Our Patron Saint is St. Theresa of Lisieux, France. Born on January 2, 1873 in Alencon, France, she was the last of nine children and the youngest of five sisters, all five of whom became nuns. Sometimes called the “Little Flower” because she referred to herself as a little, not particularly important flower in God’s garden.
She entered the Carmelite cloistered convent in Lisieux at the age of 15. She died nine years later on September 30 of a lung hemorrhage caused by tuberculosis and was canonized on May 17, 1925–only 27 years after her death, an unusually short period of time.
In her short lifetime, St. Theresa wrote poetry and her autobiography. She once wrote, “My vocation is love.” Her secret was the belief that trifles make perfection and that perfection is no trifle.
Her only regret was the fact she wasn’t a boy. One of her first loves was missionary work–a duty assigned, at that time, only to priests. Msgr. Keffer, who had travelled to France and even celebrated Mass in the room she was born in, was a missionary on the West Shore in the 1920s. He named his first and only parish after her because of St. Theresa’s love for such work.
1997 marked the 100th anniversary of the death of St. Theresa.
In late 1997, while speaking at World Youth Day in Paris, Pope John Paul II told hundreds of thousands of young people that St. Theresa would be made a Doctor of the church. On October 19, 1997 (World Mission Sunday) she became the third woman of 33 doctors to be so recognized by the church.
The canonization of her parents, Louis and Zelie Guerin Martin, is also under consideration.We celebrate the Feast of Saint Theresa at Saint Theresa School every year. We recite a 9 day Novena for her and volunteers decorate the school with hand-made flowers by the students. It's a special event that we have for our patron saint, Saint Theresa.
Despite the sad times of her life, and there were many, Therese learned to trust God and Mary, the Mother of Jesus. During the sad times, she believed that God was holding her hand. Even after her Mother died when Therese was very young she looked at the stars one night when walking with her father, and saw her name written there in the sky - a big "T" – and she knew what all children should know, that God knows us personally and that we do not get lost in the crowd. God's special love and affection is always present and we simply have to trust the presence of God's unconditional love in our lives.
St. Therese's teachings of how to be holy, how to be a child of God, and to be close to God, she called "her little way of spiritual childhood." She learned that being holy is very simple – it involves trusting God with confidence and doing ordinary things in life with great love. Her "little ways" is about doing little things to please people, bring a smile to someone's face and heart, reaching out to let people know they are special – and accepting disappointments with patience not anger.
Therese remembered that Jesus always used a child as an example – whenever people got complicated or confused, Jesus brought over a child and told people to be like little children – trusting God and loving others, in innocence, wonder and simplicity. That's why adults today need children to remind them of what it is like to be a child of God. Therese is the patron of childhood spirituality and makes holiness available to everyone.