Thérèse of Lisieux
Feast Day: October 1
Canonized: May 17, 1925
Beatified: April 29, 1923
Venerated: August 14, 1921
In 1873, Thérèse was born in the small French town of Alencon and was raised in a large loving family with her four sisters. Like any child, Thérèse enjoyed playing with her cousins and siblings. When Thérèse was four her mother died, and her father moved the family to Lisieux, a town about 50 miles away, so that he and his daughters could live with his brother. Thérese’s older sister, Pauline, became like a second mother to her.
At the age of 15, Thérèse became a Carmelite nun, following in the footsteps of her three older sisters, including Pauline. As a young nun, she saw a vision of the baby Jesus. She believed this was a sign from God. To her, it was a reminder that even though she was a small woman, she was great and strong through her love of God.
Thérèse knew that she would never be able to perform great deeds but she proved her love for God by doing little things that received no recognition. She smiled at people she did not like. She ate whatever was on her plate without complaining. She took the blame when she was not the one at fault. She called this “the little way.” This “little way” has become a model for ordinary people who are seeking to live holy lives.
Thérèse was also a very good writer. She wrote an autobiography that tells the story of her life and her love for God. Today, people still read this book, which is called The Story of a Soul.
She became ill in 1896 but did not tell anyone, suffering in silence. She died in 1897 when she was only 24, and when her older sister put her writings together and sent them to other convents, her “little way” became famous.
Today we honor St. Thérèse of Lisieux as the patron saint of the missions. She never traveled, but she loved praying for the missions. People also call her “the Little Flower,” because she loved flowers and sometimes called herself a “little flower of Jesus.” She was canonized in 1925, and in 1997 Pope John Paul II proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church.
Connecting to Be My Disciples®
Grade 1, chapter 13
Grade 2, chapter 17
Connecting to Blest Are We® Parish and School
The Story of Jesus, unit 5
The Story of Our Church, unit 1