« "Saint Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of Faith for an Unbelieving World" - October 9, 2017 | Main | "St. Therese of Lisieux at School, Part 4," the fourth of four articles written for The Far East in 1934 by a Benedictine nun who taught Therese. October 1, 2017 »

"St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of Personal Wholeness" - October 7, 2017


Therese Martin in February 1886, aged thirteen

Saint Therese of Lisieux,
Doctor of Personal Wholeness


23. Thérèse of Lisieux, like anyone else, was subject to the human condition. From a psychological viewpoint, [we can say that] she underwent a liberating process that led her both to accept herself, and also maturely to accept her own limitations.

The internal tensions, spiritual wounds, and all sort of other influences at work in our world make it hard for people to become fully persons. Thérèse of Lisieux, too, was shaped by her family, social, and religious environment with its limitations and imperfections. She learned to accept them, and, in doing so, she liberated herself from them to become, with God's grace, a free person: one who discovered the faithful and merciful God of Jesus Christ. Therese teaches us to profit from everything so that we may grow and mature, both as human beings and as Christians.

24. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face struggled to overcome all that hindered her from being herself. On the way to human maturity, she experienced trauma at the death of her mother. It deeply affected her.17 Her love for God, and friendship with him, awakened in her a liberating process that enabled her to use all these influences to achieve personal wholeness.

Her fourth through fourteenth years were a painful period in her life. She had problems in school where she felt some were antagonistic toward her. Then her sister and second, mother, Pauline, entered Carmel. As a result of this separation, she became seriously ill. It was a psychosomatic illness. Later on she was tormented by scruples.18

All these sufferings were due to her hypersensitivity: "When I began to cheer up, I'd begin to cry again for having cried."19 She lived trapped in a vicious circle, not knowing how to escape.

It was not until Christmas Eve, 1886, that she was healed of her hypersensitivity and began to walk in the way of love and of surrender to Jesus. From this time on, she was free of those interior bonds, able fully to enjoy life and to take pleasure in studies, in contacts with others, in nature and travel, and other good things.

25. Family and social problems torment many men and women today and cause them anguish and anxiety about the future. Thérèse of Lisieux shows them how to welcome into their lives the love of God and love for others and, by doing so, turn to their advantage the fear caused by the uncertainties of the day. Knowledge of a God who is a merciful Father and who surrounds all of us with his love and providence brings us peace and joy. Thérèse presents to a world sick with fear and anguish the therapy of love of God and confidence in him and of service and commitment to others. She has discovered the profound truth that a merciful God wants to give himself fully to all those who open themselves to him, and she has passed that truth on to us.

 - excerpted from Therese, A Doctor for the Third Millennium, the joint pastoral letter written by the Carmelite superiors general,  Fr. Camilo Maccise, O.C.D. and Fr. Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm., when Therese was named a doctor in 1997.  For the footnotes, please follow the link to the complete document.

Posted on Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 10:48PM by Registered CommenterMaureen O'Riordan | CommentsPost a Comment

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>