St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Thérèse of Lisieux (photo)St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face
Born: 2 Jan 1873
Died: 30 Sep 1897
Beatified: 29 Apr 1923 by Pius XI
Canonised: 17 May 1925 by Pius XI
Doctor of the Church: 19 Oct 1997 by John Paul II

She lived only up to the age of 24, yet her writings had a profound influence on 20th century spirituality. She emphasized God’s overwhelming mercy, forgiveness and the opening up of sanctity to all, even ordinary people. Her doctrine of spiritual childhood was a realisation of God’s fatherhood towards us and the need to develop a filial attitude of absolute confidence towards God the Father.

” ‘And going up a high mountain, he called to him men of his own choosing, and they came to him’ (Mk 3:13). […] He does not call those who are worthy but those whom He pleases […]. I wondered for a long time why God has preferences, why all souls don’t receive an equal amount of graces. […] Jesus deigned to teach me this mystery. He set before me the book of nature; I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendour of the rose and the whiteness of the Lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet […]. And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus’ garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to Lilies and roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances when He looks down at his feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.” (Story of a Soul, Ms A, 2r–2v)

“I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was BURNING WITH LOVE. I understood that it was Love alone that made the Church’s members act, that if Love ever became extinct, apostles would not preach the Gospel and martyrs would not shed their blood. […] MY VOCATION IS LOVE! […] in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be Love.” (Story of a Soul, Ms B, 3v)

“…even though I had on my conscience all the sins that can be committed, I would go, my heart broken with sorrow, and throw myself into Jesus’ arms, for I know how much He loves the prodigal child who returns to Him.” (Story of a Soul, Ms C, 36v)