St Therese of Lisieux
Ste Thérèse of Lisieux was born on January 2, 1873, to Louis and Zelie Martin in Alencon, France. Both her parents were fervent Catholics who attempted to enter religious life. She had 4 sisters who all became nuns. Her parents were canonized in 2015 and her sister, Celine, is on the road to sainthood.
Her mother died when she was 4 years old and she was consequently raised by her father. The family eventually moved to Lisieux. Ste Thérèse indicated she felt a calling to be a nun since she was 2 years old. She recalled that her sister’s First Communion was one of the most beautiful days in her life. She became more passionate about entering religious life when 2 of her sisters joined the Carmelites. She begged her father to take her to Rome so she could ask the Pope Leo XIII permission to enter the convent. Her local bishop granted permission and she entered the Carmelite monastery in 1888 at the age of 15.
St. Thérèse received her habit within a year and the following year she entered the novitiate. She made her first profession in 1890. She was given the religious name “de L’Enfant Jesus (of the Child Jesus)” and received permission to also adopt “de la Sainte Face (of the Holy Face).”
St. Thérèse of Lisieux demonstrated childlike faith and was simple and pious. Her life in the convent was not pleasant as the older nuns appeared to be jealous of her youth and did not treat her well. She chose to live her life in the “little way”, spiritually reducing herself to a tiny creature doing God’s will. She saw herself as the heart of the “body of Christ”.
On Good Friday 1894 St. Thérèse awoke to a mouthful of blood and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She courageously fought for 3 years and succumbed in 1897. Her last recorded words are “Oh, I love Him…My God…I love you.” Pope Pius XI canonized her in 1925 calling her a “the greatest saint of modern times. Pope St. John Paul II declared her the thirty-third and youngest Doctor of the Church in 1997.
Saint of the Day: Thérèse, like so many saints, sought to serve others, to do something outside herself, to forget herself in quiet acts of love. She is one of the great examples of the gospel paradox that we gain our life by losing it, and that the seed that falls to the ground must die in order to live