Marie Therese Martin was born at Alencon, France on Jan. 2, 1873. St Thérèse of Lisieux is the patron saint of florists, missionaries, pilots and against tuberculosis.
The father of St. Thérèse, Louis Martin, was a watchmaker. Her Mother, Zelie was a lace maker. She died when Thérèse was four year old. Pope Francis canonized both Louise and Zelie as saints on Oct. 18, 2015. All five of their daughters entered religious life. The family attended daily Mass, visited the elderly and the sick and helped the poor.
St. Thérèse felt called into the religious life at the age of 15. She asked permission to enter the Carmel of Lisieux a Carmelite convent. She took the name of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.
St. Thérèse had a childlike trust in the providence of God and in His merciful love. Her life as contemplative Carmelite was short but it influenced many souls. She was declared a Doctor of the Church by St. Pope St. John Paul II in 1997.
During her nine years living as a Carmelite Nun St. Thérèse became known for her spirituality. Her love of God was profound and she wanted to share that love with others. She developed her “Little Way” which was her way of loving Jesus. When asked to explain it, she replied:
“It is the way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute self-surrender. I want to point out to souls the means that I have always found so completely successful…to tell them there is only one thing to do here below…to offer Our Lord the flowers of little sacrifices and win Him by our caresses.”
St. Thérèse’s spirituality began with scripture and the gospels. She offered any suffering in her life to God and trusted in Him completely. She found joy in suffering for it united her to the cross and the Passion of Our Lord. She also had a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“How little known is the merciful love of the Heart of Jesus! It is true that to enjoy that treasure we must humble ourselves, must confess our nothingness . . . and here is where many a soul draws back.”
St. Thérèse liked to use the image of flowers, especially roses, in her prayers. She considered each sacrifice a flower given to God. She compared souls to flowers, each one unique.
St. Thérèse came down with tuberculosis and died after several years of suffering at the age of 24 on Sept. 30, 1897. She was canonized in 1925.
The autobiography St. Thérèse wrote, The Story of a Soul, was published the year after her death.
“I want to suffer and even rejoice for love, for this is my way of scattering flowers. Never a flower shall I find but its petals shall be scattered for you, and all the while I will sing, yes sing, even when gathering my roses in the midst of thorns, and the longer and sharper the thorns may be, the sweeter shall be my song!”
Quote of St. Thérèse
St. Thérèse in Art
October is the Month of the Most Holy Rosary