The period of exorcism extended over an unusually long period of time. Never before did it take so long, as far as we know. It lasted just twenty-three days, however, in three different stages. And remember, the exorcism went on from early morning until late night. The devil tried his utmost to weaken the priests and nuns and to induce them to let up in their untiring efforts. The pastor could not always be present. His care of souls in the parish kept him away at times. Neither was he physically able to sacrifice so many hours of the night for this purpose. Thus it happened that many interesting and also terrible things took place in his absence to which, however, the others were trustworthy witnesses.
The solemn formula of exorcism was in progress for more than two weeks before there were any indications that the devil could be forced to depart from the poor helpless possessed woman. Even though Father Theophilus had succeeded in delivering her from a large number of devils through the great powers of the prayers and exorcisms, the four meanest and most persistent ones could not be dislodged for a long time. Satan seemed to have gathered up all the forces of hell to gain a final victory in this case.