Thursday, October 1, 2015

Saint Therese of Lisieux

Saint Therese of Lisieux

Lived: (1873-1897) | Feast Day: Thursday, October 1, 2015

from Saint of the Day by

"I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies.
To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul." These are 
the words of Thérèse of the Child Jesus, a Carmelite nun
called the "Little Flower," who lived a cloistered life of 
obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. And her preference
for hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Few saints of God 
are more popular than this young nun. Her autobiography, The 
Story of a Soul, is read and loved throughout the world. Thérèse
Martin entered the convent at the age of 15 and died in 1897 at 
the age of 24. She was canonized in 1925, and two years later 
she and St. Francis Xavier were declared co-patrons of the missions.

Life in a Carmelite convent is indeed uneventful and consists 
mainly of prayer and hard domestic work. But Thérèse possessed
that holy insight that redeems the time, however dull that time 
may be. She saw in quiet suffering redemptive suffering, suffering 
that was indeed her apostolate. Thérèse said she came to the 
Carmel convent "to save souls and pray for priests." And shortly 
before she died, she wrote: "I want to spend my heaven doing 
good on earth."

On October 19, 1997, Pope John Paul II proclaimed her a 
Doctor of the Church, the third woman to be so recognized, 
in light of her holiness and the influence on the Church of 
her teaching on spirituality. Her parents, Louis and Zélie were 
beatified in 2008.

Comment: Thérèse has much to teach our age of the image, 
the appearance, the "sell." We have become a dangerously 
self-conscious people, painfully aware of the need to be fulfilled, 
yet knowing we are not. Thérèse, like so many saints, sought to 
serve others, to do something outside herself, to forget herself 
in quiet acts of love. She is one of the great examples of the 
gospel paradox that we gain our life by losing it, and that the 
seed that falls to the ground must die in order to live (John 12:24).
Preoccupation with self separates modern men 
and women from God, from their fellow human beings, and 
ultimately from themselves. We must relearn to forget ourselves, 
to contemplate a God who draws us out of ourselves, and to serve 
others as the ultimate expression of selfhood. These are the insights 
of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and they are more valid today than ever.

Quote: All her life St. Thérèse suffered from illness. As a young 
girl she underwent a three-month malady characterized by 
violent crises, extended delirium and prolonged fainting 
spells. Afterwards she was ever frail and yet she worked 
hard in the laundry and refectory of the convent. Psychologically, 
she endured prolonged periods of darkness when the light of 
faith seemed all but extinguished. The last year of her life she 
slowly wasted away from tuberculosis. And yet shortly before her 
death on September 30 she murmured, "I would not suffer 

Truly she was a valiant woman who did not whimper about 
her illnesses and anxieties. Here was a person who saw the 
power of love, that divine alchemy which can change 
everything, including weakness and illness, into service 
and redemptive power for others. Is it any wonder that she 
is patroness of the missions? Who else but those who 
embrace suffering with their love really convert the world?


Saint Therese has provided a significant example to me 
of how to live with chronic pain and illness. When I first 
became ill, I took the time to read her autobiography and 
as I read, I felt the calming of the Holy Spirit. More than 
one spiritual adviser has told me that my suffering was for 
the benefit of others, and their insights were confirmed to 
me through prayer and even more so in my current inductive 
study of Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians with the 
women of Pine Valley Community Church. Christians are all 
called to suffer for the Gospel in one way or another, and suffering
 with joy, as Saint Paul did in prison, allowed the Gospel to 
spread throughout the entire Roman Imperial Guard.

May Christ be proclaimed and glorified through me--
and through you--this day and always!

With warm thoughts,

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