Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Very Special Chair

Dear readers:
There are all sorts of chairs: beach chairs, fancy dining room chairs, recliner chairs, and desk chairs. But no chair is as special as this wooden one, pictured above. This is the very chair our dear St. Therese sat at while writing her famous autobiography, L'Histoire d'une Ame (The Story of a Soul). It is one of my top five favorite books, hands down. When you read this book (which I highly recommend you do if you haven't already), you will feel St. Therese right beside you, as if she is talking directly to you through her words. What a gifted writer!

Last month my family and I visited the National Shrine of St. Therese in Darien, Illinois. It is a must-see for any devotee of the Little Flower. As soon as you walk in the doors to see the things she owned and treasured, you simply will not believe your luck to actually be there. I am so glad I had my camera with me. I walked around and marveled at all of the wonderful objects that touched her life. It was a magical experience for me, especially since, on this rainy day an hour before closing, I was the only one in the room. It was so wonderful to be alone with my thoughts as I perused the lovely antiques from France in the peaceful silence.

When I came upon this chair, I froze. No, this couldn't actually be, sitting here inches away from me: the very chair she sat in as she wrote her masterpiece? Then I had to laugh: Therese certainly did not think she was writing a masterpiece! In fact, she was humble and did not think anyone would want to read what she wrote, the stories of her childhood, her innermost thoughts. The only real reason she wrote it at all was because she was ordered to by her superiors, and she always did what she was told. She definitely did not think that the entire world would read it after her death. At the end, when she was near death, she kept on writing, and could barely hold the pen, so she switched to a pencil.

I have to confess I did something I know you are not supposed to do in museums: I reached out and ever so gently touched the chair with two fingers. I just had to touch something that was so beautiful. In this chair history was made, for if she hadn't written her autobiography, she would have died and remained mostly unknown. And in this way, this chair made her known to me. God is so good!
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