Our Patron Saint
Marie Francoise Martin was born at Alencon, France, on January 2, 1873, the youngest of nine children of Louis Martin, a watchmaker, and Zelie Guerin. Her mother died when she was five, and the family moved to Lisieux, where her older sister and an aunt raised her. Two of her sisters became Carmelite nuns, and she resolved to emulate them. She was refused admission at first but a year later was admitted to the Carmel at Lisieux.
She was professed in 1890, taking the name Therese of the Child Jesus. Afflicted with tuberculosis, she bore her illness with great patience and fortitude, devoting herself to prayer and meditation and serving for a time as mistress of novices.
By order of the prioress, Mother Agnes (her sister Pauline), she began in 1894 to write the story of her childhood, and in 1897, after finishing it the previous year, she was ordered by the new prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague, to tell of her life in the convent. Both were combined into The Story of a Soul, which became one of the most widely read modern spiritual autobiographies. The life of St. Therese was characterized by her simplicity and her “little way of holiness”. She had a wonderfully trusting Abbu/daughter relationship with our God whom she loved so totally.
She died of tuberculosis at the age of 24, on September 30, 1897 at Lisieux, and quickly attracted a tremendous following as the “Little Flower” and “the saint of the little way”. She was canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. She was declared co-patron of the missions, with St. Francis Xavier, in 1928 and in 1944 was named with Joan of Arc, co-patroness of France. St. Therese’s feast day is October 1st.