Archive for the ‘St.Therese of the Child Jesus’ Category

Alas, there was no winner for my first Giveaway Quiz. Maybe I’ll try this again sometime, but for all of you who are dying to know, here are the answers to last Friday’s quiz:

1. The drawing room in the post “the wounds give life” was the drawing room in the old TV version of “Dark Shadows” which ran from the late 60s to the early 70s. I always felt right at home there!

2. My banner photo shows Flirtation Point in Pine Orchard, Branford, Connecticut.

3. The town in the first photo in “no lasting city” is Greenfield, Massachusetts. That’s Main Street, and the current name of the business on the right is Baker Office Supply.

4. The artist of the sketch in “failure” is Vincent Van Gogh.

5. Besides the New Testament, St. Therese always carried a copy of the Imitation of Christ by St. Thomas a Kempis.

6. Three books Branfordgirl likes: see my sidebar for a selection of books I like which are available on Amazon (and Branfordgirl will earn a few pennies if you navigate there from this site and make a purchase). I also listed a number of books in my post “it’s all for you.”

7. What’s so special about Branford, Connecticut? Well, here’s my answer: it’s Branfordgirl’s hometown!


Read Full Post »


This might sound spooky, but at times, I feel like a ghost haunting my own house. But that’s not as strange as it may seem. Let me try to explain.

I love funerals. I saw a movie once in which two Irish matrons in black mourning garb took the bus every day from one funeral to another. Whether  it was a spiritual work of mercy or whether they were just a bit nutty, I found their custom appealing. I feel a strange sense of peacefulness at funerals, almost a joy, because it’s a little glimpse beyond the veil, a step into another world from this present world in which I often feel out of place. It’s also a reminder that this life is fleeting, but eternity is forever.

My two sons are altar boys, so when they served at a funeral Mass today, although I did not know the deceased, I stayed.  Father talked about a comment one of the mourners had made about the deceased, a Polish lady named Mary. She had been infirm for awhile, and, the relative remarked, was finally reaching the end of her journey. Father took issue with that sentiment. He told us that Mary was actually just starting out, that one day we would marvel to see the things she is seeing now.

Back to me haunting my own house. For as long as I can remember, wherever I have lived,  I have experienced a strange phenomenon. Like something from the Twilight Zone, I can glance out my window and see the street, the homes,a passing car,  as they might have been 20, 40, 80 years ago. Suddenly there is silence, hardly a leaf rustles, and it is as if I were looking back in time. And yet, it could just as easily be the future. It could be any point in time; that is, there is a sense of timelessness, and I have an awareness that others have been here before me, others will come after me, and the veil between the worlds seems very thin. It is hard to describe.

I’m part Irish and there is a strong streak of Gaelic melancholy in me. It’s a kind of intangible homesickness, a restless longing. I’m a bit like the Little Prince who keeps wistfully thinking of his planet and his special rose. I love a plaintive song by the Irish band the Chieftains called “The May Morning Dew” of which the following are the last two stanzas:

I remember the old folk
All now dead and gone
And likewise my two brothers
Young Dennis and John
How we ran o’er the heather
The wild hare to pursue
And the proud deer we hunted
In the may morning dew

Of the house I was born in
There’s but a stone on the stone
And now all ’round the garden
Wild thistles have grown
And gone are the neighbors
That I once knew
No more will we wander
Through the may morning dew…

Because I am a bit odd, the references to death do not sadden me; they awaken in me a feeling of expansiveness, of timelessness. A sense that when something ends here, it begins in another place. Same with “Danny Boy:”

Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the flow’rs are dying
‘Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.

But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
‘Tis I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh, Danny boy, oh, Danny boy, I love you so.

And if you come, and all the flowers are dying
If I am dead, as dead as well may be
I pray you’ll find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.

And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me
And all my grave will warm and sweeter be
And then you’ll kneel and whisper that you love me
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.


I find these songs soothe my soul. Maybe it’s similar to the way scary fairy stories are calming to children; they put into words a nameless something that haunts them beyond their own powers of expression. And it’s because of what Father was saying at the funeral today: death is not an ending, it is the beginning. It is not a closed door but a doorway from one world into the next. I remember when my father died after an aortic aneurism, I felt closer to him than ever, because at last, we were not bound by the limits of time and space. He had entered the infinite, and there I would always find him. When I am feeling sad because of the finite limitations of this life– for example, how rarely I see my family whom I love, or old friends, or travel to cherished places from my past, or when I reflect on mistakes I’ve made or roads not taken– I console myself with this thought:

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. (Hebrews 13:14)

In one of my Bibles (see my post “My Bible Problem”) I wrote that everything we have ever lost will be waiting for us in heaven. This life is not the end, so nothing is ever truly lost, for every departed loved one, every broken dream, every cherished memory, all the people and things that seem lost forever will be restored to us in the Fatherland in ways we cannot even imagine.

I love that term, “the Fatherland.” I first started pondering it after I read The Story of a Soul by St. Therese. In one scene, someone came upon her in her cell while she was praying the Our Father, and with tears of deep emotion she said “It is so sweet to call the good God our Father!” Therese and her family spoke the language of heaven in their everyday discourse from her earliest childhood. In his last gesture to Therese in the parlor of the Lisieux Carmel, shortly before his death when he had lost the power of speech, Therese’s father pointed to heaven with a look of tearful longing. She understood him perfectly: Heaven is where we will meet again. We have here no lasting city.

And so, when I sometimes stand at my window lost in time, that’s okay. This is no lasting city, and I don’t really live here. I’m only visiting awhile before I go home to the Fatherland.


You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. –Confessions of St. Augustine

Read Full Post »