Born: Jan 2, 1873
Death: Sep 30, 1897
Symbol: Roses entwining a crucifix
Feast Date: October 1
Therese was the youngest of nine children. Her mother died when she was five, causing her to be raised by her older sisters and her aunt. When two of her sisters became Carmelite nuns, she decided she must be a nun as well. But when she first attempted to gain admission, she was refused. That is, until a year later when she got some help. But by that time, she had contracted tuberculosis. However, she resolved to live the rest of her life for God. At the encouragement of her superiors, she wrote her autobiography, The Story of A Soul. (I highly recommend this book)
What I find most interesting is what happened in her twilight years years. The disease had taken its toll not only on her body, but also her psyche and she began to doubt God’s existence. But she persevered and realized God wanted her to see the darkness within those who who don’t believe in God. She fought against her despair and prayed for those who did not believe. I also find it fascinating that she believed that serving God did not mean you had to go out and change the world (although she did wish to go to India. When Mother Theresa of Calcutta chose her profession, she had read Therese’s autobiography, and this inspired her to go to India) In the words of her autobiography, you could “do small things with big love.” She believed herself to be a little flower in God’s field, which is why we Catholics call her the “Little Flower of Jesus.” Through her, I have learned that even my small tasks of kindness can be a testament to God.