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 Saint Therese of the Child Jesus

of the Holy Face

“Elizabeth of the Trinity – Heaven on Earth,” a ten-minute photo show, with music, released October 16, 2016 by the Carmelite nuns of Christchurch, New Zealand

This excellent photo show, a gift from the Carmel of Christchurch, contains photos of Elizabeth and her surroundings from every period of her life, evocative quotations from her writings, and lovely photos of the natural world she loved so much.  Celebrate her canonization by watching it!  Delightful both for those who know and love Elizabeth and for those who want to be introduced to the Church's new saint.

Before her healing at the intercession of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, Marie-Paul Stevens was professed as a secular Carmelite - October 15, 2016


Marie-Paul Stevens, restored to health at the intercession of Elizabeth of the Trinity. Source: press release for the canonization of Elizabeth.

On June 20, 2016 I reported the story of the healing of Marie-Paul Stevens, a professor in Belgium whose cure had just been recognized by the Vatican as the miracle accepted for the canonization tomorrow (October 16, 2016) of St. Therese’s young Carmelite disciple, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

From a story in La Libre, I have now learned that during the years in which she was ill, Marie-Paul Stevens, forced to turn from a vigorous, physically active life to that of an invalid, entered the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites in Belgium.  “Very active, I became semi-contemplative,” she recalled.  She made her profession in 2000 and continued along the way of the Cross.  Two years later, as she was thought to be dying, she made a pilgrimage to the Carmel of Flavignerot, successor to the Dijon Carmel, to thank Elizabeth of the Trinity, to whom she had been devoted since her adolescence, for accompanying her throughout her illness.  For a patient in her condition, the journey was risky and hard. But It was there, resting in the parking lot after praying in the chapel, that she was suddenly cured. 

On the trip to Flavigernot, Marie-Paul was accompanied by her friend Leen Melkebeke, leader of the Secular Carmelite group of which Marie-Paul is a member, who witnessed the miracle.   "I saw with my own eyes that the healing was complete,” Leek explained.  “Since then, Marie. -Paul has become a bomb of energy.  So much so that she tires me out sometimes!  For me, it is clear that God intervened in her physical and spiritual life. "

Het Belang van Limburg reported that the two women were driven from Belgium to Flavignerot by Sylvain Verbeek, a 65-year-old gentleman from Zonderhoven, whom the Vatican called to testify about the miracle.  He said that before her illness “Marie-Paul sang like a nightingale.  But because the disease completely dried up her body, she had a hoarse voice.”  He recalled the journey, saying “I remember well how badly it went with Marie-Paul at that time.  At first she wanted to drive herself, but soon she had to let me take the wheel while she rested, stretched out on the back seat. “  In Dijon, the two friends joined Marie-Paul in praying to Blessed Elizabeth for her healing.   “But the return trip was even more impressive,” Sylvain continued.  “Marie-Paul drove in one go from Dijon to Zanderhoven.  Even when I met her after the trip, she felt better than ever.  She could walk well and could again sing beautifully.”  

 La Libre adds that Marie-Paul’s former colleague, Henri Thimister, a deacon who teaches science in Stevelot, also observed her recovery.  “Miracles, the healing of some and not others, are an obstacle to the faith of some persons,” he observed.  “But the fact that these events give us the opportunity to rediscover through Elisabeth the mystery of the Trinity, that is what delights me.” 

Since then Marie-Paul, restored to full health, has resumed her earlier way of life.  Thanks be to God.  In 2014, a story about the Carmelite nuns in Bayonne reported that Marie-Paul has come to stay with them every year since 2006 and that she is the “responsable” for the Secular Order in Belgium.  If you read French, you can read her article "Des moments precieux dans la vie quotidienne" (“About the Precious Moments of Everyday Life”), published in the bulletin of the Marist Brothers in Europe (2011)The Carmelite family has yet another reason to rejoice in the recognition of Elizabeth, who drew Marie-Paul to Carmel even before God sent her cure, the miracle that made Elizabeth a saint.  Thanks be to God.

Special thanks to La Libre and to Het Belang van Limburg, where quotations I’ve translated for this article originally appeared.  

Pope Benedict XV's 1921 Speech about Sister Therese's Way of Spiritual Childhood - October 1, 2016

The new Venerable. Photo credit: La Croix, August 17, 1921, in the National Library of France

As a special gift to my readers on the feast of St. Therese, I have the joy of presenting the speech made by Pope Benedict XV on August 14, 1921, when he declared that Sister Therese of the Child Jesus had practiced heroic virtue and might now be called “Venerable.” Note that Therese's sister Celine said that, when Pope Benedict in this speech "officially raised the way of spiritual childhood to its exalted rank in the life of the Church, my joy reached heights never again attained, not even on those other memorable days when my little sister Therese was first beatified and then canonized by Holy Mother Church."

Pope Benedict delivered the speech personally and seized the opportunity to speak at length about Therese’s way, then called “the way of spiritual childhood,” and to urge the whole church “to enter wholeheartedly” into it.

It is a dream come true for me to be able to publish this speech, which brought joy to the advocates of St. Therese’s cause around the world and showed the Pope’s appreciation of the significance of her spirituality for the postwar world and his desire that everyone embrace it. His words are no less powerful and prophetic today. Enjoy!  The speech has its own page.  To read it, click on Pope Benedict's 1921 Speech about Saint Therese's Way of Spiritual Childhood.


Posted on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 05:25PM by Registered CommenterMaureen O'Riordan in , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

What happened immediately after the death of St. Therese of Lisieux? October 1, 2016

This article contains information about:

  • how Therese laughingly rehearsed her own funeral
  • why Therese's body was laid out in an old, worn-out cap
  • how Leonie arranged for the habit, cape, veils, and sandals Therese had worn to be saved
  • how another pair of sandals were deliberately destroyed

I published this artilce on Facebook because there the link displays a photo of St. Therese in death.  If you are not a Facebook member, you can still see it.  Facebook may greet you with an invitation to sign up first.  To decline that invitation, just click ":not now." To see the article, please click on this text link:  "What happened immediately after the death of St. Therese of Lisieux?"

Posted on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 03:30PM by Registered CommenterMaureen O'Riordan in , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

"The Secret of Saint Therese," a new film by Romereports about the influence of St. Therese around the world

The Secret of Saint Therese

The Secret of Therese from ROME REPORTS on Vimeo.

View the 3:34 trailer of the new film by RomeReports, "The Secret of Saint Therese."  This film by Romereports which was nominated at the International Catholic Film Festival (also known as the Oscars of Catholic cinema), is described like this:

This film tells the story of St. Therese's life and message, intertwined with the personal stories of twelve people from around the world who testify to the great impact Therese has made on their lives. Including very rare footage of the inside of her monastery at Lisieux, we also meet a taxi driver in Rome, a famous radio priest in the Netherlands, a wedding dress designer in Paris, a teenager in Lebanon, a Protestant professor at Harvard divinity School, a mother of twelve children in Nigeria, a stock broker on Wall Street, and others, who share their moving personal stories of how Thérèse, and her "secret", has changed their lives. A secret so powerful, it confirms her mission to "Love Jesus and to make Him loved by others."

Rent or purchase the download of "The Secret of Therese" at Vimeo. 

"The Secret of Saint Therese" is also available in DVD format from Ignatius Press, which distributes excellent books and films about St. Therese. 

Purchase "The Secret of Saint Therese" as a DVD.  Ordering the DVD through this link supports this Web site.

Please do not miss this chance to experience the radiance of St. Therese in our contemporary world.