Painting – Saint Therese of Lisieux and Saint Theophane Venard
Side-aisle Church Painting
Artist: Neilson Carlin
Saint Theophane was a French priest martyred in Vietnam. While imprisoned waiting for his execution, he wrote a series of letters to family, including his father. One of those letters contained a line which said, “We are all flowers planted on this earth, which God plucks in His own good time: some a little sooner, some a little later . . . Father and son may we meet in Paradise. I, poor little moth, go first. Adieu.”
Saint Therese read this letter and was inspired by Saint Theophane, someone who lived her own image of a martyr and missionary. From this letter, particularly the line quoted above, Saint Therese came to use the image of being a little flower.
Painting: The image presents Saint Theophane and Vietnamese martyrs (carrying the palms) presenting a flower to Saint Therese at Carmel. Therese was invited to join a Carmelite mission in Vietnam (then French Indochina), but was unable to travel because of tuberculosis.
The background is a depiction of Ha Long Bay, a highly recognizable location in the northern part of Vietnam.
Above the saints is the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.
Divini Amoris Scientia – In 1997, Pope St. John Paul II proclaimed St. Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face a Doctor of the Universal Church. Read his letter here.