Saint Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897)

for October 1

Saint Therese of Lisieux, also known as the "Little Flower," was born in Alencon, France, in 1873. While still a young girl, Therese longed to enter the Carmelite convent at Lisieux. When she was 15, the bishop gave permission, and she joined two of her older sisters there. Her life of prayer and work in the convent was hidden to others, but she became known to the world through her autobiography, "The Story of a Soul," published in 1899. The book was translated into many languages and became widely popular. It was not her idea to write it. Her superiors saw a unique holiness in Therese, and directed her to write it. In the book she describes her life as the "little way"--a simple life of spiritual childhood, characterized by acknowledging one's spiritual poverty, living with complete confidence in God's love, and dedicating one's days to the practice of love. Therese's little way to holiness emphasizes great love rather than great deeds, and has appealed to countless people seeking to be holy in the midst of ordinary life. A short time before her death, Therese remarked that she would spend her time in heaven trying to do good on earth. She said she would send a "shower of roses" from heaven. She died at the age of 24 from tuberculosis, after much suffering. She was canonized in 1925, and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997. Her feast day is October 1. (Taken from "The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth.")

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Saint Therese of Lisieux is among the Church's most important and wise spiritual teachers. We often think that only great deeds and great sacrifices are magnificent examples of our Christian faith. But Saint Therese teaches that, whatever our lot in life, every single deed and every single moment is an opportunity to love God and others. And in these small moments we are, in fact, carrying out acts of faith that are just as great and powerful as those of the heroic saints about whom we read. A normal and, by most accounts, uneventful life can, Saint Therese teaches, be a life of profound and exceptional holiness and union with God.


Dear Jesus, help me to follow Saint Therese's "little way" and devote all of my life, even its most trivial aspects, to you.