Writing desk of St. Therese goes on tour

Never mind the expression “if these walls could talk.” How about if this desk and inkwell could talk?

These items — second-class relics that belonged to St. Therese of Lisieux — have been on a tour of the United States. Sponsored by the Pontifical Mission Societies, the tour began in August and continues through mid-October. St. Therese and St. Francis Xavier are co-patrons of the church’s missionary work.

St. Therese is said to have used this desk almost daily from 1894 until her death from tuberculosis in 1897. It is where she composed her autobiography “Story of a Soul,” as well as many plays, poems and letters.

Oblate Father Andrew Small, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, called the desk’s tour a “unique moment for evangelization in the United States” and said he hoped people would be inspired by the saint’s writings.

During the tour, those viewing the desk will be invited to write their name on a piece of paper and place it on the glass covering over it.

“This simple act is a way for pilgrims to unite their hearts with that of St. Therese and to place all their hopes and sorrows in heaven with her,” said Father Andrew.

The priest traveled to Lisieux to personally receive the writing desk from the Carmelite Sisters in France.  When he returns the desk he plans to place these prayer intentions at the tomb of the saint.

“The life of St. Therese offers a lesson for each of us, baptized into the continuing mission of Jesus,” Father Andrew said.  “She was a missionary in a very real and valid way without ever leaving the Carmel in Lisieux — through her prayers, the offering of her personal sufferings to the Lord, her devotion to the Eucharist.”

Tour stops are posted below but locations and details may change so those who wish to view the desk should confirm times and locations. Additional stops  may include Kansas City, Kan., Toledo, Ohio, Newark, N.J.,  Venice, Fla., and the Byzantine Diocese of Passaic, N.J. Prayer services, veneration and/or recitation of the rosary are being held at the stops.

Desk of St. Therese at St. James Cathedral in Seattle (Pontifical Missions Society photo)

Desk of St. Therese at St. James Cathedral in Seattle (Pontifical Missions Society photo)

The desk has already been several places: Seattle Archdiocese — St. James Cathedral Cathedral, Seattle, Sept. 14, and St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Stanwood, Wash., Sept. 15; Diocese of Orange, Calif. — future Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, Sept. 18-19.

Upcoming stops on the tour include:

Archdiocese of San Antonio

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower, San Antonio Sept. 21 8 a.m. to noon

includes 9 AM Mass

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, San Antonio Sept. 21 1-3 p.m.

Prayer service

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower, Sept. 22 7 a.m -3 p.m.

Includes Masses at 8 AM, 10 AM, Noon

Archdiocese of St. Louis

Carmel of St. Joseph, St. Louis  Oct. 5 1-4p.m. and 6-8:30 p.m.

Prayer service at 1 p.m., rosary at 7:50 p.m.

also 10 a.m. Mass and veneration Oct. 6 

Diocese of Metuchen, N. J

St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral, Metuchen, Oct. 13 6:30 – 9 p.m.

Evening prayer, and veneration of relics

St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral Oct. 14, 9:45 a.m. – noon

Veneration of relics; Mass in honor of St. Therese

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5 Responses to Writing desk of St. Therese goes on tour

  1. Matt John says:

    Isn’t this too far? Desk and inkwell? I’m a catholic but I dont understand the meaning of this. So much like the Golden Cow statue.

  2. Reflects the simplicity of Therese….a desk and a pen…we need so little to gaze at the works of God. He comes often disguised.

  3. Mary Davidson says:

    The desk and inkwell are antique objects, treasured because they were used by one of our most cherished relatives in faith, St. Therese of Lisieux. Like the typewriter used by a famous writer, now shown in a museum, the desk helps us identify on a more personal level with the one who used it. The writings of St. Therese have helped millions of people grow closer to Christ, To learn more about St. Therese and the relics tour, please visit http://www.thereseoflisieux.org/national-schedule-for-st-there/

  4. Matt: I’m sure you’re not alone in this question, for I heard of someone who traveled some distance with friends saying “We came all this way to look at a desk?” I think many of the people who want to pray in the presence of this writing-desk (one prays to God, not to the desk, so it isn’t a golden calf, but could easily look like one) have been deeply touched by the letters, poems, plays, and prayers Therese wrote using it, but especially by her memoir, “Story of a Soul,” so they already feel close to her in prayer before coming to see something that belonged to her and on which she wrote things God has been pleased to use to help souls. I think it also reflects our hunger to see and touch something associated with a saint and to think that she became a saint in a real world with real objects, and that what God did in her, God can do in us.

  5. Matt John says:

    Tq so much for all your replies. I like the saint. Im just confused i guess.
    Thanks for the website @Mary Davidson.
    @Maureen thanks for the explanation. Very much appreciate it.
    God bless
    *Proud to be Catholic*

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