Tuesday, October 2, 2007
St. Therese and Tom
a spaniel after my own heart
So many people have posted wonderful things about St. Therese - I thought I might do a little twist on Therese for the dog lovers among us. As many of us know from reading Story of a Soul, Therese was given a dog.
I'd known she had a dog named Tom, but I never knew what kind of dog he was until I went on a pilgrimage to Lisieux with my mother in the spring of 1990. I was delighted from seeing various pictures that Tom was a spaniel too - not unlike my own dog. To everyone else Therese sends roses, to me she sends spaniels.
This photo of Tom is in a book called "Therese and Lisieux" by Pierre Descouvemont and Helmuth Nils Loose. It has many photos of places she frequented, people she knew and artifacts she owned and family pictures not found elsewhere. I highly recommend it for St. Therese fans.
In one of the Therese books, I read that when she was in the convent and was on the "turn" that day to let a workman in, Tom happened to be passing by the convent. Tom ran to Therese and put his head under her skirts and was overjoyed. Therese was somewhat overcome herself and did shed some tears. Our families may understand us "leaving the world" but our dogs don't! I found that little vignette very touching when I came across it, because as a child I loved my pets too and I wondered how Therese handled leaving her dog.
This second picture is a blown up portion of a little day book she kept to note important dates. It notes that Tom has come to live with them. In the entry below, Therese records that she had her period. I didn't crop this part out, because sometimes people try to disassociate saints from the physical world - and it's useful to remember that they had to deal with everyday life just as we do. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. [I'm still not sure if some of my nuns in grade school ever had need of the restroom, but I'll take it on faith that they did!]