St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, also known as St. Therese of Lisieux or Little Flower of Jesus, was born Marie Francois-Therese Martin to a watchmaker, Louis Martin, and a lace maker, Zelie Guerin, on January 2, 1873. She was the youngest of her siblings and was born ill. The family of St. Therese did not think that she would live very long.
The Little Flower did, however, make it through her initial sufferings of her life on earth. St. Therese of the Child Jesus became a headstrong and stubborn girl who was loved by all. There were many instances in her life which demonstrate, “She never did anything by halves; for her it was always all or nothing.”
After three of her sisters had joined the religious life, Therese sought to join her sisters Marie and Pauline in the Carmelite convent of Lisieux. Her father was saddened by the thought of another of his daughters joining the religious life, but “he not only granted Therese’s request, but worked zealously to help her realize it.”
Though she was refused several times due to her young age by the priest-director of the Lisieux convent, Therese did not give up. She went to Bishop Hugonin of Bayeux with her father to appeal for her early entrance into the Carmelites. Therese’s determination and the acquiescence of her father amazed the bishop, but he determined to consider it for a time before giving an answer. While waiting for the Bishop Hugonin’s answer, the young saint decided to make an appeal to the Pope. And, during a pilgrimage to Rome with her father and sister, Celine, she did indeed make her request to Pope Leo XIII, who replied, “you will enter if God wills it.”
On April 9, 1888, Therese was welcomed into the Lisieux convent at the age of fifteen and three months.
While with the Carmelites, St. Therese developed her “little way” of getting to heaven and, by the direction of her Prioress Mother, wrote her autobiography, The Story of a Soul.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus spent the last year of her life suffering from tuberculosis. When it was clear that Therese would not recover, she was given Extreme Unction. Months later, she died at the age of 24.
St. Therese of Lisieux is the patron saint of florists, foreign missions, loss of parents, priests, and the sick (particularly those with tuberculosis).
Prayer to St. Therese for Healing (from catholicsaintmedals.com):
Dearest Saint Therese, you are the Little Flower of Jesus. Pray this day that I may be made well in body, mind, and spirit. Help me to always see, as you so clearly did, that my sufferings and trials are meant to cleanse and purify me so that I may be more worthy to receive God’s unending Love. Amen.
Quotes of St. Therese:
Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.
Frequently, only silence can express my prayer.
Let us not grow tired of prayer: confidence works miracles.
We can never have too much confidence in the good God… As we hope in Him so shall we receive.