Saturday, 12 September 2009

Dear St Therese

You are simply impossible to ignore. Has ever a woman, later to be declared a saint, been so extensively photographed? And how did that come about in the quiet, enclosed world of the Carmel? Was, indeed ever a prospective saint so imploringly photogenic? You demand attention from everyone who gazes into your eyes.

Sister, help me. We need to have a talk, you and me. It is wrong of me, I know, but I do not like you. I know that if we were together in the same convent, you would seek me out, and now more than ever, I feel we need to meet. Something attracts me to that which I find difficult, even impossible. Something attracts me increasingly to those who are so willfully stubborn in their obedience to Our Lord. The only problem is, Little Flower, I so want to see you as a small delicate bloom clinging to a sea cliff in a raging storm, but all I can picture is a demanding, needy prize dahlia. My assumptions about you must go, the truth about you lies outside of my imagination.

Thank you for visiting the UK at this time, I look forward to seeing you, probably at the Oxford Oratory in early October.

Pray for me,



berenike said...

Her sister Celine (can't remember her religious name) was an amateur photographer, and was asked/permitted to bring her stuff with her when she entered. Hence the lots-of-photos: probably lots of all the sisters, but people are only interested in the ones with St Therese, or at the most, the ones with her sisters in.

Paul said...

Your post reminds me of the words of the psychiatrist and neurologist Karl Stern, writing in 1952:

The fact that St Thérèse's "simple" life was a most bitter and terrible conquest is not at all obvious from her writings. ... The deception is emphasized by her style of expression. ... The poetic taste of the middle class of the French province (the flowers, the perfumes, and the toys, and all the other sweet and little things of this world) is an obstacle for a great number of people. It was an obstacle for me. Moreover, it emphasizes the surface lack of originality. That such a searing flame should have hidden under the camouflage of fin de siècle ornaments is somehow a challenge to us modern people.

la mamma said...

Read 'Story of a Love' - letters between Therese and a seminarian, later priest, called Maurice. Just read it and it blew me away. It's not flowery but amazing. Their correspondence took place when she was 18 months from death and well into her Dark Night of Faith. I know where you're coming from, Rita, as I was there myself. I'm off to see her too. Ora pro nobis, Therese!