Dr. Frances Renda, the friend of Therese, has entered into life on June 17, 2019
Monday, June 24, 2019 at 12:37AM
Maureen O'Riordan in Fran Renda, Frances Renda, Therese of Lisieux

Dr. Frances Therese Renda Photo credit: Sue Princiotto

It is with the greatest sadness that we announce the sudden death, on June 17, 2019, of Dr. Frances Therese Renda, the best friend St. Therese ever had.  Sue Princiotto announced her sister's death in these words:

Family and friends, it is with great sadness that our family announces the passing of Fran Renda, suddenly and peacefully in her sleep. I apologize for posting the news this way, but I wanted to make sure everyone hears before the funeral.

Please join us in paying last respects to Dr. Fran Renda on Tuesday, June 25th from 7:00 to 9:00 in the evening at The Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel, located at1076 Madison Avenue in New York City.

On Wednesday, June 26, there will be a Funeral Mass held at 10:00am at the Church of St. Joseph of the Holy Family (405 West 125th Street - NY, NY), led by the beloved Father David Nolan.

Immediately following the Mass, all are welcome to remain at the Church for a reception in honor of Fran where you are encouraged to share stories, travel tales, and fondest memories as a celebration of her distinguished, admirable and exceptional life.

At 3:00pm the same day (June 26), a burial service will be held at St. John's Cemetery (80-01 Metropolitan Avenue - Middle Village, NY). All are welcome.

I will write a personal tribute to Fran later.  Here I merely share some of the highlights of her long and generous apostolate for St. Therese.  Fran fell in love with St. Therese when she first visited Lisieux at the age of sixteen, and, for the rest of her life, during a distinguished career as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist, never stopped trying to make Therese known and loved.  I met her in 1988 at a symposium offered by the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary in Darien, Illinois to celebrate the centenary of Therese's entrance.  We saw each other at conferences and other events devoted to St. Therese. Fran had taught Therese in the seminary at Yonkers, and she also taught Therese to a group of women at St. Patrick's Cathedral.  They were so moved by what Fran communicated that in the 1990s, every day for seven years, they operated what was known as the "Therese desk" just inside the entrance of St. Patrick's Cathedral, offering for sale the best books and most beautiful medals of St. Therese.  A dizzying number of thousands of dollars worth of books were sold, and countless souls were brought to Christ. 

Fran was the moving spirit behind several important books about Therese and about the Martin family.  The first to appear was "Therese of Lisieux and Marie of the Trinity," by Pierre Descouvemont translated by Fran's friend, Alexandra Plettenberg-Serban, which appeared in 1997:


It is not widely known that Fran was the catalyst for the conversation that resulted in the visit of the reliquary of St. Therese to the United States in the autumn of 1999.  I was present in when Fran's group and her friends at the Cathedral made the visit of the reliquary of St. Therese to St. Patrick's Cathedral a unique grace.  The memory of those happy days will never leave me.

For years Fran encouraged her friend, Bishop Patrick Ahern, in the writing of his boook "Maurice and Therese," which appeared in 2001.


In 2005, "I Thirst: Saint Therese of Lisieux and Mother Teresa of Calcutta," translated by Fran's friend, Alexandra Plettenbrg-Serban, appeared in English. 


 Fran edited for publication the letters of Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese, which were translated by her friend, Ann Hess, and published in 2011:

 In connection with the publication of A Call to a Deeper Love, Fran was interviewed by Bill O'Donnell, host and producer of Spirituality TV in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Fran several times presented about St. Therese and the Martin family:


On January 15, 2012, Fran appeared on EWTN's Sunday Night Prime to discuss Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin:

Again, shortly before the canonization of the Martin spouses, Fran spoke with Jay and Fr. Robert Reed of the Catholic TV Network about them:


 For some years before Fran's death, she and Ann Hess had been collaborating again, this time on the monumental work "Therese de Lisieux," a long biography of Therese by Fran's dear friend and mentor, the late Bishop Guy Gaucher, O.C.D.

On June 9, 1897, the second anniversary of her Offering to Merciful Love, Therese wrote to Maurice Belliere words that might serve as Fran's farewell to us:

Dear little Brother, there are many things I would like to make you understand now that I am at the door of eternity, but I am not dying; I am entering into life, and all that I cannot say to you here below I will make you understand from the heights of heaven. 
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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