St. Therese of the Child Jesus Virgin and Doctor of the Church October 1
As we celebrate this Memorial of St.Therese of the Child Jesus, popularly known as the Little Flower, Holy Mother Church gives us for the Mass a selection from St. Matthew’s Gospel. Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
The theme of spiritual littleness is of course one of the main themes of St. Therese’s life. Born in Normandy, France at the end of the 19th century, she would live only 24 years, but 24 years that would have a profound impact on the Catholic world; an impact that continues even to this day.
Therese was the youngest of nine children born to Sts. Louis Martin and Zelie-Marie Guerin, but only four girls survived infancy. All four would eventually enter the Carmelite Monastery in Lisieux.
From her very young years she desired to enter the monastery. She even pleaded personally with Pope Leo XIII during a pilgrimage to Rome. She finally succeeded in being admitted at the age of 15, and was given the name Sister Theresa of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She stated during the interrogation at her entrance into Carmel that she had entered Carmel for the salvation of souls, and especially to pray for priests.
In 1896 she had the first attack of tuberculosis, which would lead to her death in 1897. In the meantime the prioress, Mother Agnes of Jesus, a blood sister of Therese, commanded her to write her memoirs, which were eventually published under the title The Story of a Soul. In this work Therese expounds her doc- trine of the “little way” of spiritual childhood; a spiritual doctrine of littleness that spread like wildfire throughout the entire Catholic world, and continues to inspire countless souls today. “You can see that I am a very little soul and that I can offer God only very little things.”