Wednesday, August 12, 2009

St. Therese and St. Joan of Arc

About a year ago I set up a special page detailing the devotion of St. Therese of Lisieux to St. Joan of Arc The page contains poems about St. Joan as well as several pictures of St. Therese dressed as St. Joan for a play that she had written to honor St. Joan. You can see the page at:
St. Therese and St. Joan of Arc

After I shared the page with an online group about Joan of Arc where I am a member one of the ladies noticed something remarkable in one of the pictures of St. Therese. There are crosses in her eyes. We had quite a discussion at the group trying to explain the crosses and several theories were put forward which motivated me to do more research into the photographs. I found out that St. Therese’s sister Celine was an avid photographer who took many photos of St. Therese which are contained in a book titled The Photo Album of St. Therese of Lisieux

I obtained a copy of this book from a local Catholic University and was most interested to see if the crosses were still visible in her eyes in the original photographs. The book states that the photographs are “un-retouched” and “reproduced directly from the plates developed in the late 19th century.” Remarkably, the crosses are still visible in the same picture although it is a little harder to see them. The other valuable information that the book contained was a map of the Carmelite convent and some descriptions of the different courtyards and the locations where the pictures were taken.

From my own limited investigation I have not been able to find any plausible earthly explanation for the crosses in St. Therese’s eyes. I figured that over the course of the past year someone more knowledgeable in photographic techniques of the 19th century would give me an explanation but so far that has not happened. I guess at this point I am wondering if this is indeed a real miraculous occurrence that no one previously noticed until the photograph was digitally prepared for the Internet. If so then it is time that everyone knows about it thus the purpose of this blog entry.