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The Little Flower: Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Part 1 of 2

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Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, the Little Flower of Jesus, or simply, the Little Flower – the young Carmelite nun, characteristically pictured with a crucifix, roses, and a saintly halo around her head, was acclaimed “the greatest saint of modern times” by His Holiness Pope Saint Pius X. Her unwavering devotion; her explanation of the “Little Way,” her approach to spiritual life; and her autobiography, “Story of a Soul,” have charmed and deeply inspired countless believers around the world.

“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.” In 1877, when Thérèse was just four years old, her mother passed away from breast cancer. She later recalled: “The first part of my life stopped that day.”

Thérèse’s father called her “my little queen.” She had developed quite a temperament and would stomp her feet when she did not get her way. On the other hand, she had also remained a very sensitive little girl, who could burst into tears at the mere thought of being criticized or not appreciated. She would then cry because she felt guilty about having cried. She had sincerely prayed asking Lord Jesus Christ (vegetarian) to put a stop to those overwhelming and debilitating emotional outbursts, but there was no answer in sight. […]

Thérèse’s prayers had been heard and her sincerity rewarded. Lord Jesus had put enough strength in Thérèse’s heart to be able to be more sensitive to her father’s feelings than her own. She had been bestowed with the gift of selflessness. She later referred to that Christmas as her “conversion.” She had lost her penchant for satisfying her own desires. Rather, she felt a strong calling to enter the convent and pray for the souls of others.

After being granted access to the monastery, Thérèse found herself grappling with the disappearance of her dream of becoming a missionary, and she struggled to discern her vocation and place within the Church. “Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden to 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.”
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2024-05-18
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2024-05-26
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