|Testimony of the Right
Reverend A Caillot, Bishop of Grenoble,
Following the report prepared during the canonical inquiry into the case of Mother
Ten years have passed since, as Bishop of Grenoble, I decided to open an enquiry into
Mother Eugenia's case.
I now have enough information to bring
my testimony as Bishop before the Church.
1) The first thing to emerge with certainty from the enquiry is that
Mother Eugenia's considerable virtues are well established.
From the beginning of her religious life, the sister had attracted
her superiors' attention because of her piety, her obedience and her humility.
Her superiors, perplexed by the extraordinary nature of the events
which occurred during her novitiate, had not wanted to let her stay on in the convent.
After some hesitation, they had to abandon their plan when faced with the nun's exemplary
During the enquiry, Sister Eugenia showed great patience and the
utmost docility in submitting without complaint to all the medical tests, answering the
theological and medical commissions' often long and distressing questioning, and accepting
contradictions and trials. Her simplicity, in particular, was praised by all the
A number of circumstances also showed the nun to he capable of
practising virtue to a heroic degree. According to the theologians, an especially striking
feature was her obedience during Father Auguste Valencin's enquiry in June 1934, and her
humility on the sad day of 20 December 1934.
I can attest that, while she was Superior General, I found her very
devoted to her duty, dedicating herself to her task which must have seemed all the more
difficult to her as she was not prepared for it - with great love for souls, her
Congregation and the Church. Those close to her are struck, as I myself am, by her
strength of spirit in facing difficulties.
I am impressed not only by her virtues but also by the qualities she
displays in exercising her authority. Also striking is the fact that a relatively
uneducated nun should come to fill her Congregation's highest office. In this there is
already something extraordinary and, from this point of view, the enquiry conducted by my
Vicar General, Mgr Guerry, on the day of her election, is very significant. The answers
given by the Chapter members and by the superiors and delegates of the various missions
showed that they were choosing Mother Eugenia as their Superior General - in spite of her
youth and the canonical obstacles which would normally have caused the idea of her
nomination to be rejected - because of her qualities of judgement, balanced temperament,
energy and firmness. Reality would seem to have far surpassed the hopes that her electors
placed in her.
What I especially noticed in her was her lucid, lively and
penetrating intelligence. I said that her education had been inadequate, but this was for
external reasons over which she had no control: her mother's long illness had compelled
her, at a very early age, to look after the house and be absent from school very often.
Then, before she entered the convent, there were the hard years she worked in industry as
a weaver. Notwithstanding these basic gaps, the consequences of which are evidenced in her
style and spelling, Mother Eugenia gives many lectures in her community. It is worth
noting that she herself compiles her Congregation's circulars and the contracts with
municipal authorities or administrative councils regarding the hospital institutes of Our
Lady of the Apostles. She has also compiled a long directory.
She sees every situation clearly and correctly, as if it were a
matter of conscience. Her instructions are straightforward, precise and very practical.
She knows each of her 1400 daughters personally, and also their attitudes and their
virtues; hence she is able to select those who are most qualified to perform various
tasks. She also has Congregation's needs and resources. She knows the situation in every
house and has visited all her missions.
We wish to emphasize also her spirit of far-sightedness. She has
taken all the necessary measures for every hospital or school to have qualified nuns and
whatever they need to live and develop. I find it particularly interesting to note that
Mother Eugenia seems to possess a spirit of decisiveness, a sense of reality and a
creative will. In six years she has founded 67 institutes and has been able to introduce
very useful improvements in her Congregation.
If I single out her qualities of intelligence, judgement and will,
and her powers of administration, it is because they seem to me to rule out definitively
all the hypotheses about hallucinations, illusions, spiritism, hysteria or delirium. These
were examined during the enquiry but proved incapable of giving a satisfactory explanation
of the facts.
Mother Eugenia's life is a constant demonstration of her mental and
general equilibrium, which, to the observer, seems to be the dominant feature of her
personality. Other hypotheses, about suggestibility and manageability, led the
investigators to wonder whether they might be dealing with a very impressionable
temperament, like a multi-faceted mirror which reflects all influences and suggestions.
These hypotheses were also rejected for reasons of everyday reality. Although Mother
Eugenia is gifted with a sensitive nature and an emotional disposition, she has shown that
she has never favoured anyone and, far from letting herself be influenced by human
considerations, she has always been able to determine her own projects and activities and
to gain the acceptance of others through her personal insight.
2) The object of the mission which would appear to have been
entrusted to Mother Eugenia is precise and, from the doctrinal point of view, I see it as
legitimate and timely.
Its precise object is to make God the Father known and honoured,
mainly by the institution of a special feast which has been requested of the Church. The
enquiry established that a liturgical feast in honour of the Father would be quite in
keeping with Catholic practice as a whole. It would accord with the traditional thrust of
Catholic prayer, which ascends to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit, as shown by
the prayers of the Mass and the liturgical oblation to the Father during the Holy
Sacrifice. However, it is strange that there is no special feast in honour of the Father.
The Trinity is honoured as such, the Word and the Holy Spirit are honoured by their
mission and external manifestations. Only the Father has no feast of His own which would
draw the attention of the Christian people to His Person. This is the reason why a fairly
extensive survey of the faithful has shown that, in the various social classes and even
among many priests and religious, "the Father is unknown, no one prays to Him, no one
thinks of Him". The survey reveals, rather surprisingly, that a large number of
Christians remain distant from the Father because they see Him as a terrifying judge. They
prefer to turn to Christ's humanity. And how many ask Jesus to protect them from the
A special feast would thus have the effect firstly of
re-establishing order in the spirituality of many Christians and, secondly, of leading
them back to the Divine Saviour's instruction: "Everything you ask the Father in My
name..." and again "You will pray like this: 'Our Father..."
A liturgical feast dedicated to God the Father would also have the
effect of raising our eyes towards the One Whom the apostle St. James called "the
Father of light, from Whom every gift comes..." It would accustom souls to consider
God's goodness and His fatherly providence. They would realize that this providence is
truly that of God the Holy Trinity, and that it is because of His divine nature, common to
all three Persons, that God spreads through the world the ineffable treasures of His
It would seem, at first sight, as if there were no special reason to
honour the Father in particular. But was it not the Father Who sent His Son into the
world? if it is supremely right to show devotion to the Son and the Holy Spirit because of
their external manifestations would it not be right and proper to give thanks to God the
Father, as the Prefaces of the Mass require, for the gift He sent us, His Son?
The real object of this special feast thus becomes plain: to honour
the Father, to thank Him, to praise Him for having given us His Son; in a word, as the
message states, as the Author of our Redemption; to thank Him Who loved the world so much
that He gave His only-begotten Son, so that all men might be brought together in the
Mystical Body of Christ and, together with this Son, become His children.
At a time when the world is troubled by secular doctrines, atheism
and modern philosophies and no longer recognizes God, the true God, would not this feast
make known to many the living Father, the Father of mercy and goodness, Whom Jesus has
revealed to us? Would it not contribute to an increase in the number of those who worship
the Father "in spirit and in truth", to whom Jesus referred? Now, when the world
is being torn apart by deadly wars, when it feels the need to seek a solid principle of
union to bring the peoples closer together, this feast would bring a great light. It would
teach men that they all have the same Father in heaven: the One Who gave them Jesus,
towards Whom He draws them as members of His Mystical Body in the unity of the same Spirit
of Love! When so many souls are weary and tired of the tribulations of war, they may well
be hungering for a deep spiritual life. Might not such a feast call them, then, "from
within", to worship the Father Who hides Himself, and to offer themselves in a filial
and generous oblation to the Father, the only source of the life of the Holy Trinity in
them? Would it not preserve that fine movement of supernatural life which naturally draws
souls towards spiritual childhood and - through confidence - towards filial life with the
Father, towards abandonment to the divine will, towards the spirit of faith?
On the other hand, a problem of doctrine arises, quite apart from
the question of a special feast and regardless of what the Church may decide on this
matter. Some eminent theologians believe that the doctrine of the soul's relationship with
the Trinity needs to be examined more deeply, and that it could be for souls a source of
enlightenment on the life of union with the Father and the Son, about which St. John
speaks, and on the sharing in the life of Jesus, Son of the Father, especially in His
filial love for the Father.
But, apart from these theological reasons, what I wish to underline
here is this: a poor young woman, unversed in theology, declares that she is receiving
messages from God, and these may be very rich in doctrine.
The works of an imaginary visionary are poor, barren and
inconsistent. However, the message that Mother Eugenia says the Father entrusted to her is
fertile. There is a harmonious inter-action of two different characters which tends to
confirm its authenticity. On the one hand, it is presented as something traditionally held
by the Church, without any suspicious innovations, for it incessantly repeats that
everything has already been said in Christ's revelation about His Father, and that
everything is in the Gospel. But on the other hand, it declares that this great truth,
concerning knowledge of the Father, needs to be reconsidered, studied deeply and
Does not the disproportion between the weakness of the instrument,
incapable of discovering a doctrine of this nature by itself, and the depth of the message
being conveyed, reveal that a superior, supernatural, divine cause has intervened to
entrust the sister with this message?
I cannot see how, humanly speaking, one could explain the nun's
discovery of an idea, the originality and fecundity of which the theologians conducting
the enquiry were able to perceive only gradually.
Another fact seems to me equally significant: when Sister Eugenia
made it known that she had been receiving apparitions of the Father, the investigating
theologians replied that apparitions of the Father were in themselves impossible and that
they had never occurred before in history. The sister held out against these objections,
declaring simply: "The Father told me to describe what I saw. He asks His sons, the
theologians, to search." The nun never changed her testimony in any way. She
maintained her statements over many months. It was not until January 1934 that the
theologians discovered in St. Thomas Aquinas himself the answer to their objection.
The answer given by the great doctor of the Church about the
distinction between apparition and mission was enlightening. It removed the obstacle which
was paralysing the whole enquiry. Challenged by wise theologians, the uneducated little
nun proved to be right. How, humanly speaking, could we explain, in this case too, the
nun's insight, wisdom and perseverance? A false visionary would have tried to adapt
herself to the theologians' explanations. The nun, however, held her ground. These are the
additional reasons why her testimony seems trustworthy to us.
In any case, what I find worthy of note is her reserved attitude
towards the miraculous aspects of the case. While false visionaries give pride of place to
extraordinary phenomena and even see nothing but these, Mother Eugenia, on the contrary,
puts them second, as proofs, as means. There is no state of exaltation, but there is a
balance of values which makes a favourable impression.
I will refer only briefly to the theologians' enquiry.
The Reverend Fathers Albert and Auguste Valencin are highly esteemed
for their philosophical and theological authority, and for their deep knowledge of the
spiritual life. Their intervention was required in other, similar enquiries. We know that
they acted with great circumspection, and that is why we selected them for this work.
We are grateful for their devoted and conscientious collaboration.
Their testimony in favour of the sister and of a supernatural explanation of the facts as
a whole is all the more remarkable as they delayed their judgement for a long time, being
at first hostile and sceptical, and then hesitant. Little by little, they became
convinced, after raising all kinds of objections and imposing hard tests on the nun.
Following the dictates of my soul and my conscience, and with the
keenest sense of my responsibility to the Church, I declare that supernatural and divine
intervention seems to me the only logical and satisfactory explanation of the facts.
Isolated from all the surrounding features of the case,this
essential fact seems to me to be noble, lofty and supernaturally rich: that a humble nun
has called souls to true devotion to the Father, such as Jesus taught and the Church has
enshrined in its liturgy. There is nothing alarming in this, only something that is very
simple and in accordance with solid doctrine.
The miraculous facts which accompany this message could be separated
from the main event and its value would still be preserved in its entirety. For doctrinal
reasons, the Church will declare whether the idea of a special feast can be considered
separately from this particular case involving the sister.
I believe that the fundamental proof of the authenticity of the
nun's mission is shown by the way in which she puts into practice in her life the
beautiful doctrine which she was apparently destined to remind us of.
I deem it proper to let her continue her work. I believe that the
hand of God is in all this. After ten years of research, reflection and prayer, I bless
the Father for having deigned to choose my diocese as the place for such touching
manifestations of His love.
+ Alexandre Caillot
Bishop of Grenoble