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    Saint Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face
    *icon courtesy of William Hart McNichols


              St. Therese of Lisieux, born Therese Martin, was a young French girl, passionately in love with Jesus Christ, who became a Discalced Carmelite nun at age fifteen and died of tuberculosis at age twenty-four in a monastery in Lisieux, France.  Her liturgical name is "St. Therese of the Child Jesus," from her name as a religious.  She has often been called "St. Therese, the Little Flower." 

         Therese experienced extraordinary breakthroughs in what is possible in a human being's relationship with God and with other humans. Since her death, she has fascinated countless people. Her memoir, "Story of a Soul," became the religious bestseller of the 20th century. Countless miracles have been attributed to her intercession. She was canonized in 1925 and, in 1997, named a Doctor of the Church. She is often called the "Little Flower."     

         In recent years the examination of her authentic writings and reflection on them has given us a new understanding of her spirituality.  For years I have been speaking about St. Therese, and now I hope to serve those who meet her in cyberspace. This Web site is a portal to Therese's writings and the best writings about her. I will add to its substance in the future. Whether you know Therese well or are just meeting her, I pray that this meeting in cyberspace will deepen your encounter with her and with the Merciful Love of the God whose praises she sings.  

          I am grateful to the Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites for permission to quote from their authoritative translation of Therese's writings.  

            "My God, allow our sister to go on making You loved."

     Maureen O'Riordan
    Philadelphia, Pa.
    USA

     

     

     

    New!  July 2011  

      The Letters of Blessed Zélie  and Louis Martin:
    the years before Story of a Soul
     

     Paperback; 464 pages. $29.95

    shipped from the U.S.; order from many countries
    by phone: (610) 917-9470

            Welcome to the world of Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin of Alençon, the parents of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face.  In 218 letters, Zélie, writing between the ages of 31 and 45, writes the story of the family that gave birth to Story of a Soul, the memoir of her daughter, the saint.  Here Zélie shares herself unreservedly: happy as a wife and mother, overwhelmed with responsibility as a business owner, saddened by the deaths of her parents and four of her children, sensitive to slights and indifference, concerned for her surviving daughters, longing to become holy.  When she is diagnosed with breast cancer, in the midst of a very human desire to live, she shows us how to abandon ourselves to God in the face of death.    

         Only 16 letters from her husband survive, but Zélie introduces us to the younger Louis Martin in the years before he suffered from Alzheimer's disease and was interned in a psychiatric hospital.  We see him here as never before as husband, father, and friend in the years before he consummated his complete self-gift.

          In beatifying Zélie and Louis in 2008, the Church recognized a fundamental reality: that each one experienced severe traumas, but the effects of these traumas were no obstacle to sanctity.  Louis and Zélie accepted their own powerlessness, that God might be all-powerful in their lives.  The transforming influence of their daughter Thérèse on human history is the fruit of that acceptance.  Reading about their profound love for each other and for their children and about the deep faith they lived painfully in the midst of many ordeals is a source of healing and liberation.  Zélie and Louis offer us a personal experience of the motherhood and fatherhood of God.  The book is a mirror of the human face of holiness.

         A Call to a Deeper Love is a translation of Correspondance familiale 1863-1885, Zélie and Louis Martin, the definitive edition of these letters published in French by Editions du Cerf in 2004.  The preface, the notes, and the presentation are the work of Bishop Guy Gaucher, O.C.D., retired auxiliary bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux and distinguished scholar of St. Thérèse, and of the Carmelites of Lisieux.  The text is exquisitely translated by Ann Connors Hess.  Dr. Frances Renda, the editor, added jewels unique to this English edition: an introduction that reflects her intimate and delicate understanding of the depths of the marital spirituality of Louis and Zélie; background on nineteenth-century France that helps the reader place these letters in context; a chronology of Thérèse’s family that will be a classic reference; and many new and expanded footnotes. 32 pages of photos, many previously unpublished, illustrate the volume.

         In Story of a Soul Thérèse wrote a new chapter in the history of the human response to divine love.  Zélie and Louis wrote with their lives a new chapter in the history of the human response to the vocation of marriage: the extraordinary answer of two spouses to the call to mirror of the face of Christ to each other and to create a family that was a crucible of sainthood.  A Call to a Deeper Love offers a unique understanding of a couple who became holy in and through their marriage, and it immeasurably deepens our understanding of the influences that surrounded St. Thérèse.  Order your copy now, and may this story of grace and steadfast faith fill you with inspiration, hope, and joy.

     Paperback; 464 pages. $29.95
    shipped from the U.S.; order from many countries
    by phone: (610) 917-9470

     

     

     ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


     

    Léonie Martin was the least gifted of the four sisters of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.  She was an emotionally disturbed child, abused by the family’s maid, expelled from school, who suffered and caused anguish in her family.  She did not fit their expectations of holiness.

    Marie Baudoin-Croix, the well-known French poet, has examined the letters of Léonie’s mother, Blessed Zélie Martin, to her daughters, her sister, her brother, and her sister-in-law.  We see e backward child, the despair of many, who was the first to follow Thérèse’s Little Way.  The author examines Léonie ‘s correspondence with Thérèse, who shared the way generously with her sister.  It was only after three valiant but unsuccessful attempts that Léonie, at the age of thirty-five, was finally accepted by the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen.  She succeeded in conquering a “tough” temperament, so that by the time of her death in 1941, at the age of seventy-eight, she was regarded as a saint, and her monastery at Caen was inundated with letters testifying to her posthumous aid. 

    In his preface, Fr. Christopher O’Donnell, O. Carm. writes:  “This book by Marie Baudoin-Croix is to be strongly welcomed.  It does not add to what has been available about Léonie to specialist scholars, but it will be a revelation to so many admirers of St. Thérèse in the English-speaking world . . . . It is an ideal companion to the autobiography of St. Thérèse.”

    In her introduction the author notes: “Quite simply, it is comforting to everyone to know about one woman’s struggle to conquer a difficult, intractable temperament.  Also, the story of the young rebel who was Léonie can give help and hope to parents who are hurt by their clashes—often violent—with their children.”

    Léonie’s story can encourage all people, and it inspires especially the parents of other “special needs” children; persons who have a hard time finding a place in society and in the Church; and persons deeply wounded by past experiences.  Paperback, 128 pages, including six pages of photographs and a nine-page chronological index.   Published by Veritas.  Unfortunately out of print, but to purchase used copies online click on the image above or click here.


     "Praying for Priests with St. Therese of Lisieux"

     

      St. Therese of Lisieux loved the priesthood and consecrated herself for priests, calling herself "an apostle to apostles."  She did not pray for priests for their sake only, but out of love for the souls they were to serve.  She prayed for the priest in solidarity with Jesus in the Eucharist, with Mary, with the Church, and with the world, and offered her life for their apostolic ministry.  The Catholic Truth Society has published the booklet "Praying for Priests with St. Therese of Lisieux," written by Maureen O'Riordan, the author of this Web site.  It includes a new novena to St. Therese composed entirely of excerpts from the critical edition of her letters to the priest and the seminarian to whom she was a "spiritual sister."  64 pages. $4.00 plus shipping and handling. 

    by phone: (610) 917-9470

     

     
     

      

     August 19, 2010. Today is a great day for those who love St. Therese of Lisieux.  "Sainte Therese de Lisieux 1873-1897: Biographie," the long-awaited comprehensive biography of St. Therese of Lisieux by Bishop Guy Gaucher, O.C.D., who edited the centenary edition of her works, was released in French by Editions du Cerf in Paris today.   Its 690 pages offer an astonishingly detailed look at the life and environment of St. Therese. To learn more or to order it, click on the image above.