Friday, October 1, 2010

St. Therese of Lisieux Feast Day, Sacrifice Beads, and Saint Spoons...

Today is the Feast Day for St. Therese of Lisieux.  What a beautiful day we had!  You can see from the pictures above that we were very busy.  I had remembered seeing a web blog that showed how to make Saints from little wooden spoons.  I found it again the other day, it is Alice Gunther's site and it is called Cottage Blessings.  The top picture shows my example spoon that I had created.  After I made St. Therese, my 5th grade daughter made a Blessed Mother Teresa spoon.

Now we not only have a St. Therese and a Blessed Mother Teresa, we also have a little St. Francis Assisi ready to go for his Feast Day on Monday.  The kids, my own three youngest and my 23 classroom kids, are so excited about these Saint Spoons. 
My classroom kids also made St. Therese's Good Deed Beads or Sacrifice Beads today.  There were only a few moments today were I thought to myself, "What was I thinking... 23 ten year olds, 253 plastic beads, 253 knots..."  aaarrgghhh!
I was actually quite calm throughout the craft project.  It was what happened afterschool with my own three youngest that was amazing. 
After school my three children came into the classroom and saw that my classroom kids had created their Sacrifice Beads.  I was sitting at the table in my classroom waiting for them.  I showed my 9 and 10 year old how to make them by demonstrating on my 4 year old's beads.  While we were making them, one of us (I'm not really sure which one of us thought of it) suggested making beads for Mr. R.  Mr. R. is a little old man who lives near the school.  We know him because he lives on the block opposite my third floor classroom window.  We see him walk around the block on occasion, slowly walking and glancing up at the school.  When we see him glance up to our third floor window, we wave to him and he always smiles and waves back to us.  
So... when one of us mentioned Mr. R., we all agreed that we would make an extra set of beads for him.
As we continued making our beads I started thinking that I hadn't seen Mr. R. for awhile.  In fact, I hadn't seen him walk past our school since the end of last year. 
We finished making our beads and I got busy cleaning my boards and straightening my desk.  The minutes began to fly.  We were all busy doing our own thing... but I continued to think about Mr. R.
I have to be honest and tell you that I had talked myself out of walking to his house to take him our small gift.  I kept thinking that he really didn't know me (or my children) and I didn't know how I would have explained to him that we just 'decided' to make him St. Therese Sacrifice beads. 
Plus... I hadn't seen him walk past the school for almost 5 months.

All of a sudden I heard, "HEY MOM!  Is that Mr. R.?"
My 10 year old was at the open window of my third floor classroom.  She was smiling and waving furiously.  My 9 and 4 year old ran to the window and all started waving. 
I couldn't believe it.  I ran to the window. 
There, across the street looking way up to my classroom window and waving was Mr. R!  Smiling and waving at my children.
We took off.  I ran to the table, anxiously asked which child wanted to surrender their beads, grabbed the beads and followed behind my three youngest children while they raced down the stairs to the first floor of school.  We bounded through the glass doors and looked for Mr. R. 
I thought he walked slowly!  He was down the block, almost to the corner stoplights.  (Our school is on a very busy city street.)
I quickly realized that we would never make it to the corner, especially towing a four year old by the hand.  I considered crossing mid-block and quickly tried to grab all of their hands.  We went to the curb and stopped to look for traffic. 
There was not a car in sight!  Not even at the corners.  I yelled to the girls that we were going to run and we took off.  Hand in hand. 
We ran down the block and quickly caught up with Mr. R.  When we reached him, I started to try to explain who we were and why we were chasing him down.  Well... we were.  :)
He opened his hand when I offered him the beads.  The way he looked at them made me think he really didn't understand what I was handing him.  I explained that it was the Feast Day of St. Therese and my children were thinking of him and wanted to make him the beads.  He just kept smiling at us.
After a rather awkward pause, he reached into his pocket and showed me his Rosary.  Then he reached into his left shirt pocket and pulled out a different set of beads.  They were in a large circle with lots of small beads and one larger one.  I think he could see how puzzled I was... I had never seen beads like this before.
He told me they were ST. THERESE beads!!!  There were 24 small beads, one for each year of her life.  He told me a prayer that is said on the beads but I was having trouble understanding and hearing him.  The traffic was too loud and he spoke too softly.  
I said, "This is amazing!  We were just thinking about you and making you St. Therese beads and you have St. Therese beads right in your pocket!"  He lifted his head back, smiled a huge smile, and laughed.
As we chatted a bit, he told me that he always likes looking up to my classroom windows.  He asked me about large tulips that I made and had in my windows one Spring.  (That was over two years ago!)
He told me that he grows tulips in his yard.  
We parted ways at the corner stoplight.  I wasn't going to try to cross the busy street without the help of the green light and walk signal.  
My girls have talked about this experience all evening.  My 10 year old has been carrying her beads all around the house, moving the beads as she offers her "little good deeds" and sacrifices to our beautiful and loving Father.

Jeusu, I trust in You! 


Maureen said...

Dear Mary,

Thank you for this story. I believe that one of the ways you can use the chaplet the gentleman already owned is given at

About little Therese using her chaplet, her mother, Zelie Martin, wrote to her older daughter, Pauline, on March 4, 1877:

"But the strangest thing is her chaplet of 'practices' which never leaves her for one minute; she records even a little too much. The other day, thinking in her little head that Celine deserved a reproach, she said "I said a naughty thing to Celine, I must mark a practice.' But she saw immediately that she was mistaken; I told her that, on the contrary, she had to push a bead back. She replied 'Oh! well, I can't find my chaplet.' (Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Volume II, 1890-1897, tr. John Clarke, O.C.D. Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1988, p. 1232).

For more articles, photo, and films about St. Therese's life, writings, spirituality, and mission, and about her parents, Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, please see "Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway" at

Thank you.

Gabriele said...

how i can buy one of these st. Therese's figure? I live in italy. Thanks.

Maureen said...

I'm sorry I can't help you with that, but perhaps you can find a place online.