St. Therese Patron Saint

Therese of Lisieux Patron Saint

Therese of Lisieux Patron Saint, Doctor of the Church life was filled with illness and tragedy. Her mother died when she was four. When she was seven she suffered a serious illness diagnosed to be everything from a nervous breakdown to a kidney infection. She suffered a death threatening high fever which left her with unexplainable hallucinations. She explains the experience this way, "I was absolutely terrified by everything: my bed seemed to be surrounded by frightful precipices; some nails in the wall of the room took on the appearance of big black charred fingers, making me cry out in fear. One day, while Papa was looking at me and smiling, the hat in his hand was suddenly transformed into some indescribable dreadful shape and I showed such great fear that poor Papa left the room sobbing." (Excerpt: Story of a Soul).

On May 13, 1883, Therese turned her head to a statue of the Virgin near her bed, and prayed for a cure. "Suddenly" Therese writes, "....Mary's face radiated kindness and love." Therese was cured. The statue has since been called "Our Lady of the Smile".

St. Therese Patron led a simple ordinary cloistered life. She became a saint because of the wholehearted way she responded to God's love and lived the grace he bestowed upon her.

While the Church recognizes the holiness and sanctity of may people the official canonization of a soul is a long process. Specific signs must be accepted by the Church before anyone can be declared a saint.

For Therese patron saint of florists, aviators and missions, the process was relatively swift. She was so popular among those who knew her, they believed her a saint long before the official declaration. A person is declared 'venerable' when evidence of extraordinary holiness is proven. Two miracles must be proven before the next step Beatification can take place.

In 1923 the Church approved two spontaneous cures unexplained by medical treatment of people who had prayed for intercession from St. Therese. Sister Louise of St. Germain was cured of stomach ulcers and Charles Anne, a twenty-three year old seminarian was cured of pulmonary tuberculosis. Because of these two miracles St. Therese of Lisieux Patron was beatified on April 29th, 1923 by Pope Pius XI. In the Jubilee year 1925 she was named heavenly patroness of foreign missions along with St. Francis Xavier. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face was named one of the patron saints of the missions because of her special love of the missions, and the prayers and letters she gave in support of missionaries. The Society of the Little Flower reminds those of us "who feel we can do nothing, that it is the little things that keep God's kingdom growing".

In 1925 two more cures, Gabrielle Trimusi from Parma, Italy who suffered arthritis of the knee and tubercular lesions on his vertebrae and Maria Pellemans of Schaerbeck, Belgium who suffered pulmonary tuberculosis were cured from all signs of illness and disease.

St Therese was canonized on May 17, 1925.
She would have been 52 years old. She had died on Sept. 30, 1897 of tuberculosis.

In her quest for sanctity, St. Theresa realized it is not necessary to accomplish great deeds or heroic acts in or to obtain holiness to express love for 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." (i.e. The Story of a Soul)

St. Therese called this unique and simple approach to love and spirituality her 'little way". The simplicity in her approach to God has sometimes caused others to accuse her of overly sentimental or childish spirituality. Others say her approach left spiritual openness approach spiritual approach open to anyone, regardless of their level or sophistication or education. She explained it this way, "Sometimes, when I read spiritual treatises, in which perfection is shown with a thousand obstacles in the way and a host of illusions round about it, my poor little mind soon grows weary, I close the learned book, which leaves my head splitting and my heart parched, and I take the Holy Scriptures. Then all seems luminous, a single word opens up infinite horizons to my soul, perfection seems easy; I see that it is enough to realize one's nothingness, and give oneself wholly, like a child, into the arms of the good God. Leaving to great souls, great minds, the fine 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'. (i.e. The Story of a Soul).

"The Story of a Soul' is St. Therese's autobiography published after her death in 1898. From the original two-thousand copies the book remains a beloved best seller throughout the world. She also wrote two volumes of letters, some poems, prayers and eight plays.

On August 24 1997 Pope John Paul II announced at the World Youth Day in France that Saint Therese Lisieux patron of the church was to be named a Doctor of the Church.

There are only thirty-three Doctors of the Church. Not only is St. Therese the youngest doctor she was the third woman to be proclaimed Doctor, together with St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Therese of Avila.

Doctor of the Church
is a distinction beyond being a canonized saint, the first requirement. The other three are: Outstanding holiness and sanctity, eminent learning and writings and a proclamation by the Pope.

In Vatican City, October 19, 1997 during a solemn Eucharistic celebration in St. Peter's Square in the presence of tens of thousands of people, the Pope proclaimed St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face Doctor of the Church. In his homily in Italian and French, John Paul II recalled that the young Discalced Carmelite "was not able to attend a university nor frequent organized studies. She died young: and yet today she will be honored as Doctor of the Church, an eminent recognition which raises her in the consideration of the entire Christian community well beyond what an 'academic title' could have done."
"Among the Doctors of the Church," he added, "Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face is the youngest, but her spiritual path is so mature and ardent, the intuitions of faith present in her writings are so vast and profound, as to have earned her a place among the great masters of the spirit."

Saint Therese is also the patron saint of Russia.

Therese of Lisieux Patron Saint of:

" Patron Saint of African missions
" Patron Saint of against bodily ills
" Patron Saint of against illness
" Patron Saint of against sickness
" Patron Saint of AIDS patients
" Patron Saint of air crews
" Patron Saint of aircraft pilots
" Patron Saint of Anchorage, Alaska, archdiocese of
" Patron Saint of Australia
" Patron Saint of aviators
" Patron Saint of Belgian air crews
" Patron Saint of black missions
" Patron Saint of Cheyenne, Wyoming, diocese of
" Patron Saint of Fairbanks, Alaska, diocese of
" Patron Saint of florists
" Patron Saint of flower growers
" Patron Saint of foreign missions (1927)
" Patron Saint of France (1944 by Venerable Pope Pius XII)
" Patron Saint of Fresno, California, diocese of
" Patron Saint of Juneau, Alaska, diocese of
" Patron Saint of Kisumu, Kenya, diocese of
" Patron Saint of loss of parents
" Patron Saint of missionaries
" Patron Saint of parish missions
" Patron Saint of Pueblo, Colorado, diocese of
" Patron Saint of restoration of religious freedom in Russia
" Patron Saint of Russia
" Patron Saint of sick people
" Patron Saint of Spanish air crews
" Patron Saint of tuberculosis
" Patron Saint of Witbank, South Africa, diocese of
" Patron Saint of World Youth Day
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