Monday, 15 October 2012

St. Therese of the Child Jesus

St. Therese of Lisieux
Saint Therese 
the Little Saint

Marie-Francoise-Therese Martin (later known as St. Therese) was born in Alencon in France, Januray 2, 1873 to her parents Louis and Zelie Martin. She was baptized two days later on January 4th.  
"All my life, God surrounded me with love. My first memories are imprinted with the most tender smiles and caresses...Those were the sunny years of my childhood." Thus Therese, twenty-one years later, described her home life in Alencon, France. "My happy disposition," she added with characteristic candor, "contributed to making my life pleasing." 

While still a young girl, at age nine she sought the Prioress of the Carmelite community and asked for entrance, but was turned away to 'grow up first'... She was not yet fifteen when she approached the Carmelite authorities again for permission to enter.   The priest-director advised her to return when she was twenty-one. "Of course," he added, "you can always see the bishop. I am only his delegate." Bishop Hugonin of Bayeux  was then visited by Therese and her father, "You are not yet fifteen and you wish this?" the bishop questioned. "I wished it since the dawn of reason," young Therese declared.  He wanted time to consider it, and advised Therese and her father that he would write them regarding his decision.

St.Therese with older sister Pauline
Because of her great passion to join the Carmelite community as soon as possible, Therese took her cause to the Pope himself. The great day of the audience in with Pope Leo XIII came at the end of their week in Rome. On Sunday, November 20, 1887, "they told us on the Pope's behalf that it was forbidden to speak as this would prolong the audience too much. I turned toward my dear Celine for advice: 'Speak!' she said. A moment later I was at the Holy Father's feet....Lifting tear-filled eyes to his face I cried out: 'Most Holy Father, I have a great favor to ask you!....Holy Father, in honor of your jubilee, permit me to enter Carmel at the age of fifteen.'"  "Well, my child," the Holy Father replied, "do what the superiors tell you." Resting her hands on his knees Therese continued, " Oh, Holy Father, if you say yes, everybody will agree!' He gazed at me speaking these words and stressing each syllable: 'Go - go - you will enter if God wills it.'"

On New Year's day, 1888, the prioress of the Lisieux Carmel advised Therese she would be received into the monastery, but that she had to be patient and wait a little bit longer. On April 9, 1888, an emotional and tearful, but determined Therese Martin said good-bye to her home and her family.  She was finally granted her most ardent wish and was permitted to join the Carmelite monastery at Liseaux.  

Therese spent the last nine years of her life at the Lisieux Carmel. Her fellow Sisters recognized her as a good nun, nothing more. She was conscientious and capable. Sister Therese worked in the sacristy, cleaned the dining room, painted pictures, composed short pious plays for the Sisters, wrote poems, and lived the intense community prayer life of the cloister. Superiors appointed her to instruct the novices of the community. Externally, there was nothing remarkable about this Carmelite nun.

Therese was aware of her littleness. 

“You know, Mother, that I have always wanted to be become a saint. Unfortunately when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passersby. 

Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new[...] 

It is your arms, Jesus, which are the lift to carry me to heaven, And so there is no need for me to grow up. In fact, just the opposite: I must stay little and become less and less.” 

She lived her life as a Carmelite nun with humility, simplicity and trust in God.  Her example of doing these virtues in 'her little way' has been an inspiration to many people throughout the world.  

She offered her life for the salvation of souls and the growth of the Church, she died a very painful death from tuberculosis on September 30, 1897.

Saint Thérèse de Lisieux (known as “the Little Flower”) was said to have produced a strong scent of roses at her death, which was detectable for days afterward.

She is also known by the names -- St. Therese of the Holy Face, St. Therese of the Child Jesus, St. Therese the Little Flower

"Only the bones covered with bits of cloth remained. But the palm branch that had been placed inside when she was buried was still fresh and green, as it is today. Was this God's way of confirming that God had granted Therese's desire to win "the palm of martyrdom?"  

"that thus I may become 
a martyr of Your love, O my God!"

  "I will spend my heaven
 Doing good on earth."

Some excerpts taken from

St. Therese as Intercessor...