Job 42.1-3,5-6,12-17; Ps 118; Lk 10.17-24
St Thérèse Martin (1873-1897) was born at Alençon; at the age of 15 she joined two of her older sisters in the Carmel of Lisieux. She died at the age of 24 of tuberculosis. Her highly affective spirituality and years of heroic suffering, recorded in her spiritual autobiography, The Story of a Soul, constitute a ‘Little Way’ of simplicity and self-forgetfulness. She is popularly known as “The Little Flower.” Pope St Pius X described her as “the greatest saint of modern times” and she was declared a Doctor (“teacher”) of the Church in 1977 by Pope St John Paul II.
The nuns of Lisieux followed an austere regime which allowed for only one meal a day for seven months of the year. There was hardly any free time during the day, and superfluous conversation was forbidden. Thérèse had to endure bullying from other sisters because of her lack of aptitude for embroidery and manual work. Twelve days after she had taken the habit in 1892, after her postulancy, her father suffered a stroke and was taken to a private sanatorium where he would die two years later. For Thérèse these sadnesses deepened her sense of vocation to lead a hidden life, to pray and to offer her sufferings for priests. “I applied myself to practice little virtues,” she wrote, “not having the facility to perform great ones.” She was canonised in 1925, only 28 years after her death.