Little Flower Catholic Church, South Bend, Indiana

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

St Therese Little FlowerMarie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin lived from January 2, 1873 to September 30, 1897. She was canonized a saint on May 17, 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Her feast day is celebrated each year on October 1, and she is recognized as a Doctor of the Church.

Thérèse learned a deep Catholic spirituality from her family. Following the inspiration of her sisters, she joined a Carmelite monastery in Lisieux, France, at age 15. Encouraged by her Carmelite superiors, Thérèse wrote an autobiography entitled The Story of a Soul. It became one of the best-selling religious works of the 20th century.

Thérèse struggled with tuberculosis all of her life, and complications from the illness led to her death at age 25. She shared many spiritual reflections on her suffering. Saint Thérèse is revered as the patroness of people fighting bodily illness.

The Little Way

One of the most notable spiritual ideas shared by Thérèse was her "little way," in which she sought to live her faith through many small acts as opposed to fewer grandiose accomplishments:

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.

Our Namesake

The above words, combined with her appreciation of the flowers that grew at her monastery, led Thérèse to be known as the Little Flower of Jesus. Our parish was named in her honor by Rev. Joe Payne, CSC, according to a devotion he had developed in the days of his preparation for the priesthood. Fr. Payne's reflections are included in the history section of this site.

This page is based on information from the Society of the Little Flower as well as Wikipedia, and those sites contain much greater detail about Saint Thérèse, the Little Flower.