Prayer to the Guardian Angel

Prayer to the Guardian Angel

O Holy Angel of God, guardian and protector
of my soul and body, pray that I may be forgiven
for every transgression I have committed this day.

Deliver me from all evil influences and temptations,
so that I may not anger my God by any sin.
Pray for me that the Lord may make me worthy of His grace
and to become partaker of His eternal kingdom. With the help
of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints. Amen.




St Therese of Lisieux

St. Therese of Lisieux

Feastday: October 1
Patron of the Missions
1873 – 1897

Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the “Little Flower“, and found in her short life more inspiration for own lives than in volumes by theologians.

Yet Therese died when she was 24, after having lived as cloistered Carmelite for less than ten years. She never went on missions, never founded a religious order, never performed great works. The only book of hers, published after her death, was an brief edited version of her journal called “Story of a Soul.” (Collections of her letters and restored versions of her journals have been published recently.) But within 28 years of her death, the public demand was so great that she was canonized.

Over the years, some modern Catholics have turned away from her because they associate her with over- sentimentalized piety and yet the message she has for us is still as compelling and simple as it was almost a century ago.

Therese was born in France in 1873, the pampered daughter of a mother who had wanted to be a saint and a father who had wanted to be monk. The two had gotten married but determined they would be celibate until a priest told them that was not how God wanted a marriage to work! They must have followed his advice very well because they had nine children. The five children who lived were all daughters who were close all their lives.

Tragedy and loss came quickly to Therese when her mother died of breast cancer when she was four and a half years old. Her sixteen year old sister Pauline became her second mother — which made the second loss even worse when Pauline entered the Carmelite convent five years later. A few months later, Therese became so ill with a fever that people thought she was dying.

The worst part of it for Therese was all the people sitting around her bed staring at her like, she said, “a string of onions.” When Therese saw her sisters praying to statue of Mary in her room, Therese also prayed. She saw Mary smile at her and suddenly she was cured. She tried to keep the grace of the cure secret but people found out and badgered her with questions about what Mary was wearing, what she looked like. When she refused to give in to their curiosity, they passed the story that she had made the whole thing up.

Without realizing it, by the time she was eleven years old she had developed the habit of mental prayer. She would find a place between her bed and the wall and in that solitude think about God, life, eternity.

When her other sisters, Marie and Leonie, left to join religious orders (the Carmelites and Poor Clares, respectively), Therese was left alone with her last sister Celine and her father. Therese tells us that she wanted to be good but that she had an odd way of going about. This spoiled little Queen of her father’s wouldn’t do housework. She thought if she made the beds she was doing a great favor!

Every time Therese even imagined that someone was criticizing her or didn’t appreciate her, she burst into tears. Then she would cry because she had cried! Any inner wall she built to contain her wild emotions crumpled immediately before the tiniest comment.

Therese wanted to enter the Carmelite convent to join Pauline and Marie but how could she convince others that she could handle the rigors of Carmelite life, if she couldn’t handle her own emotional outbursts? She had prayed that Jesus would help her but there was no sign of an answer.

On Christmas day in 1886, the fourteen-year-old hurried home from church. In France, young children left their shoes by the hearth at Christmas, and then parents would fill them with gifts. By fourteen, most children outgrew this custom. But her sister Celine didn’t want Therese to grow up. So they continued to leave presents in “baby” Therese’s shoes.

As she and Celine climbed the stairs to take off their hats, their father’s voice rose up from the parlor below. Standing over the shoes, he sighed, “Thank goodness that’s the last time we shall have this kind of thing!”

Therese froze, and her sister looked at her helplessly. Celine knew that in a few minutes Therese would be in tears over what her father had said.

But the tantrum never came. Something incredible had happened to Therese. Jesus had come into her heart and done what she could not do herself. He had made her more sensitive to her father’s feelings than her own.

She swallowed her tears, walked slowly down the stairs, and exclaimed over the gifts in the shoes, as if she had never heard a word her father said. The following year she entered the convent. In her autobiography she referred to this Christmas as her “conversion.”

Therese be known as the Little Flower but she had a will of steel. When the superior of the Carmelite convent refused to take Therese because she was so young, the formerly shy little girl went to the bishop. When the bishop also said no, she decided to go over his head, as well.

Her father and sister took her on a pilgrimage to Rome to try to get her mind off this crazy idea. Therese loved it. It was the one time when being little worked to her advantage! Because she was young and small she could run everywhere, touch relics and tombs without being yelled at. Finally they went for an audience with the Pope. They had been forbidden to speak to him but that didn’t stop Therese. As soon as she got near him, she begged that he let her enter the Carmelite convent. She had to be carried out by two of the guards!

But the Vicar General who had seen her courage was impressed and soon Therese was admitted to the Carmelite convent that her sisters Pauline and Marie had already joined. Her romantic ideas of convent life and suffering soon met up with reality in a way she had never expected. Her father suffered a series of strokes that left him affected not only physically but mentally. When he began hallucinating and grabbed for a gun as if going into battle, he was taken to an asylum for the insane. Horrified, Therese learned of the humiliation of the father she adored and admired and of the gossip and pity of their so-called friends. As a cloistered nun she couldn’t even visit her father.

This began a horrible time of suffering when she experienced such dryness in prayer that she stated “Jesus isn’t doing much to keep the conversation going.” She was so grief-stricken that she often fell asleep in prayer. She consoled herself by saying that mothers loved children when they lie asleep in their arms so that God must love her when she slept during prayer.

She knew as a Carmelite nun she would never be able to perform great deeds. ” Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.” She took every chance to sacrifice, no matter how small it would seem. She smiled at the sisters she didn’t like. She ate everything she was given without complaining — so that she was often given the worst leftovers. One time she was accused of breaking a vase when she was not at fault. Instead of arguing she sank to her knees and begged forgiveness. These little sacrifices cost her more than bigger ones, for these went unrecognized by others. No one told her how wonderful she was for these little secret humiliations and good deeds.

When Pauline was elected prioress, she asked Therese for the ultimate sacrifice. Because of politics in the convent, many of the sisters feared that the family Martin would taken over the convent. Therefore Pauline asked Therese to remain a novice, in order to allay the fears of the others that the three sisters would push everyone else around. This meant she would never be a fully professed nun, that she would always have to ask permission for everything she did. This sacrifice was made a little sweeter when Celine entered the convent after her father’s death. Four of the sisters were now together again.

Therese continued to worry about how she could achieve holiness in the life she led. She didn’t want to just be good, she wanted to be a saint. She thought there must be a way for people living hidden, little lives like hers. ” I have always wanted to become a saint. Unfortunately when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passers-by. Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.

” We live in an age of inventions. We need no longer climb laboriously up flights of stairs; in well-to-do houses there are lifts. And I was determined to find a lift to carry me to Jesus, for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: “Whosoever is a little one, come to me.” It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less.”

She worried about her vocation: ” I feel in me the vocation of the Priest. I have the vocation of the Apostle. Martyrdom was the dream of my youth and this dream has grown with me. Considering the mystical body of the Church, I desired to see myself in them all. Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and places…in a word, that it was eternal! Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my Love…my vocation, at last I have found it…My vocation is Love!”

When an antagonist was elected prioress, new political suspicions and plottings sprang up. The concern over the Martin sisters perhaps was not exaggerated. In this small convent they now made up one-fifth of the population. Despite this and the fact that Therese was a permanent novice they put her in charge of the other novices.

Then in 1896, she coughed up blood. She kept working without telling anyone until she became so sick a year later everyone knew it. Worst of all she had lost her joy and confidence and felt she would die young without leaving anything behind. Pauline had already had her writing down her memories for journal and now she wanted her to continue — so they would have something to circulate on her life after her death.

Her pain was so great that she said that if she had not had faith she would have taken her own life without hesitation. But she tried to remain smiling and cheerful — and succeeded so well that some thought she was only pretending to be ill. Her one dream as the work she would do after her death, helping those on earth. “I will return,” she said. “My heaven will be spent on earth.” She died on September 30, 1897 at the age of 24 years old. She herself felt it was a blessing God allowed her to die at exactly that age. she had always felt that she had a vocation to be a priest and felt God let her die at the age she would have been ordained if she had been a man so that she wouldn’t have to suffer.

After she died, everything at the convent went back to normal. One nun commented that there was nothing to say about Therese. But Pauline put together Therese’s writings (and heavily edited them, unfortunately) and sent 2000 copies to other convents. But Therese’s “little way” of trusting in Jesus to make her holy and relying on small daily sacrifices instead of great deeds appealed to the thousands of Catholics and others who were trying to find holiness in ordinary lives. Within two years, the Martin family had to move because her notoriety was so great and by 1925 she had been canonized.

Therese of Lisieux is one of the patron saints of the missions, not because she ever went anywhere, but because of her special love of the missions, and the prayers and letters she gave in support of missionaries. This is reminder to all of us who feel we can do nothing, that it is the little things that keep God’s kingdom growing.

from Wikipedia

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (2 January 1873 – 30 September 1897), or Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, born Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin, was a French Carmelite nun. She is also known as “The Little Flower of Jesus”.

She felt an early call to religious life, and overcoming various obstacles, in 1888 at the early age of 15, became a nun and joined two of her elder sisters in the cloistered Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy. After nine years as a Carmelite religious, having fulfilled various offices such as sacristan and assistant to the novice mistress, and having spent the last eighteen months in Carmel in a night of faith, she died of tuberculosis at the age of 24.

The impact of The Story of a Soul, a collection of her autobiographical manuscripts, printed and distributed a year after her death to an initially very limited audience, was great, and she rapidly became one of the most popular saints of the twentieth century. Pope Pius XI made her the “star of his pontificate”.[1] She was beatified in 1923, and canonized in 1925. Thérèse was declared co-patron of the missions with Francis Xavier in 1927, and named co-patron of France with Joan of Arc in 1944. On 19 October 1997 Pope John Paul II declared her the thirty-third Doctor of the Church, the youngest person, and only the third woman, to be so honored. Devotion to Thérèse has developed around the world.[2]

Thérèse lived a hidden life and “wanted to be unknown,” yet became popular after her death through her spiritual autobiography – she left also letters, poems, religious plays, prayers, and her last conversations were recorded by her sisters. Paintings and photographs, mostly the work of her sister Céline, further led to her being recognised by millions of men and women.

The depth of her spirituality, of which she said, “my way is all confidence and love,” has inspired many believers. In the face of her littleness and nothingness, she trusted in God to be her sanctity. She wanted to go to heaven by an entirely new little way. “I wanted to find an elevator that would raise me to Jesus.” The elevator, she wrote, would be the arms of Jesus lifting her in all her littleness. However, according to Guy Gaucher, one of her biographers after her death, “Thérèse fell victim to an excess of sentimental devotion which betrayed her. She was victim also to her language, which was that of the late nineteenth century and flowed from the religiosity of her age.”[3] Thérèse herself said on her death-bed, “I only love simplicity. I have a horror of pretence”, and she spoke out against some of the lives of saints written in her day, “We should not say improbable things, or things we do not know. We must see their real, and not their imagined lives.”[3]

Thérèse is well known throughout the world, with the Basilica of Lisieux being the second largest place of pilgrimage in France after Lourdes.[4]


Family background

Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin was born in rue Saint-Blaise, Alençon, France, 2 January 1873, the daughter of Zélie Guérin, a lacemaker, and Louis Martin, a jeweler and watchmaker.[5] Both her parents were devout Catholics. Louis had tried to become a monk, wanting to enter the Augustinian Monastery of the Great St Bernard, but had been refused because he knew no Latin. Zélie, possessed of a strong, active temperament, wished to serve the sick, and had also considered becoming a religious, but the superior of the sisters of the Hôtel-Dieu, Alençon had discouraged her enquiry outright.[6] Disappointed, Zélie learned the trade of lacemaking. She excelled in it and set up her own business on rue Saint-Blaise at age 22.

Zélie Martin, mother of Thérèse. In June 1877 she left for Lourdes hoping to be cured, but the miracle did not happen..The Mother of God has not healed me because my time is up, and because God wills me to repose elsewhere than on the earth

Louis and Zélie met in 1858, and married on July 13, 1858. Both of great piety they were part of the petit-bourgeoisie, comfortable Alençon. At first they decided to live as brother and sister in a perpetual continence, but when a confessor discouraged them in this, they changed their lifestyle and had 9 children. From 1867 to 1870 they lost 3 infants and 5-and-a-half-year-old Hélène. All 5 of their surviving daughters became nuns:

  • Marie (22 February 1860, a Carmelite in Lisieux, in religion, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, d. 19 January 1940),
  • Pauline (7 September 1861, in religion, Mother Agnes of Jesus in the Lisieux Carmel, d. 28 July 1951),
  • Léonie (3 June 1863, in religion Sister Françoise-Thérèse, Visitandine at Caen, d. 16 June 1941),
  • Céline (28 April 1869, a Carmelite in Lisieux, in religion, Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face, d. 25 February 1959),
  • and finally Thérèse.

Zélie was so successful in manufacturing lace that by 1870 Louis had sold his watchmaking shop to a nephew and handled the traveling and bookkeeping end of her lacemaking business.

Birth and survival

Louis Martin, father of Thérèse. ” He was a dreamer and brooder, an idealist and romantic…To his daughters he gave touching and naïve pet names: Marie was his diamond, Pauline his noble pearl, Céline the bold one..But Thérèse was his petite reine, little queen, to whom all treasures belonged.”[7]

Soon after her birth in January 1873, the outlook for the survival of Thérèse Martin was very grim. Enteritis, which had already claimed the lives of four of her siblings, threatened Thérèse, and she had to be entrusted to a wet nurse, Rose Taillé, who had already nursed two of the Martin children. Rose had her own children and could not live with the Martins, so Thérèse was sent to live with her in the forests of the Bocage at Semallé. On Holy Thursday April 2, 1874, when she was 15 months old, she returned to Alençon where her family surrounded her with affection. She was educated in a very Catholic environment, including Mass attendance at 5:30 AM, the strict observance of fasts, and prayer to the rhythm of the liturgical year. The Martins also practiced charity, visiting the sick and elderly and welcoming the occasional vagabond to their table. Even if she wasn’t the model little girl her sisters later portrayed, Thérèse was very sensitive to this education. She played at being a nun. One day she went as far as to wish her mother would die; when scolded, she explained that she wanted the happiness of Paradise for her dear mother. Described as generally a happy child,[8] the mother’s humorous letters from this time provide a vivid picture of the baby Thérèse. In a letter to Pauline when Thérèse was three; ” She is intelligent enough, but not nearly so docile as her sister Céline. When she says no nothing can make her change, and she can be terribly obstinate. You could keep her down in the cellar all day without getting a yes out of her; she would rather sleep there.” Mischievous and impish, she gave joy to her family but she was emotional too, and often cried: “Céline is playing with the little one with some bricks… I have to correct poor baby who gets into frightful tantrums when she can’t have her own way. She rolls in the floor in despair believing all is lost. Sometimes she is so overcome she almost chokes. She is a very highly-strung child.” At 22, Thérèse, then a Carmelite, admitted: “I was far from being a perfect little girl.[9]

“I hear the baby calling me Mama! as she goes down the stairs. On every step, she calls out Mama! and if I don’t respond every time, she remains there without going either forward or back.” Madame Martin to Pauline, 21 November 1875

On 28 August 1877, Zélie Martin died of breast cancer, aged 45. From 1865 she had complained of breast pain and in December 1876 a doctor told her of the seriousness of the tumour. Feeling the approach of death Madame Martin had written to Pauline in spring 1877, “You and Marie will have no difficulties with her upbringing. Her disposition is so good. She is a chosen spirit.” Thérèse was barely 4 1/2 years old. Her mother’s death dealt her a severe blow and later she would consider that the first part of her life stopped that day. She wrote: “Every detail of my mother’s illness is still with me, specially her last weeks on earth.” She remembered the bedroom scene where her dying mother received the last sacraments while Thérèse knelt and her father cried. She wrote: “When Mummy died, my happy disposition changed. I had been so lively and open; now I became diffident and oversensitive, crying if anyone looked at me. I was only happy if no one took notice of me… It was only in the intimacy of my own family, where everyone was wonderfully kind, that I could be more myself.”[10][11]

Three months after Zélie died, Louis Martin left Alençon, where he had spent his youth and marriage, and moved to Lisieux in the Calvados Department of Normandy, where Zélie’s pharmacist brother Isidore Guérin lived with his wife and two daughters. In her last months Zélie had given up the lace business; after her death, Louis sold it. Louis leased a pretty, spacious country house, Les Buissonnets, situated in a large garden on the slope of a hill overlooking the town. Looking back, Thérèse would see the move to Les Buissonnets as the beginning of the “second period of my life, the most painful of the three: it extends from the age of four-and-a-half to fourteen, the time when I rediscovered my childhood character, and entered into the serious side of life.”[12] In Lisieux, Pauline took on the role of Thérèse’s Mama. She took this role seriously, and Thérèse grew especially close to her, and to Céline, the sister closest to her in youth.

Early years

Thérèse discovered the community life of school something for which she was unprepared. She wrote later that the five years of school were the saddest of her life and she found consolation only in the presence at the school of her dear Céline, Céline cherie (photo:Thérèse aged 8, 1881)

Thérèse was taught at home until she was eight and a half, and then entered the school kept by the Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of Notre Dame du Pre in Lisieux. Thérèse, taught well and carefully by Marie and Pauline, found herself at the top of the class, except for writing and arithmetic. However, because of her young age and high grades, she was bullied. The one who bullied her the most was a girl of fourteen who did poorly at school. Thérèse suffered very much as a result of her sensitivity, and she cried in silence. Furthermore, the boisterous games at recreation were not to her taste. She preferred to tell stories or look after the little ones in the infants class. ” The five years I spent at school were the saddest of my life, and if my dear Céline had not been with me I could not have stayed there for a single month without falling ill.” ‘She now developed a fondness for hiding’ Céline informs us[13] ‘she did not want to be observed, for she sincerely considered herself inferior.'”[14] On her free days she became more and more attached to Marie Guérin, the younger of her two cousins in Lisieux. The two girls would play at being anchorites, as the great Teresa had once played with her brother. And every evening she plunged into the family circle. “Fortunately I could go home every evening and then I cheered up. I used to jump on Father’s knee and tell him what marks I had had, and when he kissed me all my troubles were forgotten…I needed this sort of encouragement so much.” Yet the tension of the double life and the daily self-conquest placed a strain on Thérèse. Going to school became more and more difficult.

Les Buissonnets, The Martin family house in Lisieux to which they moved in November 1877 following the death of Madame Martin. Thérèse lived here from November 16, 1877 to April 9, 1888, the day she entered Carmel.

When she was nine years old, in October 1882, her sister Pauline who had acted as a “second mother” to her, entered the Carmelite monastery at Lisieux. Thérèse was devastated. She understood that Pauline was cloistered and that she would never come back. “I said in the depths of my heart: Pauline is lost to me!” The shock reawakened in her the trauma caused by her mother’s death. She also wanted to join the Carmelites, but was told she was too young. Yet Thérèse so impressed Mother Marie Gonzague, prioress at the time of Pauline’s entry to the community that she wrote to comfort her, calling Thérèse “my future little daughter.”


At this time, Thérèse was often sick; she began to suffer from nervous tremors. The tremors started one night after her uncle took her for a walk and began to talk about Zélie. Assuming that she was cold, the family covered Therese with blankets, but the tremors continued; she clenched her teeth and could not speak. The family called Dr. Notta, who could make no diagnosis.[15] In 1882, Dr Gayral diagnosed that Thérèse “reacts to an emotional frustration with a neurotic attack.[16] An alarmed, but cloistered, Pauline began to write letters to Thérèse and attempted various strategies to intervene. Eventually Thérèse recovered after she had turned to gaze at the statue of the Virgin Mary placed in Marie’s room, where Thérèse had been moved.[17] She reported on 13 May 1883 that she had seen the Virgin smile at her.[18][19] She wrote: “Our Blessed Lady has come to me, she has smiled upon me. How happy I am.”[20] However, when Thérèse told the Carmelite nuns about this vision at the request of her eldest sister Marie, she found herself assailed by their questions and she lost confidence. Self doubt made her begin to question what had happened. “I thought I had lied – I was unable to look upon myself without a feeling of profound horror.”[21] “For a long time after my cure,I thought that my sickness was deliberate and this was a real martyrdom for my soul.” [22] Her concerns over this continued until November 1887.

In October 1886 her oldest sister, Marie, entered the same Carmelite monastery, adding to Thérèse’s grief. The warm atmosphere at Les Buissonnets, so necessary to her, was disappearing. Now only she and Céline remained with their father. Her frequent tears made some friends think she had a weak character and the Guérins indeed shared this opinion.

Thérèse also suffered from scruples, a condition experienced by other saints such as Alphonsus Liguori, also a Doctor of the Church and Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. She wrote: “One would have to pass through this martyrdom to understand it well, and for me to express what I experienced for a year and a half would be impossible.”[23]

Thérèse in 1886, age 13. “It would certainly be unfair to call Thérèse of Lisieux limited, narrow. She was very alert and intelligent, and could certainly have gone to university today, passing all examinations with flying colours. But her horizon was limited – she was quite definitely a vertical person, could only grow skywards and into the depths – no breadth.” (Ida Gorres, Diaries 1955-57 )

Complete conversion: Christmas 1886

Christmas Eve 1886 was a turning point in the life of Therese; she called it her “complete conversion.” Years later she stated that on that night she overcame the pressures she had faced since the death of her mother and said that “God worked a little miracle to make me grow up in an instant.” “On that blessed night … Jesus, who saw fit to make Himself a child out of love for me, saw fit to have me come forth from the swaddling clothes and imperfections of childhood.”[24]

On Christmas Eve 1886, Louis Martin and his daughters, Léonie, Céline and Thérèse, had attended the midnight mass at the cathedral in Lisieux – “but there was very little heart left in them. On 1 December Léonie, covered in eczema and hiding her hair under a short mantilla, had returned to Les Buissonnets after just seven weeks of the Poor Clares regime in Alençon”, and her sisters were helping her get over her sense of failure and humiliation. Back at Les Buissonnets as every year, Thérèse ” as was the custom for French children, had left her shoes on the hearth, empty in anticipation of gifts, not from Father Christmas but from the Child Jesus, who was imagined to travel through the air bearing toys and cakes.” [25] While she was going up the stairs she heard her father, “perhaps exhausted by the hour, or this reminder of the relentless emotional demands of his weepy youngest daughter”, say to Céline, “Well, fortunately this will be the last year!” Thérèse had begun to cry and Céline advised her not to go back downstairs immediately. Then, suddenly, Thérèse pulled herself together and wiped her tears. She ran down the stairs, knelt by the fireplace and unwrapped her surprises as jubilantly as ever. In her account, nine years later, of 1895 : “In an instant Jesus, content with my good will, accomplished the work I had not been able to do in ten years.” After nine sad years she had “recovered the strength of soul she had lost when her mother died and, she said, she was to retain it forever.” She discovered the joy in self-forgetfulness and added ; “I felt, in a word, charity enter my heart, the need to forget myself to make others happy – Since this blessed night I was not defeated in any battle, but instead I went from victory to victory and began, so to speak, “to run a giant’s course.” (Psalms 19:5) “

“Thérèse instantly understood what had happened to her when she won this banal little victory over her sensitivity, which she had borne for so long… she had been vouchsafed a freedom which all her efforts had been unable to win. A long, painful period of growth lasting almost ten years was now over; …freedom is found in resolutely looking away from oneself.. and the fact that a person can cast himself away from himself reveals again that being good, victory is pure grace, a sudden gift..It cannot be coerced, and yet it can be received only by the patiently prepared heart.” [26] Biographer Kathryn Harrison : “After all , in the past she had tried to control herself, had tried with all her being and had failed. Grace, alchemy, masochism: through whatever lens we view her transport, Thérèse’s night of illumination presented both its power and its danger. It would guide her steps between the mortal and the divine, between living and dying, destruction and apotheosis. It would take her exactly where she intended to go.”

The character of the saint and the early forces that shaped her personality have been the subject of analysis, particularly in recent years. Apart from the family doctor who observed her in the 19th century, all other conclusions are inevitably speculative. For instance, author Ida Friederike Görres whose formal studies had focused on church history and hagiography wrote a book that performed a psychological analysis of the saint’s character. Some authors suggest that Thérèse had a strongly neurotic aspect to her personality for most of her life.[27][28][29][30] A recent biographer, Kathryn Harrison, concluded that, ” her temperament was not formed for compromise or moderation…a life spent not taming but directing her appetite and her will, a life perhaps shortened by the force of her desire and ambition.” [31]

Imitation of Christ, Rome, and entry to Carmel

15th century manuscript of The Imitation of Christ, Royal library, Brussels.

Before she was fourteen, when she started to experience a period of calm, Thérèse started to read The Imitation of Christ. She read the Imitation intently, as if the author traced each sentence for her: “The Kingdom of God is within you… Turn thee with thy whole heart unto the Lord; and forsake this wretched world: and thy soul shall find rest.”[32] She kept the book with her constantly and wrote later that this book and parts of another book of a very different character, lectures by Abbé Arminjon on The End of This World, and the Mysteries of the World to Come, nourished her during this critical period.[33] Thereafter she began to read other books, mostly on history and science.[18]

In May 1887, Thérèse approached her 63-year old father Louis, who was recovering from a small stroke, while he sat in the garden one Sunday afternoon and told him that she wanted to celebrate the anniversary of “her conversion” by entering Carmel before Christmas. Louis and Thérèse both broke down and cried, but Louis got up, gently picked a little white flower, root intact, and gave it to her, explaining the care with which God brought it into being and preserved it until that day. Thérèse later wrote: “while I listened I believed I was hearing my own story.” To Therese, the flower seemed a symbol of herself, “destined to live in another soil”. Thérèse then renewed her attempts to join the Carmel, but the priest-superior of the monastery would not allow it on account of her youth.

Thérèse at age 15 – For her journey to Mgr Hugonin, Bishop of Bayeux, to seek permission to enter Carmel at Christmas 1887 Thérèse had put up her hair for the first time, a symbol for being “grown-up.” A photograph taken in April 1888 shows a fresh, firm, girlish face..The familiar flowing locks are combed sternly back and up, piled in a hard little chignon on the top of her head…her face, vigorous, tensed, concentrated around an invisible core almost tough in its astonishing poise, with a resolute, straight mouth, stubborn chin; but this impression of toughness is contradicted by eyes full of profound life, clear and filled with a secret humour’[34]

During the summer, French newspapers were filled with the story of Henri Pranzini, convicted of the brutal murder of two women and a child. To the outraged public Pranzini represented all that threatened the decent way of life in France. In July and August 1887 Thérèse prayed hard for the conversion of Pranzini, so his soul could be saved, yet Pranzini showed no remorse. At the end of August, the newspapers reported that just as Pranzini’s neck was placed on the guillotine, he had grabbed a crucifix and kissed it three times. Thérèse was ecstatic and believed that her prayers had saved him. She continued to pray for Pranzini after his death.[35]

Leo XIII – In November 1887 when Thérèse met him, an old man of seventy-seven. ‘Thérèse Martin knelt down, kissed the Pope’s slipper, but, instead of kissing his hand said Most Holy Father, I have a great favour to ask of you.. Later, that evening, she wrote to Pauline – ” the Pope is so old that you would think he is dead.”

In November 1887, Louis took Céline and Thérèse on a diocesan pilgrimage to Rome for the priestly jubilee of Pope Leo XIII. The cost of the trip enforced a strict selection, a quarter of the pilgrims belonged to the nobility. The birth, in 1871, of the French Third Republic had marked a decline of the conservative right’s power. Forced onto the defensive, the royalist bourgeoisie perceived a strong Church as an important means of safeguarding France’s integrity and its future. The rise of a militant nationalist Catholicism, a trend that would, in 1894, result in the anti-Semitic scapegoating and trumped-up treason conviction of Alfred Dreyfus was a development that Thérèse did not at all perceive. Still a sheltered child, Thérèse lived in ignorance of political events and motivations.[36] She did notice however, the ‘social ambition and vanity’. “Céline and I found ourselves mixing with members of the aristocracy; but we were not impressed..the words of the Imitation , ‘do not be solicitous for the shadow of a great name’, were not lost on me, and I realised that real nobility is in the soul, not in a name.[37] The youngest in the pilgrimage, bright and pretty, Thérèse did not go unnoticed. In Bologna a student boldly jostled against her on purpose. Visits followed one after another: Milan, Venice, Loreto; finally the arrival in Rome. On November 20, 1887, during a general audience with Leo XIII, Thérèse, in her turn, approached the Pope, knelt, and asked him to allow her to enter Carmel at 15. The Pope said: “Well, my child, do what the superiors decide…. You will enter if it is God’s Will” and he blessed Thérèse. She refused to leave his feet, and the Swiss Guard had to carry her out of the room.[38]

The trip continued: they visited Pompeii, Naples, Assisi; then it was back via Pisa and Genoa. The pilgrimage of nearly a month came at a timely point for her burgeoning personality. She learnt more than in many years of study. For the first and last time in her life, she left her native Normandy. Notably she, “who only knew priests in the exercise of their ministry was in their company, heard their conversations, not always edifying – and saw their shortcomings for herself.” [39] She had understood that she had to pray and give her life for sinners like Pranzini. But Carmel prayed especially for priests and this had surprised her since their souls seemed to her to be as pure as crystal. A month spent with many priests taught her that they are weak and feeble men. She wrote later: “I met many saintly priests that month, but I also found that in spite of being above angels by their supreme dignity, they were none the less men and still subject to human weakness. If the holy priests, ‘the salt of the earth’, as Jesus calls them in the Gospel, have to be prayed for, what about the lukewarm? Again, as Jesus says, ‘If the salt shall lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?’ I understood my vocation in Italy.” For the first time too she had associated with young men. “In her brotherless existence, masculinity had been represented only by her father, her Uncle Guérin and various priests. Now she had her first and only experiences – troublesome and tempting ones. Céline declared at the beatification proceedings that one of the young men in the pilgrimage group fell in love with Thérèse (“developed a tender affection for her”). Thérèse confessed to her sister, ” It is high time for Jesus to remove me from the poisonous breath of the world…I feel that my heart is easily caught by tenderness, and where others fall, I would fall too. We are no stronger than the others.” [40]

Soon after that, the Bishop of Bayeux authorized the prioress to receive Thérèse, and on 9 April 1888 she became a Carmelite postulant.

In 1889, her father suffered a stroke and was taken to a private sanatorium, the Bon Sauveur at Caen, where he remained for three years before returning to Lisieux in 1892. He died on 29 July 1894. Upon his death, Céline, who had been caring for him, entered the same Carmel as her three sisters on 14 September 1894; their cousin, Marie Guérin, entered on 15 August 1895. Léonie, after several attempts, became Sister Françoise-Thérèse, a nun in the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary at Caen, where she died in 1941.[41]

The Little Flower in Carmel

The monastery Thérèse entered was not an old-established house with a great tradition. In 1838 two nuns from the Poitiers Carmel had been sent out to found the house of Lisieux. One of them Mother Geneviève of St Teresa, was still living when Thérèse entered…the second wing, containing the cells and sickrooms in which she was to live and die, had been standing only ten years.. ” What she found was a community of very aged nuns, some odd and cranky, some sick and troubled, some lukewarm and complacent. Almost all of the sisters came from the petty bourgeois and artisan class. The Prioress and Novice Mistress were of old Norman nobility. Probably the Martin sisters alone represented the new class of the rising bourgeoisie.” The Hidden Face p.193-195, Ida Gorres

Lisieux Carmel in 1888

The Carmelite order had been reformed in the sixteenth century by Teresa of Avila, essentially devoted to personal and collective prayer. The times of silence and of solitude were many but the foundress had also planned for time for work and relaxation in common – the austerity of the life should not hinder sisterly and joyful relations. Founded in 1838, the Carmel of Lisieux in 1888 had 26 religious, from very different classes and backgrounds. For the majority of the life of Thérèse, the prioress would be Mother Marie de Gonzague, born Marie-Adéle-Rosalie Davy de Virville. When Thérèse entered the convent Mother Marie was 54, a woman of changeable humour, jealous of her authority, used sometimes in a capricious manner; this had for effect, a certain laxity in the observance of established rules. “In the sixties and seventies of the [nineteenth] century an aristocrat in the flesh counted for far more in a petty bourgeois convent than we can realize nowadays..the superiors appointed Marie de Gonzague to the highest offices as soon as her novitiate was finished…in 1874 began the long series of terms as Prioress.” [42]


Thérèse’s time as a postulant began with her welcome into the Carmel, Monday 9 April 1888, the Feast of the Annunciation. She felt peace after she received communion that day and later wrote: “At last my desires were realized, and I cannot describe the deep sweet peace which filled my soul. This peace has remained with me during the eight and a half years of my life here, and has never left me even amid the greatest trials.”[43] From her childhood, Thérèse had dreamed of the desert to which God would some day lead her. Now she had entered that desert. Though she was now reunited with Marie and Pauline, from the first day she began her struggle to win and keep her distance from her sisters. Right at the start Marie de Gonzague, the prioress, had turned the postulant Thérèse over to her eldest sister Marie, who was to teach her to follow the Divine Office. Later she appointed Thérèse assistant to Pauline in the refectory. And when her cousin Marie Guerin also entered, she employed the two together in the sacristy. Thérèse adhered strictly to the rule which forbade all superfluous talk during work. She saw her sisters together only in the hours of common recreation after meals. At such times she would sit down beside whomever she happened to be near, or beside a nun whom she had observed to be downcast, disregarding the tacit and sometimes expressed sensitivity and even jealousy of her biological sisters. “We must apologize to the others for our being four under one roof,” she was in the habit of remarking. “When I am dead, you must be very careful not to lead a family life with one another…I did not come to Carmel to be with my sisters; on the contrary, I saw clearly that their presence would cost me dear, for I was determined not to give way to nature.

Though the novice mistress, Sr. Marie of the Angels, (Jeanne de Charmontel ), found Thérèse slow, the young postulant adapted well to her new environment. She wrote :”Illusions, the Good Lord gave me the grace to have none on entering Carmel:I found religious life as I had figured, no sacrifice astonished me.” She sought above all to conform to the rules and customs of the Carmelites that she learnt each day with her four religious of the novitiate. (Sr Marie of the Angels, 43, Sister Marie-Philomene, 48, ‘very holy, very limited’; Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, her oldest sister and godmother; Sister Marthe of Jesus, 23, an orphan, ‘a poor little unintelligent sister’ according to Pauline). Later, when Thérèse had become assistant to the novice mistress she repeated how important respect for the Rule was: “When any break the rule, this is not a reason to justify ourselves. Each must act as if the perfection of the Order depended on her personal conduct.” She also affirmed the essential role of obedience in religious life: “When you stop watching the infallible compass [of obedience], as quickly the mind wanders in arid lands where the water of grace is soon lacking.” She chose a spiritual director, a Jesuit, Father Pichon. At their first meeting, 28 May 1888, she made a general confession going back over all her past sins. She came away from it profoundly relieved. The priest who had himself suffered from scruples, understood her and reassured her.[44] A few months later, he left for Canada, and Thérèse would only be able to ask his advice by letter and his replies were rare. (On 4 July 1897, she confided to Pauline, ‘Father Pichon treated me too much like a child; nonetheless he did me a lot of good too by saying that I never committed a mortal sin.’) During her time as postulant Thérèse had to endure some bullying from other sisters because of her lack of aptitude for handicrafts and manual work. Sister St Vincent de Paul, the finest embroideress in the community made her feel awkward and even called her ‘the big nanny goat’. Thérèse was in fact the tallest in the family, 1.62 metres {approx. 5’3}- Pauline, the shortest, no more than 1.54m tall {approx.5’0}. During her last visit to Trouville at the end of June 1887, Thérèse was called, with her long blond hair, ‘the tall English girl.’ ) Like all religious she discovered the ups and downs related to differences in temperament, character, problems of sensitivities or infirmities. After nine years she wrote plainly : ” the lack of judgment, education, the touchiness of some characters, all these things do not make life very pleasant. I know very well that these moral weaknesses are chronic, that there is no hope of cure.” But the greatest suffering came from outside Carmel. On June 23, 1888 Louis Martin disappeared from his home and was found days later, in the post office in Le Havre. The incident marked the onset of her father’s steep physical and mental decline.

Novice (10 January 1889 – 24 September 1890)

Certain passages from the prophet Isaiah (Chapter53) helped her during her long novitiate..Six weeks before her death she remarked to Pauline : “The words in Isaiah: No stateliness here, no majesty, no beauty, as we gaze upon him, to win our hearts. Nay, here is one despised, left out of all human reckoning; how should we recognize that face? – these words were the basis of my whole worship of the Holy Face…I too, wanted to be without comeliness and beauty, unknown to all creatures. (Photograph: fragment of Isaiah found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls)[45]

The end of Thérèse’s time as a postulant arrived on the 10 January 1889 with her taking of the habit. From that time she wore the ‘rough homespun and brown scapular, white wimple and veil, leather belt with rosary, woollen ‘stockings’, rope sandals. ” [46] Her father’s health having temporarily stabilised he was able to attend, though twelve days after her ceremony a particularly serious crisis led to his being put in the asylum of the Bon Sauveur in Caen where he would remain for three years. In this period Thérèse deepened the sense of her vocation; to lead a hidden life, to pray and offer her suffering for priests, to forget herself, to increase discreet acts of charity. She wrote, ‘I applied myself especially to practice little virtues, not having the facility to perform great ones.’ “In her letters from this period of her novitiate, Thérèse returned over and over to the theme of littleness, referring to herself as a grain of sand, an image she borrowed from Pauline..’Always littler, lighter, in order to be lifted more easily by the breeze of love.’ The remainder of her life would be defined by retreat and subtraction.” [47] She absorbed the work of John of the Cross, spiritual reading uncommon at the time, especially for such a young nun. “Oh! what insights I have gained from the works of our holy father, St John of the Cross! When I was seventeen and eighteen, I had no other spiritual nourishment..” She felt a kinship with this classic writer of the Carmelite Order (though nothing seems to have drawn her to the writing of Teresa of Avila), – and with enthusiasm she read his works, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, the Way of Purification, the Spiritual Canticle, the Living Flame of Love. Passages from these writings are woven into everything she herself said and wrote.[48] The fear of God, which she found in certain sisters, paralysed her. “My nature is such that fear makes me recoil, with LOVE not only do I go forward, I fly[49]

With the new name a Carmelite receives when she enters the Order there is always an epithet : Teresa of Jesus, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Anne of the Angels. The epithet singles out the Mystery which she is supposed to contemplate with special devotion. “Thérèse’s names in religion – she had two of them – must be taken together to define her religious significance.” [50] The first name was promised to her at nine, by Mother Marie de Gonzague, of the Child Jesus, and was given to her at her entry into the convent. In itself, veneration of the childhood of Jesus was a Carmelite heritage of the seventeenth century – it concentrated upon the staggering humiliation of divine majesty in assuming the shape of extreme weakness and helplessness. The French Oratory of Jesus and Pierre de Bérulle renewed this old devotional practice. Yet when she received the veil, Thérèse herself asked Mother Marie de Gonzague to confer upon her the second name; of the Holy Face. During the course of her novitiate, contemplation of the Holy Face had nourished her inner life. This is an image representing the disfigured face of Jesus during His Passion. And she meditated on certain pasages from the prophet Isaiah, (Chapter 53). Six weeks before her death she remarked to Pauline :”The words in Isaiah: ‘no stateliness here, no majesty, no beauty, despised, left out of all human reckoning; How should we take any account of him, a man so despised (Is 53:2-3) – these words were the basis of my whole worship of the Holy Face ..I, too, wanted to be without comeliness and beauty..unknown to all creatures.” [51] On the eve of her profession she wrote to Sister Marie; Tomorrow I shall be the bride of Jesus ‘whose face was hidden and whom no man knew’ – what a union and what a future!.[52] The meditation also helped her understand the humiliating situation of her father.

Usually the novitiate preceding profession lasted a year. Sister Thérèse hoped to make her final commitment on or after 11 January 1890 – but, considered still too young for a final commitment, her profession was postponed; she would spend eight months longer than the standard year as an unprofessed novice. As 1889 ended, her old home in the world Les Buissonnets, was dismantled, the furniture divided among the Guérins and the Carmel. It was not until September 8, 1890, aged 17 and a half, that she made her religious profession. The retreat in anticipation of her irrevocable promises was characterized by absolute aridity and on the eve of her profession she gave way to panic. “What she wanted was beyond her. Her vocation was a sham.” [53] Reassured by the novice mistress and mother Marie de Gonzague, the next day her religious profession went ahead, ‘flooded with a river of peace’. Against her heart she wore her letter of profession written during her retreat. ” May creatures be nothing for me, and may I be nothing for them, but may You, Jesus, be everything!..let nobody be occupied with me, let me be looked upon as one to be trampled underfoot..may Your will be done in me perfectly..Jesus, allow me to save very many souls; let no soul be lost today; let all the souls in purgatory be saved..” On September 24, the public ceremony followed – filled with ‘sadness and bitterness’. “Thérèse found herself young enough, alone enough, to weep over the absence of Bishop Hugonin, Père Pichon, in Canada; and her own father, still confined in the asylum.” [54] But Mother Marie de Gonzague wrote to the prioress of Tours : “The angelic child is seventeen and a half, with the sense of a 30 year old, the religious perfection of an old and accomplished novice, and possession of herself; she is a perfect nun.”

The Discreet life of a Carmelite – (September 1890 – February 1893)

The years which followed were those of a maturation of her vocation. Thérèse prayed without great sensitive emotions, she multiplied the small acts of charity and care for others, doing small services, without making a show of them. She accepted criticism in silence, even unjust criticisms, and smiled at the sisters who were unpleasant to her. She prayed always much for priests, and in particular for Father Hyacinthe Loyson, a famous preacher who had been a Sulpician and a Dominican novice before becoming a Carmelite and provincial of his order, but who had left the Catholic Church in 1869. Three years later he married a young widow, a Protestant, with whom he had a son. After major excommunication had been pronounced against him, he continued to travel round France giving lectures. While clerical papers called Loyson a renegade monk and Leon Bloy lampooned him, Thérèse prayed for her brother. She offered her last communion, 19 August 1897, for Father Hyacinthe.

The chaplain of the Carmel, Father Youf insisted a lot on the fear of Hell. The preachers of spiritual retreats at that time did not refrain from stressing sin, the sufferings of purgatory, and those of hell. This did not help Thérèse who in 1891 experienced, great inner trials of all kinds, even wondering sometimes whether heaven existed. One phrase heard during a sermon made her weep : “No one knows if they are worthy of love or of hate.” But the retreat of October 1891 was preached by Father Alexis Prou, a Franciscan from Saint-Nazaire. ” He specialised in large crowds ( he preached in factories) and did not seem the right person to help Carmelites. Just one of them found comfort from him : Sister Thèrèse of the Child Jesus..[his] preaching on abandonment and mercy expanded her heart.” [55] This confirmed Thérèse in her own intuitions. She wrote :” My soul was like a book which the priest read better than I did. He launched me full sail on the waves of confidence and love which held such an attraction for me, but upon which I had not dared to venture. He told me that my faults did not offend God.” Her spiritual life drew more and more on the Gospels that she carried with her at all times. The piety of her time was fed more on commentaries, but Thérèse had asked Céline to get the Gospels and the Epistles of St Paul bound into a single small volume which she could carry on her heart. it is especially the Gospels which sustain me during my hours of prayer…I am always gaining fresh insights and finding hidden and mysterious meanings.

More and more Thérèse realised that she felt no attraction to the exalted heights of great souls. She looked directly for the word of Jesus, which shed light on her prayers and on her daily life. Thérèse’s retreat in October 1892 pointed out to her a downward path. If asked where she lived, she reflected, must not she be able to answer with Christ : The foxes have their lairs, the birds of heaven their nests, but I have no place to rest my head. (Matthew 8:20). She wrote to Céline, (letter October 19, 1892): “Jesus..raised us above all the fragile things of this world whose image passes away. Like Zacchaeus, we climbed a tree to see Jesus…and now..Let us listen to what he is saying to us : Make haste to descend, I must lodge today at your house. Well, Jesus tells us to descend?” ‘A question here of the interior,’ she qualified in her letter, lest Céline think she meant renouncing food or shelter. “Thérèse knew her virtues, even her love, to be flawed: flawed by self, a mirror too clouded to reflect the divine.” She continued to seek to discover the means, ‘to more efficiently strip herself of self..’ [56]No doubt, [our hearts] are already empty of creatures, but, alas, I feel mine is not entirely empty of myself, and it is for this reason that Jesus tells me to descend..[57]

Election of Mother Agnes

On February 20, 1893 Pauline was elected prioress of Carmel and became Mother Agnes. Pauline appointed the former prioress novice mistress and made Thérèse her assistant. The work of guiding the novices would fall primarily to Thérèse. Over the next few years she revealed a talent for clarifying doctrine to those who had not received as much education as she. A kaleidoscope, whose three mirrors transform scraps of coloured paper into beautiful designs, provided an inspired illustration for the Holy Trinity. “As long as our actions, even the smallest, do not fall away from the focus of Divine Love, the Holy Trinity, symbolized by the three mirrors, allows them to reflect wonderful beauty. Jesus, who regards us through the little lens, that is to say, through Himself, always sees beauty in everything we do. But if we left the focus of inexpressible love, what would He see? Bits of straw..dirty, worthless actions.” [58] “Another cherished image was that of the newly invented elevator, a vehicle Thérèse used many times over to describe God’s grace, a force that lifts us to heights we can’t reach on our own.” [59] Her sister Céline’s memoir is filled with numerous examples of the teacher Thérèse: “Céline: – ‘Oh! When I think how much I have to acquire!’ Thérèse: – ‘Rather, how much you have to lose! Jesus Himself will fill your soul with treasures in the same measure that you move your imperfections out of the way..’ And Céline recalled a story Thérèse told about egotism. ‘The 28 month old Thérèse visited Le Mans and was given a basket filled with candies, at the top of which were two sugar rings..’Oh! How wonderful! There is a sugar ring for Céline too!’ On her way to the station however the basket overturned, and one of the sugar rings disappeared. ‘Ah, I no longer have any sugar ring for poor Céline!’ Reminding me of the incident she observed; ‘See how deeply rooted in us is this self-love! Why was it Céline’s sugar ring, and not mine, that was lost?’ [60] Martha of Jesus, a novice who spent her childhood in a series of orphanages and who was described by all as emotionally unbalanced, with a violent temper, gave witness during the beatification process of the ‘unusual dedication and presence of her young teacher. “Thérèse deliberately ‘sought out the company of those nuns whose temperaments she found hardest to bear.’ What merit was there in acting charitably toward people whom one loved naturally? Thérèse went out of her way to spend time with, and therefore to love, the people she found repellent. It was an effective means of achieving interior poverty, a way to remove a place to rest her head.” [61]

In September 1893, Thérèse, having been a professed novice for the standard three years, asked not to be promoted but to continue a novice indefinitely. As a novice she would always have to ask permission of the other, full sisters: she would never be elected to any position of importance. Remaining closely associated with the other novices, she could continue to care for her spiritual charges.

The nineteenth century rediscovered Joan of Arc. In 1841 Jules Michelet devoted the major part of the fifth volume of his History of France to a favourable presentation of the epic of the Maid of Orleans and Felix Dupanloup worked relentlessly for the glorification of Joan who on May 8, 1429 had liberated Orléans, the city of which he became bishop in 1849…Thérèse wrote two plays in honour of her childhood heroine, the first about Joan’s response to the heavenly voices calling her to battle, the second about her resulting martyrdom.

The year 1894 brought a national celebration of Joan of Arc. On January 27 Leo XIII authorized the introduction of her cause of beatification, declaring Joan, the shepherdess from Lorraine ‘venerable’. Thérèse used Henri Wallon’s history of Joan of Arc – a book her uncle Isidore had given to the Carmel – to help her write two plays, ‘pious recreations’, “small theatrical pieces performed by a few nuns for the rest of the community, on the occasion of certain feast days.” The first of these, The Mission of Joan of Arc was performed at the Carmel on January 21, 1894, and the second Joan of Arc Accomplishes her Mission on January 21, 1895. In the estimation of one of her biographers, Ida Görres, they “are scarcely veiled self-portraits.” [62]

On July 29, 1894 Louis Martin died. Sick, he had been cared for by Céline. Following his death, and supported by Thérèse’s letters and the advice of her other sisters, she entered the Lisieux convent on 14 September 1894. With Mother Agnes’ permission, she brought her camera to Carmel, and developing materials . “The indulgence was not by any means usual. Also outside of the normal would be the destiny of those photographs Céline would make in the Carmel, images that would be scrutinized and reproduced too many times to count. Even when the images are poorly reproduced, her eyes arrest us .Described as blue, described as gray, they look darker in photographs..Céline’s pictures of her sister contributed to the extraordinary cult of personality that formed in the years after Thérèses death.” [63]

At the end of December 1894 and perhaps prompted by their fear that she was dying, her older sisters requested that Thérèse write about her childhood.

The discovery of the little way

Thérèse entered the Carmel of Lisieux with the determination to become a saint. But, by the end of 1894, six full calendar years as a Carmelite made her realize how small and insignificant she was. She saw the limitations of all her efforts. She remained small and very far off from the unfailing love that she would wish to practice. She understood then that it was on this very littleness that she must lean to ask God’s help. Along with her camera, Céline had brought notebooks with her, passages from the Old Testament, which Thérèse did not have in Carmel. (The Louvain Bible, the translation authorized for French Catholics, did not include an Old Testament). In the notebooks Thérèse found a passage from Proverbs that struck her with particular force. If anyone is a very little one, let him come to me. (Proverbs,9,4) And, from the book of Isaiah (66:12-13), she was profoundly struck by another passage: As a mother caresses her child, so I shall console you, I shall carry you at my breast and I shall swing you on my knees. She concluded that Jesus would carry her to the summit of sanctity. The smallness of Thérèse, her limits, became in this way grounds for joy, more than discouragement. It is only in Manuscript C of her autobiography that she gave to this discovery the name of little way, petite voie. Echoes of this way however are heard throughout her work. From February 1895 she would regularly sign her letters by adding very little, toute petite, in front of her name. According to the writer Ida Gorres, however, this language should always be measured against the ‘unfailing, iron self-conquest of her whole life.’ “We know how intensely her life was given to the performance of duty, to the pursuit of good works, to the cultivation of all the virtues…[yet] she rejected all ascetic efforts which were directed not towards God but toward ones own perfection. It was on this view then, that she based her extraordinary refusal to consider her daily faults important.. because of her lack of illusions in her view of human beings, she assigned to these things, no more significance than they deserved.” ” I have long believed that the Lord is more tender than a mother. I know that a mother is always ready to forgive trivial, involuntary misbehaviour on the part of her child..Children are always giving trouble, falling down, getting themselves dirty, breaking things – but all this does not shake their parents love for them.[64]

Offering to merciful love

At the end of the second play that Thérèse had written on Joan of Arc the costume she wore almost caught fire. The alcohol stoves used to represent the stake at Rouen set fire to the screen behind which Thérèse stood. Thérèse did not flinch but the incident marked her. The theme of fire would assume an increasingly great place in her writings.[65] On June 9, 1895, during a mass celebrating the feast of the Holy Trinity, Thérèse had a sudden inspiration that she must offer herself as a sacrificial victim to merciful love. At this time some nuns offered themselves as a victim to God’s justice. In her cell she drew up an ‘Act of Oblation’ for herself and for Céline, and on June 11, the two of them knelt before the miraculous Virgin and Thérèse read the document she had written and signed. In the evening of this life, I shall appear before You with empty hands, for I do not ask you lord to count my works.. According to biographer Ida Gorres the document echoed the happiness she had felt when Father Alexis Prou, the Franciscan preacher, had assured her that her faults did not cause God sorrow. In the Oblation she wrote : “If through weakness I should chance to fall, may a glance from Your Eyes straightway cleanse my soul, and consume all my imperfections-as fire transforms all things into itself.

In August 1895 the four Martin sisters were joined by their cousin, Marie Guerin, in religion, Sister Marie of the Eucharist. In October 1895 a young seminarian and subdeacon of the White Fathers, Abbé Bellière, asked the Carmel of Lisieux for a nun who would support – by prayer and sacrifice – his missionary work, and the souls that were in the future to be entrusted to him.[66] Mother Agnes designated Thérèse. She never met Father Bellière but ten letters passed between them.

In 1896 Father Adolphe Roulland of the Society of Foreign Missions asked the Carmel of Lisieux for a spiritual sister. Thérèse was assigned the duties – she answered questions, consoled, warned, and instructed the priest in the meaning of her little way. As everywhere in her doctrine it is based on the scriptures :”I rejoice in my littleness, because only little children and those who are like them shall be admitted to the Heavenly Banquet.” Letter to Père Roulland,, 9 May 1897

A year later Father Adolphe Roulland (1870–1934) of the Society of Foreign Missions requested the same service of the Lisieux Carmel. Once more Thérèse was assigned the duties of spiritual sister. “It is quite clear that Thérèse, in spite of all her reverence for the priestly office, in both cases felt herself to be the teacher and the giver. It is she who who consoles and warns, encourages and praises, answers questions, offers corroboration, and instructs the priests in the meaning of her little way. ” [67]

The final years, disease and night of faith

Thérèse’s final years were marked by a steady decline that she bore resolutely and without complaint. Tuberculosis was the key element of Thérèse’s final suffering, but she saw that as part of her spiritual journey. After observing a rigorous Lenten fast in 1896, she went to bed on the eve of Good Friday and felt a joyous sensation. She wrote: “Oh! how sweet this memory really is!… I had scarcely laid my head upon the pillow when I felt something like a bubbling stream mounting to my lips. I didn’t know what it was.”

St Thérèse working with other Carmelite nuns, from left to right, Sr. Marie of the Trinity, Sr. Thérèse, Sr. Geneviève (Céline), and Sr. Martha of Jesus. 1895, sometime before the end of July.[68]

The next morning she found blood on her handkerchief and understood her fate. Coughing up of blood meant tuberculosis, and tuberculosis meant death.[69] She wrote:

“I thought immediately of the joyful thing that I had to learn, so I went over to the window. I was able to see that I was not mistaken. Ah! my soul was filled with a great consolation; I was interiorly persuaded that Jesus, on the anniversary of His own death, wanted to have me hear His first call!”

Thérèse corresponded with a Carmelite mission in what was then French Indochina and was invited to join them, but, because of her sickness, could not travel.

As a result of Tuberculosis, Thérèse suffered terribly. When she was near death “Her physical suffering kept increasing so that even the doctor himself was driven to exclaim, ‘Ah! If you only knew what this young nun was suffering!’”[70] During the last hours of Therese’s life, she said, “‘I would never have believed it was possible to suffer so much, never, never!”[71]

In July 1897, she made a final move to the monastery infirmary. On August 19, 1897, Therese received her last communion. She died on 30 September 1897 at the young age of 24. On her death-bed, she is reported to have said:”I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more, because all suffering is sweet to me.”

Her last words were, “My God, I love you!”

Thérèse was buried on October 4, 1897 in the Carmelite plot in the municipal cemetery at Lisieux, where Louis and Zelie had been buried. In March 1923, however, before she was beatified, her body was returned to the Carmel of Lisieux, where it remains.

Spiritual legacy

At fourteen, Thérèse had understood her vocation to pray for priests, to be “an apostle to apostles.” In September 1890, at her canonical examination before she professed her religious vows, she was asked why she had come to Carmel. She answered “I came to save souls, and especially to pray for priests.” Throughout her life she prayed fervently for priests, and she corresponded with and prayed for a young priest, Adolphe Roulland, and a young seminarian, Maurice Bellière. She wrote to her sister “Our mission as Carmelites is to form evangelical workers who will save thousands of souls whose mothers we shall be.”[2]

Thérèse was devoted to Eucharistic meditation and on February 26, 1895 shortly before she died wrote from memory and without a rough draft her poetic masterpiece “To Live by Love” which had composed during Eucharistic meditation. During her life, the poem was sent to various religious communities and was included in a notebook of her poems.[72][73]

The Child Jesus and the Holy Face

A depiction of the Holy Face of Jesus as Veronica’s veil, by Claude Mellan c. 1649. St. Thérèse wore an image of the Holy Face on her heart.

Thérèse entered the Carmelite order on 9 April 1888. On 10 January 1889, after a probationary period somewhat longer than the usual, she was given the habit and received the name: Thérèse of the Child Jesus. On 8 September 1890, Thérèse took her vows; the ceremony of taking the veil followed on the 24th, when she added to her name in religion, “of the Holy Face”, a title which was to become increasingly important in the development and character of her inner life.[74] In his “A l’ecole de Therese de Lisieux: maitresse de la vie spirituelle,” Bishop Guy Gaucher emphasizes that Therese saw the devotions to the Child Jesus and to the Holy Face as so completely linked that she signed herself “Therese de l’Enfant Jesus de la Sainte Face”–Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face. In her poem “My Heaven down here”, composed in 1895, Therese expressed the notion that by the divine union of love, the soul takes on the semblance of Christ. By contemplating the sufferings associated with the Holy Face of Jesus, she felt she could become closer to Christ.[75]

The devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus was promoted by another Carmelite nun, Sister Marie of St Peter in Tours, France in 1844 and then by Leo Dupont, also known as the Apostle of the Holy Face who formed the “Archconfraternity of the Holy Face” in Tours in 1851.[76][77] Thérèse, who was a member of this confraternity,[78] was introduced to the Holy Face devotion by her blood sister Pauline, known as Sister Agnes of Jesus.

Her parents, Louis and Zelie Martin, had also prayed at the Oratory of the Holy Face, originally established by Leo Dupont in Tours.[79] Thérèse wrote many prayers to express her devotion to the Holy Face. She wrote the words “Make me resemble you, Jesus!” on a small card and attached a stamp with an image of the Holy Face. She pinned the prayer in a small container over her heart. In August 1895, in her “Canticle to the Holy Face,” she wrote:

“Jesus, Your ineffable image is the star which guides my steps. Ah, You know, Your sweet Face is for me Heaven on earth. My love discovers the charms of Your Face adorned with tears. I smile through my own tears when I contemplate Your sorrows”.

Thérèse emphasised God’s mercy in both the birth and the passion narratives in the Gospel. She wrote:[80]

“He sees it disfigured, covered with blood!… unrecognizable!… And yet the divine Child does not tremble; this is what He chooses to show His love.”

She also composed the Holy Face prayer for sinners:[81]

“Eternal Father, since Thou hast given me for my inheritance the adorable Face of Thy Divine Son, I offer that face to Thee and I beg Thee, in exchange for this coin of infinite value, to forget the ingratitude of souls dedicated to Thee and to pardon all poor sinners.”

Thérèse’s devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus was based on painted images of the Veil of Veronica,[clarification needed] as promoted by Leon Dupont fifty years earlier. However, over the decades, her poems and prayers helped to spread the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.[82]

The Little Way

Thérèse in July 1896

In her quest for sanctity, she believed that it was not necessary to accomplish heroic acts, or “great deeds”, in order to attain holiness and to express her love of God. She wrote,

“Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.”

This little way of Therese is the foundation of her spirituality:[83] Within the Catholic Church Thérèse’s way was known for some time as “the little way of spiritual childhood,” but Thérèse actually wrote “little way” only once,[84] and she never wrote the phrase “spiritual childhood.” It was her sister Pauline who, after Thérèse’s death, adopted the phrase “the little way of spiritual childhood” to interpret Thérèse’s path.[85] Years after Thérèse’s death, a Carmelite of Lisieux asked Pauline about this phrase and Pauline answered spontaneously “But you know well that Thérèse never used it! It is mine.” In May 1897, Thérèse wrote to Father Adolphe Roulland, “My way is all confidence and love.” To Maurice Bellière she wrote “and I, with my way, will do more than you, so I hope that one day Jesus will make you walk by the same way as me.”

“Sometimes, when I read spiritual treatises in which perfection is shown with a thousand obstacles, surrounded by a crowd of illusions, my poor little mind quickly tires. I close the learned book which is breaking my head and drying up my heart, and I take up Holy Scripture. Then all seems luminous to me; a single word uncovers for my soul infinite horizons; perfection seems simple; I see that it is enough to recognize one’s nothingness and to abandon oneself, like a child, into God’s arms. Leaving to great souls, to great minds, the beautiful books I cannot understand, I rejoice to be little because ‘only children, and those who are like them, will be admitted to the heavenly banquet.’ “

Passages like this have left Thérèse open to the charge that her spirituality is sentimental, immature, and unexamined. Her proponents counter that she developed an approach to the spiritual life that people of every background can understand and adopt.

This is evident in her approach to prayer:[86]

“For me, prayer is a movement of the heart; it is a simple glance toward Heaven; it is a cry of gratitude and love in times of trial as well as in times of joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus. . . . I have not the courage to look through books for beautiful prayers…. I do like a child who does not know how to read; I say very simply to God what I want to say, and He always understands me.”

Autobiography – The Story of a Soul

The crypt of the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux

St. Thérèse is known today because of her spiritual memoir, L’histoire d’une âme (The Story of a Soul), which she wrote upon the orders of two prioresses of her monastery, and because of the many miracles worked at her intercession. She began to write “Story of a Soul” in 1895 as a memoir of her childhood, under instructions from her sister Pauline, known in religion as Mother Agnes of Jesus. Mother Agnes gave the order after being prompted by their eldest sister, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart. While Thérèse was on retreat in September 1896, she wrote a letter to Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart which also forms part of what was later published as “Story of a Soul.” In June 1897, Mother Agnes became aware of the seriousness of Thérèse’s illness; she immediately asked Mother Marie de Gonzague, who had succeeded her as prioress, to allow Thérèse to write another memoir with more details of her religious life. With selections from Therese’s letters and poems and reminiscences of her by the other nuns, it was published posthumously. It was heavily edited by Pauline (Mother Agnes), who made more than seven thousand revisions to Therese’s manuscript and presented it as a biography of her sister. (Aside from considerations of style, Mother Marie de Gonzague had ordered Pauline to alter the first two sections of the manuscript to make them appear as if they were addressed to Mother Marie as well).

Saint Therese’ had written her autobiography under obedience. While on her deathbed the Saint made many references to the book’s future appeal and benefit to souls.

Since 1973, two centenary editions of Thérèse’s original, unedited manuscripts, including The Story of a Soul, her letters, poems[87], prayers and the plays she wrote for the monastery recreations have been published in French. ICS Publications has issued a complete critical edition of her writings: Story of a Soul, Last Conversations, and the two volumes of her letters were translated by John Clarke, O.C.D.; The Poetry of Saint Thérèse by Donald Kinney, O.C.D.; The Prayers of St. Thérèse by Alethea Kane, O.C.D.; and The Religious Plays of St. Therese of Lisieux by David Dwyer and Susan Conroy.



Interior of the Basilica of St. Thérèse

In 1902, the Polish Carmelite Father Raphael Kalinowski (later Saint Raphael Kalinowski) translated her autobiography The Story of a Soul into Polish.

Her autobiography has inspired many people, including the Italian writer Maria Valtorta.

Pope Pius X signed the decree for the opening of her process of canonization on 10 June 1914. Pope Benedict XV, in order to hasten the process, dispensed with the usual fifty-year delay required between death and beatification. On 14 August 1921, he promulgated the decree on the heroic virtues of Thérèse and gave an address on Thérèse’s way of confidence and love, recommending it to the whole Church.

There may, however, have been a political dimension to the speed of proceedings: partly to act as tonic for a nation exhausted by war, or even a retort from the Vatican against the dominant secularism and anti-clericalism of the French government.

According to some biographies of Édith Piaf, in 1922 the singer — at the time, an unknown seven-year-old girl — was cured from blindness after pilgrimage to the grave of Thérèse, at the time not yet formally canonized.

Thérèse was beatified on 29 April 1923 and canonized on 17 May 1925, by Pope Pius XI, only 28 years after her death. Her feast day was added to the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1927 for celebration on 3 October.[88] In 1969, 42 years later, Pope Paul VI moved it to 1 October, the day after her dies natalis (birthday to heaven).[89]

Thérèse of Lisieux is the patron saint of aviators, florists, illness(es) and missions. She is also considered by Catholics to be the patron saint of Russia, although the Russian Orthodox Church does not recognize either her canonization or her patronage. In 1927, Pope Pius XI named Thérèse a patroness of the missions and in 1944 Pope Pius XII named her co-patroness of France alongside St. Joan of Arc.

By the Apostolic Letter Divini Amoris Scientia (The Science of Divine Love) of 19 October 1997, Pope John Paul II declared her one of the thirty-three Doctors of the Universal Church, one of only three women so named, the others being Teresa of Ávila (Saint Teresa of Jesus) and Catherine of Siena. Thérèse was the only saint to be named a Doctor of the Church during Pope John Paul II’s pontificate.

Beatification of St. Therese’s Parents

A movement is now underway to canonise her parents, who were declared “Venerable” in 1994 by Pope John Paul II. In 2004, the Archbishop of Milan accepted the unexpected cure of a child with a lung disorder as attributable to their intercession. Announced by Cardinal Saraiva Martins on 12 July 2008, at the ceremonies marking the 150th anniversary of the marriage of the Venerable Zelie and Louis Martin, their beatification as a couple [3] (the last step before canonization) took place on Mission Sunday, 19 October 2008, at Lisieux.[90][91] In 2011 the letters of Blessed Zélie and Louis Martin were published in English as A Call to a Deeper Love: The Family Correspondence of the Parents of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, 1863-1885.[92]

Some interest has also been shown in promoting for sainthood Thérèse’s sister, Léonie, the only one of the five sisters who did not become a Carmelite nun. She entered religious life three times before her fourth and final entrance in 1899 at the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen. She took the name Sister Françoise-Thérèse and was a fervent disciple of Thérèse’s way. She died in 1941 in Caen, where her tomb in the crypt of the Visitation Monastery can be visited by the public.[4]


Together with St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thérèse of Lisieux is one of the most popular Catholic saints since apostolic times. As a Doctor of the Church, she is the subject of much theological comment and study, and, as an appealing young woman whose message has touched the lives of millions, she remains the focus of much popular devotion.

Relics of St. Thérèse on a world pilgrimage

For many years Thérèse’s relics have toured the world, and thousands of pilgrims have thronged to pray in their presence. Although Cardinal Basil Hume had declined to endorse proposals for a tour in 1997, her relics finally visited England and Wales in late September and early October 2009, including an overnight stop in the Anglican York Minster on her feastday, 1 October. A quarter of a million people venerated them.[93]

On 27 June 2010, the relics of St. Thérèse made their first visit to South Africa in conjunction with the 2010 World Cup. They remained in the country until 5 October 2010.[94]

With more than two million visitors a year, the Basilica of St. Thérèse in Lisieux is the second largest pilgrimage site in France, after Lourdes

Religious congregations

The Congregation of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux was founded on 19 March 1931 by Mar Augustine Kandathil, the Metropolitan of the Catholic St. Thomas Christians, as the first Indian religious order for brothers.[95]

Places named after St. Thérèse

Tomb in the Basilica of St. Thérèse, Lisieux.
Main article: List of places named after St. Thérèse of Lisieux

A number of locations, churches, and schools throughout the world are named after Saint Thérèse.

The Basilica of St. Thérèse in her home town of Lisieux was consecrated on 11 July 1954; it has become a centre for pilgrims from all over the world. It was originally dedicated in 1937 by Cardinal Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII. The basilica can seat 4,000 people.[96]

Devotees of St. Thérèse

Main article: List of devotees of St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Over the years, a number of prominent people have become devotees of St. Thérèse. These include:

  • Albino Luciani – Pope John Paul I
  • Henri Bergson – Nobel prize winner
  • Padre Pio of Pietrelcina – Italian saint
  • Ada Negri – Italian poet
  • Giuseppe Moscati – Italian saint
  • Maria Valtorta – Catholic mystic
  • Paul James Francis Wattson – Founder of the Atonement Friars[citation needed]
  • Francis Bourne – British Cardinal
  • Thomas Merton – monk and writer
  • Dorothy Day – founder of the Catholic Worker movement
  • Georges Bernanos – French author
  • Jack Kerouac – American author
  • Saint Maximilian Kolbe – Polish martyr of Auschwitz
  • Jean Vanier – founder of l’Arche
  • Édith Piaf – French singer
  • Blessed Teresa of Calcutta – Foundress of the Missionaries of Charity


  • Thérèse of Lisieux: a biography by Patricia O’Connor, 1984 ISBN 0-87973-607-0
  • Thérèse of Lisieux: the way to love by Ann Laforest, 2000 ISBN 1-58051-082-5
  • The Story of a Soul by T. N. Taylor, 2006 ISBN 1-4068-0771-0
  • Thérèse of Lisieux by Joan Monahan, 2003 ISBN 0-8091-6710-7
  • Thérèse of Lisieux: God’s gentle warrior by Thomas R. Nevin, 2006 ISBN 0-19-530721-6
  • Therese and Lisieux by Pierre Descouvemont, Helmuth Nils Loose, 1996 ISBN 0-8028-3836-7
  • St. Thérèse of Lisieux: a transformation in Christ by Thomas Keating, 2001 ISBN 1-930051-20-4
  • Thérèse of Lisieux: Through Love and Suffering, by Murchadh O Madagain, 2003 ISBN
  • 15 Days of Prayer with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux by Constant Tonnelier, 2011 ISBN 978-1-56548-391-0

See also

  • Carmelite Rule of St. Albert
  • Book of the First Monks
  • Constitutions of the Carmelite Order
  • Byzantine Discalced Carmelites
  • Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites
  • National Shrine of the Little Flower


  1. ^ Guy Gaucher, The Spiritual Journey of Therese of Lisieux, p 211, ISBN 0-232-51713-4
  2. ^ Thérèse of Lisieux: God’s gentle warrior by Thomas R. Nevin, 2006 ISBN 0-19-530721-6 page 26
  3. ^ a b Guy Gaucher, The Spiritual Journey of Therese of Lisieux, p.2
  4. ^ Vatican website: Proclamation as Doctor of the Church
  5. ^ Venerable and to-be-Blessed Zelie and Louis Martin: Their Lives
  6. ^ Therese and Lisieux, Pierre Descouvement, p.14
  7. ^ Ida Gorres, The Hidden Face p.41-42
  8. ^ Descouvement, Therese and Lisieux, p.24
  9. ^ Gaucher, Spiritual Journey of Therese of Lisieux, p.19
  10. ^ Ordinary Suffering of Extraordinary Saints by Vincent J. O’Malley, 1999 ISBN 0-87973-893-6 page 38
  11. ^ The Hidden Face p. 66
  12. ^ Guy Gaucher The Spiritual Journey of Therese of Lisieux
  13. ^ Summarium 1 1914
  14. ^ The Hidden Face , Ida Gorres p.73
  15. ^ Thérèse of Lisieux: a biography by Patricia O’Connor, 1984 ISBN 0-87973-607-0 page 19
  16. ^ Pierre Descouvemont and Helmuth Nils Loose, “Therese and Lisieux”, p. 53, Toronto, 1996
  17. ^ Gaucher, Spiritual Journey of Thérèse of Lisieux, p.47
  18. ^ a b Thérèse of Lisieux: a biography by Patricia O’Connor, 1984 ISBN 0-87973-607-0 page 22
  19. ^ Thérèse of Lisieux: the way to love by Ann Laforest, 2000 ISBN 1-58051-082-5 page 15
  20. ^ The Story of a Soul by T. N. Taylor, 2006 ISBN 1-4068-0771-0 page 32
  21. ^ Manuscript A, chapter 3, Story of a Soul.
  22. ^ Therese and Lisieux, Pierre Descouvement, p 52
  23. ^ Thérèse of Lisieux by Joan Monahan, 2003 ISBN 0-8091-6710-7 page 45
  24. ^ Thérèse of Lisieux by Joan Monahan, 2003 ISBN 0-8091-6710-7 page 54
  25. ^ Harrison, p.61
  26. ^ Gorres, The Hidden Face, p.112
  27. ^ Ida Friederike Görres, “The hidden face: a study of St. Thérèse of Lisieux“, p. 83, London, 2003
  28. ^ Karen Armstrong, “The Gospel according to woman: Christianity’s creation of the sex war in the West“, p. 234, London, 1986
  29. ^ Monica Furlong Thérèse of Lisieux, p.9, London, 2001
  30. ^ Jean François Six, La verdadera infancia de Teresa de Lisieux: neurosis y santidad, passim, Spain, 1976
  31. ^ Kathryn Harrison, Saint Therese of Lisieux , p 21 Weidenfeld & Nicholson 2003
  32. ^ The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, 2003 Dover Press ISBN 0-486-43185-1
  33. ^ Ida Gorres, The Hidden Face, p. 126-127
  34. ^ Ida Gorres, The Hidden Face, p. 149
  35. ^ Thérèse of Lisieux: a biography, by Patricia O’Connor, 1984, p. 34, ISBN 0-87973-607-0
  36. ^ Kathryn Harrison, p.69
  37. ^ Gorres, p.153
  38. ^ Phyllis G. Jestice, Holy people of the world Published by ABC-CLIO, 2004, ISBN 1-57607-355-6
  39. ^ Gaucher, Spiritual Journey of Therese of Lisieux, p.77
  40. ^ Gorres, The Hidden Face,p.153-154
  41. ^ Clarke, John O.C.D. trans. The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, 3rd Edition (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1996)
  42. ^ Gorres, p.202
  43. ^ The Story of a Soul by T. N. Taylor, 2006 ISBN 1-4068-0771-0 page 63
  44. ^ Gaucher, Spiritual Journey of Thérèse of Lisieux, p.92
  45. ^ Gorres, p.260
  46. ^ Gaucher p.99
  47. ^ Harrison, p.91
  48. ^ Gorres, p.250-251
  49. ^ Gaucher, p.109
  50. ^ Gorres, p.258
  51. ^ Last Conversations, 5 August 1897
  52. ^ Gorres, p.261
  53. ^ Harrison p.97
  54. ^ Harrison, p.98
  55. ^ Gaucher p.118
  56. ^ Harrison, p.108
  57. ^ General Correspondence, volume 2, p.762
  58. ^ Gorres, p.114,
  59. ^ Harrison, p.111
  60. ^ A Memoir of my Sister, Céline Martin
  61. ^ Kathryn Harrison, p.111
  62. ^ The Hidden Face, p.401
  63. ^ Harrison, p.118
  64. ^ Gorres, p.331
  65. ^ p.219 Descouvement, Thérèse and Lisieux
  66. ^ Gorres, p.188
  67. ^ Gorres, p.189
  68. ^ The Photo Album of St. Therese of Lisieux; commentary, Francois de Sainte-Marie, O.C.D.; translator, Peter-Thomas Rohrbach, O.C.D. New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1962, p. 145.
  69. ^ The making of a social disease: tuberculosis in nineteenth-century France by David S. Barnes 1995 ISBN 0-520-08772-0 page 66
  70. ^ Therese of Lisieux CTS Stories Great Saints Series by Vernon Johnson. Pg 54
  71. ^ Therese of Lisieux CTS Stories Great Saints Series by Vernon Johnston. Pg. 62
  72. ^ Therese and Lisieux by Pierre Descouvemont, Helmuth Nils Loose, 1996 ISBN 0-8028-3836-7 page 245
  73. ^ Collected poems of St Thérèse of Lisieux by Saint Thérèse (de Lisieux), Alan Bancroft 2001 ISBN 0-85244-547-4 page 75
  74. ^ Ida Friederike Gorres p.164 The Hidden Face ISBN 0-89870-927-X
  75. ^ Thomas R. Nevin, Thérèse of Lisieux: God’s gentle warrior Oxford University Press US, 2006 ISBN 0-19-530721-6 pages 184 and 228
  76. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Reparation
  77. ^ Dorothy Scallan, The Holy Man of Tours (1990) ISBN 0-89555-390-2
  78. ^ Therese joined this confraternity on April 26, 1885. See Derniers Entretiens, Desclee de Brouwer/Editions Du Cerf, 1971, Volume I, p. 483
  79. ^ Paulinus Redmond, 1995 Louis and Zelie Martin: The Seed and the Root of the Little Flower Cimino Press ISBN 1-899163-08-5 page 257
  80. ^ Ann Laforest, Thérèse of Lisieux: the way to love Published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2000 ISBN 1-58051-082-5 page 61
  81. ^
  82. ^ Pierre Descouvemont, Thérèse and Lisieux Eerdmans Publishing, 1996 ISBN 0-8028-3836-7 page 137
  83. ^
  84. ^ Clarke, John O.C.D. trans. The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, 3rd Edition (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1996, p. 207).
  85. ^ “The Power of Confidence: Genesis and Structure of the “Way of Spiritual Childhood” of St. Therese of Lisieux. Staten Island, NY: Alba House (Society of St. Paul), 1988, p. 5
  86. ^ Therese’s prayer
  87. ^ On the meaning and importance of Therese’poems we can made ​​to the work of Bernard Bonnejean,La Poésie thérésienne, prefaced by Constant Tonnelier, Paris, Éditions du Cerf, 2006, II-292 p. ,
    • British National Formulary 55, March 2008; ISBN 978 085369 776 3, in French.
  88. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 104
  89. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 141
  90. ^ “Béatification à Lisieux des parents de sainte Thérèse” (in French). L’essemtiel des saints et des prénoms. Prenommer. 19 October 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2008.
  91. ^ “God’s Word renews Christian life”. l’Osservatore Romano (Holy See). 22 October 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2008.
  92. ^ Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway
  93. ^ Tens of Thousands Flock to St. Thérèse Relics, By Anna Arco, 25 September 2009, The Catholic Herald (UK) [1]
  94. ^
  95. ^ Fr. George Thalian: The Great Archbishop Mar Augustine Kandathil, D. D.: the Outline of a Vocation, Mar Louis Memorial Press, 1961. (Postscript) (PDF)
  96. ^
  • Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux translated into English – official Little Flower Web site – 10,000 pages and 5,000 photos
  • Web site of the Pilgrimage Office at Lisieux
  • Web site about the life, writings, spirituality,and mission of Saint Therese of Lisieux
  • The miraculous intercession of St Therese in the lives of four Mystics
  • Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux, biographie
  • The Story of a Soul (L’Histoire d’une Âme): The Autobiography of St. Thérèse (early edition heavily edited by Thérèse’s sister)
  • (Sainte Thérèse – Mansourieh / Liban) Parish site in the Lebanese language
  • Pope John Paul II’s Divini Amoris Scientia in English
  • Catholic Encyclopedia article
  • Works by Thérèse de Lisieux at Project Gutenberg early 20th century editions, heavily edited by Therese’s sister
  • Second Class Relic of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
  • Saint Thérèse Memorial Page at FindaGrave
  • St. Thérèse’s relics at Hungary
  • A collection of pictures of Thérèse, on the Lisieux Sanctuary website
  • Saint Theresa’s Shrine, first shine dedicated to the saint in the world

from Wikipedia

St. Therese of Lisieux

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4. Increase your physical activity. Do at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as walking, most days of the week. You can do 30 minutes in three 10-minute segments.

5. Choose foods low in salt and sodium. Most Americans should consume no more than 2.4 grams (2,400 milligrams) of sodium a day. That equals 6 grams, about one teaspoon of table salt a day. For someone with high blood pressure, the doctor may advise less.

6. Read nutrition labels. Almost all packaged foods contain sodium. Every time you prepare or eat a packaged food, know how much sodium is in one serving.

7. Keep a sodium diary. You may be surprised at how much sodium you consume each day and the diary will help you decide which foods to decrease or eliminate.

8. Use spices and herbs instead of salt to season the food you prepare at home.

9. Eat more fruits, vegetables, grains, and low-fat dairy foods.

10. If you consume alcohol at all, consume moderate amount or restrict..

ദൈവവിളിക്കായുള്ള പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥന / Prayer for Vocation

ദൈവവിളിക്കായുള്ള പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥന

“വിളവധികം വേലക്കാരോ ചുരുക്കം, അതിനാല്‍ തന്റെ വിളഭൂമിയിലെക്ക് വേലക്കാരെ അയക്കാന്‍ വിളവിന്റെ നാഥനോട് പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കുവിന്‍” എന്ന് ആഹ്വാനം ചെയ്ത ഈശോ നാഥാ ലോകത്തെ മുഴുവന്‍ അങ്ങേക്കായി നേടുവാന്‍ ധാരാളം  നല്ല ശുശ്രൂഷകരെ തിരുസ്സഭക്ക് നല്‍കണമേ. അവര്‍ അങ്ങയുടെ ജനത്തെ വിശുദ്ധീകരിക്കുകയും നയിക്കുകയും പഠിപ്പിക്കുകയും ചെയ്യട്ടെ. തനിക്കു ഇഷ്ടമുള്ളവരെ അരികിലേക്ക് വിളിച്ചു പരിശുദ്ധാത്മാവിനാല്‍ നിറച്ച്‌ ലോകത്തിന്റെ നാനാ ഭാഗങ്ങളിലേക്കും അയച്ചതുപോലെ അങ്ങേ അറിയാത്ത അനേകായിരങ്ങളുടെ അടുത്തേക്ക്‌ കടന്നുചെന്ന് അവരെ അങ്ങയിലേക്ക് നയിക്കുവാന്‍ നല്ല അജപാലകരെ ഞങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് നല്‍കണമേ. ധാരാളം നല്ല ദൈവവിളികള്‍ നല്‍കി ഞങ്ങളുടെ കുടുംബത്തെയും  അനുഗ്രഹിക്കണമേ.   അങ്ങയുടെ ഹൃദയത്തിനിണങ്ങിയ നല്ല മകനായി/മകളായി  എന്നെയും മാറ്റണമേ. അങ്ങനെ ലോകത്തിനു ദീപവും ഭൂമിക്കു ഉപ്പുമായി തീരുവാന്‍ എനിക്കും ഇടയാകട്ടെ. അങ്ങയുടെ വിളിയും തിരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പും മനസ്സിലാക്കുവാനും അതിനു പ്രത്യുത്തരം നല്‍കുവാനും എന്നെ സഹായിക്കണമേ. അതിനായി അങ്ങയുടെ പരിശുദ്ധാത്മാവിന്റെ ദാനങ്ങളും   ഫലങ്ങളും എന്നില്‍ നിറയ്ക്കണമേ.  നിത്യ പുരോഹിതനായ ഈശോ അങ്ങയുടെ വിളി സ്വീകരിച്ച് അങ്ങേക്കായി ജീവിക്കുന്ന സമര്‍പ്പിതരെ അങ്ങേ തിരുഹൃദയത്തില്‍ കാത്തുകൊള്ളണമേ. ഞങ്ങളുടെ അമ്മയായ പരിശുദ്ധ കന്യകാമാതാവേ, കന്യാവ്രതക്കാരുടെ കാവല്‍ക്കാരനായ മാര്‍ യൌസേപ്പിതാവേ എനിക്കുവേണ്ടിയും ഞങ്ങളുടെ  കുടുംബത്തിനുവേണ്ടിയും പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കണമേ. എന്റെ കാവല്‍ മാലാഖയെ   ദൈവതിരുമുന്‍പില്‍ നിര്‍മലനായി/നിര്‍മലയായി ജീവിക്കുവാന്‍ എന്നെ സഹായിക്കണമേ. എന്റെ പ്രത്യേക സ്വര്‍ഗ്ഗീയ   മദ്ധ്യസ്ഥരെ… നിങ്ങളും  എനിക്കുവേണ്ടി പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കണമേ. ആമ്മേന്‍

Prayer for Vocations

Jesus, High Priest and Redeemer forever, we beg you to call young men and women to your service as priests and religious. May they be inspired by the lives of dedicated priests, Brothers, and Sisters. Give to parents the grace of generosity and trust toward you and their children so that their sons and daughters may be helped to choose their vocations in life with wisdom and freedom.

Lord, you told us that the harvest indeed is great but the laborers are few. Pray, therefore, the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest. We ask that we may know and follow the vocation to which you have called us. We pray particularly for those called ot serve as priests, Brothers and Sisters; those whom you have called, those you are calling now, and those you will call in the future. May they be open and responsive to the call of serving your people. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Vocation Promoter (Fr Maneesh MCBS)

MCBS Seminary, Athirampuzha

Kottayam 686562, India

Click her for the Detailed Web Page


MCBS EMMAUS Province inaugurates CASA MCBS EMMAUS at Monterotondo, Rome on 17th September 2012. Casa MCBS EMMAUS, near to the Salesian university, has five bed rooms besides two halls and two chapels.




Via. Ricciotti Garibaldi, 22

00015 Monterotondo, ROMA

Rev Fr Joseph Vallomparambil, Superior

Fr. Joseph John Valloparambil mcbs


Via. Ricciotti Garibaldi, 22

00015 Monterotondo, ROMA


Cell. 3282742716

Exaltation of the Cross

Early in the fourth century St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ’s life. She razed the Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior’s tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher over the tomb. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman.

The cross immediately became an object of veneration. At a Good Friday celebration in Jerusalem toward the end of the fourth century, according to an eyewitness, the wood was taken out of its silver container and placed on a table together with the inscription Pilate ordered placed above Jesus’ head: Then “all the people pass through one by one; all of them bow down, touching the cross and the inscription, first with their foreheads, then with their eyes; and, after kissing the cross, they move on.”

To this day the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox alike, celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the September anniversary of the basilica’s dedication. The feast entered the Western calendar in the seventh century after Emperor Heraclius recovered the cross from the Persians, who had carried it off in 614, 15 years earlier. According to the story, the emperor intended to carry the cross back into Jerusalem himself, but was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim.

The cross is today the universal image of Christian belief. Countless generations of artists have turned it into a thing of beauty to be carried in procession or worn as jewelry. To the eyes of the first Christians, it had no beauty. It stood outside too many city walls, decorated only with decaying corpses, as a threat to anyone who defied Rome’s authority—including Christians who refused sacrifice to Roman gods. Although believers spoke of the cross as the instrument of salvation, it seldom appeared in Christian art unless disguised as an anchor or the Chi-Rho until after Constantine’s edict of toleration.

“How splendid the cross of Christ! It brings life, not death; light, not darkness; Paradise, not its loss. It is the wood on which the Lord, like a great warrior, was wounded in hands and feet and side, but healed thereby our wounds. A tree has destroyed us, a tree now brought us life” (Theodore of Studios).

Triumph of the Cross
This day is also called the Exaltation of the Cross, Elevation of the Cross, Holy Cross Day, Holy Rood Day, or Roodmas. The liturgy of the Cross is a triumphant liturgy. When Moses lifted up the bronze serpent over the people, it was a foreshadowing of the salvation through Jesus when He was lifted up on the Cross. Our Mother Church sings of the triumph of the Cross, the instrument of our redemption. To follow Christ we must take up His cross, follow Him and become obedient until death, even if it means death on the cross. We identify with Christ on the Cross and become co-redeemers, sharing in His cross.

We made the Sign of the Cross before prayer which helps to fix our minds and hearts to God. After prayer we make the Sign of the Cross to keep close to God. During trials and temptations our strength and protection is the Sign of the Cross. At Baptism we are sealed with the Sign of the Cross, signifying the fullness of redemption and that we belong to Christ. Let us look to the cross frequently, and realize that when we make the Sign of the Cross we give our entire self to God — mind, soul, heart, body, will, thoughts.

O cross, you are the glorious sign of victory.
Through your power may we share in the triumph of Christ Jesus.

Symbol: The cross of triumph is usually pictured as a globe with the cross on top, symbolic of the triumph of our Savior over the sin of the world, and world conquest of His Gospel through the means of a grace (cross and orb).

History of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross:

After the death and resurrection of Christ, both the Jewish and Roman authorities in Jerusalem made efforts to obscure the Holy Sepulchre, Christ’s tomb in the garden near the site of His crucifixion. The earth had been mounded up over the site, and pagan temples had been built on top of it. The Cross on which Christ had died had been hidden (tradition said) by the Jewish authorities somewhere in the vicinity.According to tradition, first mentioned by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem in 348, Saint Helena, nearing the end of her life, decided under divine inspiration to travel to Jerusalem in 326 to excavate the Holy Sepulchre and attempt to locate the True Cross. A Jew by the name of Judas, aware of the tradition concerning the hiding of the Cross, led those excavating the Holy Sepulchre to the spot in which it was hidden.

Three crosses were found on the spot. According to one tradition, the inscription Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (“Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”) remained attached to the True Cross. According to a more common tradition, however, the inscription was missing, and Saint Helena and Saint Macarius, the bishop of Jerusalem, assuming that one was the True Cross and the other two belonged to the thieves crucified alongside Christ, devised an experiment to determine which was the True Cross.

In one version of the latter tradition, the three crosses were taken to a woman who was near death; when she touched the True Cross, she was healed. In another, the body of a dead man was brought to the place where the three crosses were found, and laid upon each cross. The True Cross restored the dead man to life.

In celebration of the discovery of the Holy Cross, Constantine ordered the construction of churches at the site of the Holy Sepulchre and on Mount Calvary. Those churches were dedicated on September 13 and 14, 335, and shortly thereafter the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross began to be celebrated on the latter date. The feast slowly spread from Jerusalem to other churches, until, by the year 720, the celebration was universal.

In the early seventh century, the Persians conquered Jerusalem, and the Persian king Khosrau II captured the True Cross and took it back to Persia. After Khosrau’s defeat by Emperor Heraclius II, Khosrau’s own son had him assassinated in 628 and returned the True Cross to Heraclius. In 629, Heraclius, having initially taken the True Cross to Constantinople, decided to restore it to Jerusalem. Tradition says that he carried the Cross on his own back, but when he attempted to enter the church on Mount Calvary, a strange force stopped him. Patriarch Zacharias of Jerusalem, seeing the emperor struggling, advised him to take off his royal robes and crown and to dress in a penitential robe instead. As soon as Heraclius took Zacharias’ advice, he was able to carry the True Cross into the church.

For some centuries, a second feast, the Invention of the Cross, was celebrated on May 3 in the Roman and Gallican churches, following a tradition that marked that date as the day on which Saint Helena discovered the True Cross. In Jerusalem, however, the finding of the Cross was celebrated from the beginning on September 14.

Sanathana –Divya Karunya Vidyapeetham, Thamarassery


At the dawn of the third millennium, intending to lay foundation for a Eucharistic centered priestly, religious and ecclessial life, the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS) took the humble step of establishing its own theological seminary, sanathana – Divya Karunya Vidya Peetham (DKV) at Thamarassery, in Kerala, India. Though the primary purpose of this theologate is formation and education of the MCBS seminarians, Sanathana warmly welcomes candidates from the various dioceses and other religious communities. An eight semester curriculam envisioned at DKV offers various courses and training programmes aimed at forming the candidates in to mature, Holy and His people.


The long cherished dream of the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament to establish a theologate of its own was first expressed in the General Synaxes convened in 1997 and 2001. In accordance with the synaxis’ decision, twenty one acres of land was purchased at Thamarassery on 15th July 1999. And on 24th May 2001 His Excellency Mar Thomas Elavanal mcbs, the bishop of Kalyan, laid the foundation stone for the Sanathana MCBS Theologate. On 7th June 2004, His Excellency Mar Paul Chittilapilly, the bishop of Thamarassery, blessed this seminary and inaugurated the first academic year 2004-2005 of the Divya Karunya Vidyapeetham, in the presence of Very Rev Fr George Karintholil, the Superior General of MCBS, Very Rev Fr Joseph Erumachadath, and Very Rev Fr George Kizhakkemury, the then provincials of Emmaus and Zion Provinces respectively. His Grace Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy, the Archbishop of Thrissur, inaugurated the second academic year 2005-2006 on 6th June 2005. His Grace Mar George Valiamattom, the Archbishop of Thalassery, inaugurated the third academic year 2006-2007 on 5th June 2006. On 3rd July 2006His Excellency Mar Paul Chittilapilly officially inaugurated Sanathana, the Divya Karunya Vidyapeetham, the theologate of the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. On 5th June 2007 His grace Mar Joseph Perumthottam Arch Bishop of Changanassery,inagurated the fourth academic year of Divya Karunya Vidyapeetham.

 Very Rev. fr. Geroge Kizhakkemurry, the MCBS Superior General, inaugurated the Fifth academic year 2008-2009 on 5th June 2008. His Excellency Mar paul Chittilappilly, Bishop of Thamarassery, inaugurated the sixth academic Year 2009-2010 on 4th June 2009. Sanathana Divya Karunya Vidyapeetham became affiliated to the faculty of Theology of the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome by the decree of the Congregation for Catholic Education (Decree No. 908/2009/4) on October 5, 2009. His Excellency Joseph Mar Thomas, Bishop of Bathery, inaugurated the seventh academic year 2010-2011 0n 3rd June 2010. 


The name of the MCBS Theologate is Sanathana , which means eternal embodiment of the divine sacrament and sacrifice that takes one to the summit of an authentic religious/priestly life consisting in self-immolation as expressed in the Eucharistic sacrifice of Jesus. The Word became flesh as primordial sacrifice and sacrament. “I have to undergo a baptism” (Lk 12, 50) which means His death on the cross for human salvation. “The blood of bulls you did not want… but you have given me a body… hence I come to perform sacrifice,” (Ps 40, 7-9; Heb 10, 5-9).

Seen from this perspective, the Eucharist is the Eternal Embodiment ( Sanathana) of the communion and compassion of Jesus where sacrifice and sacrament blend in a very special way. Authentic priestly and religious life is a sacrificial offering of one’s self that demands constant self-transformation, self-transcendence and the concomitant socio-political consciousness.


The emblem of Divya Karunya Vidyapeetham (DKV) radiates the Eucharistic wisdom permeating the learning, lifestyle and culture. The upadesa-mudra at the centre of the emblem represents the Risen Christ. He is the Divine Guru (master) who imparts vidya through altar and cross to the sishya (disciple) symbolised by the burning flame. Through constant self-sacrifice sishya dispels all forms of ignorance, and impurity and becomes enlightened with the light of the Word and the life giving Eucharistic bread. Abiding in the Word – the two edged sword that pierces spirit and joints from the marrow – and nourishing from the life-giving Bread – the epiphany of communion – will enable one to lead a life of Trinitarian and cosmic communion and will awaken in the priestly candidate a mystico-socio-political consciousness. This is what the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament aims at imparting to all the candidates at Sanathana, the Divya Karunya Vidyapeetham.

The motto

The motto of Divya Karunya Vidyapeetham inscribed in the emblem is the prayer of the disciples of Emmaus, Stay with us Lord (Lk 24,29). Pope John Paul II took this prayer as the title of his Apostolic Letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine. This apostolic letter in connection with the Eucharistic Year 2004-2005, is the culmination of his Eucharistic teachings contained in Tertio Millennio AdvenienteNovo Millennio Ineunte Ecclesia de Eucharistia and Redemptionis Sacramentum.Divya Karunya Vidyapeetham established in the Eucharistic Year, upholds the values and principles of the Eucharist that leads one to a life of divine compassion through its celebration, contemplation, and adoration. The Eucharistic centred priestly and religious training offered at Divya Karunya Vidyapeetham will enable the candidates not only to free themselves from the snares of existential trials and tribulations but also to recognise and serve the Eucharistic Jesus in the happy as well as tragic times, places and persons.


Anchoring on the Most Holy Eucharist, the source of eternal life and wisdom, DKV imparts a system of theological formation suited to the twenty first century and aims at enlightening the candidates to form the people of the Eucharistic Millennium. A profound theological, especially Eucharistic didactics together with an organic interface among various courses and exposures will naturally lead the candidates to the concurrent pastoral, social and missiological realities, and challenges. To bring about such an organic interrelatedness, theological subjects deliberated under various titles have been configured in overarching themes such as :
Introducing Major Theological Themes in the Asian context and culture.
Focussing on Jesus Christ and His Church
Mission, Ministry and Meetings with Cultures, Religions and the Poor
Becoming a True Disciple of Christ and Dedicating Oneself to God and His Kingdom.

The introductory courses in the first year emphasise the theological contextualisation. The second year focuses on the epicentre of theology, that is, Jesus Christ and His Church. The third year highlights the theological concretisation, the praxis of theology through mission, ministry and meetings with cultures, religions and the poor. In the fourth year emphasis is given for personalisation of theology by which the candidate consecrates himself/herself to Christ and dedicates himself/herself for the establishment of the Kingdom of God.


Participative-Interactive,Analytico-Critical and Organico-
Synthentic Process

This praxis-sensitive methodology of DKV emphasizes a participative, interactive, analytical, critical, organic and synthetic learning and teaching by students and professors respectively. The more a student participates, interacts, analyses, criticises, and subsequently enhances and synthesises theological notions, the better he/she will be able to theologically contextualise, concentrate, concretise, and consecrate himself/herself to the Eucharistic Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
The theological methodology envisioned by DKV highlights the various subjects that are taught with an existential reference to the socio-political and religious-cultural spectrum of Indian and Eastern Reality. To realize this incarnational approach, theological themes are discussed in a hermeneutics of correlation which implies a triple dialogue with Asian cultures, Asian religions and the Asian poor.


Didactic, Empirical and Transformational Focus

In consonance with its vision and methodology, the Divya Karunya Vidyapeetham has designed its syllabus in a didactic, empirical and transformational way so that the student may have ample opportunities to experience the Eucharistic Jesus, not only in liturgical celebrations but also in the liturgy of life of the suffering humanity. Hence, besides the regular theological courses, the DKV curriculum has the following salient features which would enable the student to be in solidarity with the suffering members of the Mystical Body of Christ.

i. Enhancing the mission consciousness of the students with special reference to Asia ‘s social, cultural and missionary concerns, mission exposure programmes from time to time will be conducted.

ii. A liturgical and Eucharistic centred formation will naturally inspire the candidates to serve the marginalized and victimized in the society. Hence special emphasis will be given to social and rural programmes so as to awaken the socio-political as well as rural awareness of the students. Ample opportunities will be offered to the students to visit the last, lost and least in the society.

iii. Forming good shepherds after the heart of Jesus for the people of third millennium great attention will be given to the pastoral formation. Students will be offered opportunities for pastoral ministry on Sundays.

iv. Promoting theological creativity by encouraging the students to write and publish theological articles in the major theological journals.

v. Encountering contemporary theologians and discussing theological issues will broaden the theological horizons of students. Hence DKV will provide ample opportunities for seminars and extension lectures.

Administrative Body


Rev. Dr. Jose Pathiyamoola mcbs

Dean of  Studies

Rev. Dr. Thomas Kozhimala mcbs


Rev. Fr. Sebastian Muttamthottil mcbs

MCBS Seminaries

Sanathana Divya Karunya Vidya Peetham, Thamarassery

Sanathana MCBS Seminary

P.B. No.05,Thamarassery – 673573


Tel: 0495  2220931,2220932,2220930

Fax: 0495 2225688

Web :

E-mail :

Jeevalaya Institute of Philosophy, Bangalore

MCBS Novitiate House , Kanjirappally

MCBS Novitiate House , Chembery

MCBS Minor Seminary, Athirampuzha

MCBS Minor Seminary

Sreekandamangalam P.O.


Kottayam 686 562

Kerala, India

Ph. 0481 2730599, 2731882, 2731982

Email: (Official) (Public)


MCBS Minor Seminary, Pariyaram

MCBS Mission Minor Seminary, Solapur

MCBS Mission Minor Seminary, Anappara

MCBS Study House, Kaduvakulam

MCBS Study House, Aluva


Formation Houses of MCBS

Sanathana Divya Karunya Vidya Peetham, Thamarassery

Sanathana MCBS Seminary

P.B. No.05,Thamarassery – 673573


Tel: 0495  2220931, 2220932, 2220930

Fax: 0495 2225688

Web :

E-mail :

Jeevalaya Institute of Philosophy, Bangalore

MCBS Novitiate House , Kanjirappally

MCBS Novitiate House , Chembery

MCBS Minor Seminary, Athirampuzha

MCBS Minor Seminary

Sreekandamangalam P.O.


Kottayam 686 562

Kerala, India

Ph. 0481 2730599, 2731882, 2731982

Email: (Official) (Public)


MCBS Minor Seminary, Pariyaram

MCBS Mission Minor Seminary, Solapur

MCBS Mission Minor Seminary, Anappara

MCBS Study House, Kaduvakulam

MCBS Study House, Aluva

Vocation to MCBS

Vocation / ദൈവവിളി

ദൈവവിളിക്കായുള്ള പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥന / Prayer for Vocations

“വിളവധികം വേലക്കാരോ ചുരുക്കം, അതിനാല്‍ തന്റെ വിളഭൂമിയിലെക്ക് വേലക്കാരെ അയക്കാന്‍ വിളവിന്റെ നാഥനോട് പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കുവിന്‍” എന്ന് ആഹ്വാനം ചെയ്ത ഈശോ നാഥാ ലോകത്തെ മുഴുവന്‍ അങ്ങേക്കായി നേടുവാന്‍ ധാരാളം  നല്ല ശുശ്രൂഷകരെ തിരുസ്സഭക്ക് നല്‍കണമേ. അവര്‍ അങ്ങയുടെ ജനത്തെ വിശുദ്ധീകരിക്കുകയും നയിക്കുകയും പഠിപ്പിക്കുകയും ചെയ്യട്ടെ. തനിക്കു ഇഷ്ടമുള്ളവരെ അരികിലേക്ക് വിളിച്ചു പരിശുദ്ധാത്മാവിനാല്‍ നിറച്ച്‌ ലോകത്തിന്റെ നാനാ ഭാഗങ്ങളിലേക്കും അയച്ചതുപോലെ അങ്ങേ അറിയാത്ത അനേകായിരങ്ങളുടെ അടുത്തേക്ക്‌ കടന്നുചെന്ന് അവരെ അങ്ങയിലേക്ക് നയിക്കുവാന്‍ നല്ല അജപാലകരെ ഞങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് നല്‍കണമേ. ധാരാളം നല്ല ദൈവവിളികള്‍ നല്‍കി ഞങ്ങളുടെ കുടുംബത്തെയും  അനുഗ്രഹിക്കണമേ.   അങ്ങയുടെ ഹൃദയത്തിനിണങ്ങിയ നല്ല മകനായി/മകളായി  എന്നെയും മാറ്റണമേ. അങ്ങനെ ലോകത്തിനു ദീപവും ഭൂമിക്കു ഉപ്പുമായി തീരുവാന്‍ എനിക്കും ഇടയാകട്ടെ. അങ്ങയുടെ വിളിയും തിരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പും മനസ്സിലാക്കുവാനും അതിനു പ്രത്യുത്തരം നല്‍കുവാനും എന്നെ സഹായിക്കണമേ. അതിനായി അങ്ങയുടെ പരിശുദ്ധാത്മാവിന്റെ ദാനങ്ങളും   ഫലങ്ങളും എന്നില്‍ നിറയ്ക്കണമേ.  നിത്യ പുരോഹിതനായ ഈശോ അങ്ങയുടെ വിളി സ്വീകരിച്ച് അങ്ങേക്കായി ജീവിക്കുന്ന സമര്‍പ്പിതരെ അങ്ങേ തിരുഹൃദയത്തില്‍ കാത്തുകൊള്ളണമേ. ഞങ്ങളുടെ അമ്മയായ പരിശുദ്ധ കന്യകാമാതാവേ, കന്യാവ്രതക്കാരുടെ കാവല്‍ക്കാരനായ മാര്‍ യൌസേപ്പിതാവേ എനിക്കുവേണ്ടിയും ഞങ്ങളുടെ  കുടുംബത്തിനുവേണ്ടിയും പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കണമേ. എന്റെ കാവല്‍ മാലാഖയെ   ദൈവതിരുമുന്‍പില്‍ നിര്‍മലനായി /നിര്‍മലയായി ജീവിക്കുവാന്‍ എന്നെ സഹായിക്കണമേ. എന്റെ പ്രത്യേക സ്വര്‍ഗ്ഗീയ   മദ്ധ്യസ്ഥരെ… നിങ്ങളും  എനിക്കുവേണ്ടി പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കണമേ. ആമ്മേന്‍

Prayer for Vocations

Jesus, High Priest and Redeemer forever, we beg you to call young men and women to your service as priests and religious. May they be inspired by the lives of dedicated priests, Brothers, and Sisters. Give to parents the grace of generosity and trust toward you and their children so that their sons and daughters may be helped to choose their vocations in life with wisdom and freedom.

Lord, you told us that the harvest indeed is great but the laborers are few. Pray, therefore, the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest. We ask that we may know and follow the vocation to which you have called us. We pray particularly for those called to serve as priests, Brothers and Sisters; those whom you have called, those you are calling now, and those you will call in the future. May they be open and responsive to the call of serving your people. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യ നാഥന്‍ നിന്നെ വിളിക്കുന്നു

എം സി ബി എസ് സന്ന്യാസ സമൂഹം  നിന്നെ സ്വാഗതം ചെയ്യുന്നു

വരുവിന്‍, അവനോടൊപ്പം മരിക്കാന്‍ നമുക്കും പോകാം…

വിശ്വാസ ജീവിതത്തിന്റെ കേന്ദ്രമായ വിശുദ്ധ കുര്‍ബാനയിലൂടെ അനേകായിരങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് വിശ്വാസ വെളിച്ചം നല്‍കുവാന്‍ വിശുദ്ധ കുര്‍ബാനയില്‍ കേന്ദ്രീകൃതമായ ഭാരതത്തിലെ ഏക സന്യാസ സമൂഹമാണ്‌ MCBS. ഏഷ്യ, ആഫ്രിക്ക, യൂറോപ്പ്, ഓസ്ട്രേലിയ, എന്നീ ഭൂഘണ്ടങ്ങളിലും ഇന്ത്യയിലെ വിവിധ സംസ്ഥാനങ്ങളിലും കേരളത്തിലുടനീളവും വചനപ്രഘോഷണം, ഇടവക പ്രേഷിതത്വം ആതുര സേവനം, വിദ്യാഭ്യാസം,  മാധ്യമ പ്രേഷിതത്വം, യുവജന നവീകരണം, സാമൂഹിക സേവനം തുടങ്ങി വിവിധ രംഗങ്ങളില്‍ MCBS വൈദീകര്‍ കര്‍മ്മനിരതാരാണ് . നാഥനുവേണ്ടി ജീവിക്കുവാനും ലോകത്തിനുവേണ്ടി മുറിക്കപ്പെടുവാനും ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യ   ഈശോ നിന്നെ വിളിക്കുന്നു. ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യ നാഥന്‍ നിന്നിലൂടെ നിറം പകരുന്ന സ്വപ്നങ്ങള്‍ക്ക്  ജീവന്‍ പകരാന്‍, വിശുദ്ധ കുര്‍ബാനയുടെ പ്രേഷിതനകാന്‍ ഉള്‍വിളി ലഭിക്കുന്നെങ്കില്‍…. മടിക്കരുത്… അംഗമാവുക… ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യ മിഷനറി സഭയില്‍….

Vocation Director

MCBS Seminary


Kottayam – 686 562

 Tel : 0481 2730599, 09495804598

 E- mail :



Fr Maneesh MCBS

MCBS Seminary


Kottayam 686562


Prayer for the Success in Exam / പരീക്ഷാ വിജയത്തിനായുള്ള പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥന


Vocation to Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS)


Catholic: Latin, Syro-Malabar & Malankara.

Age: 15 – 30 years.

Education: At least Secondary School or Equivalent Completed.

Family: Sound Family background and Spiritual Environment.

Admission: Interview by a Panel of Priests including the Rector of the Seminary.

Admissions Open: April to June every Year.

Houses of Formation

Minor Seminaries

MCBS Minor Seminary, Athirampuzha, Kottayam, India

MCBS Minor Seminary, Pariyaram, Kannur, India

MCBS Minor Seminary, Solapur, Maharashtra, India


MCBS Novitiate House, Kanjirappally, Kottayam, India

MCBS Novitiate House, Chembery, Kannur, India

Major Seminaries

Jeevalaya Institute of Philosophy, Bangalore, India

Sanathana Divyakarunya Vidhyapeetham, Thamarassery, India

Study Houses

MCBS Study House, Alwaye, India

MCBS Study House, Kaduvakulam, Kottayam, India

Duration of Formation

Minor Seminary: 2 or 3 Years

Novitiate: 1 Year

Degree: 3 years (If Separately Done)

Philosophy: 2 or  3 years

Regency: 1 or 0 Year

Theology: 3.5 years

Higher Studies: Up-to 5 Years (Before Ordination)

Total Years of Formation: 09 to 15Years


Vocation Director

MCBS Seminary


Kottayam – 686 562

Tel : 0481 2730599, 09495804598

E- mail :,



Vocation Director

MCBS Minor Seminary

Pariyaram P.O., Kannur – 670502

Tel: 0497 2808577, 2808495, 2808877

E-mail :


Vocation Director

MCBS House

Elavanthy, Anappara P.O.

Angamaly –

Tel.  04842694895

Mob. 09447267114



Fr Maneesh MCBS

MCBS Seminary


Kottayam 686562


Mar Jacob Muricken, Auxiliary Bishop of Palai

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Rev. Fr. Jacob Muricken as the Auxiliary Bishop of Palai.

This Ecclesiastical Provision was made public in Rome on Friday, 24th August, 2012, at noon local time, corresponding to 15:30 hrs.

The newly elected Auxiliary Bishop is assigned the Titular See of Tinis by the Holy Father.

He was in charge of the various Departments at Shalom Pastoral Centre, Co-ordination of various pastoral activities of the Eparchy, Priests‘ Homes, Ongoing formation of  priests, Forane monthly recollections of Priests, St. Ephrem Formation Centre, Seminarians on Regency in the diocese.

Rev. Fr. Jacob Muricken was born on 16th June, 1963 in the parish of Muttuchira of the Eparchy of Palai. He had his priestly formation at Vadavathoor and was ordained priest on 27th December, 1993. He served as Asst. Vicar at Kuravilangad, Vice-Rector of the Minor Seminary, Professor at Good Shepherd Minor Seminary, Karoor, Secretary to the Corporate Management of Schools, Vicar of Lourdu Matha Church, Chakampuzha and Vicar of St. Francis Xavier Church, Neeloor

Mar Jacob Muricken in his College days

Mar George Rajendran Kuttinadar SDB, Bishop of Thuckalay

Fr George Rajendran Kuttinadar SDB, of Silchar Province, has been nominated Bishop of the Syro Malabar Diocese of Thuckalay in Kanyakumari Dt of Tamilnadu.

He succeeds Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, the Major Archbishop of Syro Malabar Church, who was the bishop of Thuckalay.

Mgr. Rajendran hails from the same diocese. He made his first profession as a Salesian on 23-05-1994 and was ordained priest on 29-12-2003. Currently he is serving as Principal of St. Anthony`s Hr Sec School, Shillong.

The episcopal ordination of Mgr. Rajendran will take place on 16 September 2012.

MCBS offers heartiest congratulations to Mgr. Rajendran and prays for God`s choicest blessings upon him as he begins his new ministry

Click here for the Official site of the Diocese of Thuckalay

Mgr. George Rajendran SDB Ordained Bishop of Thuckalay

16 September 2012 marked a new chapter in the history of the Church in India and especially for the Syro Malabar Church, when Mgr. George Rajendran, a Salesian of Don Bosco belonging to the Province of Silchar, was ordained bishop of the Syro Malabar Diocese of Thuckalay, in Kanykumari district of Tamilnadu. The Episcopal ordination took place in a glittering ceremony at Sacred Heart Forane Church, Padanthalummoodu,near Thuckalay. In the presence of thousands of faithful gathered from the diocese and from other dioceses of Tamilnadu and Kerala, His Beatitude Cardinal George Alanchery, Major Archbishop of Syro Malabar Church consecrated and installed the new bishop.

The liturgy reflected the universality of the Church by the presence of several Archbishops and Bishops of Syro Malabar Rite, Syro Malankara Rite and Latin Rite, and hundreds priests, religious and sisters from various dioceses and religious congregations. The liturgy was inspirational, impressive, solemn and well prepared. The whole celebration was very well planned and executed and highly faith stimulating.

Rev. Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga, the Salesian Regional Councillor for South Asia, Rev. Fr. Albert Johnson, Provincial of Tiruchy, Rev. Fr. George Maliekal, Provincial of Silchar, Rev.Fr. Joe Almeida and several other Salesians from Silchar and Guwahati and other provinces of India were present to extend greetings and assure prayerful support for Bishop Rajendran. The presence of some staff members of St. Anthony`s Hr Secondary School, Shillong, dressed in colourful Khasi dress drew the attention of many.

The diocese of Thuckalay has 49 Church Centres, which have a strength of about 25,000 Catholics. At present 22 diocesan priests, 25 religious priests, and 190 sisters belonging to 10 Congregations are working in the diocese.

“With God all things are possible“ (Mt.19:26) – is the chosen Motto of the new Bishop. “I chose it because I want to entrust everything of what I am and what I do in the hands of God. Unless God works nothing will work both in my life as well as in the lives of the people of my diocese“ – said Bishop Rajandran in an interview.

The Episcopal ordination of Mgr Rajendran, a son of the diocese of Thuckalay, is a significant event marking the growth of the church in the region and it holds promises for greater vitality of the church. The Salesian Province of Silchar together with all the Saleisan Family Members rejoice and thank God for the gift of newly consecrated Bishop Rajendran and pray God`s choicest blessings upon him and on the diocese.

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whatever can't be said, can be written. #poem #poetry

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