Washington D.C., Oct 5, 2013 / 03:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- 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.
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