Saint Thérèse  of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

Feast Day: October 3rd

Saint Thérèse  of Lisieux

The Life of St. Thérèse  of Lisieux

Early Childhood  [1837-1877]

Of farming and army stock, the Martin family had solid roots in Normandy and Mayenne. Brought up in a series of military camps, Louis Martin thought of seriously of entering a monastery. But this was not to be, and he turned to clock and watch-making instead. Zélie Guérin was also unsuccessful in her attempt to enter the religious order of the sisters of the Hôtel-Dieu. Thérèse's Mama to be learned the Alençon lace-making technique and soon mastered this painstaking craft. They married in 1858 but determined they would be celibate until a priest told them that was not how God wanted their marriage to work. They must have followed his advice very well because they had nine children. Four, including two boys, died in infancy. The five children who lived were all daughters who were close to each other all their lives. Thérèse, the youngest, was born on January 2, 1873. She was put out to nurse for a year and became a lively, mischievous, and self-confident child; she thrived on the love that surrounded her in this pious Catholic household, where prayer, the liturgy, and practical good works formed the basis of her own ardent love of Jesus—her desire to please him and the Virgin Mary. But sorrow struck early in her life when her mother died of breast cancer in the summer of 1877. Thérèse was four and a half years old. Her sixteen-year-old sister, Pauline, became her second mother.

Lisieux— Les Buissonnets

 Her father was left to raise the five girls, ranging from four to seventeen. His brother-in-law, Isidore Guérin, a chemist in Lisieux, invited them all to go and live with him in this small town, with its population of just 18,600 people. They moved on 15 November 1877. Thérèse spent eleven years at Les Buissonnets, a fine house with a quiet garden, some way from the center of the town. Her sisters, Marie and Pauline, took care of her education. "Poor Léonie" was a difficult child.

Céline, nearly four years older, was her favorite playmate. Louis Martin was both father and mother to his children. He called Thérèse his "little queen" and often took her walking or fishing in the surrounding countryside. The shock of her mother's death had changed her from a lively, self-confident child into an introverted, shy and self-effacing one. Her entry into the Benedictine Abbey School of Notre-Dame du Pré was a trial for her: "The five years [1881-1886] I spent there were the saddest of my life." She worked hard, and loved catechism, history and science, but had trouble with spelling and mathematics.

At the age of ten, she was deeply distressed when Pauline, her favorite sister whom she had chosen as a substitute mother, left to become a Carmelite in October of 1882. This new emotional shock went so deep that she fell seriously ill with a fever and people thought she was dying. For a whole month, her family were at their wits' end; even doctors could find no explanation for the hallucinations, tossings, turnings and anorexia that afflicted her. The worst part of it for Thérèse was all the people sitting around her bed staring at her like, she said, "a string of onions." Family and Carmelites alike prayed to Our Lady of Victory. When Thérèse saw her sisters praying to a statue of Mary in her room, Thérèse also prayed. And, on May 13, 1883, when it seemed that she would either die or lose her sanity, she saw the family's statue of the Virgin smile at her, and 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 Thérèse 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.

Spiritual Suffering

But "spiritual torment" was to be her lot for years to come, slackening only when she started preparing for her long-awaited First Communion. At the age of eleven, on 8 May 1884, she received her first "kiss of love," a sense of being united with Jesus, of His giving Himself to her, as she gave herself to Him. Her Eucharist hunger made her long for daily Communion. Confirmation, "the Sacrament of Love," which she received on June 14, 1884, filled her with ecstasy. Holidays in Trouville and Saint-Ouen-le-Pin were followed, however, by a retreat that triggered a crisis of scruples, lasting seventeen months. Her sister, Marie, helped her to overcome it. But Marie in her turn entered the Lisieux Carmel on October 15,1886. This was too much for the adolescent Thérèse, who had now lost a third mother. She was nearly fourteen and already strikingly good-looking, quite tall, with magnificent eyes and long hair. She attracted notice on the beach in Trouville, where people nicknamed her "the tall English girl." But she was tormented by an inner anguish that found relief only when, in November of 1886, she appealed to her four brothers and sisters in Heaven to intercede for her. Even then, she remained hypersensitive, weak-willed, "crying at having cried!"

Every time Thérèse 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.  How could she possibly enter the Carmel—something she had dreamed of since the age of nine as a way of living with Jesus—in this pitiful state? Thérèse 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.

The Conversion

Grace intervened to change her life. On Christmas day in 1886, the fourteen-year-old hurried home from Midnight Mass at Saint Peter's Cathedral. 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 Céline didn't want Thérèse to grow up. So they continued to leave presents in "baby" Thérèse's shoes.

As she and Céline 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!" Thérèse froze, and her sister looked at her helplessly. Céline knew that in a few minutes Thérèse would be in tears over what her father had said.  But that moment never came. Something incredible had happened to Thérèse. 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."

The Holy Child's strength supplanted her weakness. The strong character she had had at the age of four and a half was suddenly restored to her. A ten-year struggle had ended. Her tears had dried up. Freed at last from herself, she embarked on her "Giant's Race." "My heart was filled with charity. I forgot myself to please others and, in doing so, became happy myself." Now, she could fulfill her dream of entering the Carmel as soon as possible to love Jesus and pray for sinners.

Grace received at Mass in the Summer of 1887 left her with a vision of standing at the foot of the Cross, collecting the blood of Jesus and giving it to souls. Having heard people speak of the three murders committed by a certain Pranzini, she decided to save him from Hell through prayer and sacrifice.

On September 1 the prisoner kissed the Crucifix. For Thérèse, her "first child" had obtained God's mercy. She hoped that many others would follow once she was in the Carmel.

Pilgrimage to Rome

For Thérèse, 1887 was a year of global development—physical, intellectual, artistic and especially spiritual. With the stubbornness of a woman in love, she fought to enter the Carmel at the age of fifteen. She had to overcome the opposition of her father (easily persuaded), her uncle Guérin, the bursar of the Carmel, and Monseigneur Hugonin, the Bishop of Bayeux. Told that because of her young age she would need a special dispensation from the pope, she decided to approach Pope Leo XIII himself.

Meanwhile, her father and sister, Céline, took her on a pilgrimage to Rome to try to get her mind off this crazy idea. Thérèse 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. This month of November 1887, when she discovered Switzerland, Florence, Venice, Assisi, and above all Rome, marked a turning point in her  life. She looked and listened eagerly, now realizing that priests were not angels, but "weak and fragile human beings," greatly in need of prayer. She understood better just what it meant to be a Carmelite. But the aim of her pilgrimage never wavered: to ask the Pope's permission to enter the Carmel at fifteen.

Finally they went for an audience with the Pope. According to Céline, the audience, which took place on Sunday November 20, 1887, was a disaster. They had been forbidden to speak to him but that didn't stop Thérèse. As soon as she got near him, she begged that he let her enter the Carmelite convent. Pope Leo XIII answered Thérèse's entreaties evasively. The young girl was extremely distraught and had to be carried out—in tears—by the papal guards! Now she only had Jesus to turn to.

Back in Lisieux, the Vicar General, who had seen her courage, was impressed and soon Thérèse was admitted to the Carmelite convent that her sisters Pauline and Marie had already joined. But she still had to be patient a while longer. On Monday, 9 April 1988, an emotional and tearful but determined Thérèse Martin said good-bye to Les Buissonnets and her family. She was going to live "for ever and ever" in the desert with Jesus and twenty-four enclosed companions; she was fifteen years and three months old.

The Carmel [1888-1897]

Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus was happy with her lot, but everyday life in the Carmel had its problems too: the clashes of communal life, the cold, the new diet and the difficulties of prayer [two hours' prayer and four and a half of liturgy]. First a postulant and then a novice, she took the Carmelite habit on January 10, 1889, after a retreat marked by a deep sense of inner barrenness. She had her own good reasons for adding "of the Holy Face" to her name in religion.

In the meantime, a further shock came on the family front when her beloved father developed cerebral arteriosclerosis and suddenly disappeared from Les Buissonnets in June 1888. Céline and her uncle Guérin found him at Le Havre four days later.

His health continued to deteriorate and he suffered a series of strokes that left him affected not only physically but mentally. On February 12, 1889, he began hallucinating and grabbed for a gun as if going into battle. Because of this and related incidents, the "Patriarch" was soon taken to the Bon-Sauveur hospital in Caen, an asylum for the insane. Horrified, Thérèse 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.

"Oh, I do not think I could have suffered more than I did on that day!" Seeing her father's humiliation hurt Thérèse deeply. She began to understand the sufferings of the mocked Christ, the Suffering Servant foretold by Isaiah.

Devotion to the Holy Face sprang up in the 19th century, following certain revelations made to Sister Marie of St. Pierre in the Tours Carmel. Thérèse was introduced to the devotion by Sister Agnes of Jesus. She studied it in a very personal way, using the texts of the prophet Isaiah. She signed her name for the first time as "Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face" the day she received the habit, January 10, 1889.


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 was also affected by the spiritual atmosphere in the community, which was still tainted by Jansenism* and the vision of an avenging God. Some of the sisters feared Divine justice and suffered badly from scruples. Even after her general confession in May 1888 to Father Pichon, her Jesuit spiritual director, Thérèse was still uneasy. But a great peace came over her when she at last made her profession on September 8, 1890--although taking the black veil [a public ceremony] on September 24 was a day "veiled in tears."

It was the reading of St. John of the Cross, an unusual choice at the time, that brought her relief. In the Spiritual Canticle and the Living Flame of Love, she discovered "the true Saint of Love." This, she felt, was the path she was meant to follow. During a community retreat [October 1891], a Franciscan, Father Alexis Prou, launched her on those "waves of confidence and love," on which she had previously been afraid to venture.

The harsh winter of 1890-1891 and a severe influenza epidemic killed three of the sisters, as well as Mother Geneviève, the Lisieux Carmel's founder and "Saint." Thérèse was spared, and her true energy and strength began to show themselves. She felt immense relief when her father, his mind now that of a child, returned to the Guérin household in May 1892 [the lease on Les Buissonnets had expired at Christmas 1889]. Céline stayed at home to look after him, although she, too, was thinking of becoming a Carmelite.

Thérèse was delighted when her sister, Agnès of Jesus [Pauline], was elected prioress in succession to Mother Marie de Gonzague [ February 20, 1893]. But when Pauline was elected prioress, she asked Thérèse for the ultimate sacrifice. Because of politics in the convent, many of the sisters feared that the Martin family would take over the convent. Therefore Pauline asked Thérèse 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 Céline entered the convent after her father's death. Four of the sisters were now together again.

Asked by Pauline to write verses and theatrical entertainments for liturgical and community festivals, Thérèse wrote two plays about Saint Joan of Arc, "her beloved sister," performing them herself with great feeling and conviction [1894-95].

Her father's death at the Château de la Musse, the Guérin's home, freed Céline to enter the Lisieux Carmel in September 1894, something she and Thérèse both wanted. She brought her camera with her, using it to enliven recreation periods and incidentally leaving her sister's picture to posterity.

A turning point in Thérèse's spiritual development came in late 1894/early 1895, when two Old Testament texts, found in one of Céline's notebooks, brought years of searching to an end. Aspiring to sanctity but aware of her weakness, she felt unworthy to "climb the steep ladder of holiness."  But the arm of Jesus was to lift her instead. While she remained small and "became even smaller," God would take her and turn her into a Saint. Inspired by this revelation, her spirit unfolded and soared throughout the year 1895. Having discovered the treasures of God's "Merciful Love," she gave herself to Him at the Mass of the Trinity on June 9, 1895. Without her companions being aware of it, she reached new mystical heights.

Pauline had recently ordered her to put down her "childhood memories" in writing for her family. Thérèse obeyed and began, in her few spare moments, to "sing God's mercies" to her in her own short life. She saw herself as a "little white flower" that had grown under the rays of the Divine sun. In January 1896, she gave her prioress an 86-page notebook [Manuscript A] in which she reinterpreted her life in the light of God's Merciful Love.

The re-election of Mother Marie de Gonzague [ March 21,1896], after seven ballots, divided the community.  Although Thérèse was herself the youngest novice, the new prioress entrusted the other five novices to her care. In the circumstances, the task was not an easy one, but she performed it with amazing maturity and skill. Two missionary priests, destined for China and Africa, were also entrusted to her. She revealed to these seven people the secrets of the "Little Way of Spiritual Childhood," which had already done so much for her.

*Jansenism was a heresy during the late 16th and 17th centuries.  Beliefs included predestination, loss of free will, and limited atonement. Cornelis Jansen, for whom it was named, maintained that freedom of the will is nonexistent and that the redemption of mankind through the death of Jesus Christ is limited to only a part of mankind. Jansen died in 1638 and his teachings were declared heresy.

Illness and physical suffering

Afflicted for months by a sore throat that stubbornly resisted treatment, Thérèse suffered two hemorrhages during Holy Week of 1896. Far from panicking, she saw this as a summons from her Spouse and looked forward to joining Him soon. 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. This sudden anguish overwhelmed her at Easter and she fell into a dark night of the soul, an "underground labyrinth," a "fog." Heaven seemed to have shut its gates against her. This trial of faith and hope, which made her participate in Christ's Passion, was to last, with a few brief periods of respite, to the end of her life. But she turned the test into a redemptive one, agreeing to remain alone in the darkness so that atheists might receive the Light.

While she was praying in the church that summer, strange and powerful desires started to torment her, and she wrote down: "In the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be Love. This way, I shall be everything." Writing down these confidences for her sister and godmother, Marie of the Sacred Heart, in September 1896, she gave the world a spiritual masterpiece [Manuscript B]. The wish to "save souls" never left her, and she was seriously thinking of  leaving for the Carmel founded in Saigon by the Lisieux sisters.

Father Roulland when he visited Lisieux gave Thérèse the book, The Su-Tchuen Mission in the 18th Century: The Life and Apostolate of Bishop Pottier by L. Guiot [Tequi, 1892]. In it, Thérèse learned about the mission field entrusted to her second spiritual brother. Inscribed on the scroll in her hand was one of Thérèse's favorite sayings of Teresa of Avila: "I would give a thousand lives to save one soul."

In placing a lily near the book on China, Thérèse expressed one of her most profound convictions: her simple, consecrated life sufficed for her to participate closely in the apostolate of a missionary. She repeated this in a poem she gave Father Roulland on July 16th, the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel:

"Be his to cover the globe
To preach the name of Jesus.
Be mine, in shadow and mystery,
To practice humble virtues.
I claim suffering,
I love and desire the cross . . .
I would die a thousand times
To help save one soul!"

Exactly one year later, after another pulmonary hemorrhage she would make this famous promise: "I want to spend my Heaven doing good on earth."

The Death of a Saint

But tuberculosis was gaining ground undetected. 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. Early in 1897, Thérèse began to feel that "her course would not be a long one." In April, worn out, she was forced to abandon community life, remaining either in her cell or in the garden. In June, Pauline realized that her death was imminent. In a panic, she implored Mother Marie de Gonzague to let Thérèse finish putting down her recollections. Burning with fever, Thérèse wrote a further 36 pages in a little black notebook. Exhausted, she went to the infirmary on July 8. For a month, she coughed blood, slept little and was unable to eat, while the tuberculosis began to affect her intestines. Doctor de Cornières treated her with the methods of the time, but they could do nothing to help her.

Her sisters took turns keeping vigil at her bedside. Since April, Pauline had been writing down everything she said. More than 850 recorded utterances were later to be published as the Last Conversations. In this short work, Thérèse suffers, prays, weeps, makes jokes to distract her sisters, and speaks of her own short life.  A prey to constant darkness, she came to understand the temptations of suicide to very end. She identified herself with the suffering Jesus and offered everything "for sinners." She felt an overwhelming desire "to do good after her death." "I will return," she said. "My Heaven will be spent on earth." With great difficulty, she wrote last letters to her spiritual brothers, Fathers Bellière and Roulland.

Final Sufferings

The appalling pain she suffered wore her out, but she never lost her smile or her deep-seated serenity. A brief remission was followed by a 48-hour agony. She died at the age of 24 years, on Thursday, September 30 1897, whispering: "My God, I love You!" Her face was radiant.

She died unknown, just as she had lived unknown in a provincial Carmel—of tuberculosis, but also of "Love," as she herself had wanted. She wrote to Father Bellière: "I  am not dying, I am entering into Life." This was just the beginning. After she died, everything at the convent went back to normal. One nun commented that there was nothing to say about Thérèse. But Pauline put together Thérèse's writings [and heavily edited them, unfortunately] and sent 2,000 copies to other convents. Within two years, the Martin family had to move because her notoriety was so great and on May 17, 1925 she was canonized by Pope Pius XI.  Pope Pius XII declared her to be an official Saint of the Missions:

Thérèse 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.

Her Trip to Sainthood

One day a priest said to Pope Pius X who had signed the decree for the introduction of St. Thérèse 's cause, that there was nothing extraordinary in the life of Thérèse . The Pontiff replied: "What is most extraordinary about this soul is precisely her extreme simplicity. Consult your theology." This theological truth, that sanctity lies in simplicity is the teaching most needed in our time. It was the littleness of St. Thérèse , that is to say, her utter dependence on God, her complete dependence as a little child, and with it the confidence which only a little child can possess, it was upon these foundations that God fashioned His Saint. It is upon these foundations alone that God can build true greatness.

The story of the Saint's beatification and canonization is extraordinary, that no one could question.

Pope Pius X  signed the decree for her cause on June 10, 1914; the rapidity with which her cause went forward was literally unparalleled in the Church. Pope Benedict the XV, in order to hasten the process dispensed with the usual fifty year process under canon law between death and beatification. On the 14th of August, 1921 he declared that Thérèse  had lived a life of heroic virtue. Pope Pius XI (who he dedicated his papacy to St. Thérèse ) continued the cause from beatification through canonization. The two miracles necessary for the first was easily confirmed and on April 29th, 1923, she was Beatified in St. Peter's Basilica. The outpouring from all over the world and the Pontiff's guidance from the Holy Ghost again spurred a Pope to dispense with canon laws  time frames and Thérèse  was canonized while her four sister nuns were still living, just two years after her beatification, on May 17, 1925. The scene in St. Peter's is almost impossible to describe in words; the gathering was the largest and most distinguished in centuries. Thirty-four cardinals were present, over two hundred bishops and innumerable representatives from religious orders and missionary societies.

The Family Tree

Louis Martin [1823-1894] married Azelie-Marie Guerin [1831-1877] on July 13,1858

They had the following children:

Marie-Louise [1860-1940] Thérèse's godmother Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart
The Carmel of Lisieux [1886]

Pauline Martin [1861-1951] Sr. Agnes then Mother Agnes of Jesus
The Carmel of Lisieux [1882]

Leonie [1863-1941] Sr. Francoise-Thérèse
Visitation of Caen [1899]

Helene [1864-1870] Died at the age of five years

Joseph [1866-1867] Died at the age of four months

Jean-Baptiste [1867-1868] Died at the age of eight months

Céline [1869-1959] Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face
The Carmel of Lisieux [1894]

Melanie-Thérèse [Aug. -Oct. 1870] Died at the age of two months

Marie Francoise Thérèse [Jan. 2, 1873 -Sept. 30, 1897]
Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face
The Carmel of Lisieux [1888]

Isidore Guerin, uncle to Thérèse married Céline Fournet in 1847; They had three children, one of whom, Marie, born in 1870, became a Carmelite at Lisieux in 1895, taking the name Sr. Marie of the Eucharist; she died in 1905.

Above text courtesy of Catholic Tradition. org
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Short Profile

Carmelite of Lisieux, better known as the Little Flower of Jesus, born at Alençon, France, 2 January, 1873; died at Lisieux 30 September, 1897.

    She was the ninth child of saintly parents, Louis and Zélie Martin, both of whom had wished to consecrate their lives to God in the cloister. The vocation denied them was given to their children, five of whom became religious, one to the Visitation Order and four in the Carmelite Convent of Lisieux. Brought up in an atmosphere of faith where every virtue and aspiration were carefully nurtured and developed, her vocation manifested itself when she was still only a child. Educated by the Benedictines, when she was fifteen she applied for permission to enter the Carmelite Convent, and being refused by the superior, went to Rome with her father, as eager to give her to God as she was to give herself, to seek the consent of the Holy Father, Leo XIII, then celebrating his jubilee. He preferred to leave the decision in the hands of the superior, who finally consented and on 9 April, 1888, at the unusual age of fifteen, Thérèse Martin entered the convent of Lisieux where two of her sisters had preceded her.

    The account of the eleven years of her religious life, marked by signal graces and constant growth in holiness, is given by Soeur Thérèse in her autobiography, written in obedience to her superior and published two years after her death. In 1901 it was translated into English, and in 1912 another translation, the first complete edition of the life of the Servant of God, containing the autobiography, "Letters and Spiritual Counsels", was published. Its success was immediate and it has passed into many editions, spreading far and wide the devotion to this "little" saint of simplicity, and abandonment in God's service, of the perfect accomplishment of small duties.

    The fame of her sanctity and the many miracles performed through her intercession caused the introduction of her cause of canonization only seventeen years after her death, 10 Jun, 1914.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XVII (Supplement 1)
Nihil Obstat, 1922, Arthur J. Scanlan, D.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +Patrick J. Hayes, Archbishop of New York

Prayers in Honor of Saint Thérèse

Novena in honor of Saint Thérèse

First Day

O Heavenly Father, Who in Thine ineffable goodness didst place in the soul of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus the precious treasure of sanctifying grace, and didst grant her ever to keep it in the midst of earthly dangers, we pray Thee to grant to us for our part the happiness of never losing this inestimable gift whereby we become Thine adopted children, the brothers and sisters of Thy Son Jesus, the temples of the Holy Ghost and the heirs of Heaven.

Enable us, to this end, carefully to avoid mortal sin which would rob us of this grace more to be desired than all the wealth of the world, to fly the occasions of sin, and to resist temptation.

We implore these graces through the intercession of the one who was ever Thy faithful child and whose memory we venerate.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who would have preferred to die rather than lose God's grace, vouchsafe to obtain for us all the help necessary to avoid the misfortune of committing mortal sin, incompatible with this divine grace. Obtain for us the favors we crave and implore through you powerful intercession. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory.

Second Day

O Heavenly Father, Who to assure our advancement in the right path dost never cease to multiply the supernatural means of help which we need, and which Thou has divinely poured out upon Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, we beg of Thee, through this Saint so dear to Thy Heart, all the graces of light and of fortitude necessary or helpful to fulfill Thine adorable will.

Thy grace ever went before Saint Thérèse and Thou didst uphold her at each moment, for Thou didst give to her both to will and to do, and without Thee none can even utter the name of Jesus whereby we may be saved.

Father, shed abroad in our minds and hearts those graces won by the merits of our Savior and which Saint Thérèse asks for us.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus upon whom so many divine graces were showered, we pray you to intercede with our Heavenly Father, so that through t he merits of our Savior and you merits, He may vouchsafe to give to our souls all the graces needful for the perfect fulfillment of our duty. Obtain for us the favors we crave and implore through your powerful intercession. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory.

Third Day

O Heavenly Father, Who didst dispose the soul of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus to ascend by such wonderful steps and didst make this lovable saint to rise from virtue to virtue, aiding her so admirably to practice humility, simplicity, patience, confidence, zeal and love, we beseech Thee to place in our hearts dispositions like to hers and to grant us to resemble her, that we may hence become conformable to Thy Son Jesus, our Model and the Divine Example of Thine adorable perfections.

These virtues are so needful for us, for without them we cannot be happy here below; without them we cannot gain for Thee the glory that Thou dost look for from us.

Vouchsafe, O Father, to help us to make these virtues ours. May Thy numerous graces joined to our generous efforts, bring forth, as in Saint Theresa, true and lasting virtue.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus who to please God ever Wonderfully grew in virtue each day of your life, obtain for us to resemble you and generously to practice those virtues of which you have left us such a beautiful example. Obtain for us the favors we crave and implore through your powerful intercession. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory.

Fourth Day

O Heavenly Father, Who in Thine infinite wisdom dost permit the just to be tried upon earth, like gold in the furnace, hereafter to crown them gloriously in Heaven, we beseech Thee to grant us through the intercession of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, all the graces of fortitude and consolation which we urgently need in the difficulties we encounter here below.

Thou dost order all things for the good of those who love Thee, nothing befalls without Thy permission, Thou knowest how to draw good out of evil. May these consoling truths be our support in the midst of our sorrows. Sweeten for us all that is bitter by the unction of Thy grace.

Permit not, O Father, that impatience shall possess our heart or murmurs rise to our lips. Make us understand the providential use of sorrow, as it was undertook by Saint Thérèse who owned to finding happiness in the midst of suffering.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus who suffered much here below, and knew how to find joy in every bitterness, intercede for us with God that so He may help us to bear patiently all our crosses, and console our hearts saddened by the trials of earth's exile. Obtain for us the favors we crave and implore through your powerful intercession. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory.

Fifth Day

O Heavenly Father, Who so loved men that Thou didst give them Thine Only-begotten Son to be their Redeemer upon the Cross, and Food in the Divine Sacrament of the Altar, we beseech Thee to grant us, through the prayers of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus so inflamed with love for this Adorable Sacrament and so eager to receive It, the grace for our part to draw near very often to the Holy Table.

Following the example of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, may we bring to it the best dispositions, a right intention, hearts filled with lively faith, sincere humility, deep confidence, ardent charity.

Father, make us truly understand that this Divine Bread is no less needful to our soul than material bread is to our body and that we cannot abstain from It without hurt to our soul.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus who so much loved the Divine Sacrament of the Altar and so greatly longed to unite yourself to It through Holy Communion, obtain for us from God a love like to yours for this Adorable Sacrament and a fervent longing often to receive It in our hearts. Obtain for us the favors we crave and implore through your powerful intercession. Amen

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory.

Sixth Day

O Heavenly Father, Who bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin Mary the greatest and most precious graces and privileges, and called her to become the Mother of Thy Son Jesus also giving her to be our Mother, we beseech Thee through the intercession of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus ever so faithful to honor this beloved Virgin, whose radiant countenance and gracious smile she one day beheld, to grant us too the inestimable favor of being the very loving children of this Holy Mother.

We need her maternal mediation, for this good Mother is the way that leads to Jesus, and she is the treasurer of all the graces that our Savior acquired for us by shedding of His Precious Blood.

We thank Thee, O Father, for having given us the Blessed Virgin to be our Mother, and our guide along our life's path, and we beseech Thee that, like Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, we may be true imitators of her virtues: of her perfect humility, her immaculate purity, and her ardent love. We look to her for the greatest succor now and at the hour of our death.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus who ever manifested a great love for the One you named the Immaculate Virgin, and from whom you received so many benefits, we ask you to obtain for us the grace to imitate your tender devotion towards her and to help us to reproduce her beautiful and admirable virtues even as you yourself did. Obtain for us the favors we crave and implore through your powerful intercession. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory.

Seventh Day

O Heavenly Father, Who has bestowed upon us so many benefits through the intercession of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, and willest that we should honor this lovable saint with a special devotion, we earnestly implore Thee of Thy fatherly loving-kindness the grace to be ever faithful in veneration her, invoking her and imitating her virtues.

It is good for us to pay honor to the Saints. Thou has placed these blessed Saints as powerful mediators between ourselves and Thee, that so Thou mayest bestow upon us more ready and more abundant aids. That which our prayer cannot obtain, theirs will obtain for us.

Thou hast willed that the Saints should be our models. They were once what we are; we can with Thy grace become what they are, what they have done, we can do in our turn. Father, give us a true and lasting devotion towards Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, a devotion well ordered and constant, a devotion that will sanctify us and lead us to Thee to Whom all the homage we pay to the Saints returns.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, placed by the Church upon our altars to be our protectress with God and model in Christian life, obtain for us, we ask of you, ever to have you in honor, to venerate you, to invoke you, to imitate you for the greater glory of God and the greater good of our souls. Obtain for us the favors we crave and implore through your powerful intercession. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory.

Eighth Day

O Heavenly Father, Who hast created all the good things of earth for the use of man and dost measure them out to him with marvelous bounty, we beg Thee through the intercession of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus to give us all those things of which we have need for the preservation of our life here below.

Teach us to use these things with the moderation befitting Christians, let us not attach our heart to them; may they serve not to keep us from Thee, the Only True Good to be desired and the Giver of all that is good in this world. Give us, as Thou gavest to Thy faithful handmaid Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, to make a holy use of earthly things and to make them serve on for Thy Glory.

Father, Who dost feed the birds of the air and clothe the lilies of the valley, forsake not the souls of those who trust in Thee.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus who ever used the things of this world according to the order willed by God, you who made earthly gifts serve to merit those that are heavenly, we ask you to obtain for us all that is necessary for us during our life upon earth. Obtain for us the favors we crave and implore through your powerful intercession. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory.

Ninth Day

O Heavenly Father, Who hast prepared for us a glorious reward after the labors of this life, and hast promised to crown with honor and glory those who are faithful to the end in Thy love, we beseech Thee to grant us through the intercession of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus the grace to be faithful to Thy Commandments, to those of the Holy Church and to Thy holy inspirations until the hour of our death.

Father, grant that, after the example of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, we may not recoil from labors, that temptations may not keep us from Thee, that trials may not cause us to lose courage. May neither the world, nor the devil, nor our own inclinations separate us from Thee to Whom we desire to belong for ever, as we promised Thee on the day of our
Baptism and on the day of our First Communion.

Perseverance in grace is a grace, we beseech Thee to grant it to us, and in Thy merciful love not to refuse us the grace of graces, that of final perseverance which will unite us to Thee for evermore and will give us to contemplate during all Eternity Thine adorable Face.

Father, uphold us in the midst of our combats until the day when we shall gain the victory, when Thou Thyself wilt triumph in us.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus who persevered throughout your life in exact fidelity to God's grace, you who saw your perseverance crowned own the glorious day of your death, obtain for us to be fully faithful to God's law and never to separate ourselves from His holy love. Obtain for us the favors we crave and implore through your powerful intercession. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory.

V. Pray for us, holy Mother of God.
R. That we become worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray:

Almighty, Everlasting God, Who by the cooperation of the Holy Ghost, didst prepare the body and soul of the glorious Virgin Mother, Mary, to become the fit habitation of Thy Son; grant that we who now rejoice in her commemoration may, by her gracious intercession, be delivered from all the evils that threaten us, and from everlasting death. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

St Thérèse on her sickbed.

Litany of St. Thérèse of the Little Flower

For Private Recital Only.
Lord have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse  of the Child Jesus,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse  of the Holy Face,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , child of Mary,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , devoted to Joseph,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , angel of innocence,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , model child,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , pattern of religious,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , flower of Carmel,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , converter of hardened hearts,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , healer of the diseased,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , filled with love for the Blessed Sacrament,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , filled with Angelic fervor,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , filled with an Apostle's zeal,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , filled with loyalty to the Holy Father,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , filled with a tender love for the Church,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , filled with extraordinary love for God and neighbor,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , wounded with a Heavenly flame,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , victim of Divine Love,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , patient in sufferings,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , eager for humiliations,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , consumed with love,
pray for us.
St. Thérèse , rapt in ecstasy,
pray for us.
Who desired always to be as a little child,
pray for us.
Who taught the way of spiritual childhood,
pray for us.
Who gave perfect example of trust in God,
pray for us.
Whom Jesus filled with a desire for suffering,
pray for us.
Who found perfection in the little things,
pray for us.
Who refused God nothing,
pray for us.
Who sought bitterness in this life,
pray for us.
Who told us to call you little Theresa,
pray for us.
Who offered her life to God for priests and missionaries,
pray for us.
Who gained countless souls for Christ,
pray for us.
Who promised, after her death, a shower of roses,
pray for us.
Who foretold:  "I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth,"
pray for us.

Pray for us, St. Thérèse .

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Let us pray.
O Lord, Who hast said:  Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to follow in humility and simplicity of heart the footsteps of St. Thérèse , the virgin, that we may obtain everlasting rewards.  Who livest and reignest forever.  Amen.

Prayers to Saint Thérèse  of Lisieux

O little St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who during your short life

on earth became a mirror of angelic purity, of love strong as death,

and of wholehearted abandonment to God,

now that you rejoice in the reward of your virtues,

cast a glance of pity on me

as I leave all things in your hands.

Make my troubles your own -

speak a word for me to our Lady Immaculate,

whose flower of special love you were - to that Queen of heaven

 "who smiled on you at the dawn of life."

Beg her as the Queen of the heart of Jesus to obtain for me by her powerful intercession,

the grace I yearn for so ardently at this moment,

and that she join with it a blessing that may strengthen me during life.

Defend me at the hour of death, and lead me straight on to a happy eternity.



Morning Prayer written by St. Thérèse


O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for

the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my

heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to Its infinite

merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the

furnace of Its Merciful Love.


O my God! I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the

grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys

and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together

in heaven for all Eternity.

Prayer of St. Thérèse  of Jesus to the Holy Face

O Jesus, Who in Thy bitter Passion didst become "the most abject of men, a man of sorrows," I venerate Thy Sacred Face whereon there once did shine the beauty and sweetness of the Godhead; but now it has become for me as if it were the face of a leper! Nevertheless, under those disfigured features, I recognize Thy infinite Love and I am consumed with with the desire to love Thee and make Thee loved by all men. The tears which well abundantly in Thy sacred eyes appear to me as so many precious pearls that I love to gather up, in order to purchase the souls of poor sinners by means of their infinite value.

O Jesus, Whose adorable Face ravishes my heart, I implore Thee to fix deep within me Thy Divine Image and to set me on fire with Thy Love, that I may be found worthy to come to the contemplation of Thy glorious Face in Heaven. Amen.

Holy Face Prayer for Sinners
by St. Thérèse  of Lisieux

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.