Now that I’ve raised the subject of St. Therese, I can’t help but tell this funny story that shows Therese’s loving nature—as she wrote, “at last I have found it …. MY VOCATION IS LOVE!”
In the convent, Therese disliked intensely one of her fellow nuns, Teresa of Saint Augustine, whom Therese described as “a Sister who has the faculty of displeasing me in everything, in her ways, her words, her character.” Instead of avoiding her, Therese sought out this nun at every turn and treated her “as if I loved her best of all” – so successfully that the sister once smugly asked Therese, “Would you tell me…what attracts you so much toward me; every time you look at me, I see your smile?”
After Therese’s death, the disagreeable nun said with great complacency, “At least I can say this much for myself: during her life I made [Therese] really happy.”
In fact, Teresa of Saint Augustine never suspected that she was the disagreeable sister described in Story of a Soul – until thirty years later, when the chaplain, in a fit of exasperation, told her the truth.
On a completely unrelated topic –
One of my chief qualities is my insatiable capacity for editing. It improves my writing of course, but it also means that I react with hysteria at the thought of finding a typo in my work.
In bed last night, I was reading First, You Cry, Betty Rollin’s 1976 account of her battle with breast cancer. (For the Happiness Project, I read a lot of books about terminal illnesses, cancer, divorce, etc.)
The Big Man pulled the book out of my hands to take a look. In one second, he spotted a typo in the descriptive paragraph on the cover: “tradegy” instead of “tragedy.” (On the Signet mass market edition, if you want to look yourself.)
I felt a huge rush of relief. Look, a major typo! On the cover of a bestseller! And people aren’t still talking about it.