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Catholic Caucus - St. Therese of Lisieux
St. Therese of Lisieux

Posted on 04/12/2002 4:46:50 PM PDT by history_matters

I know some Catholic FReepers are Third Order Carmelites and others have an interest in the Little Flower, so I thought we might discuss her Little Way -- or perhaps simply post quotes from her that have been meaningful in our lives as Christians.

Living Bread

Ah! Lord let me hide in your face.
There I'll no longer hear the world's vain noise.
Give me your love, keep me in your grace
Just for today.

Near your divine Heart, I forget all passing things.
I no longer dread the fears of the night.
Ah! Jesus, give me a place in your Heart
Just for today.

Living Bread, Bread of Heaven, divine Eucharist,
O sacred Mystery! that Love has brought forth...
Come live in my heart, Jesus, my white Host,
Just for today.

Deign to unite me to you, Holy and sacred Vine,
And my weak branch will give you its fruit,
And I'll be able to offer you a cluster of golden grapes
Lord, from today on.

I've just this fleeting day to form
This cluster of love, whose seeds are souls.
Ah! give me, Jesus, the fire of an Apostle
Just for today.

Saint Therese of Lisieux
Doctor of the Church.

TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiccaucus; catholiclist; lisieux; littleflower; saint; sttherese
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1 posted on 04/12/2002 4:46:51 PM PDT by history_matters
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To: ltlflwr; fatima; Salvation; B Knotts; notaliberal; Squire; Romulus; Lemonhead; patent...

2 posted on 04/12/2002 4:53:18 PM PDT by history_matters
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To: Cap'n_Crunch; CWW; Antoninus; father_elijah; american_colleen; constitutiongirl; goldenstategirl...
3 posted on 04/12/2002 4:58:17 PM PDT by history_matters
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To: history_matters
"And I see that all is vanity and vexation of spirit under the sun, that the only good is to love God with all one's heart and to be poor in spirit here on earth." -St.Therese of Lisieux
4 posted on 04/12/2002 5:09:02 PM PDT by Domestic Church
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To: history_matters
She's my patroness!

I chose her because I'd spent a lot of time with some Mexican Carmelites as a youngster down at St. Thomas Seminary. We'd help them in the kitchen, the laundry, they taught us Spanish dances and how to sew scapulars. On occasion, after begging our grandmother, we'd get to spend the night.

Wasn't until I was an adult, however, I read enough to know that she did indeed put bones in the face of Christ.

5 posted on 04/12/2002 5:15:07 PM PDT by Askel5
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To: history_matters
I'm not much for mysticism, but the Little way fits my life. One step at a time, and one little thing after another...all in God's hands.
6 posted on 04/12/2002 5:34:55 PM PDT by LadyDoc
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To: Askel5; history_matters
"Wasn't until I was an adult, however, I read enough to know that she did indeed put bones in the face of Christ."

Can you explain what you mean by this?

Thanks! And thanks to you h_m for posting this and pinging me on it.

7 posted on 04/12/2002 5:46:55 PM PDT by american colleen
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To: american colleen; LadyDoc; Askel5; Domestic Church
EWTN has a really nice mini-site that they put on the web in 1997 -- it is still there>>
St. Therese of Lisieux.
8 posted on 04/12/2002 5:56:11 PM PDT by history_matters
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To: history_matters
Nice post. I need a respite from the frenzy.
9 posted on 04/12/2002 6:07:59 PM PDT by Aquinasfan
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To: All

10 posted on 04/12/2002 6:09:01 PM PDT by history_matters
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity; Judith Anne; tiki; nina0113; steve0113; ventana; roachie...
11 posted on 04/12/2002 6:16:01 PM PDT by history_matters
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12 posted on 04/12/2002 6:26:33 PM PDT by history_matters
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To: history_matters
Thanks for the ping...

"Let nothing disturb thee,

Nothing affright thee;

All things are passing;

God never changeth;

Patient endurance

Attaineth to all things;

Who God possesseth

In nothing is wanting;

Alone God sufficeth."

This is from my breviary....It says St. Teresa, so I wonder if it's the same saint...I love these lines...

13 posted on 04/12/2002 6:43:58 PM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: american colleen; Askel5; history_matters
"what does that mean?"

Ditto, Askel5. Say that again, please.

Beautiful post h_m. Thank you.

14 posted on 04/12/2002 6:55:19 PM PDT by ventana
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To: Judith Anne
Your post is from St. Teresa of Avila. My wife embroidered a hanging with that on it that is directly above my computer. It is a teaching from St. Teresa of Avila that has helped hold me together during some impossible times lately. God bless you for posting it here.
15 posted on 04/12/2002 7:13:43 PM PDT by history_matters
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To: american colleen; ventana; history matters
Well, particularly as a child, I thought only of her exuberant desire to love God. I'd forgotten she ended up suffering terribly and enduring a trial of faith only a saint could endure.

I'll see if I can't dig up the passage of which I'm thinking but it's possible my book's still out on loan to a 3rd order friend of mine. In the meantime ... a particularly timely quote from her when, on her pilgrimage to Rome she understood that her vocation would be to pray for priests:

I understood my vocation in Italy and that’s not going too far in search of such useful knowledge. I lived in the company of many saintly priests for a month and I learned that, though their dignity raises them above the angels, they are nevertheless weak and fragile men.

If holy priests, whom Jesus in his Gospel calls the “salt of the earth” show in their conduct their extreme need for prayers, what is to be said of those who are tepid? Didn’t Jesus say too: “If the salt loses its savour, wherewith will it be salted?” (Matt 5:13).

How beautiful is the vocation …
which has as its aim the preservation of the salt destined for souls!

This is Carmel’s vocation since the sole purpose of our prayers and sacrifices is to be the apostle of the apostles. We are to pray for them while they are preaching to souls through their words and especially their example.

16 posted on 04/12/2002 7:28:51 PM PDT by Askel5
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To: history_matters
Just for today.

It's pleasant to remember that the literal meaning of "simplicity" is that of being open and unfolded. Therèse's message, addressed to our own times is just the same as Francis in the 12th century: that once the human heart opens itself to grace, nothing is easier or more natural than great sanctity, accessible to all not through fortitude or intellect , but simply charitable, hopeful faith and the integrity that comes from taking Christ at his word and following through on it with humility and radical thoroughness. It's a wonderful feature of the Church that the exponents of such radical anti-intellectualism should be recognised as "Doctors".

17 posted on 04/12/2002 7:38:26 PM PDT by Romulus
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To: history_matters
Somehow the title and the photo would not post here.
Feastday: October 1Patroness of the Missions

Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the "Little Flower", and found in her short life more inspiration for own lives than in volumes by theologians.

Yet Therese died when she was 24, after having lived as cloistered Carmelite for less than ten years. She never went on missions, never founded a religious order, never performed great works. The only book of hers, published after her death, was an brief edited version of her journal called "Story of a Soul." (Collections of her letters and restored versions of her journals have been published recently.) But within 28 years of her death, the public demand was so great that she was canonized.

Over the years, some modern Catholics have turned away from her because they associate her with over- sentimentalized piety and yet the message she has for us is still as compelling and simple as it was almost a century ago.

Therese was born in France in 1873, the pampered daughter of a mother who had wanted to be a saint and a father who had wanted to be monk. The two had gotten married but determined they would be celibate until a priest told them that was not how God wanted a marriage to work! They must have followed his advice very well because they had nine children. The five children who lived were all daughters who were close all their lives.

Tragedy and loss came quickly to Therese when her mother died of breast cancer when she was four and a half years old. Her sixteen year old sister Pauline became her second mother -- which made the second loss even worse when Pauline entered the Carmelite convent five years later. A few months later, Therese became so ill with a fever that people thought she was dying.

The worst part of it for Therese was all the people sitting around her bed staring at her like, she said, "a string of onions." When Therese saw her sisters praying to statue of Mary in her room, Therese also prayed. She saw Mary smile at her and suddenly she was cured. She tried to keep the grace of the cure secret but people found out and badgered her with questions about what Mary was wearing, what she looked like. When she refused to give in to their curiosity, they passed the story that she had made the whole thing up.

Without realizing it, by the time she was eleven years old she had developed the habit of mental prayer. She would find a place between her bed and the wall and in that solitude think about God, life, eternity.

When her other sisters, Marie and Leonie, left to join religious orders (the Carmelites and Poor Clares, respectively), Therese was left alone with her last sister Celine and her father. Therese tells us that she wanted to be good but that she had an odd way of going about. This spoiled little Queen of her father's wouldn't do housework. She thought if she made the beds she was doing a great favor!

Every time Therese even imagined that someone was criticizing her or didn't appreciate her, she burst into tears. Then she would cry because she had cried! Any inner wall she built to contain her wild emotions crumpled immediately before the tiniest comment.

Therese wanted to enter the Carmelite convent to join Pauline and Marie but how could she convince others that she could handle the rigors of Carmelite life, if she couldn't handle her own emotional outbursts? She had prayed that Jesus would help her but there was no sign of an answer.

On Christmas day in 1886, the fourteen-year-old hurried home from church. In France, young children left their shoes by the hearth at Christmas, and then parents would fill them with gifts. By fourteen, most children outgrew this custom. But her sister Celine didn't want Therese to grow up. So they continued to leave presents in "baby" Therese's shoes.

As she and Celine climbed the stairs to take off their hats, their father's voice rose up from the parlor below. Standing over the shoes, he sighed, "Thank goodness that's the last time we shall have this kind of thing!"

Therese froze, and her sister looked at her helplessly. Celine knew that in a few minutes Therese would be in tears over what her father had said.

But the tantrum never came. Something incredible had happened to Therese. Jesus had come into her heart and done what she could not do herself. He had made her more sensitive to her father's feelings than her own.

She swallowed her tears, walked slowly down the stairs, and exclaimed over the gifts in the shoes, as if she had never heard a word her father said. The following year she entered the convent. In her autobiography she referred to this Christmas as her "conversion."

Therese be known as the Little Flower but she had a will of steel. When the superior of the Carmelite convent refused to take Therese because she was so young, the formerly shy little girl went to the bishop. When the bishop also said no, she decided to go over his head, as well.

Her father and sister took her on a pilgrimage to Rome to try to get her mind off this crazy idea. Therese loved it. It was the one time when being little worked to her advantage! Because she was young and small she could run everywhere, touch relics and tombs without being yelled at. Finally they went for an audience with the Pope. They had been forbidden to speak to him but that didn't stop Therese. As soon as she got near him, she begged that he let her enter the Carmelite convent. She had to be carried out by two of the guards!

But the Vicar General who had seen her courage was impressed and soon Therese was admitted to the Carmelite convent that her sisters Pauline and Marie had already joined. Her romantic ideas of convent life and suffering soon met up with reality in a way she had never expected. Her father suffered a series of strokes that left him affected not only physically but mentally. When he began hallucinating and grabbed for a gun as if going into battle, he was taken to an asylum for the insane. Horrified, Therese learned of the humiliation of the father she adored and admired and of the gossip and pity of their so-called friends. As a cloistered nun she couldn't even visit her father.

This began a horrible time of suffering when she experienced such dryness in prayer that she stated "Jesus isn't doing much to keep the conversation going." She was so grief-stricken that she often fell asleep in prayer. She consoled herself by saying that mothers loved children when they lie asleep in their arms so that God must love her when she slept during prayer.

She knew as a Carmelite nun she would never be able to perform great deeds. " 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." She took every chance to sacrifice, no matter how small it would seem. She smiled at the sisters she didn't like. She ate everything she was given without complaining -- so that she was often given the worst leftovers. One time she was accused of breaking a vase when she was not at fault. Instead of arguing she sank to her knees and begged forgiveness. These little sacrifices cost her more than bigger ones, for these went unrecognized by others. No one told her how wonderful she was for these little secret humiliations and good deeds.

When Pauline was elected prioress, she asked Therese for the ultimate sacrifice. Because of politics in the convent, many of the sisters feared that the family Martin would taken over the convent. Therefore Pauline asked Therese to remain a novice, in order to allay the fears of the others that the three sisters would push everyone else around. This meant she would never be a fully professed nun, that she would always have to ask permission for everything she did. This sacrifice was made a little sweeter when Celine entered the convent after her father's death. Four of the sisters were now together again.

Therese continued to worry about how she could achieve holiness in the life she led. She didn't want to just be good, she wanted to be a saint. She thought there must be a way for people living hidden, little lives like hers. " I have always wanted to become a saint. Unfortunately when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passers-by. Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.

" We live in an age of inventions. We need no longer climb laboriously up flights of stairs; in well-to-do houses there are lifts. And I was determined to find a lift to carry me to Jesus, for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: "Whosoever is a little one, come to me." It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less."

She worried about her vocation: " I feel in me the vocation of the Priest. I have the vocation of the Apostle. Martyrdom was the dream of my youth and this dream has grown with me. Considering the mystical body of the Church, I desired to see myself in them all. Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and a word, that it was eternal! Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!"

When an antagonist was elected prioress, new political suspicions and plottings sprang up. The concern over the Martin sisters perhaps was not exaggerated. In this small convent they now made up one-fifth of the population. Despite this and the fact that Therese was a permanent novice they put her in charge of the other novices.

Then in 1896, she coughed up blood. She kept working without telling anyone until she became so sick a year later everyone knew it. Worst of all she had lost her joy and confidence and felt she would die young without leaving anything behind. Pauline had already had her writing down her memories for journal and now she wanted her to continue -- so they would have something to circulate on her life after her death.

Her pain was so great that she said that if she had not had faith she would have taken her own life without hesitation. But she tried to remain smiling and cheerful -- and succeeded so well that some thought she was only pretending to be ill. Her one dream as the work she would do after her death, helping those on earth. "I will return," she said. "My heaven will be spent on earth." She died on September 30, 1897 at the age of 24 years old. She herself felt it was a blessing God allowed her to die at exactly that age. she had always felt that she had a vocation to be a priest and felt God let her die at the age she would have been ordained if she had been a man so that she wouldn't have to suffer.

After she died, everything at the convent went back to normal. One nun commented that there was nothing to say about Therese. But Pauline put together Therese's writings (and heavily edited them, unfortunately) and sent 2000 copies to other convents. But Therese's "little way" of trusting in Jesus to make her holy and relying on small daily sacrifices instead of great deeds appealed to the thousands of Catholics and others who were trying to find holiness in ordinary lives. Within two years, the Martin family had to move because her notoriety was so great and by 1925 she had been canonized.

Therese 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 reminder to all of us who feel we can do nothing, that it is the little things that keep God's kingdom growing.

18 posted on 04/12/2002 7:45:42 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: history_matters
Here is the link for St. Therese of Lisieux.
19 posted on 04/12/2002 7:48:25 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: history_matters; Salvation; all
This saint is new to me. Thank you for the post, the links, and all of the powerful and beautiful posts on this thread. I am learning so much from all of you, and I am grateful.
20 posted on 04/12/2002 8:17:20 PM PDT by OxfordMovement
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