Sunday 2nd August 2015

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

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

July 10, 2014 Featured Today No Comments
stthere

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY

Part 1

This is the first of two articles on the life, death, and influence of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She was born at Alençon in Normandy, in northern France, on January 2, 1873, to Louis and Zélie Martin, the last of nine children. She lived a very hidden life in the Carmelite convent at Lisieux, entering at the early age of 15 and dying when she was only 24, in 1897.
After her death, devotion to her grew at a prodigious rate and still, to this day, she is one of the most well-loved saints in the Church. She became posthumously famous particularly through her very influential autobiography, The Story of a Soul, and also through her profound spirituality, that of the “Little Way.” This seeks divine union not through rigorous mortifications but by offering up the small sacrifices and sufferings of life to God, in a spirit of self-oblation.
Many graces and miracles were obtained through her intercession, and she was beatified in 1923, and canonized by Pope Pius XI only two years later. Pope Pius X (1903-1914) had called her the greatest saint of modern times, an astonishing accolade for one who had lived such a hidden life.
Her parents were very devout, and her father, Louis Martin, had wanted to become a religious, but this was not possible due to difficulties with Latin, and so he settled on a career as a watchmaker. Zélie too had wanted to become a religious, but finally became a lacemaker. They met early in 1858, and married only three months later. Initially, they had decided to live a life of continence together, but following advice from a priest, they embraced the marital state fully and eventually had nine children, of which five daughters survived.
Apart from Thérèse, three of her elder sisters, Marie, Pauline, and Céline, became Carmelite nuns while the other sister, Léonie, became a Visitandine nun.
Both parents sought to pass on their strong Catholic beliefs to their children, who were brought up firmly, but with great love and affection. Thérèse, the youngest, was the particular favorite of her father, who called her his “little queen.” Her parents attended daily Mass very early in the morning, observed the feasts and fasts of the Church, and prayed that one of their children would become a saint. In fact Louis and Zélie exhibited all the signs of sanctity themselves in the selfless manner in which they lived, and in the way they brought up their large family. They were beatified at the behest of Pope Benedict XVI by José Cardinal Saraiva Martins, the papal legate, in October 2008, in the Basilica at Lisieux.
Thérèse was close to her other sisters but particularly Pauline, the second daughter, especially after the early death of their mother from breast cancer, in 1877, at the age of 45, when Thérèse was only four. Ultimately, when Thérèse entered the Carmel of Lisieux, Pauline was there to welcome her as prioress of the community. After Zélie’s death, the family moved to Lisieux to be near her brother’s family, the Guerins.
Thérèse was strong-willed, even stubborn, as a child, which was a cause of concern to her mother, so she was encouraged to make little sacrifices as a way of conquering her self-will. After her mother’s death, though, she became somewhat shy and withdrawn. The family members were very close, however, and the eldest daughter Marie tried to take the place of her mother as head of the household, even though she was only 13. It became Pauline’s task to give the younger girls religious instruction, until she entered the Lisieux Carmel when Thérèse was nine.
Her sisters’ vocations stimulated a strong desire to emulate them, but Thérèse continued her education at the Benedictine convent of Notre-Dame-du-Pre, where she was not particularly happy due to harassment from fellow pupils and her reserved nature.
The loss of Pauline to Carmel was a big blow to Thérèse, and she became seriously ill, only recovering in May 1883, when a statue of the Blessed Virgin smiled at her. In Thérèse’s own words, “Mary’s face radiated kindness and love.” In May 1885, Thérèse entered a period of scrupulosity for a year and a half, which was so trying that she later described it as a type of martyrdom.
Marie entered Carmel in October 1886, and that Christmas, after Midnight Mass, Thérèse reached a decisive turning point in her life. Thanks to a special grace, she was able to put her childhood fears behind her, and her sadness since the time of her mother’s death, and devote herself completely to loving God. She later described this moment as her “conversion.”
The next summer, in May 1887, when Thérèse was 14, she told her father that she too wanted to enter Carmel. He broke down in tears at this news, but recovered himself and plucked a little white flower and gave it to her. She understood this was symbolic of her life, and how God had preserved her for Himself.
She applied to Lisieux Carmel for entrance but was turned down because of her age. Later that year, however, Louis took Thérèse and her sister Céline on a pilgrimage to Rome. They arrived there on November 20, 1887, and were able to take part in a general audience with Pope Leo XIII. When Thérèse’s turn came to approach the Pope, she knelt before him and asked the favor of being allowed to enter Carmel at the age of 15. He replied that she should do what the superiors decide, and that she would enter if it was God’s will.
Events on the pilgrimage had taught her about the dangers of the world, from which she had hitherto been sheltered, and she returned to Lisieux more determined than ever to become a Carmelite. Finally, in April 1889, she was allowed to enter the Carmel, and became a postulant while only age 15, taking the name Thérèse of the Child Jesus.
She immediately felt a great sense of peace, a peace which in the main stayed with her to the end of her life, despite all the trials and difficulties she would have to endure. She adhered to the Carmelite rule with great exactness, and although her two eldest sisters were already installed in the Carmel, Thérèse deliberately kept her distance from them, denying herself the pleasure and support of their company; she generally only saw them during recreation.
She ended her postulancy in January 1889, and then became a novice taking the brown Carmelite habit. From this point on she tried to intensify her life of prayer, especially for priests, and to practice the virtues in numerous little ways. Thérèse also read the works of St. John of the Cross, the great Carmelite reformer of the 16th century, deriving much benefit from them.
She developed, too, a devotion to the Holy Face of Christ during her novitiate, that face bruised and swollen during His Passion, and at the ceremony of taking the veil, she added the words “and of the Holy Face” to her name in religion, to become Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. Here in this name we have a synthesis of the spiritual focus of her life: to be humble and little, like the Child Jesus, but also to be one with Him in his sufferings.

+    +    +

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

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Promote the common good and give workers a raise, Catholic leaders tell Congress

Washington D.C., Jul 31, 2015 / 05:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic leaders are calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage, for the good of low-wage workers and their families. “An economy thrives only when it is centered on the…Continue Reading

Catholic Colleges Must Regain the Art of Temperate Drinking, Says Author

July 30, 2015, at 2:40 PM  |  By Justin Petrisek  | Catholic colleges need to be mindful of the moral and spiritual state of their students, said Dr. Michael Foley, associate professor of patristics at Baylor University, in an interview…Continue Reading

Last Catholic priest at US base in Antarctica leaves post

A Catholic priest who served at the U.S.-operated McMurdo Station in Antarctica was told he will have to leave his post due to declining attendance and budget cuts. Father Dan Doyle, who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, would spend summers…Continue Reading

Jamestown Excavation Unearths Four Bodies and a Possible Catholic Reliquary

Could a mysterious box unearthed in historic Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in North America, point to a Catholic connection with the foundation of the United States of America? While Spanish and Portuguese exploration, settlement and conquest of…Continue Reading

Catholic officials, others react to Boy Scouts’ decision to allow openly gay leaders

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The top leaders of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting have made an uneasy peace with the Boy Scouts of America’s decision July 27 to allow openly gay troop leaders and employees to serve in their ranks…Continue Reading

The Remnant REALLY? . . . Is This How We Support Fellow Catholics Battling A Cause We Should All Be Behind?

Planned Parenthood Hires PR Firm to Run Damage Control After It’s Exposed Selling Aborted Babies

The Planed Parenthood abortion business is so desperate to put out the public relations fires that have developed in the wake of it being caught numerous times selling the body parts of aborted babies that it has hired a top…Continue Reading

More than Half of Young Catholic Families Are Latino Despite Recent Decline

More than half of young Catholic families (53 percent) identify themselves as Latino or Hispanic compared with 32 percent of all Catholics, according to a recent survey. Could the presence of Hispanic families in the Catholic Church indicate Latino congregational…Continue Reading

New York Catholic churches closing after decades of service

Parishioners in New York are losing their churches as the Catholic Archdiocese carries out an aggressive consolidation plan. The cuts are driven by declining membership, fiscal insolvency of churches, and fewer priests, according to church officials. While there are 2.8…Continue Reading

Kenyan President to Obama: You Will not Impose The ‘Gay Rights’ Agenda In Kenya

We need to speak frankly about these things” says President Kenyatta in response to Obama’s statement that Kenya must share the same values as the United States on sodomite rights issues. Kenyatta, at the press conference this morning in Kenya,…Continue Reading

Nancy Pelosi: Ignore Planned Parenthood Selling Aborted Babies, Investigate Pro-Lifers

nancyp

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has no interest in digging deeper into the revelations that the Planned Parenthood abortion business is selling the body part of aborted babies Instead, she wants the Obama administration to investigate the pro-life activists who…Continue Reading

Carly Fiorina to Planned Parenthood: You Deny Ultrasounds to Show Women Life Within Them, but Use Ultrasounds to Preserve Organs of Their Dead Babies

Newsmax

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 su
bscribe 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

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

Today . . .

Canada’s Bishops Urge Faithful to Respond to Government Consultation on Euthanasia

Canada, July 31, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Staff Reporter Canada’s bishops are calling on the faithful to respond to a government consultation on euthanasia. Earlier this month (July 17), the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Peter MacKay, and Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, announced the establishment of an External Panel of experts who will consult with stakeholders and with all Canadians on options for dealing with the Supreme Court of Canada’s lifting of the prohibition…Continue Reading

US Bishops Respond to Planned Parenthood Videos

Washington, D.C., July 30, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Kathleen Naab The Center for Medical Progress released today its fourth video exposing Planned Parenthood’s use of fetal tissue, with the results of its investigation attracting growing national and international attention. On Wednesday, the chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities released a brief statement about the videos. Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, cited Pope Francis’ teaching on abortion and said that the heart of the…Continue Reading

BREAKING: Court blocks pro-life group from releasing some new fetal part footage

July 29, 15 (LifeSiteNews) – The California Superior Court has issued a narrow temporary restraining order preventing the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a pro-life group, from releasing further undercover video footage taken of three top-level staff of StemExpress. CMP is the organization behind the series of three videos released over the past three weeks exposing the alleged harvesting and sale of body parts from aborted babies by Planned Parenthood – body parts that are…Continue Reading

4th video shows Planned Parenthood director negotiating fetal body parts

July 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Workers in a lab are seen sorting through body parts on a dish: a heart, stomach, kidney, and legs. And then a medical assistant suddenly announces: “It’s another boy!” This is just a little of the macabre and heart-wrenching footage in the newest undercover video showing alleged harvesting and sale of body parts from aborted babies by Planned Parenthood, released Thursday morning. The newest video also shows a Planned Parenthood…Continue Reading

Hillary Lies Again

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO In a column I wrote in early July, based on research by my colleagues and my own analysis of government documents and eyewitness statements, I argued that in 2011 and 2012 then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waged a secret war on the governments of Libya and Syria, with the approval of…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . An Excellent Guide To Answering Anti-Catholic Attacks

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Five Anti-Catholic Myths: Slavery, Crusades, Inquisition, Galileo, Holocaust by Gerard M. Verschuuren (Angelico Press: 2015; 181 pages, $16.95 print edition). Available at http://angelicopress.com/. In this book the author sets out to investigate just how it has come about that anti-Catholic myths about particular topics have managed to become so deeply embedded…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Homosexuality And The Church Crisis”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For electronic copies of previous articles on homosexual “marriage,” the special rights agenda and the role of homosexuality in the Church crisis, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “Facts are stubborn things,…Continue Reading

Defend The Little Sisters Of The Poor — And American Liberty

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate distributes his column. All rights reserved.) + + + No group in the United States today is making a stronger stand for liberty than the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns dedicated to running nursing…Continue Reading

Aggressive Obama, Passive National GOP . . . Is Third-Party Option Starting To Look Better?

By DEXTER DUGGAN House Speaker John Boehner said the recently released sting video of a national Planned Parenthood official at lunch, munching away and chatting about how to “crush” unborn babies to harvest their organs for money, was “disgusting.” Republican Boehner finally seemed to have found his voice in a Washington where he usually blends…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Four Marks Of The Church — Catholicity

By DON FIER Part 4 “The Church is catholic,” proclaims the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), firmly and without hesitation. “She proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times” (n. 868). Moreover,…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In the wake of the latest Planned Parenthood scandal involving selling the body parts of aborted babies (see LifeNews.com to view the videos of interviews with Planned Parenthood officials), this is an opportune time to contact not only your legislators about ending taxpayer funding of this conglomerate that kills more than 330,000 babies a year, but also to…Continue Reading

Our Journey Through The Desert

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Nineteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: 1 Kings 19:4-8 Eph. 4:30-5:2 John 6:41-51 In the second reading today St. Paul instructs us to do nothing that will grieve the Holy Spirit. In his brief list of offenses that would grieve the Holy Spirit, St. Paul includes bitterness, fury, anger, reviling, shouting, and all malice.…Continue Reading

Obergefell V. Hodges . . . “To Sin By Silence . . . Makes Cowards Of Men”

By FR. PETER MITCHELL (Editor’s Note: Fr. Peter Mitchell is the pastor of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Greenville, Wis. He gave this homily on the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, June 28 — two days after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.) + + + “To sin by silence when they…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Like Love, Assent To Faith Is A Matter Of The Will

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Reaction to my column last week titled “Where Is There Room to Disagree With Jesus? In Hell!” included the following note from a Facebook follower. Kim wrote, “Perhaps the question posed to you was not worded correctly. How about this onea. . . . Is there a line where Catholic teachings are not something Catholics…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Martha

By CAROLE BRESLIN A popular pilgrimage among the Catholics of southern France takes visitors to the Grotte de la Sainte-Baume, located in the hills of Provence about 20 miles east of the port of Marseilles. To reach this holy site, the driver must cover miles of winding, ascending roads to the foot of the mountain. Then the pilgrim ascends a…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bridget

By CAROLE BRESLIN One of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s most quoted sayings would fit with this column’s saint, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” What encouraging words for anyone seeking to do God’s will, knowing that the cross, the setbacks, and the obstacles are all part of working for the Kingdom of…Continue Reading