The second period of St. Therese's life: from 1877 till the grace of Christmas 1886 - at Les Buissonnets
Louis Martin and his five daughters moved into a villa in Lisieux in 1877; they named it "Les Buissonnets" ("the little bushes"). Therese's sisters taught her at home for a few years. About the end of 1879 or the beginning of 1880 she made her first confession at St. Pierre's Cathedral.
In October 1881 she became a day student at the Benedictine Abbey of Notre Dame Pre at Lisieux. A year later, on October 2, 1882, Therese's sister Pauline became a postulant at the Carmel of Lisieux. The following spring Therese became very ill. On May 13, 1883, she was cured by the smile of the Blessed Virgin, as she recounts in her memoir, "Story of a Soul." At eleven, on May 8, 1884, Therese made her First Communion at the Abbey. She was confirmed at the Abbey on June 14, 1884; her sponsor was her sister Leonie. About February 1886 Therese left the Abbey school and took private lessons with Mme. Papinau. On October 15, 1886, Therese's oldest sister, Marie, entered the Lisieux Carmel. On December 25, 1886, on her return home from midnight Mass at St. Pierre's Cathedral, Therese experienced what she called her "complete conversion," being freed in a moment from the excessive sensitivity of her childhood.
Photos Les Buissonnets and statue copyright Al Basil; photo of Lisieux Carmel copyright Paul Ryan, all rights reserved. Used with permission.