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The Carmel of Lisieux presents a video of the recreation room known by St. Therese

empty recreation room, windows looking out into garden of Lisieux Carmel, straight chairs in a semicircle, photo of Therese with community at recreation in the chestnut walk hangs on white wall between windows A four-minute film of the recreation room in the Lisieux Carmel, where "Story of a Soul" was born.

The Carmelites of Lisieux present a four-minute film in English of the recreation room St. Therese knew.  

The daily schedule of the Lisieux Carmel allowed an hour of communal recreation after lunch and again after supper.  This was one of the few times the nuns were free to speak.  In the summer, recreation was often spent in the "chestnut walk" (see the photo on the wall above, where Therese, with the statue of the Child Jesus, was photographed with her sisters), but in the winter and cooler seasons it was in this room on the ground floor, called the "warming room" (le chauffoir) because, unlike the other rooms in the monastery, it had a fireplace.  

Many incidents reported by Therese or her Carmelite sisters took place in this room, and all her religious plays were produced here.  Perhaps the most historic moment was a conversation among Therese and her sisters Marie and Pauline that led to Therese's writing her memoir, "Story of a Soul,"  which has transformed so many lives.  Pauline, who was prioress at the time, testified in 1910:

One winter's evening early in 1895 (two and a half years before Sister Therese's death), I was chatting with my two sisters, Marie and Therese, and the latter was telling us a lot of stories about her childhood.  "Mother," said Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart [Marie Martin], "what a pity we haven't got all that in writing!  If you asked Sister Therese of the Child Jesus to write down her childhood memories for us, I'm sure we'd find them very entertaining."  "I couldn't ask for anything better," I replied.  Then I turned to Sister Therese, who was laughing at what she took to be a bit of leg-pulling, and said "I order you to write down all your childhood memories."   

St. Therese of Lisieux by those who knew her, testimonies from the process of beatification, edited and translated by Christopher O'Mahony.  Dublin: Veritas Publications, 1975, p. 33.  

This conversation, at which the fourth sister, Celine, was not present, took place during the holidays after Christmas 1894; it could have been on Therese's twenty-second birthday, January 2, 1895.

See two early photos of this room at the Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux. 

We congratulate and thank the Carmel of Lisieux and the Association of the friends of St. Therese and of her Carmel, which produced this film.  Thanks to their generosity and accomplishment, we can see without leaving home what the pilgrims who have flocked to Lisieux since Therese's death could not see: the rooms where, in her adventure of faith, she allowed God, "content with my weak efforts, to raise me to Himself and make me a saint, clothing me with His infinite merits."  

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