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 Saint Therese of the Child Jesus

of the Holy Face

March 25, 2019: St. Therese of Lisieux and the feast of the Annunciation

Fra Angelico's "Annunciation"St. Therese especially loved the mystery of the Annunciation, and celebrated it every year. At the first inquiry into Therese's sanctity in 1910, her sister Celine testified:  

She had a particular devotion for the mystery of the Incarnation, which she would observe devotedly every 25th March. She loved to contemplate Jesus in his childhood. She once said, “I should like to die on 25th March, because it was on that day that Jesus was the smallest.1

In 1888, the feast of the Annunciation, transferred because of Lent, was celebrated on April 9, the day Therese entered the Lisieux Carmel.  God must have understood that her "yes" to her Carmelite vocation would be a profound echo of Mary's "yes."  

Therese's understanding of what happened when the angel Gabriel came to Mary is remarkably realistic and down-to-earth.  In July 1915, her sister Pauline, Mother Agnes of Jesus, testified at the second process:

She was very simple and had little experience of evil. Fearful of discovering it, as she acknowledges in her autobiography, she entrusted the protection of her purity to the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph.  Later on, she came to understand that everything is pure for the pure of heart. Seeing that she knew about the realities of life, I asked her who had enlightened her. She said that she had discovered them without even looking, from observing nature, the flowers and birds. She added, “The Blessed Virgin knew all these things. For she said to the angel, on the day of the Annunciation, “How will this be, since I know not a man?” Knowing things is not evil. All that God has made is very good and very noble. Marriage is a beautiful state for those whom God has called to it; it is sin which distorts and soils it.”2

  Therese emphasized that Mary, who was purity itself, knew the facts of life when the angel came to her, and that there was nothing wrong with her having that knowledge; Therese, the wise and innocent child of God's mercy, understands with Mary that God has made nothing that is not very good.  



Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 11:56PM by Registered CommenterMaureen O'Riordan in , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

"The Philadelphia Carmel: The Birthplace of Devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux in the United States," February 17, 2019

Maureen O'Riordan presents to the American Catholic Historical Society in Philadelphia about the Philadelphia Carmel as the birthplace of devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux in the United States. February 17, 2019. Photo credit: Thomas Rzeznik

 On Sunday, February 15, 2018, I had the honor of presenting this fascinating chapter in our history to the American Catholic Historical Society in Philadelphia.  I am most grateful to the ACHS, especially to Thomas Rzeznik, Associate Professor of the Department of History at Seton Hall University, who arranged for me to speak as part of the ACHS series on local history and who promoted and produced the event flawlessly. 

Photo of the audience at "The Philadelphia Carmel as the Birthplace of Devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux" at the American Catholic Historical Society in Philadelphia. February 17, 2019. Photo credit: Thomas Rzeznik

 The lovely historic house which is the ACHS's home was filled to capacity, a testament to the enduring popularity of St. Therese in Philadelphia.  I was delighted to meet some friends from Old St. Joseph's, several readers of my Web site, and a number of  graduates of my alma mater, Little Flower Catholic High School. One of them had been on the pilgrimage to France and Rome sponsored by Little Flower to celebrate the canonization of Sts. Louis and Zelie!

The ACHS was most generous in giving me the chance to do justice to the "four foundresses," the young women (three from the Church of the Gesu) who founded our Carmel in 1902 and, while praying, working, and waiting patiently to build the present monastery and form the applicants who came, set the city of Philadelphia and later the whole country on fire with love for St. Therese.

Listen to a radio show on the same topic

One of the guests, Barbara Shinkle, interviewed me for Holy Spirit Radio a few days before the event.  Please listen to the interview about the Philadelphia Carmel as the birthplace of devotion to St.  Therese in the United States.  To listen, click the link above, choose "2019 Archive," and then select the date February 14, 2019.

 Read my four articles reporting on this story through 1911

Click for Open lines of research on this topic, which I would be pleased to help you pursue. You can always reach me by clicking the "e-mail" link on any one of my three Web sites.

To place this presentation in the context of the worldwide growth of Therese's cult, please see this fascinating 2011 doctoral thesis by Sophia DeBoick:  "Image, Authenticity, and the Cult of Saint Therese of Lisieux, 1897-1959."  Carefully researched and written and beautifully illustrated; I can't recommend it highly enough.

For various important events in the rise of St. Therese's cult, please see my page Storm of Glory: St. Therese 1897-2019.

 About Saint Therese:

For some free online films embedded here, see "films about Saint Therese."

To learn more about the spirituality of St. Therese, please click this link.  Prophet Elijah Media Store is distributing audio of three conferences I presented at a day of recollection at the Carmel of Santa Clara, California in November 2017:

"A Map of St. Therese's Way of Confidence and Love"

"How Can We Love One Another?  St. Therese's Practice of Sisterly Love in her Carmelite Community"

"Saints Louis and Zelie Martin: Lay Persons, Spouses, and Parents"

These three conferences are available as MP3 files, so you can download them and listen to them as soon as you order them.  Thank you very much.

For more about my apostolate for the spirituality of St. Therese and the Martin family, please visit

 About Maureen O'Riordan

A note about using this site:

Much information is on the site through its blog, and this information does not appear in the navigation section.  So please either scroll chronologically through the blog or use the search box to locate what you would like to know.  This applies, too, to my other two sites, listed below:

Please see my site "Saints Louis and Zelie Martin, the Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux," which, on its front page, contains a photo gallery of the life of the Martin family in chronological order.

Please see my site "Leonie Martin, Disciple and Sister of St. Therese of Lisieux."  Leonie became a Visitation nun at Caen, and the diocesan inquiry into her possible beatification was opened in 2015.

Note that, if you are a Facebook user, each site has a Facebook page with the same title as the site.  You can "like" the page and click "notifications."  This is an easy way to stay up to date when I post something new.

Thank you!  

Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 05:01PM by Registered CommenterMaureen O'Riordan | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

"The World of St. Therese and Her Parents," a new photo show. August 19, 2018

In honor of the visit of the relics of St. Therese and of her parents, Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, to Ireland in for the World Meeting of Families, I have created a photo show, "The World of Saint Therese and Her Family," to offer you a visual experience of the concrete reality of their lives on earth, during which they became holy. It contains more than 350 photos.  Many are from my visit to France in May, and some are of locations never published before.  I am excited to be able to offer it to you.

To see it, please click the photo below.  If you enjoy it, please help me to spread the word quickly.  Thank you.


Posted on Sunday, August 19, 2018 at 04:49PM by Registered CommenterMaureen O'Riordan | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

St. Therese asked the Pope's permission to enter 130 years ago today, on November 20, 1887

Therese Martin, 14, asks Pope Leo XIII for permission to become a Carmelite at age 15. Stained-glass window in the church of St. Eulalie, Bordeaux, where her father, St. Louis Martin, was baptized.

Read St. Therese's description of the memorable day when she requested the Pope's permission to become a Carmelite before the usual age at the Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.

Posted on Monday, November 20, 2017 at 10:39PM by Registered CommenterMaureen O'Riordan | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

"A Map of the Way of Confidence and Love of St. Therese of Lisieux," a conference on Sunday, November 12, 2017 at Mount Saint Joseph Carmelite Monastery in San Jose, California

St. Therese at 16, in 1889

I am happy to announce that, at the invitation of the Discalced Carmelite Friars of Mount Saint Joseph Monastery in San Jose, California, I will present my conference "A Map of the Way of Confidence and Love of St. Therese of Lisieux" at the monastery on Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.  Please click here for details.

Posted on Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 02:36PM by Registered CommenterMaureen O'Riordan | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint