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“ To be a saint is to be yourself.” Thomas Merton.

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Presentation on theme: "“ To be a saint is to be yourself.” Thomas Merton."— Presentation transcript:

1 “ To be a saint is to be yourself.” Thomas Merton

2 Therese of Lisieux (2/2/1873-9/30/1897) Marie Francoise Therese Martin Sr. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face The Little Flower

3 Introduction: Canonized a saint in 1925 Co-patron of the missions with St. Francis Xavier Co-patron of France with St. Joan of Arc Thirty third Doctor of the Church Youngest Third Woman

4 Who is Therese? Family Background: Born in Alencon, France on February 2, 1873 Father Louis Martin (watchmaker, jeweler) Mother Zelie (successful lacemaker)

5 9 children: 5 daughters survived to adulthood In the 6 years before Therese’s birth, Leonie (sister) suffered convulsions; 2 brothers died at 5 and 8 months respectively; Helene (sister) died at 5 years of age (no vaccinations); Melanie (sister) died at 2 months Zelie determined to have one more child (Therese)

6 Birth and Survival: Therese with intestinal virus Stayed with Rose Taille (“wet nurse”) for 15 months Read before the age of 3 “Delightful character”, intelligent, stubborn Home schooled by Zelie and Pauline (older sister) Zelie’s diagnosis of breast cancer; gave up lace business Pilgrimage to Lourdes for a miracle Zelie’s death in August 1877: Marie (17), Pauline (16), Leonie (14), Celine (8), Therese (4) Family moved to Lisieux near Uncle Isidore Guerin (2 daughters); pharmacist


8 Early Years: Sent to Benedictine sisters private school at 8 years of age Resented by older classmates; quiet; attached herself to her cousin (Marie Guerin) Disposition changed after her mother’s death: “I had been so lively and open, now I was oversensitive. It was only in the intimacy of my own family that I could be myself.” (Therese’s Double Life) Martin/Guerin families as devout Catholics Hatred in France for Catholic Church People with enclosed life: no mingling with neighbors #1 concern: loving sense of God Good to their servants Devotion to Blessed Mother

9 “ Second Mother” (Pauline) entered Carmel when Therese was 9 years old Shock reawakened trauma of Zelie’s death Nervous tremors; couldn’t speak; frequently sick Wanted to join Carmel (too young) Recovery: BVM statue “smiled” 13 years of age: withdrawn from Benedictine school Private tutor “Scruples” Inseparable from Celine (sister) Marie entered Carmel

10 14 years of age: Christmas Eve 1886 “Turning Point”: overheard chance comment from her father (pampered) “I overcame pressures that I had faced since the death of my mother. God worked a little miracle in me to make me grow up in an instant.” May 1887: Asked her father for permission to enter Carmel Louis recovering from a stroke (used flower analogy) Superior at Carmel against her entrance because of her young age Went to see the Bishop (attempted to look older)

11 Story of Henri Pranzini (convicted of the murder of 2 women and a child); showed no remorse Therese prayed 2 months for the conversion of his soul Neck on guillotine: grabbed a crucifix and kissed it 3 times According to Therese, her prayer had “saved his soul” November 1887: Louis, Celine, Therese on diocesan pilgrimage to Rome (jubilee of Leo XIII); spoke to Pope and removed from room Bishop gave permission (April 1888 – entered Carmel) 1889: Celine entered Carmel after Louis’ death (3 years in a sanitarium)- brought her camera; Cousin Marie Guerin entered Carmel Leonie entered Visitation sisters (4 th attempt at religious life)


13 Therese in Carmel: Typical day: 4:30am to 9:30pm; brief “siesta”; 6 hours in prayer; meatless meals; 1 hour of recreation (sewing, simple chores); 5 hours of manual labor (kitchen, laundry, sacristy) Aridity in prayer; dozed Felt alone Prayed the psalms, Passion of Jesus, Hiddeness of Jesus Prayed for priests

14 Novice at 16 years of age: Name “Holy Face of Jesus” (associated with Veronica’s veil) Probationary period of 8 months before vows Pauline elected prioress 3 years later Appointed Therese to be Assistant Novice Directress, helping Mother Gonzague (former prioress) – resented Therese’s appointment

15 Novices older than Therese: gentle but firm, honest, simple Became Novice Directress when Mother Gonzague was re-elected prioress 3 years later

16 Spirituality of Therese: Not necessary to accomplish heroic deeds to attain holiness “Little Way Of Therese” God as humble, compassionate, forgiving Called to please Jesus in the present moment Love can be repaid only by love Love proves itself by deeds My vocation is love “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.”

17 Pauline asked Therese to write down her spiritual reflections (memoirs of their childhood); first manuscript as The Story of a Soul; sent to all Carmelite convents after Therese’s death Second manuscript included more reflections, letters, and poems (life in Carmel) Holy Thursday 1896: coughed up blood 1897: serious symptoms of tuberculosis (TB); no painkillers; fever; feelings of abandonment; suicidal; nightmares Died on September 30, 189 after an agonizing illness Buried in Lisieux at Carmel

18 Canonized in1925 50 year wait for process suspended Political implications “France exhausted from WWI” Relics tour the world Patron Saint: aviators, AIDS, florists


20 Roses are all the acts of love, hidden sacrifices “After my death, I will rain down a shower of roses.”

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