The Story of a Soul – Biography St Therese of Lisieux

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”

St. Therese of Lisieux, also called St. Teresa of the Child Jesus or the Little Flower, original name Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin, was born on January 2, 1873, in Alencon, France and died on September 30, 1897, at Lisieux. They canonized her on May 17, 1925; feast day October 1, Carmelite nun whose service to the Roman Catholic order was recognized for its exemplary spiritual accomplishments. Pope John Paul II named her a Doctor of the Church in 1997.

Therese was the youngest of nine children, five of whom survived childhood. After her mother died of breast cancer in 1877, Thérèse moved with her family to Lisieux. Her piety developed early in the deeply religious atmosphere of her home. All four of her elder sisters became nuns, and at 15 she entered the Carmelite convent at Lisieux. Although she suffered from depression, scruples—a causeless feeling of guilt—and, at the end, religious doubts, she kept the rule to perfection and maintained a smiling, pleasant, and unselfish manner. Before her death from tuberculosis, she acknowledged that, because of her arduous nature, not one day had ever passed without a struggle. Her burial site at Lisieux became a place of pilgrimage, and they built a basilica bearing her name there (1929–54).

The story of Therese’s spiritual development turned into a collection of her epistolary essays, written by order of the prioresses and published in 1898 under the title Histoire d’une âme (“Story of a Soul”). Her popularity results from this work, which conveys her loving pursuit of holiness in ordinary life. St. Therese defined her doctrine of the Little Way as “the way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute surrender.” In 1925 Pope Pius XI canonized her making Therese the youngest person designated a Doctor of the Church.

In 2015 Pope Francis I canonized Therese’s parents, Saint Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin, making them the first spouses canonized together.

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Writings of St Therese of Lisieux

  • Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux
  • Letters to Celine by St. Therese of Lisieux
  • Prayers by St. Therese of Lisieux
  • Counsels at Reminiscences by St. Therese of Lisieux

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