St. Thérèse and the First World War

Sister Thérèse, the humble wildflower, emboldened me and made me see that Jesus loved the humble in a very special way. She instills courage within me and, with her, I wait and hope… she has completed my conversion.

During the First World War of 1914-1918, the presence of Sister Thérèse in the trenches was extraordinarily tangible. The voluminous mail from that period asks for her support and a large quantity of ex-votos were offered to the Carmelite Sister as tokens of gratitude.

The official website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux offers a sample of mail received from the front line, a selection of illustrated letters, postcards and holy cards, as well as ex-voto offerings from grateful soldiers.

Explore the Lisieux Carmelite Archives in English here

bannieres14-18 WW1 (2)

Drawn from the depths of the abyss of disbelief, I’m slowly journeying towards faith. Intensely aware of my own indigence, I one day came across Story of a Soul, which the chaplain at our camp lent to me. And there I read that there is one road, and one joy, which is called holy joy, and that even simple souls can follow it and won’t go astray. Sister Thérèse, the humble wildflower, emboldened me and made me see that Jesus loved the humble in a very special way. She instills courage within me and, with her, I wait and hope… she has completed my conversion. When I have the honor of going to fight, I would like Sister Thérèse – henceforth my patron saint – to accompany me. I will take her with me in my heart and in my head but I would like a flower from her grave to be placed in my wallet, against my heart.
Charles Gérard, Caporal
February, 1916

Explore the Lisieux Carmelite Archives in English here

Battlefield shower of roses

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 6

Scripture – Romans 15:4, 13

Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us. May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Reading – Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes, from her Writings

Do everything for love of Him. Do not seek to please others. They are so mistaken in their judgments! God sees deeply within you at every moment, as though you were the only person alive. Be aware that as you sleep, as you work and live, there is an infinite Being concerned with giving you life, with loving you eternally and infinitely!

How I wish I could fill you with these thoughts, which make everything else pale in comparison, so that there is nothing before you but God! Then, what peace, what joy we might experience. We would understand that God is our center. We would be living the life of love, the life of heaven.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from Barbara Haight Garcia, OCDS, The Writings of Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes: An Abridgement
Copyright © 2003 by Library of Congress 
Published by New Life Publishing

The Marie du jour – May 23

The image of the Mother of God demonstrates the basic spiritual attitude which corresponds to woman’s natural vocation; her relation to her husband is one of obedience, trust, and participation in his life as she furthers his objective tasks and personality development; to the child she gives true care, encouragement, and formation of his God-given talents; she offers both selfless surrender and a quiet withdrawal when unneeded. All is based on the concept of marriage and motherhood as a vocation from God; it is carried out for God’s sake and under His guidance.

Saint Edith Stein

Gentileschi, Orazio, 1563-1639; The Rest on the Flight into Egypt
The Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Orazio Gentileschi (1563–1639)
Oil on canvas, 1615–1620
Birmingham Museums Trust 

to the child she gives true care

Essays On Woman
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Book 2 (p. 48)
ICS Publications, Washington DC 
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

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