Today is St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s feast day. She’s beloved by many people around the world, including me. I often seek her intercession and strive to imitate her virtues.
I can relate to her in many ways: I’m a 20-something (she died of tuberculosis when she was just 24) and a writer (she wrote her autobiography, Story of a Soul). In fact, I attribute my work in journalism to her intercession.
But more than what I do for a living, I want to live Thérèse’s “little way.” She trusted God completely with a beautiful simplicity. She knew that little souls are great in the eyes of God.
Although Thérèse is not mentioned by name in Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love), the Holy Father refers to the loving examples of all saints. As he observes in the conclusion, “The lives of the saints are not limited to their earthly biographies, but also include their being and working in God after death. In the saints, one thing becomes clear: Those who draw near to God do not withdraw from men, but rather become truly close to them.”
St. Thérèse is the epitome of that description, sharing this kind of love during her short life. She befriended a fellow nun who was often unkind to her because she recognized Christ in that woman. She always did even the littlest things with great love, an example we should all strive to follow.
She was a beautiful example to her family and Carmelite sisters while she was alive. Since her death in 1897, she has showered literal and spiritual roses upon many souls, including me and my family and friends (for amazing stories of her intercession I recommend Elizabeth Ficocelli’s Shower of Heavenly Roses), thus fulfilling her dying promise: “I feel that my mission is about to begin, my mission of making others love God as I love him, my mission of teaching my little way to souls. If God answers my requests, my heaven will be spent on earth up until the end of the world. Yes, I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.”
And we can follow her example by living her “little way.” St. Thérèse, pray for us!