Friday, October 1, 2010

Feast Day of the Little Flower--Saint Therese of Lisieux

Mystery of mysteries--how can a young woman, dying at the young age of 24, contain such wisdom as to make her one of only 33 Doctors of the Catholic Church?
Saint Therese was born into a wealthy Victorian family in 1873. The mother, devout and pious, had prayed to have many children and that they would all embrace holiness. All five of her children who survived to adulthood became nuns, and of these the youngest was Therese.
Therese lost her dear mother at the tender age of four; later her older sisters, who mothered her after, would join Carmel, again bringing her loss. She had become a delicate, easily distressed child, overly sensitive. Who knows what neurotic roads she might have gone down if not for a Christmas Eve in 1886 when, in an instant--by the Grace of God--she grew out of her hyper-emotional state in what she called a total conversion. Within 3 years,she had overcome many obstacles to become a Carmelite nun. She would die 11 years later after a long illness.
Her writings were gathered together in a book, The Story of a Soul, and millions have developed a devotion to her 'Little Way'.  She taught that her way of Holiness consisted of doing small things with great love, of depending totally on Christ's love for her, rather on great deeds or great efforts. "Love," she wrote, "is my vocation."  She saw herself as small and unable to do the great sacrifices and devotions of the Saints; but she wanted dearly to be a Saint herself. So, falling upon the generosity of God, she offered her little sacrifices up, relying completely on Jesus.  She wrote, "Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love."
Even in her last illness she saw the hand of God. Tuberculosis is a slow, painful way to die, and our little Saint could get quite irritable. Even then, though, she found a way to offer up her suffering. "Thank you, Lord," she would pray, "for reminding again me how much I am in need of your mercy!"
Her Feast Day is Oct. 1.
She once said she would "spend her Heaven doing good on earth." Do not ignore her strong intercession with Our Lord!

1 comment:

Laude Arts and Gifts said...


Thank you for writing such an inspirational essay on one of my favorite saints. You captured the essence of her "Little Way" beautifully.