05 Canonisation: The Day May 10, 1970 in Rome

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A. Healing of Mother Madeleine Delattre, Religious of the Cenacle

            "Having always been in good health, I thought of humans in two categories: the healthy and the "sick," and I never thought that I would pass in the second, at twenty-six years."

          Thus began the account of Mother Madeleine Delattre, written by her hand on August 22, 1954 at the request of Msgr. Fontenelle, the Postulator of the Cause. She was questioned in Versailles in June 1955 by the diocesan tribunal established to examine her healing.

          In 1931, while she was making her Juniorate in La Louvesc, Mother Madeleine Delattre, 26 years old, began to suffer because of her right ankle. After she appeared to be recovering, she suffered from it again a few months later, and it was discovered that she had tuberculosis of the foot and lungs. The foot was plastered. Because the sickness was getting worse, the doctors decided on the amputation of the right leg in the middle of the thigh. The operation took place in Paris on 26 February 1932.

In 1944, wearing her prosthesis (artificial leg), she fell heavily backwards from a chair on which she was recklessly mounted while arranging a curtain. This resulted in a violent shock to the jaw, the temple, and the back of the neck. Having broken nothing, she did not pay attention to it. In July 1948, she began to experience frequent migraines, and in November 1950, she felt a severe jaw pain reminiscent of the pain she had once experienced in her ankle. In March 1951 an x-ray of the joint of the jaw revealed tuberculosis. It was necessary to have a new operation; the joint was replaced by plastic. A little later it was also discovered that the bone tuberculosis of the Sister progressed to the 4th and 5th vertebrae which have collapsed. She was sent to have more sun (Cenacle of Montpellier; cf. pictures: the house and the chapel) and sentenced to wear a neck brace.

 “In entrusting this sick life, at the beginning of August I placed on the little table next to my bed an image of Mother Thérèse, and placed an opaline bookmark against her with these words: “Monstra te este matrem”.[1]”. 

Why? It was a time when we all thought about our Foundress, she should have been beatified on 17 June and the date of the elections in France had pushed back the ceremony by 5 months. For me, personally, these words meant more: in September 1943, having been informed of my mother’s death,I wanted to pray in the tribune thinking of asking the Blessed Virgin to be even more my mother and, passing in front of the statue of Mother Thérèse laid by the door, I had the thought to choose her: "Take me". And I asked her to look after me like a mother. When you are a cripple you feel even more than before the need for maternal vigilance.

In 1951, I reminded our Founder that she was my mother. I had her relic against my neck and I prayed only to her; without specifying what I was asking, in fact it was to be healed that I wanted. [...]

I arrived in Montpellier during the preparations for the feast in union with the Beatification in Rome.

4 November, a wonderful day, we were able to hear on the radio the invocation "Beata Teresa"! In the afternoon, a ceremony in the full chapel, an intense supernatural atmosphere, and for us the joy of being daughters of a Blessed.

That evening, I began to be accustomed before I fell asleep to ask for the blessing of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit through the intercession of Our Lady of the Cenacle and of our Blessed Mother Thérèse; and she entered into my life even more. "

     On January 28, 1952, a new accident happened to her: when she entered the choir for the Office, she slid and fell heavily to the ground, lying on the length of her back in front of the grill, the right maxillary hit strongly against the bottom of the first stall and her head hit the ground, whereas in principle she should not even move it! ... This accident therefore put her illness to its peak. The next day, her bilious attack lasted several days. But here, let Mother Delattre speak…

     "On February 1, 1952, a retreatant wrote to me requesting that an authentic relic be sent. A small reliquary containing a fragment of bone was brought to my room so that I could prepare the package from my bed. Before I did, I placed this real relic on my neck, asking our Blessed that this fall does not delay my recovery, "that I did not break too many things when I fell". - I thought only after that it was the anniversary of her birth in Sablières.

On the 2nd, I was at mass at the choir, on the 3rd in the afternoon, I was tired, and the nurse did not allow me to go to the imposition of the candles of Saint Blaise.

On the 4th, feeling only half well, I went to the tribune around 4:30 for my adoration. I wanted to cry and thought to put myself behind the harmonium to hide myself, but a Mother entered at the same time and had taken this place. I had only the chair in the front. Quickly sitting down, I had to tell Our Lord how disappointed I was by this fall and its consequences, I, who was hoping for new permissions to resume more common life, find myself flat and fallen back into the hands of the nurses. And all of a sudden, while between the bars of the railing of the tribune, my gaze passed on the painting of our Blessed Mother of which we can see a part [on the picture: the arrow on the right indicates the point in the tribune where Mother Delattre was, the arrow on the left indicates the portrait of Mother Thérèse], I heard at the same time these words "but, you are healed" with an accentuated voice, convinced and at the same time gentle. It came from the portrait, but I could hear it within, and these words put my soul in peace, joy, everything unified within me in an atmosphere of sweetness, I felt enveloped by an unknown calm, as if I had felt, a few minutes, the invisible.

When I came back from my surprise and became alone again, I looked towards Mother R ... She was very quiet. I had a great desire to undo the neck brace to see, but since I needed the nurse to relace it, I waited until evening, noticing that I felt no pain at the sensitive point of the spine.

At 8 in the evening, removing the neck brace, I tried and here my head turned easily to the right, to the left, I could lower it without pain, whereas a few days before I had protested when the sister had wanted to use the trimmer because it hurt to touch the neck.

And then I didn’t know what to do. I was amazed at the observation. When I had asked for my healing, I was thinking about the success of the eighteen month-plan of wearing a neck brace, and I did not expect it before Holy Thursday 1953, a date that I had searched for.

Arriving last in this house, I had taken for myself all the prayers, the atmosphere of trust, while others desired healing.

And if I was wrong in believing that I was healed by Our Blessed Mother, it would be said that she has no power in heaven. . .

So, I didn't dare say anything right away. The nurse came to render me immobile as usual.

Ten days later, seeing that it lasted, I went to tell Our Mother. The doctor, by telephone, refused to receive us, it was too early, and he also refused to let the neck brace be removed, because I could not be healed. There was nothing to look at before June.

I reduced the rest period, never going back to bed when I came back from mass until noon. In mid-March I took some lampshade painting work without feeling any pain.

On June 13 I did an xray again.

On the 17th, the Doctor, looking on his luminous frame at the recent and old xrays, said in an undertone: “You are healed - but you should not be. Here on the atlas, one could think white tumor,but nothing has developed, in six months it should have progressed. You have nothing left, but in conscience, because of your background, I cannot let you go free. Continue to rest and wear the neck brace.”

On the 4th of December we returned. The Doctor affirmed the healing, allowed to remove the neck brace during the day and found that the neck rotated very well despite the 13 months l / 2 of wearing a neck brace. I came home with the neck brace in a bag and without feeling "funny", a little cold in the neck only.

On February 2, 1953, the Doctor allowed the complete removal of the neck brace, confirmed the healing and upon leaving us, "You have an invisible protection on you" he said.

I told the story as I believe it happened, I had a crushing pain in the neck - I haven't felt it since February 4, 1952. I asked only Mother Thérèse to heal me. In 1931-32, the whole Congregation had made novenas for me to her, so she knows me well. She must have thought that my leg was not indispensable to live my religious life, but that I needed my head, and this time I had much more confidence in her. "

All the medical and ecclesiastical procedures necessary for the official recognition of the miraculous character of the two cures studied (by Sister Marie-Jean and Mother Madeleine Delattre) having taken place, the Sacred Congregation of Rites, on 26 November 1968, reached a positive conclusion. At the General Audience of 9 July 1969, the Holy Father, addressing the capitulants gathered in Rome, renewed the assurance of the next Canonization.

Illustrations below (Move over the pictures to enlarge them) : 1. Mother Delattre  2. In the Positio super miraculis, first page of the response of the Postulator to objections of the Promoter of the Faith ( “devil’s advocate”) 3. Response to a question about the instantaneous character of the healing.

Dans la Positio super miraculis, réponse du Postulateur à une question du Promoteur de la Foi (“avocat du diable”) sur le caractère instantané de la guérison.

[1] Show yourself a mother.

B. The Day May 10, 1970 in Rome (cf. images below)

The last Congregation of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints studying the two miracles took place in the presence of the Pope who gave his approval for the Canonization
Invitations
Invitation in three languages
Ticket for the Canonization
There was a big crowd as in a big occasion.
Vazken I ( 1908-1994) was the Catholicos of the Apostolic Armenian Church, a church separated from Rome since the Council of Chalcedon ( 451). He was visiting the Vatican and had seen the Pope the day before.
We had a special bond with Armenia for almost a century, since an Armenian congregation had sent their sisters to us in France to form them in religious life in the early 1880s. At the time of the genocide, several Sisters of this Congregation entered the Cenacle, subsequently attracting Armenian vocations. Two of our Armenian sisters were in Saint Peter’s for the Canonization.
After the penitential liturgy, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints asked the Holy Father to proceed officially with the Canonization.
The assembly begged God’s help and the help of the Saints by singing the Litany of the Saints.
About 50 of our sister had places in front of the “Confession” with the General Government
Members of the Couderc family, Sr Marie-Jean (Mother Thérèse’s miracle) and her prioress, Sisters of Bourg St. Andéol where Mother Thérèse received her first religious instruction from Sr Claire, a “daughter” of Mother Rivier, and also the Superior General of the Sisters of St Regis.
We offered the Holy Father the usual gifts on this occasion: bouquet of flowers, doves, baskets of bread, wine, and candles.
Our Sr. Marie Jeanne d’Arc, from Madagascar, offered a cage of doves.
Mr. Raymond Marcellin, Minister of the Interior and Delegate of the French government for the Canonization, accompanied by  H.E.Mr. René Brouillet, Ambassador to the Holy See, in academic habit.
Eucharistic Liturgy
About 100 people received it from the Holy Father’s hand, including some of our sisters, and about 20 members of the Couderc family.
After the mass, the Holy Father went to one of the chapels where before a statue of “our Pope” (Pius XI), were the gifts which we gave him for the poor churches: ornaments and sacred vessels.
He knelt on the tiles for a few moments of quiet prayer.
"Tapestry" representing our Saint Mother Thérèse on the façade of St. Peter