Saint Therese of the Child Jesus
of the Holy Face
See Pope Francis's top 10 secrets for happiness, courtesy of uCatholic. Do any of the items on this superb list remind you of his favorite saint, Therese of Lisieux?
For years countless pilgrims have longed to pray in the room where St. Therese lived after July 8, 1897 and where she died on September 30, 1897. Now you can visit it virtually, thanks to the Carmel at Lisieux, in a beautiful film (less than four minutes). To open the door to this virtual visit, click on the image below. (Remember that it's said that Therese had a sign affixed to the entrance: "Forbidden for sad people to enter.")
While you are in the infirmary, please say a prayer of thanks for the community of the Carmel at Lisieux and for all who helped in this project. May God, who is never outdone in generosity, reward them.
"Saint Therese in the turmoil of the war, 1914-1918," an exposition at Lisieux open until November 11, 2014
poster credit: Sanctuaire de Lisieux
From May 1 through November 11, 2014, at St. Jacques Church, the Shrine at Lisieux presents an exposition of previously unpublished materials, "Thérèse in the turmoil of the 1914-1918 war."
Thérèse of Lisieux held a privileged place in the heart of the soldiers in the trenches, both the French and the Germans. In the horror of the carnage, the little Carmelite of Lisieux, was a sister, a confidante, and a protectress for the "Poilus," as the soldiers were called. Between 1914 and 1918, the cemetery at Lisieux became a place of very frequent pilgrimage, and the Carmel was flooded with letters which the Carmelites published as "Shower of Roses" (7 volumes!)
At the time of the Fkirst World War, Story of a Soul had been translated into 10 languages and had appeared in 16 editions.
The Carmelites had also published an abridged version of Story of a Soul titled "The unpetalled rose." At that time, Thérèse was called only "the Servant of God;" she did not yet have an official title. Word of mouth works well; it was said that when one came to her tomb, Therese granted all the favors asked. The soldiers came to the tomb of Thérèse. They were from different regiments, in the Carmelite enclosure in the town cemetery. They planted stakes onto which the pilgrims could clip their petitions, their photos, and also their thanks. Some put their flags on the tomb. Throughout the whole war, the tomb of Thérèse became "the mailbox of paradise."
It mattered little to the "poilus" that Thérèse had not yet been canonized. Her process of beatification had been opened in 1910. It was sent to Rome in 1914.
Thérèse spoke to them of God, and especially she spoke to them about the essential: Thérèse spoke to them about love. Love for their families, their relatives, their parents . . . And love for God also. For them, Thérèse was at once sister, mother, confidante, and protectress. She is with them. Moreover, the "poilus" gave her plenty of nicknanes, like "the little sister of the trenches," "the little sister in turmoil."
Admission to the exposition, at St. Jacques Church (rue au Char) in Lisieux, is free. Open daily from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. until November 11.
If you are fortunate enough to be in Lisieux, please do not miss this exhibit.
[With thanks to the Shrine at Lisieux, this article is translated from the French at the Web site of the Shrine at Lisieux].
from the cover of "Pluie de Roses"
July 28, 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I: it was on July 28, 1914 that Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Devotion to St. Therese was already widespread; Pope Pius XI, in one of the last official acts of his papacy, had just signed the introduction to her cause in Rome on June 28, 1914. During the war devotion to Therese grew like wildfire. Both French and German soldiers carried her photos into battle; some wore a relic of Therese and said that these relics had actually stopped the bullets. Because so many soldiers demanded medals of her, the Church made an exception to permit medals to be made before Sister Therese was beatified. Countless soldiers, alone or in formal military pilgrimages, visited her tomb to pray in thanksgiving. Many sent their military medals and other thank-offerings to the Carmel of Lisieux.The Carmel was deluged with letters from chaplains and soldiers testifying to how Therese protected soldiers.
The annual publication "Shower of Roses" published accounts of healings, protections, and conversions attributed to St. Therese during the war, and, thanks to the Abbey of St. Benedict of Port-Valais in Switzerland, if you read French, you can read "Shower of Roses: Interventions of St. Therese of the Child Jesus during the war, 1914-1918"). I believe that, until now, these accounts appeared in English only as appendices to the editions of Therese's memoir that appeared in English during the war years. Now, in honor of the centenary of World War I, the Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux has created in English the page "Therese and the First World War." Here you can see English translations of mail received from the front lines,several illustrations by Charles Jouvenot of the events reported by the soldiers, post cards and holy cards sent by soldiers to Lisieux Carmel, and ex voto offerings (banners, military medals, and other souvenirs) sent to the nuns. I am grateful to the Carmel for sharing its treasures with us.
Please see "France's Jews Flee As Rioters Burn Paris Shops, Attack Synagogue" in the UK version of the Huffington Post, July 22, 2014. On July 20 riot police had to use tear gas to prevent a mob from destroying a synagogue in Sarcelles, a suburb of Paris. More than a thousand Jews have emigrated to Israel in ten days. Religious leaders gathered for an ecumenical service in the threatened synagogue on Monday.
In May 1944, as World War II moved nearer to Lisieux, St. Therese was named secondary patron of France along with St. Joan of Arc. (The principal patron of France is the Blessed Virgin, the young Jewish girl from Nazareth to whom the angel came to announce "You are to conceive, and bear a child, and you must name him Jesus."). May the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Therese, and St. Joan intercede for France and the whole world and deliver us from violence, from war, from anti-Semitism, and from every form of evil.
St. Therese had a great desire to visit the Holy Land, and, although her letter did not survive, she is known to have written to the Carmelite monastery in Jerusalem; a nun from Lisieux Carmel, before the time of Therese, was instrumental in founding that Carmel. Therese's younger sister in Carmel, St. Edith Stein (Sister Teresa Blessed by the Cross), a Jewish Catholic saint who died at Auschwitz, once wrote "You can't know what it means to me to be a blood relative of His." St. Edith Stein, co-patron of Europe, pray for us! Blessed Virgin Mary, principal patron of France, pray for us! St. Jeanne d'Arc and St. Therese, secondary patrons of France, pray for us!