When you begin to be known as “the Therese guy” people seem to come out of the woodwork to give you Theresian gifts. This has been happening to me quite a bit lately.
It usually happens at odd times. One day recently I was praying at the Eucharistic Chapel and I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. A woman that I knew whispered in my ear that she had some literature and a magazine article about St. Therese that she wanted me to have and that she would leave it for me in an envelope at the chapel entrance. I thanked her. Sure enough, a few days later an envelope with my name on it was waiting for me.
Another woman told me that she had a ceramic picture of St. Therese that she wanted to give me. She didn’t have enough room to hang it in her home. Maria and I had run into her at a subway station in Washington, D.C. several years ago when we had participated in the Annual March For Life. It’s a small world. She had also attended one of my talks on St. Therese at St. Isaac Jogues Parish. I knew the drill now. She likewise left a package with the ceramic picture for me at the chapel entrance.
One of the men in my Knights of Columbus Council had enjoyed one of my talks and presented me with a framed picture of St. Therese at one of our meetings. The picture was of Therese washing dishes and he said that it was his wife’s picture and she wanted me to have it. I was very touched by the gift and by the presentation at the meeting. I recently ran across a book entitled, “Journey With Therese of Lisieux, Celebrating the Artist in Us All”, by Br. Michael O’Neill McGrath, O.S.F.S. and, to my great surprise, this same picture of Therese washing dishes was there on page 23! I learned that the picture was titled “Doing the Dishes and God’s Work” and that it celebrated discovering God and His love in all the small moments and tasks of life. After all, most of our lives are comprised of such small moments and tasks so we might as well offer them for the love of God.
Just today before mass I ran into a friendly Filipino woman who had attended my two talks at St. Katharine of Siena Parish last July. I informed her that the relics of St. Therese were now in Cebu in the Philippines. She thanked me profusely for telling her and said that she would be giving her relatives in the Philippines a call! She slipped a red pouch with a zipper into my hand and told me that it contained a St. Therese rosary.
I am very grateful for all these thoughtful gifts and it is very encouraging to witness how much people love and appreciate St. Therese and her influence in their lives. I am also grateful that I can be a part of Therese’s posthumous mission in the world in some small way.