Thérèse’s physical development was evident to all. On 2 January 1887 she was fourteen. ‘My baby is so tall’, sighed Marie behind her grille. Their cousin Jeanne now spoke of ‘tall Thérèse’. On the beach at Trouville in June, with her blonde plaits, she was called ‘the tall English girl’.
That year of 1887 saw her develop in every way: physical maturity and emotional development went hand in hand. I was at the most dangerous age for young girls. Her desire to love and be loved was great, and her maternal instinct came to the fore when two orphans were looked after at Les Buissonets; they were not six years old. Their openness and confidence towards ‘the tall lady’ amazed her. […]
One Sunday in July, at the end of Mass a picture of Jesus crucified slipped from her missal. No one was collecting the blood he had shed. Thérèse decided that she would henceforth remain, in spirit, at the foot of that cross to collect that blood for sinners. Charity entered into my heart [I felt charity enter into my soul].
She too would be a fisher of human beings. She thirsted like Jesus. Her vocation to Carmel became clear and deep. She felt the need to forget herself. The Pranzini affair provided her with the opportunity to put her desires into practice.
Guy Gaucher, O.C.D.
Former Auxiliary Bishop of Bayeux – Lisieux, France (b. 1930 – d. 2014)
Chapter 4: The third period of my life, the most beautiful of all
Gaucher, G 1993, The story of a life: St. Thérèse of Lisieux, HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco, CA.