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St. Thérèse of Lisieux

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as the “Little Flower,” was a Carmelite nun in France. Born in 1873, she entered the convent at a young age and died of tuberculosis at 24. She’s best known for her simple yet impactful approach to spirituality, called “The Little Way.”

Her mother died when Thérèse was only 4 years old. A few years later, her older sister, who had been like a second mother to her, entered a cloistered Carmelite monastery. This was a great loss to Thérèse, but she later followed in her sister’s footsteps and became a Carmelite nun at the age of 15. She was sickly throughout her life and died of tuberculosis in 1897 at age 24.

“The Little Way” focuses on doing small acts with great love. It’s not about grand gestures or significant sacrifices but about finding sanctity in everyday life. Whether it’s doing the dishes, speaking kindly to someone, or just being patient, Thérèse believed these small acts lead us closer to God.

She saw the things she suffered as redemptive suffering, from her poor health to the hardness of cloistered life to dryness in prayer. For her, the path to holiness was “doing of the least actions for love”.

She thought of herself as the “little flower of Jesus” in God’s garden of many flowers.

The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Thérèse’s writings, mainly her autobiography “Story of a Soul,” gained posthumous fame. After her death, her writings spread like wildfire, influencing countless people to adopt her simple approach to spirituality. She was canonized in 1925 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997, a rare honor.

Practically speaking, adopting “The Little Way” is straightforward. It’s about being mindful in daily activities and dedicating them as acts of love toward God and others. It’s a relatable, accessible way to deepen your faith without feeling overwhelmed.

In summary, St. Thérèse of Lisieux presents a practical and simple approach to spirituality. Her teachings provide a way for ordinary people to connect with God through everyday actions. By focusing on small acts done with great love, we can all walk a path toward greater spiritual growth.

Patron Saint of …

St. Thérèse of Lisieux is the patron saint of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS sufferers, florists, gardeners, aviators, and loss of parents.

Daily Mass Readings for the Memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

In addition to the suggested readings below, the readings may also be taken from the weekday readings, the Common of Holy Men and Women, or the Common of Virgins.

  • First ReadingIsaiah 66:10-14c: Rejoice, for Jerusalem will be a source of comfort and prosperity. The Lord promises to shower her with blessings, bringing joy and well-being to those who love her.
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 131: My heart is not proud, and I find peace in simplicity and stillness, much like a child at rest. O Israel, place your everlasting hope in the Lord.
  • Gospel Matthew 18:1-4: To enter the Kingdom of Heaven, one must become humble like a child. Whoever does so is considered the greatest in the Kingdom.

Homilies and Reflections

Word On Fire: St. Thérèse and the Lesson of Love

Fr. Steve Grunow reflects on the life and influence of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a Carmelite nun who achieved significant renown posthumously. Despite living a life of obscurity and dying young, her journal, emphasizing “simplicity without pretense,” gained widespread attention. Her teachings on “the little way” of achieving sanctity through simple acts of love have found resonance with various figures, from religious leaders like Bishop Barron and Pope Francis to intellectuals and artists. She was declared a Doctor of the Church, affirming her spiritual insights as authoritative for Christians.

Center for Action and Contemplation: Discovering the Little Way

Richard Rohr, in discussing his own spiritual journey, highlights his admiration for St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her “little way,” which he describes as a “spirituality of imperfection.” Thérèse’s teachings emphasize that holiness is not about being perfect but about embracing one’s flaws and imperfections. She countered the prevailing notion in the 19th-century Catholic Church of an angry, punitive God and the need for personal perfection. Rohr stresses that true spiritual growth often comes more from our mistakes and how we handle them than from our triumphs.

Quotes and Social Media Graphics

A shelter for Jesus by accepting ourselves

If you are willing to bear serenely the trial of being displeasing to yourself, you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter.

We must first be able to accept the darkness and shadows in our lives. Jesus accepts us as we are. Once we understand that, then we can welcome Jesus into our hearts.

The worlds thy ship and not thy home

The world’s thy ship and not thy home.

Don’t be too attached to the things of this world. This is not our final destination.

You cannot be half a saint

You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all .

Discipleship requires commitment.

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus is one of the saints who speaks to us the most about God’s grace and how God takes care of us, takes us by the hand and lets us easily climb the mountain of life – if only we abandon ourselves completely to Him.

Pope Francis on St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Frequently Asked Questions

What date Is the Feast of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux?

It is observed annually on October 1. This day is dedicated to honoring her life and teachings and is celebrated by Catholics worldwide.

What are the Mass readings for the Memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church?

First Reading – Isaiah 66:10-14c: Jerusalem’s Rejoicing
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 131: Humble Soul
Gospel – Matthew 18:1-4: Humility Required
See the readings section of this page for a longer summary of these readings for the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows and links to the readings.

Who was St. Thérèse of Lisieux?

St. Thérèse of Lisieux was a French Carmelite nun born in 1873. She’s also known as the “Little Flower.” She died young, at 24, from tuberculosis. She’s renowned for her simple spiritual approach called “The Little Way.”

What is ‘The Little Way’ of St. Thérèse of Lisieux?

“The Little Way” is a spiritual path that focuses on performing small acts with great love. It’s not about monumental deeds but rather about finding holiness in everyday tasks and interactions.

Why is St. Thérèse of Lisieux called the ‘Little Flower’?

The title “Little Flower” signifies her belief in being small but perfectly formed. Like a little flower, she believed in doing small acts of kindness and love, making a big impact in the grand scheme of things.

What did St. Thérèse of Lisieux write?

Her main work is her autobiography, “Story of a Soul.” Written at the request of her religious superiors, the book outlines her philosophy and life experiences. It gained popularity after her death.

Why is St. Thérèse of Lisieux important in Catholicism?

St. Thérèse was canonized in 1925 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997. Her approach to spirituality has had a significant influence, making her one of the most popular saints of modern times.

How can I practice ‘The Little Way’ of St. Thérèse of Lisieux?

To practice “The Little Way,” focus on doing everyday tasks with love and devotion, whether that’s work, interactions with others, or chores. It’s about dedicating these small acts as gestures of love towards God and humanity.

Was St. Thérèse ever a missionary?

No, she never served as a missionary abroad, but she had a strong desire to be one. Despite being confined to her convent, she was named the co-patron of missions alongside St. Francis Xavier due to her prayers and writings that inspired missionary work.

Who is St. Thérèse of Lisieux the patron saint of?

St. Thérèse of Lisieux is the patron saint of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS sufferers, florists, gardeners, aviators, and loss of parents. Her patronage extends to a wide range of professions and conditions, emphasizing her broad appeal.

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