skull, the thorax.

The examination of the bones of the pelvis showed us osiliac bones spread out, wide, a small pelvis whose measurement gave us the diameters and demonstrated the amplitude, triangular obturator holes, bones well shaped no doubt, but not very voluminous, thin. The pelvis is the part of the skeleton which furnishes us with the most precious sign of the diagnosis, and that which we have before our eyes presents the characteristics of the female pelvis. During the writing of this report, I pointed out: the more slender appearance of the bones, the slightly accentuated ridges of muscle insertion, the poorly developed mastoid processes, the extreme thinness of the left styloid process, the orbital arches thin and almost sharp, etc., etc. Doubtless, each observation constitutes only a nuance, but the union of these characteristics constitutes signs of presumption still favorable to the diagnosis.

The conformation of the thorax, when the ribs adhere to the vertebrae, constitutes another valuable sign; in men the thorax has a conoid shape, in women the shape is rather ovoid; in its upper part the thorax is wider in women. Our anatomical findings do not allow us, in the present case, to draw conclusions based on the characteristics of the rib cage.

[1583] B. - Determination of age

We still have to borrow from the skeleton the elements of approximate evaluation. We talked about the ossification of each bone, its epiphyseal lines, its sutures. Without recalling the characteristics peculiar to each of them, we say that in general the development of the skeleton is that of the period which elapses from the 20th to the 25th year.

C. - Size determination

The skeleton alone must still provide us with the elements of the solution to the problem.

We know that to have the approximate size of a subject, it is necessary to multiply the length of the long bones of the upper limb by one of the coefficients indicated by Rollet and Manouvrier; we get the average size. The average size is then sought by the bones of the lower limb; we add these two results and take the average. We therefore draw up the following table44 35 34,5 30,5 21 22,5

Bone length Rollet coefficients

Femur Tibia Fibula Humerus Radius Ulna









After performing the operations relating to each bone of the upper and lower limbs, taking the averages of each result, and taking the average of these, we find: 1 m., 59 to 1 m., 60. This general average of 1 m., 59 which we find to be the height of the subject examined, does not constitute a rigorously exact measurement, it only indicates an approximate average.

[1584] Findings

1° The skeleton examined is that of a human being, of the female sex.

2° The exact age of the subject cannot be determined very exactly: the anatomical characteristics of the parts observed are those of a being whose age is between the 20th and the 25th year.

3° The approximate height is 1 m., 59 to 1 m., 60.

In witness whereof I have drawn up this report, the content of which I affirm sincere and true.

Signature: Doctor PAUL Loisnel

Lisieux, August 10, nineteen hundred and seventeen.