The Pontifical Mission Societies announced today that the wooden writing-case (the "écritoire") that belonged to St. Therese of Lisieux began a tour of the United States this week. The tour is sponsored by the Pontifical Mission Societies in collaboration with the Carmel of Lisieux, which has generously lent the writing-case. Father Andrew Small, OMI, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, traveled to Lisieux to pick up the writing-case, which has never before been outside the monastery. The United States is blessed to be the first country to welcome this treasure of St. Thérèse. Except for the manuscripts themselves, no souvenir of St. Thérèse is closer to her extraordinary memoirs, published in book form as Story of a Soul in 1898, than the écritoire. All three manuscripts of this great spiritual classic, which has transformed so many lives, were written on this little wooden writing-desk.
The tour opened on Wednesday, August 28, the anniversary of the death of St. Thérèse's mother, Blessed Zelie Martin . The first stop was Las Vegas, where several Catholic Hispanic organizations had been meeting. The writing-case is scheduled to be venerated in about twenty dioceses between now and late October, when the tour is scheduled to end on the East Coast.
|Therese's writing-desk with the three manuscripts that make up Story of a Soul.|
The first event of the tour was a prayer service at St. Joseph, Husband of Mary parish in Las Vegas. During the prayer service, which began at 5:30 p.m., each person present was invited to write her or his name on a piece of paper and place it on the writing-case. "This simple act is a way for pilgrims to unite their hearts with the heart of St. Thérèse and to place all their hopes and sorrows in heaven with her," said Father Andrew. "Returning the writing case to Lisieux, I will also carry with me the many names of those who have entrusted their cares and hopes to the intercession of St. Thérèse."
Among other stops, the mission tour will visit:
San Rafael Church in San Diego on Friday, August 30, 2013, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Washington on Saturday, September 14, 2013 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Opening prayer 10:30 a.m. Viewing of the relics 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Rosary and concluding prayer, 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
St. Cecilia Church in Stanwood, Washington on Sunday, September 15, 2013: 9:00 a.m. Mass; viewing of the relics from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; 11:00 a.m. Mass; viewing of the relics 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday September 21, 2013, beginning with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo at 9:00 a.m. The relics depart the Basilica at 12:00 noon. On Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. they return to the Basilica; they depart the Basilica on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.
The Venerable Fulton Sheen World Mission Awards Dinner at the Pierre Hotel in New York City on Tuesday, October 1, the feast of St. Therese. Admission to the dinner is by ticket.
Little Flower Parish in Toledo, Ohio on Wednesday, October 9 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and again on Thursday, October 10 from 9:00 a.m. until noon.
Rosary Cathedral in Toledo, Ohio on Thursday, October 10. Viewing of the relics begins at 4:00 p.m. At 7:00 p.m., Mass, at which Bishop Leonard Blair presides. After Mass there will be more time for individual veneration until 8:30 p.m.
St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral in Metuchen, New Jersey on Sunday, October 13 at 5:30 p.m. Bishop Paul Bootkoski will preside at a prayer service at 5:30 p.m.
A time and location to be announced in the diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey on Monday, October 14.
Charleston, South Carolina at the end of October: date, time and location to be announced.
The tour will visit Florida and Missouri. The complete schedule has not been published yet.
For more about the role of the écritoire in St. Thérèse's life, please keep an eye on "Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway." You will learn when and where she used it; why she used this writing-case only after 1894; what happened to her first writing-case; and which of her writings she composed using this little writing-desk. I will also write about the links between the Pontifical Mission Societies and St. Therese, both during her lifetime and after her death. For more about the mission tour, please keep an eye on the Pontifical Mission Societies.