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Sunday, December 2, 2007

St. Therese and Tom, Redux

Someone had run across
an earlier posting of my blog re: St. Therese and her dog Tom. She wondered if there were other pictures of this dog. Here's another I have, also from the book "Therese and Lisieux" by Pierre Descouvemont and Helmuth Nils Loose. When I was in Lisieux I was able to buy a postcard of this picture.

(Marie Guerin, Leonie Martin, Celine Martin - flanked by two servants - Mr. Martin, and his brother and sister in law, the Guerins)

The photo was taken in 1892 at the Guerin home, where from that time Mr. Martin lived until his death in 1894. Later the same wheelchair used by Mr. Martin was given to the Carmelite convent. In June of 1897, Therese would sit in it in the garden at Carmel and write her last manuscript.

By accounts Tom was a spaniel, and you can see he looks more spanielly[sp?!] from this angle than in the other photo. Also breeds of dogs can undergo changes in appearances over time. This one would be around 130 now if he'd lived! And that's "people years."

(Here he is in isolation. My guess is that he's wagging his tail, to judge by the blur.)

The book is well worth getting, it has a lot of things about Therese and the Martin Family I had not seen elsewhere.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are some wonderful pictures of Tom taken by Celine Martin, the saint's sister. Check them out at the fantastic archival website set up by the Carmel of Lisieux. This new site is posting their entire Theresien collection on the web. Some of us Therese devotees are translating it into English with about 25% completion at this point. The Lisieux sister who is the Archivist says that one of the questions they frequently get is "when did Tom die"? They don't know exactly, but we know that he lived his last years at the chateau La Musse owned by Therese's wealthy uncle, Isidore Guerin. So, we can assume that Tom lived well until the end. By the way, I was amused that you wrote that Therese sends you spaniels instead of roses. She has sent me three--spaniels, that is. Also, Tom is portrayed on the reliquary containing the remains of Therese's beatified parents. That must be a canine first! Juan.

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