October 1st is the feast day of one of my favorites, St. Therese of Lisieux. I always call her my best friend in Heaven and even though to some that may sound a bit odd, I truly feel that way. It was St. Therese and a few other saints that helped me convert my heart when I was about 20 years old and I have had a devotion to her ever since.
A Little Bit About Her
At the age of 13 on Christmas Eve she had a powerful experience that changed her life which she called the "Christmas Miracle". After living as a stubborn, "bratty" little girl her heart was changed from thinking constantly of herself to thinking of the salvation of others. In fact, her mother St. Zelie said, "As for [Therese], one cannot tell how she will turn out, she is so young and heedless... her stubbornness is almost unconquerable. When she has said no, nothing will make her change; one could leave her all day in the cellar without getting her to say yes. She would sooner sleep there!" It was at this "Christmas Miracle" in which she realized that she was to no longer approach things with a sense of selfishness and overreaction, but of joy and gratitude out of love for God. At the age of 15 she entered the Carmelite convent upon permission of the Pope! There she lived a cloistered life that was filled with small acts of love and hidden sacrifices.
My Friendship with St. Therese
I came to know her more through reading her very popular autobiography, "Story of a Soul", which she describes her life, conversion, time as a nun, and spirituality. I was intrigued by the fact that such a young girl could decide so fervently to live what I considered to be quite an extreme vocation, the cloistered life. I say extreme from my initial perspective because I didn't grow up in an area where there were very many religious. I didn't meet or know a sister or anyone belonging to religious life until college! However, the part that struck me most was that St. Therese was probably one of the first saints to convince me that I had a chance at Heaven, that I could be a saint too just like her! Her "little way" was simple yet profound, quiet sufferings for the salvation of souls and small acts done with great love. I saw that as my way to get to Heaven too and for much of my 20s I imperfectly learned that spirituality and let it become a part of who I am as a wife, teacher, friend, godmother, and daughter of God. St. Therese says, "I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul." I believe that this is the life I would most likely lead, not one with mystical visions or experiences, but an ordinary life! A life of doing dishes, teaching students, cooking for a husband, coping with the anxieties of life, having brunch with friends, and all the other things that I know you do too. Essentially she taught me to sanctify the life that I am in, and to make that an offering for God.
Even though I have never met her, I love her for her life's example and what she has done for my journey. I believe that she played a major role in the discernment of my vocation which you can read about here. https://www.spokenbride.com/blog/2019/9/11/dominick-steffani
Celebrating St. Therese
She was born in Alencon, France to every year I try to do some kind of French food. Here are some ideas!
French Onion Soup
1. Paint a wooden peg doll of St. Therese
2. Make St. Therese Sacrifice Beads
3. Make these paper or felt roses and decorate your home
4. Color this printable St. Therese statue craft
5. Sacrifice cards for kids
Paper rose craft! I have also done this with felt and it was really easy. My goddaughters middle name is Rose so when she was born I gifted her with a felt rose mobile to hang above her crib.
1. A Morning Prayer Written by St. Therese
O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to Its infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.
O my God! I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all Eternity. Amen.
2. St. Therese of Lisieux Rose Novena
3. Novena that begins on her feast day
4. A Prayer to St. Therese of Lisieux
O little St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, who during your short life on earth became a mirror of angelic purity, of love strong as death, and of wholehearted abandonment to God, now that you rejoice in the reward of your virtues, cast a glance of pity on me as I leave all things in your hands. Make my troubles your own - speak a word for me to our Lady Immaculate, whose flower of special love you were - to that Queen of heaven 'who smiled on you at the dawn of life. ' Beg her as the Queen of the heart of Jesus to obtain for me by her powerful intercession, the grace I yearn for so ardently at this moment, and that she join with it a blessing that may strengthen me during life. Defend me at the hour of death, and lead me straight on to a happy eternity. Amen
5. Litany to St. Therese of the Child Jesus
1. Olivia and the Little Way
2. St. Therese and the Roses
3. The Little Flower: A Parable of St. Therese of Lisieux
4. Little Catechism of St. Therese of Lisieux
5. Little Lessons from St. Therese of Lisieux
1. The Story of a Soul
2. Shirt of Flame: A Year with St. Therese of Lisieux
3. I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teachings of St. Therese
4. The Way of Trust and Love
5. The Extraordinary Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux
Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin
...with Catholic Artisan Items for All Ages!
1. St. Therese of Lisieux Sensory Rosary for Babes - Lion and Lamb Woodcraft
2. St. Therese of Lisieux Stickers for Teens - Gratia Design Co Shop
3. St. Therese Prints for All Ages - Mrs Torres Creates
4. The Therese Candle for Home - Sword and Crown Store
5. St. Therese of Lisieux Notecards for Teens and Adults - Meyer Market Designs
6. St. Therese of Lisieux Pillowcase for Children- Meyer Market Designs
7. St. Therese Decade Rosary Bracelet for Teens and Adults- Vianney Beads
8. St. Therese of Lisieux Fabric- Faith and Fabric
9. St. Therese of Lisieux Little Way of the Cross- Just Love Prints
10. St. Therese of Lisieux Quote- Sweet Little Ones
Whatever you may choose from this long list of ideas I highly suggest one thing, do some small sacrifice with great love! This is the little way, and the spirituality that St. Therese taught us. I am praying you have a blessed feast day filled with family and joy.
St. Therese of Lisieux,
Pray for us!