Monday, October 1, 2012


Name:  Marie Francoise Therese Martin
Birthdate:  January 2, 1873
Birthplace:  Alencon, France
Parents:  Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin
Siblings:  Marie, Pauline, Leonie and Celine

  • The Martin couple had nine children but four of them died (three infants and a five year old) of Enteritis.  All of the five surviving daughters became nuns including Therese.
  • Therese was baptized on January 4, 1873.
  • On August 28, 1877, Therese's mother Zelie died of breast cancer at the age of forty-five.  Therese was only four years old.  Three months later, her Father moved the family to Lisieux.
  • Towards the end of 1879, Therese had her first confession.
  • Therese became sick and on May 13, 1883, she reported that she saw the Blessed Virgin Mary smiled at her.  She was then healed of her sickness.
  • On May 8, 1884, Therese received her first Holy Communion.
  • On December 25, 1886, Therese experienced a conversion that changed her life.
  • On November 20, 1887, during a general audience with Pope Leo XIII, Therese asked the pope to allow her to enter Carmel at the age of fifteen.  The pope told her, "You will enter if it is God's will."
  • On April 9, 1888, Therese entered the Carmelite monastery  of Lisieux .
  • January 10, 1889 - Therese received her habit.
  • September 8, 1890 - Therese made her religious profession.
  • On July 29, 1894 Therese's father died after two years of suffering from stroke.
  • June 9, 1895, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Therese offered herself as a sacrificial victim to the merciful love of God.
  • And, in 1896, Therese suffered Tuberculosis and died on August 19, 1897 at the age of twenty-four.  Her last words were, "My God, I love you."
  • Pope Pius XI, beatified Therese on April 29, 1923 and canonized her on May 17, 1925. 
  • Declared co-patron of the missions with St. Francis Xavier on December 14, 1927.
  • A minor basilica was built in her honor in Lisieux, France.  It was blessed on July 11, 1937 by papal legate, Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, and consecrated on July 11, 1951 by most Reverend the Archbishop Joseph-Marie Martin.  The construction of the basilica started in 1929 but it was stopped for some time due to the Second World War, the construction was completed in 1954.
  • Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Divini Amores Scientia, declared St. Therese of the Child Jesus as Doctor of the Church, on October 19, 1997.  She's the 33rd Doctor of the Church and the 3rd woman to be so honored after Saints Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Sienna.
  • Therese's parents Zelie and Louis were beatified on October 19, 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Therese's LITTLE WAY means that to become a saint, it was not necessary to accomplish heroic acts or great deeds in order to attain holiness.  She wrote, "Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love?  Great deeds are forbidden me.  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."  Her little way is her spirituality's foundation.

Therese became known because of her spiritual memoir (The Story of a Soul) which she wrote in obedience to the order of the two prioresses in the monastery.  It was first published on September 30, 1898.  She is the patron saint of aviators, florists and missionaries. She is also known as St. Therese of Lisieux.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, pray for us!

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