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 Saint Therese of the Child Jesus

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Entries in St. Therese of Lisieux (36)

St. Therese's Images of Mary - A New Series. For May 6, 2017: "The Virgin of the Smile"

A new series for May 2017:
the images of the Blessed Virgin Mary
St. Therese of Lisieux knew

 

For May 2017, I am introducing a series to present many of the images of Mary which St. Therese saw at different times in her life.  Some will appear in this blog.  Others I can present only as links on Facebook, so, to see them all, please use the button at left to "like" the Facebook page "Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway."  The images will appear in roughly chronological order, and I hope that seeing them will help you to feel closer to Therese and also to enter into her tender and filial affection for Mary.  

The Martin family's treasured statue, "Our Lady of the Smile" 

 The statue of "Our Lady of the Smile" cherished by Saints Louis and Zelie Martin and their children

The history of the statue


The great French sculptor Edme Bouchardon (1698-1762) created the original of this statue for the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris.  During the French Revoution it disappeared.  Later it was replaced by a similar statue.  The statue that came into the possession of St. Louis Martin was modeled after that second statue in Paris.  The statue in St. Sulpice is also linked to the image of Mary that was reproduced on the Miraculous Medal.

 

Replica of the statue of Our Lady given to St. Louis Martin before his marriage by Mlle. Felicite Beaudoin, a saintly elderly woman who invested in his watch-shop. He put it here in the garden of his Pavilion, a small property on the outskirts of Alencon where he prayed, meditated, and kept his fishing tackle.

The gift of Mlle. Fellicite Beaudoin


Mlle. Felicite Beaudoin, a devout elderly woman who set Louis Martin up in business, gave him this statue.  In 1857 he bought the Pavilion, a one-room, three-story tower surrounded by a walled garden on the outskirts of Alencon.  Here he read, prayed and meditated, and kept his fishing tackle to use in the nearby River Sarthe, and he placed the statue here.

Replica of the Martin family's statue "The Virgin of the Smile" in its original location in the Pavilion in Alencon

The statue in the domestic church of the Martin family


In 1858, Louis married, and his wife, Zelie, who was passionately devoted to the Blessed Virgin, asked him to set the statue up in their home on the Rue Pont-Neuf.  He did so, and every evening the Martin family said their evening prayers before it.  At the end of prayers, the girls were allowed to kiss the statue's hands.  They carried out this little ceremony so fervently that Louis and Zelie had to keep a few extra pairs of hands for the statue around the house.

Close-up of St. Louis Martin's statue, later called "Our Lady of the Smile"

 

"The Blessed Virgin doesn't leave her place"


While she was praying before this statue, Zelie received special graces from Mary.  One day, her oldest daughter, Marie, thinking that this statue was too much like a school statue, asked her mother to replace it with a smaller and finer statue.  Zelie answered, "When I am dead, you can do as you like, but, while I'm here, the Blessed Virgin doesn't leave her place."  Marie said that her mother's May altar was more trouble to make than the one at the church. 

'Our Lady of the Smile' in Lisieux


After Zelie's death, when the Martins moved to Lisieux, they took the statue with them, and it occupied a place of honor in their new home, Les Buissonnets.  It was only after Therese was cured of a serious illness while she and her sisters were praying before this statue in 1883 that it became known as "the Virgin of the Smile."  We will encounter it again in Therese's story.  

"Our Lady of the Smile" in the Pavilion at Alencon today

 

A plaque that reads "It was here that Monsieur Martin, the father of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, before his marriage had placed the statue later called 'Our Lady of the Smile,' of which this one is a faithful replica."

The actual statue cherished by the Martin family stands today above St. Therese's shrine in the Lisieux Carmel.  This replica has been placed in the garden of the Pavilion at Alencon to mark the spot where St. Louis put the statue when Mlle. Beaudoin gave it to him.  

At the time of Louis and Zelie's beatification in 2015, the Pavilion came into the possession of the Church, and pilgrims may now visit it.  Louis brought his little girls here on outings, and they used to garden here, too.  This is only one of the joys that await pilgrims to Alencon, where the roots of the Martin family are.

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

A contemporary photo of the first tomb of St. Therese in the Lisieux cemetery

This article tells you:

  •  how Therese laughingly rehearsed her own funeral
  • why, when she was laid out, her body was dressed in an old, worn-out cap
  • how Leonie arranged for the habit, cape, veils, and sandals Therese had worn to be saved
  • who deliberately burned another pair of Therese's sandals
  • where you can see Therese's obituary in her local newspaper and the invitations to her funeral sent by the Carmelites and separately by her family

I published this article on my Facebook page for St. Therese because there the link displays the first photo of St. Therese in death.  If you are not a Facebook member, you will still be able to see it.  Facebook may greet you with an invitation to join.  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?"  Thank you.

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 Mother of Mercies - Day Nine of Nine Days of Prayer and Reflection before the Feast of St. Therese during the Jubilee of Mercy - Friday, September 30, 2016

 

In this ninth and last day of the days of prayer before Therese's feast, although I include a few lines from Therese, it is hardly necessary to quote her directly because the Holy Father's words express so well what she knew in her heart and experienced in her life.  I recommend that you pray over paragraphs 23, 24, and 25 of Misericordiae Vultus to prepare to celebrate the feast of St. Therese, Missionary of Mercy.  

The Mother of Mercies

Toward the end of Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis writes:

My thoughts now turn to the Mother of Mercy.

(“The Mother of Mercy” evokes Zelie Martin’s words to Pauline when the family was praying for Zelie’s cure from breast cancer:  “Pray trustingly to the Mother of mercies.  She will come to our aid with the goodness and sweetness of the most tender of mothers.”).

May the sweetness of her countenance watch over us in this Holy Year, so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God’s tenderness. No one has penetrated the profound mystery of the incarnation like Mary. Her entire life was patterned after the presence of mercy made flesh. The Mother of the Crucified and Risen One has entered the sanctuary of divine mercy because she participated intimately in the mystery of His love.

Compare this with the bold words of Therese:

You love us, Mary, as Jesus loves us . . . .
The Savior knew your immense tenderness.
He knew the secrets of your maternal heart.

Pope Francis continues: 

Chosen to be the Mother of the Son of God, Mary, from the outset, was prepared by the love of God to be the Ark of the Covenant between God and man. She treasured divine mercy in her heart in perfect harmony with her Son Jesus. Her hymn of praise, sung at the threshold of the home of Elizabeth, was dedicated to the mercy of God which extends from “generation to generation” (Lk 1:50). We too were included in those prophetic words of the Virgin Mary. This will be a source of comfort and strength to us as we cross the threshold of the Holy Year to experience the fruits of divine mercy.

At the foot of the Cross, Mary, together with John, the disciple of love, witnessed the words of forgiveness spoken by Jesus. This supreme expression of mercy towards those who crucified him show us the point to which the mercy of God can reach. Mary attests that the mercy of the Son of God knows no bounds and extends to everyone, without exception.

Compare these last lines with Therese:

Refuge of sinners, He leaves us to you
When He leaves the Cross to wait for us in Heaven.

The Pope continues:

Let us address her in the words of the Salve Regina, a prayer ever ancient and ever new, so that she may never tire of turning her merciful eyes upon us, and make us worthy to contemplate the face of mercy, her Son Jesus.

 Make this prayer ("Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy" by listening to the chant below:

 

Time of Prayer

Choose any of the passages above or from paragraphs 23, 24, or 25 of Misericordiae Vultus and pray over them. 

Let's conclude the nine days of prayer to prepare for Therese's feast during the Jubilee of Mercy with the Pope's words:

 I present, therefore, this Extraordinary Jubilee Year dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy which the Father constantly extends to all of us. . . . . From the heart of the Trinity, from the depths of the mystery of God, the great river of mercy wells up and overflows unceasingly. It is a spring that will never run dry, no matter how many people draw from it. Every time someone is in need, he or she can approach it, because the mercy of God never ends. The profundity of the mystery surrounding it is as inexhaustible as the richness which springs up from it.

Just before offering the Prayer of Pope Francis below, pray with him for the Church in these last words from Misericordiae Vultus:

In this Jubilee Year, may the Church echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid, and love. May she never tire of extending mercy, and be ever patient in offering compassion and comfort. May the Church become the voice of every man and woman, and repeat confidently without end: “Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old” (Ps 25:6)..

The Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee 

Click here to read the Prayer of Pope Francis.

Thank you for making these nine days of prayer.  May God bless you through them.

Saint Therese of Lisieux and the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne," July 20, 2016

St. Thérèse of Lisieux
and the Martyred Carmelites of Compiègne

 The martyrdom of the Carmelites of Compiegne in Paris, 1794. Photo credit: Wikipedia

 On July 17, 1794, sixteen nuns of the Carmel of Compiègne (the whole community, except three who were away at the time of the arrest) were guillotined in Paris.  They had offered their lives for God’s peace in the world and for those in prison, and they went to their deaths as to a wedding, chanting of God's mercy. Ten days after their execution, the Reign of Terror ended.  Read their story online in Regina Magazine or read To Quell the Terror: The True Story of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne.[1]  In this article I explore the bond between the Carmel of Lisieux and that of Compiègne and the influence of the martyrs on St. Thérèse.

1835-1838: Refounding the Carmel of Compiègne and Founding the Lisieux Carmel

Mother Camille de SoyecourtA short-lived attempt to restore the Carmel of Compiègne began in 1835, led by the tireless Mother Camille de Soyecourt of the Carmel of the rue de Vaugirard in Paris.  After the French Revolution, Mother Camille did much to bring about the rebirth of Carmel in France.  Compiègne is in the province of Picardy.  Because Mother Camille had contributed nuns for the refoundation of Compiègne, she was one of six Carmelite prioresses who had to refuse to send nuns for a new monastery in Lisieux.  Fr. Nicholas Sauvage, the priest who was to establish the Carmelite foundation in Lisieux, had several young candidates and was searching for experienced nuns (“foundresses”) to join them.  He wrote to Mother Camille de Soyecourt, who answered about January 1837 that she had furnished nuns for the refounding of Compiègne and had no other sisters to spare.[2]  (The Carmel of Poitiers opened its doors to Père Sauvage’s candidates.  In 1838, when they were ready to make their vows, Poitiers sent the foundresses, including Mother Genevieve of St. Thérèse, with whom St. Thérèse lived for almost four years, with the new nuns to found the first Carmel of Lisieux).[3] 

That first refounding of the Compiègne Carmel was short-lived.  During the revolution of 1848, the nuns had to return to their Carmels of origin.  In 1866 nuns from Troyes settled in a temporary house in Compiègne; the monastery was completed in 1872, and the chapel inaugurated in 1888, the year Thérèse entered the Carmel of Lisieux.   In 1992 the Carmelites of Compiègne moved to the nearby village of Jonquières.[4]

1870-1871: Sister Fébronie of the Holy Childhood, a Carmelite of Lisieux, lived with the Carmelites of Compiègne

Sister Fébronie (1820-1892) entered the Lisieux Carmel on January 15, 1842.  Due to the exigencies of the Franco-Prussian war, she spent several months in 1870-1871 with the Carmelite nuns of Compiègne in Rennes.  The war threw Normandy into a panic. The families of some nuns asked to take their daughters home to keep them safe.  Three nuns, including Sister Fébronie, left Lisieux at the end of September 1870; four others, including St. Thérèse’s future prioress, Marie de Gonzague, left in January 1871.[4a]  Sister Fébronie declined her father’s offer of shelter in his home in Rennes.  Instead, no doubt to continue her Carmelite life, she sought refuge at the Carmel of Rennes, which had already taken in all the Carmelites of Compiègne.  At the end of January 1871 the armistice was signed, and by March 19, 1871, the seven nuns who had fled had returned to Lisieux.[5]  Sister Fébronie always maintained a lively friendship with the nuns of Compiègne.  She was subprioress when she died in the flu epidemic on January 4, 1892, and  Thérèse, who had worked with her for several years, assisted her in her last moments.  Her prioress, Mother Agnes, wrote in her death notice:

Many times in letters she left, we could see how she edified one of our dear Carmels intimately united with ours, where in a particular situation she had spent several months. Learning of her sudden death a few weeks ago, we received from the Reverend Mother Prioress a new proof of a good remembrance that they have of her in that beloved Community.[6]

The Carmel “intimately united with ours” could have been Rennes, but it seems much more likely to have been Compiègne.  Later, on April 23, 1896, Mother Marie de Gonzague wrote to the prioress of Compiègne

… I do not need to remind you, Mother, of our fraternal union. You know how strongly it is cemented by our dear Sister Fébronie, who is and will be remembered so reverently by present and future generations.[7]

1888:  The origin of the religious name of Sr. Thérèse of St. Augustine of Lisieux

When Thérèse Martin entered in April 1888, her life was touched by a nun whose religious name derived from that of Madame Lidoine, the martyred prioress of the Compiègne Carmel, known in religion as Mother Thérèse of St. Augustine. (The feast of the blessed martyrs is listed as “Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine and companions, martyrs”).  Madame Lidoine, in turn, had been named for the first Mother Thérèse of St. Augustine, “Madame Louise,” a princess of France, the daughter of King Louis XV, who entered the Carmel of Saint-Denis in 1770.  On June 19, 1873, when Thérèse Martin was five months old, the decree for the introduction of Madame Louise's cause for sainthood was issued. [8] 

Sister Thérèse of St. Augustine of Lisieux was the nun whom St. Thérèse said “had the faculty of displeasing me in everything.”

1894: The two Thérèses help to decorate the chapel of Compiègne for the centenary of the martyrdom

The centenary of the martyrdom, which fell on July 17, 1894, led to much excitement in the French Carmels and to a shift in public opinion about the Carmelites of Compiègne. For this occasion the Carmel of Compiègne had asked all the Carmels in France to help them decorate their chapel.  No doubt because of her religious name, Sister Thérèse of St. Augustine was assigned to work with the future Saint Thérèse on this project.  In Thérèse’s diocesan process Sister Thérèse of St. Augustine testified; 

I witnessed the zeal, the devotion that she demonstrated on this occasion. She couldn’t contain herself for joy, and said “How happy we would be if we could have the same fate! What a grace that would be!”[9]

A photo of the chapel at Compiègne on this occasion appears in Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux: La vie en images.[10] The banners created by the Lisieux Carmel are seen in the nave.  

In 1896, the Lisieux Carmel prays successfully to the Carmelite martyrs of Compiègne for healings that might advance the beatification

The cause of the Carmelite martyrs of Compiègne was very much “current news” in the time of St. Thérèse, and the Carmel of Lisieux was fervently devoted to the martyrs and eager to assist their cause.  The cause was opened at the diocesan level in 1896.  This probably happened early in the year, for on April 23, 1896, Mother Marie de Gonzague wrote to the prioress of the Carmel of Compiègne to report two healing that had taken place after the Carmelites of Lisieux had prayed to “our Holy Martyrs.”  Each concerned a blood relative of a Carmelite of Lisieux.  The first sick man was a dying captain, the father of three young children.  He was the cousin of Mother Marie of the Angels, Thérèse’s novice mistress; he had had no hope of recovery.  After the nuns prayed to the martyrs of Compiègne and to the Blessed Virgin, he was cured.  The second was a young girl in England, the niece of one of the Lisieux Carmelites, who was in terrible pain after an operation on her foot.  After the Carmelites prayed to the martyrs of Compiègne, she was able to walk again.  The letter suggests that the Carmelites of Lisieux had asked for a novena, perhaps a novena of Masses, at Compiègne and that Mother Gonzague is sending an offering for it.[11] 

Read Mother Gonzague’s letter to the prioress of the Compiègne Carmel at the Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux. [12]

September 1896 - Msgr Roger de Teil, Vice-Postulator for the Carmelites of Compiègne and Thérèse’s future vice-postulator, speaks to the Carmelites of Lisieux about the cause of the martyrs

Early in September 1896 (before September 7th), Msgr Roger de Teil, who had been appointed vice-postulator for the cause of the martyrs and was touring the French Carmels, arrived at Lisieux to speak and to ask the nuns to pray that a miracle might be worked at the intercession of their martyred sisters to permit their beatification.  He addressed the community in the speakroom

Shortly after the death of Msgr. de Teil in 1922, Thérèse’s sister Pauline, Mother Agnes of Jesus, recalls his presentation and her sister’s reaction:

Even during the lifetime of our Venerable, Mgr de  Teil entered into relations with our Carmel. Then he gathered together all the necessary documents for the Process of our Blessed Martyrs of Compiègne and delivered an enthusiastic conference to the community.  In leaving the speakroom, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus said to us, very much edified, “Isn’t he touching and zealous, the Postulator!  How one would wish to be able to report to him miracles worked by our Martyrs of whom he speaks with such great affection.”[13] 

Thérèse is said to have remarked that, with such a vice-postulator, the Carmelites of Compiègne would surely be raised to the altars soon.[14]  How could she have guessed that Msgr de Teil would be appointed vice-postulator for her own cause and that she would be canonized first?  (The cause of the blessed martyrs remains open).  During his conference Msgr de Teil said “If any of you who are listening to me have the intention of being canonized, please have pity on the poor vice-postulator and work plenty of miracles!” . . . .  Msgr. de Teil’s comment, years later, was “Soeur Thérèse, obedient child, did precisely as she was told.”[15]  In 1899 Msgr de Teil would read Thérèse’s Story of a Soul and speak very favorably of it.[16]

In 1909, at the request of Mother Marie-Ange of the Child Jesus, then prioress of Carmel, Bishop Lemonnier appointed Msgr. de Teil, a distinguished canon lawyer who was then a canon of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, as vice-postulator for the cause of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. (He was also postulator for Madame Louise of France, for the martyrs of September 1894, and for Pius IX).[17]  He shepherded  Thérèse’s cause until his death just a year before she was beatified.

September 1896:  The Carmelite community at Lisieux offers novenas to the martyrs of Compiègne and seeks  a relic for the cure of their Sister Marie-Antoinette

A few days later, at the request of Mother Gonzague, Mother Marie of the Angels, Thérèse’s novice mistress, wrote to the prioress of Compiègne asking for “a little relic of our holy Mother Martyrs” to place on the body of Sister Marie-Antoinette, a young turn-sister who was dying of tuberculosis.  She had returned from Lourdes without a cure “and is nothing but a walking skeleton.”  The Carmelites were “trying a second novena to our Mother Martyrs” and “having a novena of Masses said so that her miraculous healing might favour the beatification of our holy Mothers.”  Mother Marie of the Angels writes “we recently heard Father de Teil, who informed us of his progress, his desires. How happy we would be if the miracle we are soliciting could recompense his zeal and dedication.”[18] 

Read the letter of Mother Marie of the Angels to the prioress of Compiègne at the Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.

Sister Marie Antoinette was not cured; she died November 4, 1896.

These martyrs of the French Revolution would naturally have appealed to Thérèse, the granddaughter of two soldiers of Napoleon.  But Msgr. de Teil’s visit stimulated her devotion to the Carmelites of Compiègne.  “After that date, she had for these martyrs a great veneration.”[19]  Her encounter with Msgr. de Teil reactivated in Thérèse what she wrote a few days later to Marie of the Sacred Heart in her famous “Manuscript B:” “Martyrdom was the dream of my youth, and this dream has grown with me within Carmel’s cloisters.”

Saint Thérèse treasured images of the Carmelites of Compiègne

Saint Thérèse kept three holy cards with images of the Carmelite martyrs of Compiègne.  In her breviary she kept a holy card made from a photograph of a tableau painted a little before the centenary in 1894 by Mother Marie of Jesus of Leindre [sic], a Carmelite of Compiègne.[20]  View Thérèse’s holy card of the Carmelite martyrs of Compiègne.  

The painting is now at Jonquières, where the Carmelites of Compiègne moved in 1992.[21]

Thérèse had two copies of the other holy card, which listed the name of each nun and her place of birth, with a short account of their martyrdom and a prayer for their beatification.  I believe that this card was probably distributed in 1896 when the cause was opened.  This image accompanied Thérèse to the infirmary in July 1897.  She placed it in her little “book of graces at the table," which was constantly by her.  She kept the second image, which was exactly the same, in the volume of John of the Cross she had in the infirmary (the Spiritual Canticle followed by the Living Flame of Love).[22] That these images accompanied her into the little infirmary where she died confirms that her devotion to these martyrs, made stronger in September 1896,  remained fervent until her death a year later. 

See the image of the Carmelite martyrs of Compiègne cherished by St. Thérèse at the Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.

July 17, 1897.  Was St. Thérèse’s famous remark about her posthumous mission inspired by the Carmelites of Compiègne?

According to Last Conversations, on Saturday, July 17, 1897,  Thérèse coughed up blood.  Her sister Pauline, Mother Agnes of Jesus, writes that she said these words:

I feel that I'm about to enter into my rest. But I feel especially that my mission is about to begin, my mission of making God loved as I love Him, of giving my little way to souls. If God answers my desires, my heaven will be spent on earth until the end of the world. Yes, I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth. This isn't im­possible, since from the bosom of the beatific vision, the angels watch over us.

"I can't make heaven a feast of rejoicing; I can't rest as long as there are souls to be saved. But when the angel will have said: 'Time is no more!'" then I will take my rest; I'll be able to rejoice, because the number of the elect will be complete and because all will have entered into joy and repose. My heart beats with joy at this thought.[23][24]

An early version of Thérèse’s reported words was the “green notebook” prepared by her sister Pauline, Mother Agnes of Jesus.  The typescript of the green notebook mentions, after the words quoted above, only Pauline’s notation “I observed that July 17 was the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Carmelites of Compiègne.”  Bishop Gaucher asks:

Was it a coincidence that the announcement of Thérèse’s posthumous mission took place on the feast of her martyred sisters? Perhaps.  But one can read here also the extraordinary fruitfuless of the hidden life, of the martyrdom of love to which Thérèse always aspired, of suffering offered for the salvation of the world.[25]

But there is more.  Bishop Gaucher notes that the penciled lines on the handwritten “green notebook,” lines sadly erased in part, go beyond the typescript.  The words “Sister Constance” and “novice” can still be seen.  Sister Constance, born Marie-Genevieve Meunier, was the youngest of the martyrs.  Shortly before she was eligible to make profession, the government passed a law forbidding the taking of religious vows, so, after six years in Carmel, she was still a novice.  She was the first to die, after having made her vows at the foot of the scaffold.  It was she who, mounting the scaffold, uddenly began to chant Psalm 117, the psalm Teresa of Avila had chanted whenever she made a new foundation:

Praise the Lord, all ye nations!

Praise Him, all ye peoples!

For His mercy is confirmed upon us,

And the truth of the Lord endureth forever.

The other nuns intoned the psalm with Sister Constance, and the chanting of the psalm continued, voice after voice cut short, until the last nun was executed.[26]

Bishop Gaucher asks:

Isn’t it plausible that Thérèse had been struck by this novice, the first offered?  She who remained in the novitiate her whole life, she who loved the young saints so well, did she not envy the fate of her young sister?[27]

June 6, 1905: The brief for the beatification of the martyred Carmelites of Compiègne and a petition for the opening of Thérèse’s cause

Pope Leo XIII, of whom Thérèse had begged permission to enter Carmel, declared the Carmelites of Compiègne venerable in 1902.[28]

Despite the immense popularity of St. Thérèse’s Story of a Soul, the Carmelites did not think of her canonization.  But petitions arrived from many countries asking for her cause to be opened.  Then, on June 6, 1905, Pope St. Pius X, who would soon call St. Thérèse “the greatest saint of modern times,” promulgated the brief of beatification for the martyred Carmelites of Compiègne.[29]  On that same evening the Lisieux Carmel received a petition with 53 signatures from the seminary of Tournai in Belgium with  asking them to introduce Thérèse’s cause.  “The Carmelites could not help but see a sign in this coincidence.  It seemed to them that the Carmelites of Compiègne were asking them to work for the glorification of their little sister.”[30]

St. Thérèse had always had a special love for many young martyrs: St. Agnes, St. Cecilia, St. Joan of Arc, Theophane Venard . . . In offering herself as a victim of holocaust to Merciful Love, she prayed to “become a martyr of Your Love, O my God!”  She wrote that “the martyrdom of the heart is not less fruitful than the pouring out of one’s blood.”  If the martyrs of Compiègne, who shed their blood for the faith, asked their sisters of Lisieux to work for the canonization of Thérèse, the martyr of love, might the Church one day recognize St. Thérèse of Lisieux as a martyr?

Further reading:

 To Quell the Terror: The True Story of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, by William Bush

 _________________________________________________________________________________

[1] by William Bush.  (Washington, D.C.: Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc., 1999).

[2] Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux, accessed 7/17/16

[3] Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux, accessed 7/17/16

[4] Catholiques de Compiègne - Carmel de Jonquières, accessed 7/18/16

4a.  Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux, accessed 7/23/16

[5]  Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux,  accessed  7/18/16

[6]  Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux, accessed 7/18/16

[7]   Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux accessed 7/16/16

[8]   Documentation supplied by the Carmel of Compiegne.  Also:  To Quell the Terror: The True Story of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, by William Bush.  (Washington, D.C.: Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc., 1999), seriatim. 

[9]   Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux, accessed 7/16/16

[10] Pierre Descouvement and Helmut-Nils Loose.  Paris: Editions du Cerf [Orphelins Apprentis d’Auteuil – Office Central de Lisieux – Novalis], 1991, p. 341. 

[11]  Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux,  accessed 7/16/16

[12]  Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux accessed 7/17/16

[13] Quoted and cited in Guy Gaucher, O.C.D., “Thérèse de Lisieux, des seize martyres de Compiègne, et Georges Bernanos,”  Bulletin de la Société historique de Compiègne, Bulletin No. B34 (Les Carmelites de Compiègne), 1995, p. 146.  Accessed 7/17/16.  My translation.

[14] Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: Her Life, Times, and Teaching, ed. Conrad De Meester, O.C.D., in chapter 14, “Thérèse’s Universal Influence,” by Pierre Descouvement and Raymond Zambelli, (Washington, D.C.: Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc., 1997), p. 259. 

[15] Storm of Glory, by John Beevers.  Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Image Books, 1955, p. 118.

[16] Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: Her Life, Times, and Teaching, ed. Conrad De Meester, O.C.D., in chapter 14, “Thérèse’s Universal Influence,” by Pierre Descouvement and Raymond Zambelli, (Washington, D.C.: Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc., 1997), p. 256.

[17] Gaucher, “Thérèse de Lisieux, des seize martyres de Compiègne, et Georges Bernanos,”  op. cit., p. 146, accessed 7/17/16.

[18]  Web site of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux, accessed 7/17/16

[19] Letter of Mother Marie-Ange of the Child Jesus to Msgr. de Teil, 22 January 1909, quoted and cited in Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux (1873-1897) by Guy Gaucher, O.C.D.  Paris: Editions du Cerf, 2010, p. 404.  My translation.

[20] Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux: La vie en images, Pierre Descouvement and Helmut-Nils Loose.  Paris: Editions du Cerf [Orphelins Apprentis d’Auteuil – Office Central de Lisieux – Novalis], 1991, p. 340.

[21]  Catholiques de Compiègne - Carmel de Jonquières, accessed 7/17/16

[22] Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux: La vie en images, op. cit., pp. 338-339. 

[23] St. Thérèse of Lisieux: Her Last Conversations, ed. John Clarke, O.C.D.  Washington, D.C.: Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, p. 102.

[24] Last Conversations (reported words of Thérèse) cannot be held on a level with Thérèse’s writings.  But Thérèse’s letter of July 14, 1897 to her spiritual brother, Fr. Adolphe Roulland, expresses similar desires. Letters of Saint Therese of Lisieux, Vol. II (1890-1897), tr. John Clarke, O.C.D.  Washington, D.C.: Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, 1988, p. 1142.

[25] Guy Gaucher, O.C.D., ‘Thérèse de Lisieux, des seize martyres de Compiègne, et Georges Bernanos.”  op. cit., p. 148, accessed 7/17/16.  My translation.

[26] To Quell the Terror: The True Story of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, op. cit., seriatim.

[27]  Quoted and cited in Guy Gaucher, ‘Thérèse de Lisieux, des seize martyres de Compiègne, et Georges Bernanos,” op. cit., p. 149, accessed 7/17/16)

[28] The Tablet, July 8, 1905, accessed 7/17/16. 

[29] They would be beatified on May 27, 1906, the first martyrs of the French revolution

[30] Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: Her Life, Times, and Teaching, op. cit., p. 258.

Copyright 2016 by Maureen O'Riordan.  All rights reserved.

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