Thérèse was born in Alencon, France in 1873. She suffered from the death of her mother, due to breast cancer, at the age of four. Her family then moved to Lisieux. At a young age she wished to follow her sisters, Pauline and Marie, into the convent but was denied due to her age. However, in 1888 she entered the Carmel of Lisieux. On Sept. 8, 1890 she made her religious profession as a Carmelite.
Because of her love and prayers for the missions St.Thérèse is the patron saint of missions. She is also the patron saint of gardeners and florists. Thérèse of Lisieux was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church. She is the youngest Doctor of the Church.
St. Thérèse is also known as the Little Flower. She saw herself as a flower in the garden of God. Calling herself “the little flower of Jesus” she wanted to give glory to God by just being herself among all the other flowers in Gods garden.
The health of St. Thérèse was poor. She suffered grief when her father died and also contracted tuberculosis. She suffered much pain but offered her suffering for ‘the poor sinners’. Her great desire was to save souls. “My mission…to make God loved….will begin after my death”, she said. “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses.” She also said, “I want to suffer and even rejoice for love, for this is my way of scattering flowers. Never a flower shall 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!”
The following quote shows her spirituality “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 action for love.” Her spirituality is known as “The little way”. She trusted in Jesus to make her holy and focused on doing small deeds daily rather than great deeds.
Her autobiography “The Story of a Soul” has led many pilgrims to her ‘little way’.
St. Thérèse was only 24 when she died of tuberculosis. After her death she was canonized a saint on May 17, 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Pope John Paul II declared her a doctor of the Church in 1997. Her writings have led many souls closer to God.
The following prayers were written by St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
A MORNING PRAYER