Preoccupied by beauty

In recent weeks, I have not felt much call to write. Always a puzzling phenomenon when it occurs…

However, this time around, I think I see what the obstacle is.

I have been preoccupied by beauty.

Not that beauty has never caught my attention before. But recently I have been absorbed in the visual arts more intensely than I think I have been at any other point in my life.

I see beauty and I want to draw or paint it. I want to try every medium I can – all at once, of course. While this is not possible, I have found a wonderful online resource that could keep me busy for years, developing my skills with tutorials.

This situation presents something of a dilemma because I am simply not all that talented. And what little bit of talent God entrusted to me has not been trained or disciplined at all well.

Hence, I see the beauty and can imagine just how the work should be done. However, when the brush actually hits the canvas, everything goes awry. What had seemed so simple to my mind’s eye becomes all tangled in the execution.

When I see that something is off (e.g. form, color, shading), naturally I set about trying to correct it. And it becomes like an obsession. While I have always tended toward perfectionism, this feels like a holy quest.

Beauty, after all, is one of God’s names. I must not tarnish it.

What I produce will never match what He has created. I will not even come close. However, the call to art is much like the call to parenthood.

It is an invitation to be a co-creator with God. We were made to share in His life. And that includes creating – even if on a very limited basis in this lifetime.

Allow me to share with you a creative call I received recently. I was driving home from work the Friday after Thanksgiving when the thought appeared in my mind that I would like to draw Our Lady of Guadalupe. (For background on this appearance of Mary, see my previous post The Virgin.)

I do not know why this thought came to me but I must say that I questioned it. Who am I, poor artist that I am, to draw the holy Mother of God? While I did not consider creating an icon, I know enough about what that requires to be assured that I am unworthy.

I so I said a prayer. I asked the Virgin Mother whether it was all right. I did not ask for a sign but just suggested that she lead me to lose interest in the idea if I ought not pursue it.

A bit later that evening, I settled in to read the Scripture for the day. The Catholic bishops have a website where one can read or listen to these readings. They also provide very short video reflections for each day, based on the feast or the Scripture.

I used to watch those videos quite often but I hadn’t in a long time. However, on this particular evening, I was tired and my eyes were too tired to read much. I wanted some help in reflecting on what I had just read.

The reflection was offered by a woman and she talked some about Thanksgiving. I do not recall the details of what she said but something else jumped out at me immediately.

She was standing in front of a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

This Friday was not a feast of Mary nor were the woman’s remarks related to the image. That just happened to be where she was standing when her talk was being taped.

What are the odds?

I do not know. But I could not help but feel that this was a sign. Not the kind of sign where the heavens open up and visions are seen. Just an awareness that something (someone) moved me to do something so I would see what was already there.

(As a side note, I believe that we are probably given many more signs than we ever notice. As Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “Earth’s crammed with heaven…”. All kinds of signs and gifts and beauties await us if our hearts are open.)

As a result of this experience, I prayed and reflected – and watched a few tutorials on working with colored pencils. Interestingly, I felt drawn to use colored pencil even though I had never made a serious attempt with this medium before.

Also interesting is that for a few months I had been feeling oddly drawn to purchase some high quality colored pencils. I kept resisting, reminding myself that I really didn’t need any more art supplies.

Finally, I had broken down – the price was so incredibly good that I caved in to the yearning. And, until this moment, I felt bad for having done so. Why did I spend this money on something so unnecessary?

So that Saturday and Sunday, while busy with other things, I began making preliminary sketches. I wasn’t sure when I would have time to really get into the work but I hoped that somehow it could be finished before her feast (December 12).

Monday morning came around and my first patient of the day cancelled. Then I got a call from staff that our office had been badly flooded over the holiday weekend, a hot water heater in the office above ours having given way.

I had to cancel all of my appointments and all of my work was caught up. I had the entire day and evening free.

So I began to draw. I worked more slowly and carefully than my undisciplined self usually abides. I listened to sacred music as I drew, including an album of arias to the Mother of God.

I prayed on and off as I worked, knowing without a doubt that I was not a good enough artist to do justice to my subject.

As it got late, I could see a mistake in what I had done that seemed to ruin the piece. I tried some things to fix it but was exhausted. Nothing seemed to work. Could I have just spent an entire day on a work of art that was now only worthy of the trash?

Once again, I knew that I needed to pray and trust. Mistakes in art are like mistakes in the rest of life – humbling. And God was at work to draw me more deeply into humility.

I was reminded that this drawing was not for my glory nor was it born out of any achievement of mine. If it was meant to be, a solution would be given.

I went to bed, knowing that I would be returning to work the next day. As soon as I got out of bed, I went to my drawing area and began a renewed effort to correct the mistake. I could only spend a few minutes but I could see that it was going to work.

That evening – and a good many evenings after that, I returned to the heavenly Lady and my colored pencils.

I found that I had grown close to her. I had begun to see with the eyes of my heart how very beautiful she was – with her dark Native features and fully pregnant, adorned like a queen.

As the drawing reached fruition, I found myself listening for the words to describe her.

And they came. Simple words to bear witness to her beauty – a beauty made manifest especially to small and faithful souls who have neither worldly knowledge nor material wealth.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord…


it is the lowly who see her,

radiant with expectancy.

the humble are not afraid

when she appears.

like them, she is

utterly simple

in the truth she carries.

labor can do her no harm,

so profound

the hope within her.

neither pangs nor piercing

can hold back the love

she bears beneath her heart.

beauty, o glorious beauty –

come to us, o gentle maiden –

and deliver unto us

the holy One of God…


Please note that the portrayal I drew of the Virgin was based on the image discovered on the tilma of Juan Diego on December 12, 1531. The tilma with the image remains on display at the Basilica that was built in Mexico as the heavenly Lady requested. Thus, it is not a simply product of my imagination. The few differences, such as the detail in her face, came about as I was drawing with no clear plan on my part. I cannot explain them except that I felt called to attempt Native features as she was said to have had the appearance of an Aztec maiden and spoke in the indigenous language of Juan Diego. 

If you feel so called, you are welcome to download this image for any personal or nonprofit use. If you would like me to mail you a small laminated print, just e-mail me your name and address at marykbenton(at)outlook(dot)com (using the customary symbols in the address instead of words).

+ Let us pray for one another as we move together toward the feast of His holy Birth.

Too beautiful

A couple of years ago, around this time of year, I wrote to you about my King. Well, it is time for us to celebrate His feast again. I’m so excited!

Of course, we celebrate His feast once a week on Sundays – and really every day in between too – but this feast is special. It comes only once a year, right at the end.

As soon as we celebrate this feast, we start all over again and remember how He came to live among us so that we could get to know Him. How fun!

Anyway, in the last few years, it seems, they have been saying something different about my King when His feast day arrives.

They used to say He is King of heaven and earth. So true! But now sometimes they say is King of the universe.

I have to admit, that kind of weirds me out when they say that.

Now it’s not that I don’t believe it’s so. From what I gather, my King was right there when the whole universe was created.

In fact, they say “all things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1: 16). So, of course, He’s got to be in charge of it all. Couldn’t be any other way.

And it’s not that I don’t want to share Him. Not at all. It’s so wonderful having Him live in my heart that I want Him to live in everybody’s heart.

I guess it goes back to this time years ago when I was out in the woods late at night and I looked up at the cold winter sky.

I had seen stars before, of course, but that night, that night I saw stars and stars and stars, filling the whole sky. It seemed like there was no end to them.

The science people tell us that by the time that little twinkle reached me, each star I saw that night had probably gone out of existence. Not to worry though, new ones are being born all the time to replace them.

It was just so grand, so immense.

I’ve told you before that my King lives in my heart and this is true. He lives in the hearts of all of His people (or He’s knocking on their doors) – and there are a lot of people on this earth.

But when I consider all those stars and all of the planets that could be spinning around them, it’s almost too much.

If my King is in charge of all of that, how could He have time for me?

When I’m busy discussing all of my thoughts and feelings with Him, I feel so certain that He is listening. In fact, it seems like I have His undivided attention, so deep and loving is His concern for me.

But how could this be? There are 7 billion other people on earth alone. And all of those stars and solar systems to keep track of – maybe with other people living on other planets?

How could He be listening just to me? I’m nobody in particular when it comes to all of that. I’m certainly no important person and my thoughts and feelings can’t be nearly as significant as all of those solar systems.

Sometimes, when I get weirded out by all of this, I start to doubt. Maybe there is no King living in my heart. Maybe I’ve just imagined it all…

But this doesn’t go on for long. Even though my King knows by now that He doesn’t have to knock to enter my heart, He’ll start knocking again for old times’ sake.

And when I hear that knocking, I can’t help but laugh at myself. How could I ever think I made that up? I’m not that clever!

I may like to tell a story now and then but I could never come up one like this. Not in a million years.

Anyway, when I get weirded out about this kind of stuff, I talk it over with my King’s Father. I think I told you about Him before. He lives in my heart too – and He is so wise and loving that it seems I can ask Him anything and He’ll straighten it out.

So I asked Him about this, about how the King of this immense and wonderfully complicated universe could care about – much less keep track of – all of my little thoughts and feelings every day.

And you know what? He told me. He shared the secret with me!

I’m afraid I can’t explain it very well. It made perfect sense when He explained it but now it’s hard to put into words. It goes something like this…

My King is in charge of everything – but somehow it doesn’t place a strain on Him. It’s hard for me to get this part. Everyone I’ve ever known that was in charge of a lot of stuff got pretty tired and stressed out by it all.

But that doesn’t happen to my King. Since everything comes into being through Him, He knows and understands it all perfectly.

If one of those stars dies, He knows about it. When a new one is born, He gets all excited because He knows that everything that’s born comes from Love.

Yup. Nothing comes into being without Love. He loves His Father and His Father loves Him and their Spirit is a shared loving between them. And their love creates everything.

This means nothing is a secret from Them. In every second, They know what is happening with every created thing – because each and every one is like one of their kids.

And size doesn’t matter. The big things, like solar systems, are no more important to my King than the little sparrows that hunt for seed in my backyard.

In fact, my King announced a long time ago that our Father knows every time one of those little sparrows falls to the ground. And He told us that we have much greater value than them.

(I don’t think He meant to hurt the sparrows’ feelings when He said this. He just has different plans for the sparrows than He has for us. He loves them a lot too.)

How my King can do this, how He can be this way, is beyond me. I have trouble paying attention to even two or three things at a time – so I cannot understand how He takes it all in every second of every day without getting confused.

These things that seem impossible, well, these are the things we call mysteries.

Sometimes when we call things mysteries, the people who haven’t opened their doors yet to the knocking think we just imagined it all. That we made up stories to make ourselves feel good.

I suppose I might think so too if my King was just an idea to me. If I don’t understand an idea, it’s hard for me to believe that it’s true just because somebody else said so.

But my King is so much more than an idea. He lives in my heart all the time and listens to me. I love Him so.

Sometimes He even sings to me. I bet He sings to you too, if you sit real still and listen. It may take a little while to hear it – and you may not hear it every time.

But listen carefully in the stillness. He sings…

And now, on His feast, we sing to Him, together with every living thing in the universe – you sing with your voice and I sing with mine. The sparrows chirp and the lions roar. The bees buzz and the hyenas howl. Even the stars have their own swirling songs of joyous light…

It is just too beautiful for words… Too beautiful, indeed.


Ginger tea

Dear Readers: as I recover from cataract surgery (left eye this time), I am choosing to wait a bit before taking on any of the longer articles that I might feel inclined to write. The surgery went very well but the eye takes time to heal. So, in the interim, I thought I’d post a poem I wrote some weeks ago. I submitted it to a local literary magazine that is just starting up – but alas, it was a reject. 😦 Such a wonderfully humbling experience. 🙂

However, since I enjoyed the poem, I thought I might share it here. Knowing you to be a compassionate group, I gladly open my work to your comments, critiques and even interpretations. What is this poem about anyway?  (Small prizes will be awarded for particularly insightful, insulting or interesting comments!)


how to make ginger tea


do not trust those little packets

found suffocating in boxes,

like a well-trained choir

in an airless oratory.


no, ginger is a wild root

and it must be hunted

in the fresh open air

or it will not sing.


try to capture a fat one

its buds still green with life,

and break not its bones

as though it had no spirit.


speak to it with gratitude

as you gently skin it,

for it has given its life

that you may be consoled.


then slice it and dice it

with swift, firm strokes,

mercifully extracting its soul

as you draw forth its essence.


choose a vessel that is pure,

whether pot or cup or jar,

and give the ginger to dwell there

as it awaits the holy surrender.


prepare now the kettle,

filling it with all earthly tears,

and ignite the fire beneath it.

the ablution will soon begin.


allow the kettle to scream a bit –

it too must release its pain.

then grant it time to rest;

it has labored for this moment.


it is time to fill the vessel.

as you pour out the libation,

feel its steam upon your face

and listen for its song.


you will smell it,

deep and rich and earthy,

drumming its music in wafts,

rich flavors for the soul.


as it thrums and steeps,

slice a bit of lemon to add –

for the journey has been

both bitter and sweet.


drink it while it is hot,

allowing its song to warm you.

fear not the wildness of its dance

as it flows like a river within.


absorb the ancient comfort –

drink and be cleansed.

sing the root, be lost in song –

until the cup runs dry.



Thinking about myself…

I discovered a most interesting document the other day, while searching for something else.

Certainly I knew that in my “special box” I had some memorabilia and old journals from many stages of my life. I don’t go digging in that box often but, when I do, I occasionally find a real pearl.

This was one of those times.

What I discovered were notes I had written to God during a retreat made in October of 1983, thirty-four years ago!

Wow. And I remember that retreat. It was a silent retreat, directed by no one but God. I was staying in a small suite of rooms at the motherhouse of an order of nuns. I may have said a hello or two in passing but otherwise, it was just me and God.

And the saints, too, of course. It was no accident that I began the retreat on October 1st, the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Or that I ended it on October 4th, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. They were my friends even then and I do not doubt they prayed for me.

I was 28 years old and emerging from a period in which I had wrestled painfully with anxiety. Though I had made retreats of this type before, I had been avoiding them for a good while because I feared the directions my thoughts would take amidst all of that silence.

But I had decided that it was time. I longed for time alone with God, away from the hectic pace of my young life and I did not want fear to hold me back. (Fortunately, I didn’t know what was coming a year or two later or I would have been far more frightened!)

I realized at the time that there was a strong possibility that I had been keeping myself so busy because I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts. Too much focus on myself (of the wrong sort) had become a trigger for panic.

I arrived on a Saturday. The weather was beautiful and it was a comfortable place to spend a few days. But I found myself feeling restless that first evening. I kept reviewing in my mind all of the things I could do to occupy myself, intimidated by what seemed like a vast expanse of empty time before me.

Interestingly, my notes indicate a two-fold response to that restlessness. First, came a recognition that, “as I grow in a deeper, healthier love for myself, I can learn to accept quiet moments alone with myself”.

I was learning to accept and trust myself not to go down the psychologically self-sabotaging path that had haunted me for some time.

The second part of the awareness was that, “You are here – I am not alone…And that focusing on myself is most definitely not the purpose of my being here. In fact, I come with hopes of learning how not to do that. I come to learn how to more completely let go of myself and turn toward You. If I become uncomfortable with myself, may that discomfort remind me to redirect my inner gaze to You.”

I had remembered the retreat – but not the profundity of my yearning for God and the immense help He gave me at an age that now seems to me so very young.

I hope it does not seem indiscreet for me to disclose these prayers made so long ago. I share them for a reason.

It amazes me that, decades later, I find myself offering a similar prayer, though in a completely different context.

Quite possibly this is because the same basic temptation seems to being hounding me throughout my life, though in many different guises.

Yes, I am writing again about temptation. This time – the temptation to think too much about myself.

It may seem odd to some that I would consider thinking about myself a “temptation”. Yet I suspect that some of you can readily understand what I mean.

On the one hand, we are necessarily hard-wired to think about ourselves. If we did not, we would never survive.

It is imperative that we notice the condition of our bodies, lest we leave hunger, thirst or injury unattended. Also, since we are social creatures sustained by networks of relationships, tracking our interpersonal (or world) relationships is vital to our well-being.

Yet there is this other sort of “thinking about myself”… Perhaps it springs from the same basic need for survival but then mutates into various sorts of rumination, eclipsing the healthier process of simply noticing.

Thankfully, I seldom if ever suffer anymore from anxiety about being alone with my thoughts. Extensive psychotherapy and God’s inimitable grace has given me considerable relief from that neurotic suffering.

But, of course, the adversary is quite creative in twisting our otherwise benign personality traits, rendering them potential obstacles to our ultimate union with God in Christ.

My personality, for example, is just a trifle obsessive. Had you noticed? 🙂

The sort of thinking about myself to which I refer is something different from the distracting thoughts that plague most of us from time to time when we wish to go to God in prayer.

Or perhaps I should say it is a distinct type of distracting thought and it doesn’t only appear when I try to pray.

The other evening I was driving home after working late and I addressed the Lord, “God, I am so tired.” Okay, nothing wrong with that. Rather unnecessary, since God already knows the state of my being, but He listens well.

However, before the 17 minute drive was complete, I’m sure I had told Him that I was tired at least 5 more times.

Could I think of no other topic to bring to Him? He is very patient – but, at this juncture, I was trying even my own patience.

I often make similar laments when I am not feeling well. But these many thoughts about myself are not only words of complaint.

Sometimes they are replay ruminations, i.e. a replay of all of the things that were just said – or could have been said.

Other times they are anticipatory ruminations, what might happen and how I will react. Entire conversations that will never actually take place are first rehearsed in my mind.

Some are positive in emotional tone while others are negative. It doesn’t really matter, I think, as long as the topic is me.

Interestingly, I do not find myself often anxious about these things, what was said, what might be said – or even the state of my health. It is just continuous, self-referential blather.

Even if no one else is accursed with having to listen to this endless chatter, I cannot help but consider this self-focus to be a capitulation to temptation. Most likely connected to one of the innumerable tendrils of the monster, Pride.

Being caught by the Pride monster sometimes feels like having inadvertently walked into a giant spider web. I didn’t see it coming or I would have taken a different path. But once captured, it clings to me without mercy.

I turn this way and that, thinking I am almost free, when I discover myself bound by yet another little thread that will not let go. And I never come to the end of the little threads.

However, in reality, there is no mythical monster or tiny threads that refuse to release me. I am the one who won’t let go.

For at least 34 years, I have wanted to let go of self, prayed to be able to let go of self – my notes to God bear witness to this – yet still I hold on.

I am a prisoner of my self – not my true Self, known only to God – but the false self I have constructed from the many myths of modern culture.

Is it not said that hell is locked from the inside? With these reflections in mind, I can certainly imagine how true this may be.


The irony of this post is not lost on me. That, bemoaning how stuck I am in thinking about myself, I then write an article about it… Ha!

However, in bringing up this temptation, I mean to do more than lament my fate.

I am so very grateful. My glance back at my younger self reminds me of how long God has been at work in me, how deeply He works within my weaknesses.

He bears with me – and has, through all of my struggles and woes, every day of my life. I cannot determine whether I’m moving backward or forward in any sort of “progress” toward Him.

But I can see, feel and remember that He has always been with me, giving me the graces I need for the next step.

I still suffer. I do not always recognize these graces right away. But one of the blessings of getting older is developing the perspective to see that it is so.

Gratitude turns my heart Godward. God does not need my gratitude, of course – but He knows that I, in my perpetual self-focus, do.

A remedy for rumination, so close at hand…a simple prayer of the heart.

It is time to add another to the holy repetitions that so often deliver me from myself.

Join me if you will. (Draw in  your breath with the first part of the phrase; then allow yourself to slowly release it with the second part. The second part may be said twice for a longer, more relaxing exhale. Repeat often.)

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;

His love endures forever.

(1 Chronicles, 16: 34)


The better part

(I must apologize for my very limited sketching skills – but yesterday’s Gospel about Martha and Mary triggered an urge to draw.)

What is the “one thing”? What is the “better part”?

I want to be that Mary and choose “the better part” – but what am I choosing?

Please, share your thoughts.



Temptation is a topic seldom broached in our post-modern culture, though it may be tolerated if divorced from such antiquated concepts as sin.

A temptation to violate one’s diet or to skip going to the gym could easily fit into everyday conversation.

However, the temptations that have the most potential to destroy our souls are often considered outmoded, at best. Bringing up these temptations is not unlike mentioning the devil – not to be done in polite company.

Doing so is likely to result in being considered a naive simpleton for believing in such things. Or, conversely, being considered the source of evil in the world for being “judgmental” and thereby inducing guilt in others unnecessarily.

Given that I often find myself encountering temptation in surprising ways, I thought I might post some reflections – in the event that anyone cares to read them.  (I shall not be shocked if no one does.)

I do not intend to judge anyone, except perhaps myself, with these musings – and even myself rather gently.

And I’m going to skip over the obvious ones, such lying, stealing, coveting, disobeying and enticements of the flesh.

Most people who have even a modicum of interest in the topic are likely to already be well-versed in these.


I have always been a rather sensitive person, I think. As with most personality traits, I probably came to be this way through some inexplicable interaction of nature and nurture.

There is nothing wrong with being sensitive, of course, and it has both its functional and dysfunctional aspects.

Sensitivity, for example, can translate into empathy and compassion for others. On the other hand, it can also result in easily hurt feelings.

Hence, I write this evening about the temptation to have hurt feelings.

What’s the big deal about having hurt feelings? Isn’t that normal?

I will explain.

I experienced this temptation just the other night. Someone dear to me sent me an email, bowing out of a routine social commitment with me.

The reason given was that some other experiences had crowded the weekend and an evening “off” was needed.

Immediately, my sensitivity reactor was triggered and a combination of hurt feelings and angry thoughts began to flood my mind.

Since when was a conversation with me so stressful that time off was needed? My mind was abuzz with other perceived slights, as well as all of the times that I hadn’t bowed out despite my own illness or fatigue.

And something in me desperately wanted to express these hurt feelings, even if only to hint at them.

Temptation is born.

However, the temptation wasn’t just to strike back in some subtle or not-so-subtle fashion.

The true temptation, I believe, lie in the hurt feelings themselves. While this may be obvious to others – and even obvious to me when I see it in others – at the moment of being triggered, it is far from obvious.

It was, after all, about my ego – and my ego doesn’t like to admit its involvement when it is busy blaming others.

How could my friend not want to talk to me? How had I become so unimportant? Blah, blah, blah…

Yup, ego all the way.

Thankfully, God saved me from myself – as He so often does. Not only did He show me that I was being tempted, He helped me see how easily I could be freed of it.

All it took was a bit of compassion.

Instead of thinking about myself, He turned my heart to consider my friend who apparently needed a rest from activity.

I imagined my friend feeling very tired, perhaps ill or just overwhelmed – and then wrote the response of reassurance about how important it is that we take care of ourselves.

Without any effort to suppress them, the hurt feelings simply vanished into thin air.

The compassion that replaced them left me feeling a warm and quiet joy. All is well.


It was narrow escape. How easily I could have slipped into brooding and resentment, even if I tried to convince myself that this was an overreaction.

How readily I might have nursed the wound, repeating my story of hurt feelings to another, in an effort to garner validation and sympathy.

And how ridiculous that would have been.

But more than ridiculous, it would have been spiritually toxic  – not only to me, but to all who fell into the path of the negative energy I was generating.

My friend would have sensed it at some point, even if I suppressed my initial reaction. Anyone with whom I shared my grievance would certainly have been affected.

And, quite probably, a whole host of other people would be caught in the ripples, unbeknownst to me.


It is a shame that people so seldom talk about temptation these days.

It is, I think, a great gift to discover temptation nipping at one’s soul. Recognizing the monster, we can then turn our hearts Godward and surely the grace we need will be given.

Perhaps, God willing, I shall write a bit more about temptation…

All glory and praise to our Savior.




the gifts have been brought

to the table.

the bread. the wine.

and me.


He takes the bread

and breaks it.

the cup, He lifts

and blesses.

He pauses before me.

i tremble.


me He does not need to break.

i am already broken.

so many times blessed,

still just ordinary wine.

what can He do

with one such as me?


my head bowed,

my eyes closed,

i am lost in unworthiness.

silently, His servant comes,

 laying upon me

the veil of humility.


i feel His hands lift me,

tenderly holding me.

and He does something

so unexpected

it takes my breath away.


He sings to me.

He sings to my heart

the hymn of espousal –

a hymn i have always known

but never heard –

and my heart sings back.


there are no words.

in a piercing moment,

i find myself wedded

to an eternity of wounds.

His wounds.

 o Love – my Love –

o sacred Joy unending…


all glory to Him forever.




On this Feast of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, please pray for me, dear friends, that I may follow her on the path to holy surrender.

All thanks and praise to God, for His many gifts…