By Father Bob Colaresi, O.Carm., Director, Society of the Little Flower Ever since the “Word became Flesh” Christians celebrate an incarnational God—a tangible, touchable God Who touches us as well as human ways we can “touch” the Holy. Our Sacraments are built on this “Word become flesh”—as well as sacramentals and relics. They are human ways we commune with the Divine and the people and things of heaven. We like to see, hear, smell and touch concrete and real things because they speak of the Beyond— the Holy! Our faith stresses how God comes to us in the earthly reality of our lives. Many people have had the privilege of touching or holding relics of Saint Therese—pieces of her body, her clothing, her sandal, her lantern, and her prayer book. We feel like we are touching her! I remember holding the original map she drew of North America at age 12, and feeling the impressions of her pencil on the back side of the map—I really was in touch with young Therese and her youthful energy and world-wide curiosity. That map, on display at her National Shrine in Darien, Illinois, has since been resealed permanently because of paper deterioration. The Carmelite Nuns of Lisieux have shared with the Carmelites in Darien many of the relics and memorabilia of Saint Therese we display at the Shrine. Her Sisters want people to be able to touch her without having to go to Lisieux. Because of their generosity, we have the largest collection of relics and personal artifacts of the Little Flower outside of Lisieux at the National Shrine of Saint Therese in Darien. The Carmelites are proud to make her available to be touched and experienced in this beautiful Shrine and Museum. The Carmelites of our Province, through the Society of the little Flower, are committed to helping the Nuns of Lisieux in the needed renovation and renewal of the Lisieux Carmel after years of deterioration. We are helping to preserve Saint Therese’s physical legacy. In gratitude, the Carmelite Lisieux Nuns want to deepen * our longstanding relationship of over 87 years, since 1923. The Nuns have agreed to periodically lend us precious memorabilia of Therese from their rich museum and archives. I was so touched when I saw personal items of the Little Flower never before viewed. The first of these many gifts I was able to carry back from the recent visit with the Nuns in Lisieux. We all know that among her many jobs in the convent, Therese was the sacristan— she prepared everything for the Convent Mass. Many of us have seen the picture of her at the sacristy table, preparing the chalice, paten and ciborium. It is one of the 47 pictures taken of her during her life by Celine, her sister. With the gracious permission of Sister France-Marie, Prioress of the Carmel of Lisieux, we now have on display the actual Chalice, Ciborium and Paten she was preparing each day, along with the velvet tablecloth with the gold fringe she used each day. Some people may recall that she mentions this in her Story of A Soul autobiography; especially when she looked into the paten to see what she looked like (they had no mirrors in the convent) and then realized how proud she felt, and put it down. People can see these precious religious articles which she touched and used daily now in our National Shrine in Darien- and even look into the paten to see the vague image. These articles have never left the Carmel of Lisieux since Saint Therese’s time. As part of the new loaned gift on display, is the original oil painting of that picture, done by Sister Marie du Saint-Espirit from the Lisieux Carmel under the direction of Celine, Therese’s sister who became Sister Genevieve. As I hand-carried them from Lisieux to Darien, I felt the presence of these precious religious memorabilia—and knew Therese was with me. In fact, I believe she helped get me through United States Customs rather easily. For security reasons, these items are under lock and key—and yet amid the large collections of relics and personal items of the little Flower, it is no surprise that people come to spend time looking, praying, communing, through these sacramentals and holy items, with our heavenly friend who has touched so many of us. First displayed in public on her recent Feast Day, October 1st, we are privileged to share these precious gifts until October, 2011. I hope many people are able to come and visit—and be with her in this very real, tangible way.