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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Chasuble by St. Therese of Lisieux

While doing the previous post, I came across this photo of a chasuble painted by St. Therese. The chasuble garment itself was made from an old dress of Madame Martins. It appears to be a heavy brocade type fabric. It is dark green in color. St. Therese painted the Holy Face and the vines and roses. The book, Therese and Lisieux, didn't say who sewed the garment. You can see an enlarged version of the photo here.

The two roses at the bottom represent Mr. and Mrs. Martin. The two bigger roses above them the two eldest sisters, Marie and Pauline (also in the convent with Therese) the rose directly below the face is Celine - the last sister to enter the Carmel, after their father had died. Therese is the rose to the left of the face, and Leonie's rose is to the right. She became a visitation nun.

The other four buds represent the four other children the Martins had, who did not live past early childhood. Helene was a little younger than Leonie, and Helene died about aged and a half. Melanie Therese was the child born before St. Therese, and she died about aged one or two. Two infant boys, who did not live very long were born after Helene, Joseph, and Joseph Jean. All the children had the first name of Marie, including the boys.

Some of you may or may not know that initially, for the first 10 months of the marriage, the Martin parents lived as brother and sister, not consummating the marriage. The book, had this to say:

"Louis approached marriage with very specific views: he wanted to live with his wife as brother and sister. He even copied a passage from a theology book, which confirmed his way. [That's some theology book! - kh] Zelie, for her part, wanted to have many children; but she finally accepted her husband's point of view.

There was no selfishness in the young household. No sooner had they set up house, when they took charge of a little five year old boy, whose father had just died, leaving his wife with eleven children.
After ten months of life together, the strong intervention of a confessor led the Martins to change their minds. From that time, nine births followed in succession from 1869 to 1873."

I say "Hurray, for that good confessor!" [And boo-hiss to Mr. Martin if he didn't tell his intended before the wedding. When did he spring that one on her? The wedding night? I'm going to have to plough through Zelie's diary to see if she mentioned it there. Let me also guess a situation like that wouldn't be easy to handle in a keep the line moving "Penance Service."]


EC Gefroh said...

This is so beautiful. I can't wait to email my brother in law your blog link. He has such a devotion to the St. Therese! Mahalo Karen.

Anonymous said...

Dear Karen:

Thank you for highlighting the chasuble representing the Martin family. You may be interested to know that Marie-Joseph-Louis, the first boy born to the Martins, lived less than five months. Their second son, Marie-Joseph-Jean-Baptiste, died at eight months. Marie-Helene died at age five. Marie-Melanie-Therese died at the age of less than two months, and there is no photograph of her.

Please visit my Web site about St. Therese at Thank you.


Adrienne said...

You have been tagged for a meme by

I'll be checking up on you:)

swissmiss said...

I hadn't seen this chasuble before, but then I don't have too many book on St. Therese.

Is this on display in Lisieux? Will have to try to get there this spring.

Phil said...

That is a very beautiful vestment.

BTW Won't tell you what your word verification is asking me to type in. ;-)

gemoftheocean said...

There's been a few times the word verification is, shall I say squirrely. And I'm nothing thinking of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

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