That's not all, though. There was a second relic in the same little box, right beside this one; and although there was no stamped and signed paperwork to proclaim its validity, it appears to be an authentic relic of St. Therese of Lisieux (the "Little Flower"). It just so happens that I feel a devotion to St. Therese as well! She talks of the "Little Way to Spiritual Childhood," whereby even the littlest and humblest among us can become saints--by living out our lives with faith in God's plan for us and having a childlike love for Him. By performing even the littlest tasks assigned to us in our various vocations as if they are prayers. There are many flowers in God's garden, St. Therese teaches. We may not all become great saints, but we can become saints nonetheless. In her words: “The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.” I imagine that sweet, self-effacing, self-sacrificing young nun, who only lived to be 24 and considered herself among the tiniest of the flowers in the garden, would never have believed that she would one day be named a Doctor of the Church.
My airline pilot husband was able to take two trips to Paris while our son was doing a college internship there this summer. At the end of June, he and our boy did a lot of sightseeing together (and then flew home in the same plane, one in the cockpit and one in business class!), and one of the places they visited was the church where Our Lady appeared to St. Catherine Laboure. (When my husband Face-timed me to tell me about it, I got choked up and felt the sting of tears! I would have loved to be there with them.) They were able to take this iPhone photo of the saint's incorrupt body, which lies near the chapel where the apparitions took place.
My publisher believes that the Catholic homeschooling community is a place where this book would be well-received, and once there, word-of-mouth among satisfied homeschoolers would drive sales. If only I could figure out the best way to tap into that market! Can any homeschooling bloggers/blog readers out there give me some advice on this? (I'd be willing and able to travel--there are perks to being married to a pilot!)
In closing, I thought I'd bring up another almost-saint who appears prominently in Finding Grace: Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. (I don't have a relic of him--that's not where this is going.) If you've never read about him, I urge you to do so. And if you have teenagers (boys especially), have them learn about him. He was a modern guy, a regular Joe, a handsome young man who had countless friends, a fun-loving goofball, and an athlete. He was a normal young man who smoked a pipe and fell in love. And he will be counted among the saints. His story is fascinating. (And coincidentally, he died at the age of 24, just like St. Therese.)
I've already had 31 years longer than either St. Therese or Bl. Pier Giorgio did, and I'm not even close. I pray that by the time I leave this earth I'll get there. Lord, make me a saint! I will be the smallest and least beautiful of all the flowers, if only I can live in Your Garden. In the meantime: St. Catherine Laboure, St. Therese of Lisieux, and Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for me!