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St. Therese of Lisieux

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as the "Little Flower," is one of the most beloved saints in the Catholic Church. Born Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin on January 2, 1873, in Alençon, France, she entered the Carmelite monastery at the young age of 15 and lived a life of profound simplicity and humility. Thérèse's spirituality, expressed in her autobiography "Story of a Soul," has had a lasting impact on believers worldwide. Her "Little Way" emphasizes the importance of small acts of love and abandonment to God in everyday life.

Growing up in a devout Catholic family, Thérèse lost her mother at the age of four and became especially close to her older sisters, who also entered the Carmelite convent. Inspired by their example, Thérèse desired to become a nun from a young age. At the age of 15, she entered the convent at Lisieux, following in the footsteps of her sisters.

In choosing her religious name, she took the name "Thérèse of the Child Jesus" to emphasize her desire for spiritual childhood. She also added "of the Holy Face" to her name, expressing her devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus and her desire to contemplate the Face of Christ in the Scriptures. This emphasis on the Holy Face is closely related to her understanding of the Virgin Mary as the one who gazed most deeply into the Face of Christ.


Thérèse's life in the convent was marked by a commitment to simplicity, obedience, and a deep trust in God's love and mercy. Despite her desire for a life of hiddenness and obscurity, her spiritual director encouraged her to write about her experiences. This resulted in the writing of her autobiography, "The Story of a Soul," which she began at the request of her sister Pauline, who was prioress at the time.

Thérèse's "Little Way" is at the heart of her spirituality. It is a path of spiritual childhood that emphasizes doing small things with great love. She believed that one does not need to perform heroic deeds to be holy; instead, holiness is found in the ordinary and mundane aspects of daily life.


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."

"Little Way" encourages a childlike trust in God, acknowledging one's own weakness and relying completely on the mercy of God. She saw every moment, no matter how insignificant, as an opportunity to express love for God. This approach challenges the notion that holiness is reserved for a select few who perform extraordinary feats. Instead, Thérèse teaches that holiness is attainable for everyone in their daily lives.

Thérèse faced her own struggles, both physical and spiritual. She battled tuberculosis and suffered periods of spiritual darkness, doubting the existence of heaven. Yet, she persevered in faith, holding onto her belief in God's mercy and love. Her final words were a testament to her trust in God: "My God, I love you!"

Her impact extended beyond the walls of her Carmelite convent. After her death at the age of 24 on September 30, 1897, her autobiography became widely known, and she was canonized as a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1925. She was later declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997.

Thérèse's influence spread globally, and her intercession has been credited with numerous miracles. Pilgrims from around the world visit her shrine in Lisieux. The Basilica of St. Thérèse, built in her honor, stands as a testament to the impact of her spiritual legacy.

The missionary zeal of St. Thérèse is evident in her promise to spend her heaven doing good on earth. She envisioned herself continuing to work for the salvation of souls and showering down roses as a sign of her intercession. Many believers have reported receiving roses as a sign of Thérèse's presence and intercession.

St. Thérèse's simplicity, humility, and "Little Way" continue to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds. Her spirituality resonates with those seeking a path to holiness in the midst of their ordinary lives. The universal appeal of the "Little Flower" lies in her recognition of the beauty in small gestures of love and her trust in God's mercy.

Marian Encounters

Her encounters with the Mother of God were characterized by a sense of filial love and a desire to emulate Mary's virtues in her own spiritual journey.


Early Devotion to the Virgin Mary
Thérèse's family had a strong devotion to the Virgin Mary, and this influence was instilled in her from a young age. Her mother had placed her under the protection of the Virgin Mary, and Thérèse grew up with a deep love for the Mother of God.

Vision of the Child Jesus and the Virgin Mary
In her autobiography, "The Story of a Soul," Thérèse recounts a spiritual experience she had on Christmas night in 1886. At the age of 14, Thérèse experienced a vision of the Child Jesus and the Virgin Mary. This encounter left an indelible mark on her, deepening her commitment to a life of love and abandonment to God.


"The Smile of the Virgin Mary"
Thérèse often spoke of a specific statue of the Virgin Mary in the convent chapel, which she called "Our Lady of Victories." Thérèse had a deep connection to this statue and attributed her physical healing from illness to the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She referred to the statue as "the Smile of the Virgin Mary" and believed that Mary's gaze conveyed a motherly smile that reassured her.

Devotion to the Immaculate Conception
Thérèse had a particular devotion to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. She saw Mary as the perfect model of holiness and purity. Thérèse's spirituality was deeply influenced by her understanding of Mary's sinlessness and her desire to imitate Mary's total surrender to God.

Final Moments and "The Smallest Flower"
As Thérèse approached her death from tuberculosis, she expressed a desire to die on a Marian feast day. She died on September 30, 1897, the vigil of the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels. Thérèse often referred to herself as "The Little Flower of Jesus," signifying her desire to be a small, hidden, and humble soul in the garden of God's love. This self-designation also reflects her belief that she was like a little flower at the feet of the Virgin Mary.

Posthumous Revelations of Mary's Presence
Thérèse's devotion to the Virgin Mary continued to be revealed through posthumous revelations. In the years following her death, some of her fellow nuns reported experiencing visions of Thérèse in which she was seen in the company of the Virgin Mary. These visions further emphasized the spiritual bond between Thérèse and the Mother of God.

Famous Quotes

St. Thérèse of Lisieux left behind a treasury of spiritual wisdom through her writings and sayings. Here are some famous quotes attributed to her:

"Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love."

"Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing."


"Our Lord does not so much look at the greatness of our actions, or even at their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them."

"True humility consists in being content with what God has given us."

"Prayer is, for me, an outburst from the heart; it is a simple glance darted upwards to Heaven; it is a cry of gratitude and of love in the midst of trial as in the midst of joy!"

"To suffer without complaining, to have strength to bear up under all things, to have no fear, no depression, no anxiety – that is the spirit of faith."

"If you are willing to bear serenely the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter."

"Everything is a grace, everything is the direct effect of our Father's love. Everything is grace because – everything is God's gift."

"To remain a child before God is to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God, as a little child expects everything from its father."

"Holiness consists simply in doing God's will, and being just what God wants us to be."

"I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses."

"If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts."

"The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness."

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