Saint Thérèse of Lisieux was born on the 2nd of January 1873 and died in 1897, she is also referred to as Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. Therese was a French Carmelite nun and she is also referred to as the “The Little Flower of Jesus”.
As a young girl she felt an early call to religious life and overcoming various obstacles, at the early age of 15 she became a nun and joined two of her elder sisters in the cloistered Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy. After nine years as a Carmelite religious she died of tuberculosis at the age of 24. She is famous for her autobiographical manuscripts titled “The Story of a Soul”, which were received extremely well and she rapidly became one of the most popular saints of the twentieth century.
She was beatified in 1923, and canonized in 1925. Thérèse was declared co-patron of the missions 1927, and named co-patron of France with Joan of Arc in 1944.
She was also named a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul ll, and is the youngest person to be declared a Doctor of the Church which is a special title which is given to individuals for their contribution to theology of doctrine.
At fourteen Thérèse had understood her vocation to pray for priests, to be "an apostle to apostles." In September 1890, at her canonical examination before she professed her religious vows, she was asked why she had come to Carmel. She answered "I came to save souls, and especially to pray for priests."
Thérèse lived a hidden life and "wanted to be unknown," The depth of her spirituality, has inspired many believers. In the face of her littleness and nothingness, she trusted in God to be her sanctity. She wanted to go to heaven by an entirely new little way. Saint Therese wrote "I wanted to find an elevator that would raise me to Jesus." The elevator, she wrote, would be the arms of Jesus lifting her in all her littleness.
Thérèse is well known throughout the world, with the Basilica of Lisieux being the second largest place of pilgrimage in France after Lourdes. In her quest for holiness and sanctity, she believed that it was not necessary to accomplish heroic acts, or "great deeds", in order to attain holiness and to express her love of God. She wrote,
"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."
Saint and her “Little Way” developed an approach to the spiritual life that people of every background can understand and adopt. For Therese prayer wasn’t a complicated thing she would talk very simply to God what she would want to say, and she wrote “ He always understands me.”
St Thérèse of Liseux is one of the most popular Catholic Saints since apostolic times. As a Doctor of the Church, she is the subject of much theological comment and study, and, as an appealing young woman whose message has touched the lives of millions, she remains the focus of much popular devotion.
Grant me your missionary spirit to bring Jesus to all the villages! Amen.