Friday 19th December 2014

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Reconnecting With Mary . . . St. Thérèse Of Lisieux: A Best-Loved Saint

August 1, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY

Part 2

This is the second article about St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and deals with her later life, death, and subsequent influence throughout the Catholic world. (See The Wanderer, July 10, 2014, p. 3B for part one.)
After a delay of eight months because of her youth, Thérèse was able to make her religious profession in September 1890, aged 17. During the retreat before this event she underwent a period of spiritual desolation, but afterward regained her inner peace.
Meanwhile, in 1889, her father suffered a stroke, and had to spend time in a private sanatorium. From this point on, Thérèse further deepened her inner life, expressing it outwardly in small acts and kindnesses, while accepting any criticisms and unpleasantness directed at her. She also focused more and more on the Gospels, as her spirituality became simpler but more profound. But to most of her fellow sisters, there seemed to be nothing outwardly remarkable about her.
In February 1893, Thérèse’s sister, Pauline, became prioress of the Lisieux Carmel, and made Thérèse assistant to the new novice mistress. As it happened most of the work of guiding the new novices fell to Thérèse and she displayed a rare talent for this.
Her father died in July 1894, and this allowed Céline to also enter the Lisieux Carmel. She brought her camera to the house and this is the reason why we have so many fine photographs of St. Thérèse. At the end of that year, as her sisters saw her health declining they asked to her write about her childhood.
In June 1895, Thérèse wrote an Act of Oblation, which she and Céline read out before a statue of our Lady. From this point on her health steadily declined as the tuberculosis from which she suffered took its toll. At the end of Lent in 1896 she coughed up blood, and saw this as a sign that God would soon be calling her to Himself. But it was to be more than a year before she actually died, and that was to be a period of progressively worse sufferings as the disease took hold.
In June 1897, her sister Pauline, now Mother Agnes of Jesus, asked Thérèse to write a further memoir focusing more on her religious life. Her sufferings, meanwhile, increased steadily, and as the end approached, she said, “I would never have believed it was possible to suffer so much, never, never!” She died at the age of only 24 on September 30, 1897, her last words being, “My God, I love you!”
Her autobiography, which included selections from some of her poems and letters, was published after her death, with 2,000 copies being printed. This work stimulated interest in her life and gradually pilgrims began to visit her grave, as the first miracles due to her intercession were reported.
The local bishop initiated her cause for canonization in 1910, and this taken up by Rome, under Pope Pius X. His Successor, Pope Benedict XV, waived the requirement for the usual 50-year delay between death and beatification due to the tremendous devotion to Thérèse that was already being displayed among Catholics.
She was beatified in April 1923, by Pope Pius XI, and canonized by him in St. Peter’s Square, in May 1925, before a huge crowd. He also named her a patroness of the missions, and later on, in 1944, during Pope Pius XII’s pontificate, she was named co-patroness of France with Joan of Arc.
Since then devotion to her has continued to grow around the world, and in October 1997, Pope John Paul II, on the basis of the depth and profundity of the teaching upon which her Little Way is based, declared her a doctor of the Church.
The major shrine dedicated to St. Thérèse is the large basilica built in her honor in Lisieux. Work on it began in 1929, with the enthusiastic support of Pope Pius XI. It was solemnly blessed by Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, in July 1937, and finally consecrated in 1951.
A good number of organizations devoted to spreading the message of St. Thérèse, or under her patronage, exist in the Church, and there are also religious orders dedicated to her. A sign of the continuing extraordinary interest which St. Thérèse generates can be seen in the way that her relics have toured the world in recent years.
Thérèse’s spirituality has a number of striking characteristics, the most obvious being that unlike many of the great saints of the past, she lived a life without great outward asceticism. Similarly, she did not follow any of the traditional methods of meditation, but focused rather on simplicity and closeness to Christ.
In addition, unlike the great saints of old, St. Thérèse was not usually the recipient of any astounding spiritual favors: Rather in her spiritual life, she focused on profound contemplation, on seeking the gift of wisdom, on humility, and on her Little Way of love.

Spiritual Childhood

In this she immersed herself completely in the idea that she was a child of the Heavenly Father, a child totally dependent on Him for everything. She knew that little children do not try to do great things, but rather are content to do small acts for their parents, but acts done with great love. One of her sayings was: “What matters in life is not great deeds, but great love.”
St. Thérèse also focused on the importance of humility, the virtue which makes us recognize our need for God’s grace. She offered up many little acts of love to God, all the incidents, problems, and difficulties of her life, no matter how small, and we know that she took her self-offering to the point of heroic virtue and sanctity.
The necessity of becoming like a little child in our relationship with God was strongly put by Jesus, after the disciples had asked Him who was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. In response, He called a little child to Him and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Thérèse, although she was not a child, possessed a childlike spirit, and her Little Way has also been described as a way of spiritual childhood, one which focuses on the simplicity and abandonment characteristic of a child who trusts his parents.
Regarding suffering, Thérèse made this rather disconcerting statement: “Sanctity lies not in saying beautiful things, or even in thinking them, or feeling them; it lies in truly being willing to suffer.” As we have seen, Thérèse had much to suffer toward the end of her life, but abandoned herself completely to God saying: “I thank you, O my God, for all the graces you have bestowed on me, and particularly for having made me pass through the crucible of suffering.”
Shortly before she died she said: “Ah! to suffer in my soul, yes, I can suffer much.” So while her sufferings were extremely painful, she accepted this pain in a spirit of love.
Ultimately, though, we have to remember that the way of Thérèse is a way of love and devotion, and that this love was the driving force of her life, expressed in a spirit of total abandonment to the will of God.

+    +    +

(Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, and maintains a related website at www.theotokos.org.uk.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Cardinal Burke . . . “The Church depends on sound Catholic family life, and it depends on sound Catholic families.”

An Interview with Cardinal Burke  On Vatican II Q. Your Eminence, you grew up before the Second Vatican Council. How do you remember those times? A. I grew up in a very beautiful time in the Church, in which we…Continue Reading

Did Pope Francis really say all dogs go to heaven? UPDATED

That nice man, Pope Francis, says you get to see your pets again in Heaven. But Pope Benedict is a mean old Grinch who wants to remove the animals from your Nativity scene Christmas decorations. Oh, really? Please don’t believe…Continue Reading

Catholic Church in Australia links celibacy to child abuse

By Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney, and Nick Squires in Rome 8:04PM GMT 12 Dec 2014 Priests’ vows of celibacy may have led to paedophilia, the Roman Catholic Church in Australia has said, in what is believed to be the first such…Continue Reading

Pope Calls For More ‘Integration’ Of Divorced Catholics, Gays

By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said that the Catholic Church must consider various ways to integrate the divorced and civilly remarried in the life of the church — not merely allowing them…Continue Reading

‘I’m not worried’ about resistance, Pope Francis says in new interview

Vatican City, Dec 7, 2014 / 11:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In an interview with the Argentine daily “La Nacion” published Sunday, Pope Francis spoke on a variety of topics, giving specific attention to the ongoing reform of the Roman Curia,…Continue Reading

Catholic Church Severs Ties with Agency over Gay Adoption Ruling

The Catholic Church in Northern Ireland is pulling the plug on a long-standing relationship with the Family Care Society, a Catholic adoption agency, after a judge ruled that all adoption services must be willing to place children with same-sex couples…Continue Reading

Reaction to Chicago archbishop’s remarks on pro-abort pols receiving Communion

n a radical departure from the position of Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Blase Cupich – said to have been handpicked by Pope Francis for Chicago – has presented giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians as a positive move. Asked Sunday…Continue Reading

Pope Francis dodges reporter’s question on treatment of homosexuality in Synod’s controversial mid-term report

Since the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, reporters around the world have been wondering where Pope Francis stands on the controversial language about homosexuality in the mid-term Synod report.  The opportunity to ask the pope…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cupich Says Yes to Communion for Pro-Abortion Politicians

In October of last year veteran Italian journalist Sandro Magister wrote of the new path that many believed the Church was embarking upon. Magister observed: “In Italy, but not only there, it was the cardinal and Jesuit Carlo Maria Martini…Continue Reading

Francis calls for a change mentality in the Church, easier homilies and flexible times

Francis addresses participants of the International Pastoral Congress on the World’s Big Cities: “Go out and facilitate”, don’t be afraid of multicultural contexts or of proclaiming Jesus DOMENICO AGASSO JR ROME Francis was honest from the start: “I don’t want…Continue Reading

Chaput: It Isn’t Possible To Be Pro-life And Simultaneously Forget The Cries Of The Poor

Interview with the Archbishop of Philadelphia who is preparing to receive the Pope for the World Meeting of Families in September 2015: defending the unborn child is a vital part of the social doctrine of the Church. We need to…Continue Reading

Homosexual Activist Organization in New York Receives Catholic Grant

Washington, DC—The Lepanto Institute issued a report exposing the activities of an organization which received a $35,000 grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).  According to the report, the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) launched its…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope Francis: The Church Is Not An Entrepreneur But A Mother

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis said on Friday that there is much sterility within the Church and the people of God, a sterility that comes from power and egoism.  The Church, he stressed, is a mother and not an entrepreneur. His remarks came during his homily at morning Mass celebrated at the Santa Marta residence. The Pope’s reflections on the themes…Continue Reading

General Audience: Jesus Chose To Come To The World As Part Of A family

POPE700

Vatican City, 17 December 2014 (VIS) – The family is the “great gift that the Lord has given to the world ever since the beginning, when he entrusted to Adam and Eve the mission of multiplying and filling the earth; the gift that Jesus confirmed and sealed in His Gospel”, said the Holy Father during this Wednesday’s general audience, in…Continue Reading

Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!

pope693

(Vatican Radio) There was a festive atmosphere at the weekly General Audience on Wednesday, as Pope Francis celebrated his 78th birthday. As he made his way through the crowds, Pope Francis stopped by a group of seminarians from the Legion of Christ, who offered him a birthday cake, complete with lighted candles. The Holy Father also took the opportunity to…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Recalls His 1st Communion, Says to Remember Catechists

Rome, December 15, 2014 (Zenit.org) Staff Reporter On a visit to a Roman parish Sunday evening, the Pope had lively discussions with various groups from the congregation, including children preparing to receive their First Communion. He told them about his own First Communion 70 years ago. On his arrival at the parish of Saint Joseph all’Aurelio, in the western sector…Continue Reading

Archbishop Of Karachi . . . Says “The Taliban Will Stop At Nothing Now”

By JOHN PONTIFEX LONDON (ACN News) — Innocent people in Pakistan — young and old alike — are now at increased risk of terrorist attack, according to the leader of the country’s Catholics, who has called on the government to step up security in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre. Archbishop Joseph Coutts of…Continue Reading

Ten Complacent Maxims

By DONALD DeMARCO Mark Strand, Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. poet laureate, passed away recently (November 29, 2014). He was a staunch atheist, declaring that he had never met God and had never been to Heaven. He said: “Although there are a lot of people claiming that God is telling them what to do,…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Abortifacient Brief: Depo-Provera”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 2 of The Facts of Life, “Abortifacients,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + Depo-Provera is an injectable contraceptive drug that sometimes has an abortifacient effect. It also possesses…Continue Reading

An Advent Reflection . . . The Very Visible Sin Of Gluttony

By REY FLORES Ever since I can remember, I have always had a problem with the fluctuation of my weight. As a child, my nickname was “Gordo,” which means fat in Spanish. I wasn’t bothered when my own family called me that, but it did bother me when the other school kids would make fun…Continue Reading

Gosnell Filmmakers Reopen Crowdfunding Campaign

By LISA BOURNE (LifeSiteNews) — The producers of the forthcoming Kermit Gosnell “House of Horrors” movie are reopening their crowdfunding campaign after Indiegogo changed its rules to allow campaigns without a deadline. Magdalena Segieda, Phelim McAleer, and Ann McElhinney surpassed their previous crowdfunding goal of $2.1 million earlier this year, and the Indiegogo fundraising site…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Questions And Answers About Christmas Q. Do we know the exact year in which Jesus was born? A. No, we do not. In the sixth century, a monk named Dionysius Exiguus drew up a calendar that fixed the birth of Christ in the Roman year 753, but scholars today agree that Dionysius miscalculated by a few years. So it is…Continue Reading

The Law Of The Lord

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Feast Of The Holy Family (YR B) Readings: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 Col. 3:12-21 Luke 2: 22-40 Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. In a particular way this refers to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. However, it also refers to all families that are striving to live according to the ways of holiness and truth.…Continue Reading

Pope’s Message For World Day of Peace . . . “No Longer Slaves, But Brothers”

VATICAN CITY (ZENIT) — Here is the text of Pope Francis’ message for the 48th World Day of Peace, which is celebrated on January 1, 2015. For a text with footnotes, go to www.zenit.org. + + + At the beginning of this New Year, which we welcome as God’s gracious gift to all humanity, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . True Joy Awards Intense Preparation For Christmas

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK With the arrival of these days of late Advent, we have already journeyed through the Solemnity of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception and Gaudete, or joy, Sunday. We have taken the opportunity to deepen our love and devotion for our heavenly Mother in celebrating the singular prevenient grace of God that equipped her unique preparation for…Continue Reading

Debunking The Sola Scriptura Myth… Summing Up

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 According to Sacred Scripture itself, the Bible is not, and was never meant to be, the only source of divine Revelation and sole rule of faith. Jesus neither wrote anything Himself nor commanded anybody to write. On the contrary, He commanded the apostles to preach, viva voce. He commanded the apostles to preach…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Urban V

By CAROLE BRESLIN The year 1309 marked the beginning of the Avignon papacy, under Pope Clement V, who was French. The Popes of Avignon built a papal palace, increasing it in size over the next 70 years. The first crack in the control of the papacy by the French began when Pope Urban V left Avignon to reside in Rome…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Sabbas

By CAROLE BRESLIN Silence. Quiet. The search for peace, serenity, and calm has led many in today’s world to take up Yoga, Eastern mysticism, or life in remote areas to escape the noise of our modern world. This is not a modern quest. The quest for quiet has been with man for millennia. Although St. Anthony the Great (died 356)…Continue Reading

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading