Saturday, January 02, 2016

Happy Birthday St. Therese of Lisieux

     Our dear little St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face was born into this world 143 years ago today, January 2, 1873, the last of nine children born into the devout French family of Zelie and Louis Martin.  She was baptized two days later and given the name Marie Francoise Therese Martin, being named first after the Blessed Virgin Mary, as were all her sisters.
     Here she is photographed at age three and we can already see that look in her eyes.  That far away look of longing to devote her life to God, something she realized at age three and wrote about in The Story of a Soul, the book that revealed the depths of our little saint's holiness to the world.
     Just two years later at age five, St. Therese would lose her mother and experience that profound loss in the comforting arms of her older sisters and devoted father.  Her oldest sister Pauline took over as a mother figure and did her best to continue her younger sister's immersion and education in the Catholic faith.
     Here's an excerpt about St. Therese's younger years from Collected Little Flower Works by Albert Dolan, published in 1929 by Carmelite Press.  "There then we have Therese, the baby of three and four years, vain of her beauty; proud of her pretty dresses; eager for praise and notice; inclined at times to fits of temper and stubbornness; so proud that when offered a coin to stoop humbly and kiss the ground, she refused to bend.  Nevertheless, this very human little girl became one of the greatest of  all the Saints.  No little of the Little Flower's influence over souls is due to the evil inclinations and  other human imperfections which we notice in her youth.  Her complete eradication of those faults has taught thousands, and should teach us, the possibility of complete victory over our faults if we imitate the Little Flower's Little Way of humility, prayerfulness and trust in God."
   Through these postings, I hope to explore the development and perfection of 'the little way' in St. Therese's life and bring her incredible message of total trust and confidence in Jesus to those who cross my path.  When she came into my life in 1997, I was ready for a new way for my life.  I just didn't know it would turn out to be St. Therese's 'little way.'  May she be an inspiration to you as well.
     The image above of St. Therese at age 3 is available for purchase on my website called the little way that is devoted to St. Therese and offers authentic holy cards and photos of her published by the Office Central de Lisieux in France.  The website also offers books and gift items centered around carmelite spirituality.
     Let me close with this prayer...St. Therese, open our hearts to your little way.  Teach us to throw ourselves into the arms of Our Lord, casting aside all doubt and fear and accepting all that He sends us as graces for the salvation of our souls.


Stef Ryan said...

Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

St Therese also took a devotion to the Holy Face, so much that she added it to her name.

Novena of the Holy Face
This novena prayer may be said at any time, but especially in the nine days leading up to the Feast of the Holy Face on Shrove Tuesday - i.e. starting two Sundays before the start of Lent.

"I firmly wish that my face reflecting the intimate pains
of my soul, the suffering and love of my heart, be more
honoured! Whoever gazes upon me already consoles me."
(Our Lord Jesus Christ to Sister Pierina)