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The Little Flower: Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Part 2 of 2

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Having become a Carmelite nun, Thérèse faced many situations of hardship at the convent, but she remained steadfast in her goal of attaining sainthood. Her faith was unwavering. She responded to every situation by denying her sense of ego and spreading Divine Love. She wrote: “I have always wanted to become a saint… 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.”

The convent resembled a microcosm, presenting challenges to relationships. Dealing with idiosyncratic temperaments and difficult personalities were integral aspects of daily life. “I prayed earnestly for this Sister who had caused me so much struggle, but this was not enough for me. I tried to do everything I possibly could for her, and when tempted to answer her sharply, I hastened to give her a friendly smile and talk about something else…”

Thérèse had found a simple way to reach sainthood within the confinements of her convent. She called it the “Little Way.” The philosophy was defined as “the way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute surrender.” It relied on performing small, daily sacrifices with great love rather than great deeds.

Her last words were: “My God, I love You!” Sainte Thérèse of Lisieux passed away on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24. Her body was buried in the municipal cemetery at Lisieux, with her parents. After her passing, Sister Agnès of Jesus put together and edited Thérèse’s written reflections in what became the autobiographical book, “Story of a Soul.” It was first published in 1898 and distributed in the religious community. But it wasn’t long before Thérèse’s “Little Way” appealed to countless others, who were looking to create holiness in their own ordinary lives. The book quickly became a bestseller around the world.

People began praying to Thérèse, and their prayers were answered. Claims of miraculous cures and other extraordinary experiences were suddenly pouring in. Many of the stories involved the apparition of roses, or the fragrance of roses, along with grace. The mystery behind the shower of roses that Thérèse had talked about just before her passing was finally elucidated and has since become a torrent!

Thérèse had become a Saint in people’s hearts way before the Church ever declared her as one. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux was also named one of the Patron Saints of the Missions because of her special love for the missions and all the prayers and letters she sent in support of missionaries.
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