St. Thérèse of Lisieux
"Novice of the Shell"

Did you know that for a time, St. Thérèse of the Little Flower was in charge of the novices in her convent? A novice is a woman who has just joined a religious order but not taken her final vows yet. Under St. Thérèse's care was a young novice named Sr. Marie of the Trinity and of the Holy Face. Sr. Marie's nickname however was, the Novice of the Shell. How did she get that name? Sr. Marie herself tells us in her own words.

"I often cried, and for nothing, and this caused my dear Mistress [St. Thérèse] a lot of sorrow. One day she had a brilliant idea: taking from her painting table a molding shell and holding my hands so I could not wipe my eyes, she started to gather my tears in the shell. Instead of continuing my crying, I could no longer keep from laughing.

"'All right,' she said, 'from now on you can cry as much as you want, providing you cry into this shell.'

"Then eight days before her death, I cried all night, thinking about the fact that Sister [Thérèse] would soon leave us. She noticed it and said, 'You have been crying; did you cry into the shell?'