The life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. St. Thérèse of Lisieux was born to St. Louis and Marie-Azélie “Zelie” Martin on January 2, 1873 in Alençon, France. She was one of nine, but only she and 4 of her sisters lived. She was very pampered when she was little.
St. Thérèse was devastated when her mother died of breast cancer at the age of 4. After that, she became very sensitive, and it hurt her even more when her older sister Pauline became a Carmelite nun only a few years later. St. Thérèse became ill a couple months later. Many people surrounded her bed, and they all thought she wouldn't make it, she was dying. St. Thérèse prayed every day with her family. One day, while St. Thérèse was praying she looked over at a statue of Mary in her room, Mary smiled at her. St. Thérèse was miraculously healed.
St. Thérèse was very sensitive when she was growing up. However, at the age of 14, Thérèse had a conversion. On Christmas, many French families, including their own, had a tradition of parents putting gifts for their children into shoes by the fireplace. Many children were done with this at 14, but they didn't want Thérèse to grow up, so they continued the tradition; however, on the way home from church, Thérèse overheard her father happily commenting how this would be the last year of this ritual. Normally, Thérèse would break into tears over something like this, but she allowed Jesus to come into her heart so she could be more open to her father's feelings over her own.
The following year, at the age of 15, St. Thérèse wanted to enter the Carmelite convent with her older sisters, Pauline and Marie. The head of the convent said that she was too young, but Thérèse was certain that this is what she wanted to do. Her sister and her father thought that she was a bit too impatient and crazy for wanting to make that decision and commitment so young. In order to get her off of this crazy idea, they took her to Rome. St. Thérèse loved it! She was small, so she could explore and touch tombs and relics without getting into trouble. To end the trip, they saw the Pope. They were told not to try to speak to him, but St. Thérèse did! She told him how she wanted to join the convent and how she should be allowed to even though she was super young. She was pulled away by two guards! Some of the church leaders who had seen her courage were impressed, so they allowed her to join her sisters in the convent.
St. Thérèse was always worried that she would never be enough. As a nun, she couldn't do much. She wanted to be a saint, but she didn't know what she could do. Her sister became a head nun and tensions were high in the convent, so her sister asked her to take on a sacrifice. St. Thérèse would have to stay a novice, this means that she would never become a full fledged nun. Her sister thought that this would help keep the tensions low. St. Thérèse was devastated, but she did as her sister told her; however, St. Thérèse was overjoyed when her little sister Celine also entered the convent once their father died.
St. Thérèse lived out her life in little ways. She wanted to live up to be a saint, but she didn't know how since they were great and she was so small. She wasn't sure exactly how to be as great as them, so she lived through little acts. Many of the others in the convent didn't even recognize her for them, but that didn't bother her. She was very worried that she wasn't living out the vocation that God had given her. But it became clear to her, she even once said, "O Jesus, my Love...my vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!"
St. Thérèse lived out her life through little acts, offering her entire life to God, through the biggest things she could do, to the absolute smallest until she died of tuberculosis on September 30, 1897 in Lisieux, France.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux is the patron saint of vocations, missions, missionaries, florists, flowers, the sick, loss of parents, against illness, and World Youth Day 2013.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux's symbols are roses and a crucifix covered in roses.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux's feast day is on October 1.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux is one of the only female doctors of the church.