Saint Thérèse de Lisieux
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1873 – 1897) - Feast Day October 1
Thérèse’s sisters taught her all about the religious feasts. Among her favourite feasts, was the feast of Corpus Christi, when the Blessed Sacrament was carried in procession and the children spread flowers along the road in front of it. Thérèse thought that each flower was like a little kiss to Jesus hidden in the host. On the day of her First Holy Communion, Thérèse told Jesus that she would always follow him and be his disciple.
Thérèse very much wanted to enter the convent at a young age, so when she was refused by the Superior of the Carmelite, the shy, young girl went to ask the bishop. He, too, told her she was too young to enter the convent the young age of fifteen. Her father then suggested they make a pilgrimage to the Holy Father. Thérèse was advised not to speak to the Pope, but she couldn’t help herself; so when she went up to kiss his ring, she knelt at his feet and begged him to allow her to enter the Carmelite order. His reply was, “You will enter if it is God’s will.” She and her family began their return journey home and Thérèse continued to pray for acceptance with the Carmelite. About a month after their return home, she received word that the bishop agreed to let her enter Carmel.
Thérèse began her religious life by offering her prayers, works and sacrifices for the priests in the missions. She always asked God’s help to do each duty in the best way possible, out of love for Him. Her famous “little ways” to holiness consisted of daily prayer, humility and love. She was convinced that anyone could become holy if they truly love God and did each small thing well. Whether she swept the floor, helped care for the sick, read a story to a child or prayers, Thérèse did it as if it were the most important thing in the world! Thinking of this “little way to holiness” helped her brighten the day. Thérèse was in charge of the young sisters and she taught them her “little way” of doing each thing well, for the love of God.
Thérèse became ill and during her final days, she was in grave pain. She knew she did not suffer alone, and she felt united to Jesus. And like Jesus, Thérèse offered her pain to God in reparation for sin so that we could repent and return to God’s love. To St. Thérèse, “little things” were what mattered.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux is one of the patron saints of the missions, not because she ever went anywhere, but because of her special love of the missions, and the prayers and letters she gave in support of missionaries. This is a reminder to all of us who feel we can do nothing, that it is the little things that keep God's kingdom growing.
Let us never be annoyed by the little problems and sufferings, but let us offer them to God as acts of love. As St. Thérèse, let us especially remember to pray for the priests working in the missions.