St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Monday, October 01, 2007

Happy Birthday Mark, Happy Feast Day St. Therese

I know this was posted before - but hey, it's worth posting again for my little beloved son, who turns FOUR October 1st. I can't believe it myself! It's been a wonderful four years. This post brings back a lot of beautiful and even some bittersweet memories.

Saint Therese in her very "little way" is a very big saint in our home. Below I have re-posted some thoughts about her from back in February to share on this her feast day, the first Sunday of October, also Respect Life Sunday. Today is also the birthday of our youngest son, Mark. He turns three. And here is a short story about him, us and Saint Therese; and I suppose it has everything to do with respecting life and remaining in awe of it and the wonder of God. [family picture of Oct 1st, 2003: The Adoring Siblings]

I personally have a deep devotion to St. Therese and have most of my life; our Mark Thomas who is turning 3 yrs old was born on her feastday, surprisingly. Strangely or perhaps "Godly" that is.....I had done a special novena to St. Therese, one year before in October, hoping that we could be blessed with another child. A few weeks after the novena I received the sign of her mystical roses (another story there), and then a couple months later, we discovered we were to have another child. Mark was due on October 14th of 2003, and I awoke exactly at midnight of October 1st with the first labor pangs. Unbelievable. I kept saying no way this is real labor and this baby is going to be born on her feast -- I just couldn't believe it, as if, I had doubted St. Therese's help, I was to be sure to become very aware of it now! What a gift. And so it was Mark Thomas, who would have been Marie Therese, was born early that afternoon of Oct 1st; early but an absolutely beautiful uncomplicated labor and delivery, - and for a couple weeks early, he was 7 pds even, healthy and happy.

This of course, is a beautiful photo of St. Therese of Lisieux; it's a favorite of mine and comes from the Mary Evans Picture Library. We have this photo in a saint book at home where it appears in sepia tones and is very striking. Just as striking here, St. Therese's beauty in the simplicity of black and white.

While we are focused on St. Therese, I'd like to suggest a personal retreat based on her teachings. As a busy homeschooling mother, I really appreciate things of a spiritual nature that can be easily achieved in the home and fit into an ordinary day (or series of days).

There is a wonderful book for just this purpose: I Believe in Love, by Father Jean C. J. d' Elbee, published by Sophia Institute Press. I originally received this book as a gift from a friend who knew I had devotion to St. Therese and didn't have a lot of "mom time" to spend outside of the home. This book is a special find for a St. Therese devotee, but certainly anyone can benefit from it. Fr. d' Elbee captures Therese's teachings as meditations in ten "conferences" that take you through the retreat. Here is a short description from the backcover:

"Fr. Jean C. J. d' Elbee, a French priest deeply imbued with St. Therese's spirit, brings you St. Therese's teachings on God's love and the confidence in Him that it should inspire in your soul; humility, peace and fraternal charity; the apostolate; the Cross; and what it means truly to abandon yourself to Divine Providence."

Here is a short excerpt from the first conference, Love for Love:

"My principal aim in this retreat is to give some answers to your personal problems; those, in short, which preoccupy you most, sometimes to the point of anguish, because they have to do with the eternal life of your soul and because on your sanctity depends the light that will radiate through you upon your neighbor and the world." Fr. Jean C. J. d' Elbee

Later, Fr. d' Elbee states: "Oh how I would love it if at the end of this conference, and even more, at the end of this retreat you were able to cry out with the psalmist, 'Lord You have opened my heart, and I run in the way of Your commandments.'"

"This book comes like heavenly music, saving music, to fill with hope the emptiness of man's heart and to fill it to overflowing." (from: Preface of the American Edition; H. Lyman Stebbins)

"Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be - and becoming that person." Saint Therese of Lisieux, from Story of a Soul

St. Therese, Pray for Us!


Esther said...

Happy Birthday to Mark. What a wonderful story of a St. Therese miracle.

The two photos you posted are new to me. They are very beautiful. I will check out the book you recommended. I love the books from Sophia Press.

Not too long ago I was reading a few books on St. Therese and happend to find one written by a priest and it was entitled "A Love Story" or something to that effect. It was the letters that St. Therese and the young priest who had asked her to pray for him, shared back and forth. Have you heard it?

Thank you and God bless Denise!

Denise said...

Hi Esther,
Hmm, I don't think I've ever heard of the book you mention. You will have to pass on more details if you recall the author, etc. It sounds very interesting. I have a pretty tough to read book here by a French author on St. Therese and St. John of the Cross's teachings [and then of course, his connection to St. Teresa of Avila] I'll have to look it up.


Cay in La. said...

Oh, Happy Birthday, Little Mark.
I so remember when you were born. :) Seems like only yesterday. Such a happy and blessed day.

Eat a piece of cake for me. :)

Esther said...

Hi Denise:
I think it's the book listed at the following link:
God bless

Denise said...

Esther, thanks so much. How unique, it looks great! You have to add an "x" to the end of this url, so I'll repost it here if anyone's interested:

Maurice and Therese by Patrick Ahern:


Alice said...

What a beautiful post on St. Therese, my favorite saint. With you devotion to her, it does not surprise me at all that God would send you a little one on her Feast. Happy birthday Mark!

Esther said...

Well Happy Birthday Mark! Denise, is that you in the photo? So cute!

Micki said...

What a wonderful quote. Easy to say, difficult to act upon.

Denise said...

I'm holding baby Mark in the hospital gown photo :-) ...with the "adoring siblings" looking on. Our daughter Jamie is holding an older baby Mark in the next photo with where he has the dimply grin.

Thanks for stopping by!