Loading
'Little Flower' artifacts draw faithful closer to St. Thérèse
St. Therese of Lisieux's writing desk sits on display in front of a drawn image of the saint holding it in her lap. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.
St. Therese of Lisieux's writing desk sits on display in front of a drawn image of the saint holding it in her lap. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.
By Adelaide Mena
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- As a weathered wooden writing desk tours the U.S., its drawers stained black with century-old ink, its presence helps bring the faithful closer to the saint who used it to pen “Story of a Soul” –  Thérèse of Lisieux.

The relics, which also include a wooden pen and a small glass ink well, are a “very human and very intimate remembrance of the Little Flower,” said Father Andrew Small, OMI, director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States.

The tour of the writing instruments that the saint used in the last years of her life have served both as a means of teaching the faithful about St. Thérèse and as a way for the faithful to share their stories of the impact she has made in their lives.

People “just identify with her,” Fr. Small told CNA Oct. 3, adding that many coming to see the relics spoke about the comfort and friendship St. Thérèse provides “when people are most distraught.”

“This is a way we get closer to Thérèse, whom we know is close to God,” the priest said of the artifacts.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, whom Pope Pius X in the early 20th century called “the greatest saint of modern times,” lived a quiet life, speaking in her spiritual autobiography of her desire “to be unknown.” She died of tuberculosis at the age of 24 on Sept. 30, 1897 in the Carmelite convent of Lisieux, France, which she had never left after entering at the age of 15.

However, through her writings to missionaries and the distribution of her spiritual autobiography “Story of a Soul,” St. Thérèse’s “Little Way” of doing small things with great love has been an inspiration to Catholics around the world and made her the patron saint of missionaries.

The pen, ink well and lap desk that St. Thérèse used for the last three years of her life to write letters, prayers, poems, and her memoirs, including parts of her spiritual autobiography, were last used Sept. 8, 1897.

They are currently on loan to the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, visiting over 20 dioceses in the U.S. and leaving the Carmelite convent in France for the first time since the convent was founded. They will next be in St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 5-6.

St. Thérèse “knew that the way to purify herself and her faith was uniting herself with Christ in every moment of every day,” Fr. Small explained.

“Her ‘Little Way’ is to see every second of every minute of every hour as a moment when we can encounter Christ, most especially during the times of triumph and suffering and seeming despair,” he continued.

“It’s not easy to see the world this way – it’s the narrow gate that we hear about in the Gospel, or the Little Way that we read about in the Story of a Soul.”

This approach has drawn many close to the saint, Fr. Small said, adding that while touring the country with the relics, he has heard countless stories of the example St. Thérèse has shown people in some of the most difficult times of their lives, that “nothing could separate us from the love of Christ.”

“It’s almost overwhelming how Thérèse is accredited with accompanying people in the most terrible and awful moments of their lives.”

The artifacts have “very much personalized her in everyday life,” serving as a link to her life, Fr. Small continued, adding that they are “this incredible way of uniting people to the cell where she lived and died.”

“They feel already so very close with Thérèse, and this brings them even closer.”

“It’s very personal,” Fr. Small stated, and “it’s that proximity that makes people feel very loved.”

Fr. Small said that those who wish to leave intentions for St. Thérèse are given cards with her shield on one side. They can write their intentions on the cards, which are then placed next to the desk, and will be placed on the saint’s grave when St. Thérèse’s artifacts return to Lisieux.

Despite the saint’s “too-good-to-be-true” story, and her focus on love, meekness and childlike dependence upon God, Thérèse’s life and approach to spirituality can be an inspiration in difficult times, especially for youth of today’s world, Fr. Small explained.

“She had no sense, even in the darkness of her later years, that she was alone,” he stated, and her life demonstrated that “faith is not a fruitless or useless human exercise.”

“There’s nothing unreal or surreal about the Story of a Soul: it’s the story of every soul.”

Tags: Therese of Lisieux

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
Sep
30

Liturgical Calendar

September 30, 2014

Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 9:51-56

Gospel
Date
09/30/14
09/29/14
09/28/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Job 3: 1-3, 11-17, 20-23
Gospel:: Lk 9: 51-56

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
09/30/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 9:51-56

Homily
Date
09/30/14
09/29/14
09/28/14