During her last public appearance, the little miracle girl proclaims in a firm voice:
“Rose Tamisier. I’m thirty-three years old… Christ’s age…”
She makes the sign of the cross and then sits down facing her judges in the courtroom of the Carpentras Tribunal.
Troubled and distraught after two days of passionate debates, the judges don’t know which saint – or devil – to address to discover the truth.
To everybody’s great discontentment, they declare themselves to be incompetent and the trial is taken to Appeal before the Nimes Court, on the following 6 November.
The case is rapidly, brutally expedited. Rose is condemned to the maximum: six months of prison and a fine of sixteen francs for “offence of affront to the Catholic religion”.
In fact, she will suffer an incarceration of twenty-one months in all, for she refuses to allow those close to her to pay the trial costs which come to the considerable sum of eight hundred and eighty-two francs.
When her ordeal ends, no-one is waiting for her at the prison door. As if it were feared that, with her release, a decidedly cumbersome God would again manifest himself.
Everyone had hastened to forget her passing glory, but the high clergy will never forgive her for the upheaval she had caused in consciences. Back in her town of birth, Saignon, to care for her elderly father, Rose thinks only of effacing herself as much as possible, not without hoping to find balm for her wounds in the holy sacraments.
The ecclesiastic authorities refuse categorically. The Archbishop orders:
“If this girl asks for Holy Communion, she must first confess her culpable juggling.”
Throughout the terrestrial time left for her to live, Rosette Tamisier will remain firm. She fights desperately and does not stop tearfully begging her Curate to allow her to accede again to the Holy Table, but she will never admit to having lied.
The Roman Catholic Church remains just as inflexible. Despite her letters full of humility to the Archbishop and her exemplary life, it remains deaf to her appeals.
As for the past miracles, they too will fall into total oblivion. Despite the doubts or convictions which will subsist in the minds of a lot of absolutely trustworthy witnesses…
How difficult and dangerous it was under this Second Empire, sanctimonious and bigoted, to be distinguished by the hand of the Lord!…
This story seems to be quite unknown. The works on religion, those that support it and those, also numerous in the XIXth Century, which attack it, don’t mention Rosette. It is surprising at an epoch when miracles suscitated a prodigious interest throughout the whole of the Occident and were the objects of serious studies for the first time, with scientific controls. For example, those accomplished in the middle of the XIXth Century by Bernadette Soubirous and Jean-Marie Vianney, the Curate of Ars.
It is Maitre Maurice Garcon, the famous lawyer, who exhumed this case, thanks to the ecclesiastic authorities, who, for the first time, in the 1930’s, placed the documents and exhibits at his disposition.
This long silence was paradoxically because the Church feared that the judiciary authorities might be convinced of the authenticity of the Saint-Saturnin prodigies… It is in fact extremely prudent in matter of recognition of saints or miracles.
Jeanne d’Arc was canonised only in 1920 and Saint Bernadette in 1933. Saint Therese of Lisieux, who was canonised in record time, still had to wait thirty years.
Further, the Church always fears the intervention of the Devil in paranormal phenomena.
Louis Pauwels, whose work I have translated, believes that Rosette Tamisier performed miracles. The archives of the civil enquiry as well as those of the ecclesiastic enquiry, along with the whole of the witness statements, concord on several points. Even outside the miracle of the picture, it is accepted that Rosette levitated when she prayed and that she bore stigmata.
Although the Church recognizes the existence of levitation, it does not consider that it is enough for canonisation.
Certain mediums also levitate.
As for stigmata, they too are fairly common.
On the subject of the bleeding picture, there are many witness statements. Those of the whole population, but also the gendarmes who established the reports, the Sous-Prefet, the Mayor and doctors. Collective hallucination appears to be unthinkable.
The report of Gendarme Brive, for example, clearly indicates that, when the blood that had flowed from the wounds on the picture was wiped off, it immediately formed again and so on, up to three or four times, more and more weakly, it is true.
At the beginning of the miracles, Rosette asked to be alone inside the chapel on the morning preceding these miracles. Certain people have used this to argue that she herself spread blood on the canvas. This cannot be so, for apart from the surveillance which had been established around the chapel, the religious authorities first, the civil ones later, had the picture taken down to see if it was rigged in some way. Nothing suspicious had been found. At the last miracle notably, the blood came back with such abundance that any idea of subterfuge, of “juggling”, as the Archbishop said, appeared to be out of the question.
This attack from the Roman Catholic Church is comprehensible. Firstly, around the same epoch there had been the case of Sister Patrocinio, a Spanish nun who drew fake wounds on her body with a stick of silver nitrate. This had thrown considerable discredit on the religion. It was also the eve of a great occultist awakening in the middle of the end of the XIXth Century. Heresies were flourishing, notably that of Vintras, who had founded the Oeuvre de misericorde, whose doctrine would spread into numerous European countries.
He had announced that all sorts of miracles were going to occur, and the Church made the connection, fearing that Rosette was part of this sect.
In fact, the extraordinary thing about this case is that the Church itself undertakes to put a miracle girl on trial.
Apart from the Curate of Saint-Saturnin, all the men of the Church in her time will be gradually against the miraculous thesis. So almost all of the laics, public servants, lawyers, doctors and others will be for it, the free thinkers, like Doctor Clement, among them. This quite simply shows that, in this matter, the Church displays a much more critical and prudent attitude than the laics. For it knows what it can lose in prematurely recognizing miracles which aren’t, and in annexing to the religion phenomena for which all rationality appears out of the question.
As soon as the judgement had been rendered, the famous picture was removed from the chapel and no-one knows what happened to it. Perhaps it is with certain ecclesiastic dossiers to which, despite his requests, Maitre Garcon never had access?…