Quote of the day: 10 January

I want to give my little daughter the only picture that is dear to me among all others… Aunt at Le Mans gave it to me, and I am attached to it, for it says much to my heart. But all for the little fiancée of Jesus!

Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart
(Marie Martin)

 

LT-245 (2)
“Blessed is the lily that remains unblemished until the time of harvest; its whiteness will shine eternally in paradise”

 

In our Quote of the Day for 9 January, we shared Sr. Marie’s letter to St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus on the eve of her clothing in the holy habit of Carmel. In the custom of Discalced Carmelite nuns, as a gift to Thérèse for the occasion, she re-gifted something that was of great value to her: a holy card that she had received from their Aunt Élise, St. Zélie Guérin’s sister Marie-Louise-Pétronille, who took the religious name Marie-Dosithée in the Visitation Monastery at Le Mans, France. 

Martin Family historian Maureen O’Riordan tells us that on the back of the holy card Marie Martin had written, “Souvenir from Aunt at Le Mans; I shall keep it forever.” We can understand how Marie now says that she is “attached to it” and “it says much to my heart.” 

Maureen O’Riordan notes: her generosity in giving it to Thérèse was all the greater because their aunt had died in 1877. The image shows the Child Jesus in a field of lilies, harvesting them. Across the bottom is printed, ‘Blessed is the lily that remains unblemished until the time of harvest; its whiteness will shine eternally in paradise’.

 

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Aunt Élise’s holy card, which Marie said she would keep forever, later given to Thérèse for her clothing in January 1889, became Thérèse’s farewell gift to her three sisters in June 1897 (LT-245)

 

In June 1897, Thérèse will re-gift the holy card once more as a precious farewell souvenir to her three sisters, framing it and embellishing it with thoughts from St. Théophane Vénard and St. John of the Cross, such as this quote from the Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 29: For a little of this pure love is more precious to God and the soul and more beneficial to the Church, even though it seems one is doing nothing, than all these other works put together.

You can read an English translation of St. Thérèse’s inscription here and explore Maureen O’Riordan’s blogs devoted to St. Thérèse here, to St. Louis and Zélie here, and to Léonie Martin here. As always, you can explore the English website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux here.

Quote of the day: 9 April

Monday, 9 April 1888

Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord

Thérèse enters the Carmel of Lisieux

From Marie Martin (Marie of the Sacred Heart) to her father, Saint Louis Martin 
9th April 1888

Incomparable Father,

What Céline tells us is worthy of you! Ah! What a remarkable father we have! He truly is unique… Also, I’m not surprised that God is taking all the children away from this incomparable father! He is too dear to his Heart for Him not to look upon him and his family with a very special love. How our dear mother must be smiling down upon you, she must be rejoicing to see her darling boat being so well directed by you towards Heaven.

 

Entrée aqua-entree-1
St. Thérèse crosses the threshold of the cloister, a later watercolor | Photo: Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux | Visit the Archives site to see the annotated sketch for this watercolor and all of the artworks associated with the life of St. Thérèse, her “Life in Pictures

 

O best of fathers, how accountable we would be if we didn’t become saints, and if we didn’t follow in the footsteps of your generosity… Ah! How Jesus will have to repay you a hundredfold for the lily barely in bloom, the lily, filled with freshness, that you are offering him today. Oh, your crown in heaven! Darling Father, how radiant and beautiful it will be. Ah! Pray that your diamond may not be too pale beside so many beauties.

I can’t continue any longer, my heart is too full of affection for you and is all yours.

Our Mother couldn’t help crying as she read Céline’s account. Ah! What a remarkable father you are!!

M. of the S. H.

O best of fathers, how accountable we would be if we didn’t become saints

N.B. — St. Thérèse entered the Carmel of Lisieux on the Feast of the Annunciation, which was deferred to Monday, April 9 in the year 1888 because March 25 was Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. “Our Mother” refers to the prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague. You can read a brief biographical sketch of Mother Marie here; as Sr. Geneviève (Céline) remarked at the end of her life to another younger member of the community, “But we loved her! But you would have loved her! Only…” she continued with an appropriate facial expression “she was feared as a storm is feared when you have no umbrella … “

Read an outstanding essay concerning Thérèse’s entry to the Carmel of Lisieux on April 9, written by St. Thérèse expert Maureen O’Riordan and illustrated with 19th-century photos, published on her blog Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway.

 

The letter from Marie of the Sacred Heart to her father, Saint Louis Martin, all correspondence by family and friends, and other texts and sources concerning St. Thérèse are found on the official website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

St. Therese of Lisieux and the feast of the Annunciation | “Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway” Blog

Annunciation_SOLARIO Andrea 1506_Louvre
The Annunciation, Andrea Solario (1506), Musée du Louvre, Paris

St. Therese especially loved the mystery of the Annunciation and celebrated it every year. At the first inquiry into Therese’s sanctity in 1910, her sister Celine testified:

She had a particular devotion for the mystery of the Incarnation, which she would observe devotedly every 25th March. She loved to contemplate…

Read more via March 25, 2019: St. Therese of Lisieux and the feast of the Annunciation – “Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway” Blog – Saint Therese of Lisieux

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