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A pesky little saint

Well saints be praised!  I have just completed my most challenging holy card to date – St. Therese of Lisieux.  Now I know what you’re saying – “The Little Flower gave you trouble?”  Yup.  Big time.  To the point where it kept her out of Volume 1 and I seriously thought I was never going to be able to write anything about her at all.

The problem was her, well, perfection.  She never seemed to get angry or doubt or have one single unkind thought her whole life.  And man, is that annoying!  For instance, there’s a famous story in her autobiography where she recounts how one of the other nuns would always (inadvertently) splash water in her face whenever they did the laundry together.  Her solution?  “I acquired a taste for dirty water.”  Uh-huh.  That’s just lovely.  Too much to ask that she should haul off and punch Sister Splashy in the arm, I know, but you see the problem.  There’s nothing in her story for this born-again feminist to latch onto.

Or so I thought until I read some fascinating passages from her autobiography and the court testimony of her sister Celine at the beatification proceeding in which Therese’s strong desire for priesthood became startling evident.  OK, now you’re talkin’!  This submissive little nun wanted to be a priest!  Therese even went so far as to say when she knew that she would not live out the year, that God was taking her because that would have been the year she would have been ordained (had the Church allowed women in the priesthood) and God didn’t want her to suffer by living with such a great disappointment.  Wow!

To top it off, there is a photograph of Therese standing behind a table, preparing the chalice and ciborium for Mass.  It’s easy to find on the internet.  Take a look and you’ll see Therese is staring directly at the camera, and in her right hand she’s holding a host.  “Doesn’t mean anything,” you say?  Maybe not.  But in my holy card, it does!  Does it ever!

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