Quote of the day: 3 May

Pacelli in Lisieux posing in the cloister
Apostolic Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli makes an official visitation to the Carmel of Lisieux, 12 July 1937 | Photo: Regina.Pacelli / Facebook

PIUS XII
Apostolic Letter
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Virgin, Carmelite of Lisieux
Secondary Patron of All of France

As the very noble French nation already, for several centuries, has had for principal patroness the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and for secondary patroness, Saint Joan of Arc, since her canonization, the bishops, by mutual agreement considered it opportune, especially in these times of distress, to arrange for the faithful of France to have another special intercession with God, that of the holy Carmelite of Lisieux who, so that the Catholic faith may always and firmly be preserved among her compatriots, has testified to her country a great love by commending it to God as much as possible…

Given at Rome, near St. Peter, under the ring of the Fisherman, the third day of May in the year 1944, the sixth of Our Pontificate.

Read the original text of the Apostolic Letter in Latin here

Read a French translation of the Apostolic Letter here

Learn more about Cardinal Pacelli’s 1937 visit to the Carmel here

 

Quote of the day: 26 April

Dear Céline, you who used to ask me so many questions when we were little, I wonder how it happened that you had never asked me this question: “Why did God not create me an angel?” Ah, Céline, I shall tell you what I think. If Jesus did not create you an angel in heaven, it is because He wants you to be an angel on earth; yes, Jesus wants to have His heavenly court here below just as up above! He wants angel-martyrs, He wants angel-apostles, and He has created an unknown little flower, who is named Céline, with this intention in mind. He wills that His little flower save souls for Him; for this, He wills only one thing: that His flower look at Him while suffering her martyrdom. …

Oh! Céline, let us love Jesus to infinity, and from our two hearts let us make only one so that it may be greater in love!…

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Letter 127 (excerpt) to her sister, Céline Martin
26 April 1891


NDLR: The original French text,  il a créé une petite fleur ignorée qui se nomme Céline, is clearly a reference to the close relationship between Thérèse who referred to herself as une petite fleure blanche (literally, little flower white), and to her sister, to whom she ascribes here the title, une petite fleure ignorée (literally, little flower unknown). With all due respect to the Rev. Father John Clarke, O.C.D. for his monumental work as the U.S. translator of the letters of St. Thérèse, we think there was a missed opportunity to show this intimate relationship in the rendering of the title in this translation. As you will see in the full text of the letter, Fr. Clarke elected to translate Céline’s title as a little unknown flower. We believe that the order of the adjectives could easily be interchanged and the fullness of the relationship between the two little flowers would be more apparent and better appreciated by the reader. We have indicated this above by editing his translation: “unknown little flower”. As we are the first to admit, traduire c’est trahir (the translator is a traitor).

nature field flowers grass
Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

Quote of the day: 20 April

Zelie Guerin Martin Blogfeatimage
St. Zélie Guérin Martin before her death

April 20, 1873

Since Wednesday, there’s a noticeable improvement. Marie is no longer delirious. However, she still has a fever. She’s still eating nothing but broth. She’s very weak and sleeps a lot. We hope that soon her convalescence will start. I’m waiting for it very impatiently.

The wet nurse brought our little Thérèse today, who’s in good health and very strong.

I thought I wouldn’t have time to write you. I’m taking advantage of a moment of rest. I hope to hear from you soon, and I’ll write to you again as soon as Marie is a little better.

Saint Zélie Martin
Letter CF94 to her sister-in-law Céline Fournet Guérin

Normandy old rose
Antique rose growing in Normandy | leniners / Flickr

At the birth of St. Thérèse, her mother St. Zélie was unable to nurse the baby due to lifelong breast health problems. A wet nurse in the nearby farming village of Semallé had assisted Zélie in the past with feeding her babies. However, in January 1873 the wet nurse, Rose Taillé, had a newborn of her own and hesitated to make the trip from the farm to the town of Alençon. At the crack of dawn after Thérèse’s late-night birth, Zélie traveled to the farm and pleaded with Rose to come with her into town to feed Thérèse. Her persistence paid off: Rose Taillé, with her own baby in her arms, traveled to the Martin home with St. Zélie. After much drama — Rose solemnly pronounced that it was “too late” — Thérèse began to take nourishment. She spent roughly one year on the farm with Rose and her family in Semallé.

Learn more about her difficult birth and infancy from Discalced Carmelite Father James Geoghegan here. See photos from and learn about a 2013 pilgrimage to Alençon here. View a video of the farmhouse with an English explanation here. Discover more about St. Therese from expert and speaker Maureen O’Riordan here.

Explore the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux here.

St. Thérèse, son entrée au Carmel le 9 avril 1888

 

Comme la veille toute la famille se trouva réunie pour entendre la Ste Messe et y communier. Aussitôt que Jésus fut descendu dans le coeur de mes parents chéris, je n’entendis autour de moi que des sanglots, il n’y eut que moi qui ne versai pas de larmes, mais je sentis mon coeur battre avec une telle violence qu’il me sembla impossible d’avancer lorsqu’on vint nous faire signe de venir à la porte conventuelle ; j’avançai cependant tout en me demandant si je n’allais pas mourir par la force des battements de mon coeur… Ah ! quel moment que celui-là ! Il faut y avoir passé pour savoir ce qu’il est…

Mon émotion ne se traduisit pas au dehors : après avoir embrassé tous les membres de ma famille chérie, je me mis à genoux devant mon incomparable Père, lui demandant sa bénédiction ; pour me la donner il se mit lui-même à genoux et me bénit en pleurant… C’était un spectacle qui devait faire sourire les anges que celui de ce vieillard présentant au Seigneur son enfant encore au printemps de la vie !…Quelques instants après, les portes de l’arche sainte se fermaient sur moi et là je recevais les embrassements des soeurs chéries qui m’avaient servi de mères et que j’allais désormais prendre pour modèles de mes actions… Enfin mes désirs étaient accomplis, mon âme ressentait une paix si douce et si profonde qu’il me serait impossible de l’exprimer et depuis 7 ans et demi cette paix intime est restée mon partage, elle ne m’a pas abandonnée au milieu des plus grandes épreuves.

Extraits du Manuscript A, folio 69 recto et verso
Archives du Carmel de Lisieux

 

St. Therese of Lisieux and the feast of the Annunciation | “Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway” Blog

Annunciation_SOLARIO Andrea 1506_Louvre
The Annunciation, Andrea Solario (1506), Musée du Louvre, Paris

St. Therese especially loved the mystery of the Annunciation and celebrated it every year. At the first inquiry into Therese’s sanctity in 1910, her sister Celine testified:

She had a particular devotion for the mystery of the Incarnation, which she would observe devotedly every 25th March. She loved to contemplate…

Read more via March 25, 2019: St. Therese of Lisieux and the feast of the Annunciation – “Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway” Blog – Saint Therese of Lisieux

Quote of the day: 25 March

Why I Love You, O Mary!

When an angel from Heaven bids you be the Mother
Of the God who is to reign for all eternity,
I see you prefer, O Mary, what a mystery!
The ineffable treasure of virginity.
O Immaculate Virgin, I understand how your soul
Is dearer to the Lord than his heavenly dwelling.
I understand how your soul, Humble and Sweet Valley,
Can contain Jesus, the Ocean of Love!…

Oh! I love you, Mary, saying you are the servant
Of the God whom you charm by your humility.
This hidden virtue makes you all-powerful.
It attracts the Holy Trinity into your heart.
Then the Spirit of Love covering you with his shadow,
The Son equal to the Father became incarnate in you,
There will be a great many of his sinner brothers,
Since he will be called: Jesus, your first-born!…

O beloved Mother, despite my littleness,
Like you I possess The All-Powerful within me.
But I don’t tremble in seeing my weakness:
The treasures of a mother belong to her child,
And I am your child, O my dearest Mother.
Aren’t your virtues and your love mine too?
So when the white Host comes into my heart,
Jesus, your Sweet Lamb, thinks he is resting in you!…

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Why I Love You, O Mary!
Stanzas 3, 4, and 5

 

Pourquoi je t'aime O Marie
Date: May, 1897 | Written for: St. Thérèse herself, at the encouragement of Marie of the Sacred Heart. “I’ve always dreamed of writing a song to the Blessed Virgin to express everything that I think about her,” Thérèse confided to Céline. (Testimonies for the Diocesan Process of Beatification and Canonization, PO 667) | Photo: Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

See the complete text of the poem in English here and photos of St. Therese’s rough drafts, complete with corrections, here

Quote of the day: 19 March

On March 19th, Saint Thérèse confides to her older sister, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart:

“I just asked St. Joseph to obtain for me from God the grace of spending my Heaven doing good on earth.”

Her sister replied to her, “You don’t need to ask that of St. Joseph”

But she insisted, “Oh, but yes! I need him to support my request!”

Just days before, St. Thérèse made the novena of grace, an infallible novena to St. Francis Xavier. Thérèse made the novena, as she said to Marie of the Sacred Heart, to obtain the grace of “spending her heaven doing good on earth!”

As Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart recalled, “she had just asked this of St. Francis Xavier, too, through the novena of grace.”

And, the young Carmelite doesn’t imagine that one day, along with St. Francis Xavier, she will be the co-patroness of the missions…

Learn more about March 1897 and the last year in the life of Saint Thérèse here.

 

 

THERESE - Marie Therese sacristines
In this detail of Photo 39 taken by Céline with her sisters and cousin in the sacristy courtyard at the Carmel of Lisieux, we see Marie and Thérèse showing the making of altar bread and the work of the sacristan. See the complete photo here. Photo dated November 1896, before the 14th. [Source: Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux]
THERESE - I hope that with perseverance IGsize
“You see I’m having trouble, but we get nowhere without some troubles, so I hope that with perseverance I’ll get there too.” (Excerpt from Cahier Scolaire No. 5)

Quote of the day: 13 March

“When I have a problem, I entrust it to her. I don’t ask her to solve it, only that she should hold it in her hands and help me. I almost always receive a rose as a sign.”

Pope Francis
Una rosa bianca da Santa Teresa
Avvenire, 24 March 2013

Pope Francis Red Roses
On the 13th March 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church. He is a great devoté of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and states that she often, almost always, sends him a rose as a sign that she is handling a problem when he asks for her help.

Quote of the day: 7 March

J.M.J.T.

June 1987

You have told me, my dear Mother, of your desire that I finish singing with you the Mercies of the Lord. I began this sweet song with your dear daughter, Agnes of Jesus, who was the mother entrusted by God with guiding me in the days of my childhood. It was with her that I had to sing of the graces granted to the Blessed Virgin’s little flower when she was in the springtime of her life. And it is with you that I am to sing of the happiness of this little flower now that the timid glimmerings of the dawn have given way to the burning heat of noon…

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Story of a Soul, Manuscript C, Folio 1 recto

IMPRIMATUR_StoryOfASoul_trace-imprimatur-HA-par-Godefroid-Madeleine
Father Godefroid Madeleine went to meet Bishop Hugonin March 7th, 1898 shortly before his death in early May, to obtain an oral agreement for the permit to print the first edition of The Story of a Soul (imprimatur). Courtesy of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux, this is the written record of the meeting, via Father Madeleine. These are the several words in violet ink in the right side of the piece of paper, authenticated in 1909 by Mother Marie-Ange in pencil in the left section (which, however, was not entered until 1902…) To see the full image and description of the meeting, click here

Cèline’s first letter to Thérèse

From Céline to Thérèse – 3 January 1884

To my dear little Thérèse. Remembering 3 January 1884. Pray hard for me on the day of your first Communion. Your little sister Céline

Child of Mary


De Céline à Thérèse – 3 janvier 1884

A ma chère petite Thérèse. Souvenir du 3 janvier 1884. Prie bien pour moi le jour de ta première Communion. Ta petite soeur Céline

Enf. de Marie

See this letter and many more on the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

Le Cantique de Céline
Le Cantique de Céline is the 18th poem (PN18) in the collected works of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Written 28 April 1895 at Céline’s request, St. Thérèse composed the poem for her sister’s birthday set to a melody that their father, St. Louis Martin, loved dearly.

Quote of the day: 14 February

The patron saint of the missions is from your region. From Lisieux, Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face has radiated her missionary ardor in the world. Her spiritual teaching, of a luminous simplicity, continues to touch the faithful of all conditions and all cultures. It is right that we should ask her to help the Catholics of France to follow her way of holiness and to develop their solidarity with their brothers in Europe, Africa, and other parts of the world to share the gifts received from Christ, our salvation.

Saint John Paul II
Ad Limina address to bishops from western France
14 February 1992

Notre Dame de Quebec
Notre Dame de Québec | Photo: Charlyne

Quote of the day: 10 February

That superabundant share of divine light and grace enkindled in Thérèse so ardent a flame of love, that she lived by it alone, rising above all created things, till in the end it consumer her; so much so that shortly before her death she could candidly avow she had never given God anything but Love…

Therefore do We desire earnestly that all the Faithful of Christ should render themselves worthy of partaking in the abundant profusion of graces resulting from the intercession of “little Thérèse.” But We desire much more earnestly that all the faithful should study her in order to copy her, becoming children themselves, since otherwise they cannot, according to the oracle of the Master, arrive at the Kingdom of Heaven.

If the way of spiritual childhood became general, who does not see how easily would be realized the reformation of human society which We set ourselves to accomplish at the commencement of our Pontificate…

Pope Pius XI
Homily for the Canonization of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus
17 May 1925

1925-canonisation-204x87_Sr Marie du Saint Esprit

Quote of the day: 5 February

Your life will pass like an instant.
On Carmel we are very near Heaven.
My beloved, my love has chosen you.
I have reserved a glorious throne for you!….

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
PN 16, Song of Gratitude of Jesus’s Fiancée

 

On 5 February 1895, Céline Martin was clothed in the Carmelite habit and began her novitiate in the Carmel of Lisieux. St. Thérèse wrote the Song of Gratitude of Jesus’s Fiancée as a gift for her sister’s clothing.

Quote of the day: 31 January

Springtime story of a little white flower written by herself and dedicated to the Reverend Mother Agnes of Jesus. It is to you, dear Mother, to you who are doubly my Mother, that I come to confide the story of my soul.

St Therese of the Child Jesus
Story of a Soul, MsA 02r

therese - i came to save souls spanish
Sí, el sufrimiento me tendió los brazos, y yo me arrojé en ellos con amor…
A los pies de Jesús-Hostia, en el interrogatorio que precedió a mi
profesión, declaré lo que venía a hacer en el Carmelo: «He venido para
salvar almas, y, sobre todo, para orar por los sacerdotes».  (Ms A, 69v)

Quote of the day: 10 January

The time for my reception of the Habit had arrived. I was accepted by the conventual chapter, but how could we dream of any kind of ceremony? Already they were talking of giving me the Habit without my going outside the cloister, and then they decided to wait. Against all expectation, our dear Father recovered from his second attack, and the Bishop set the ceremony for January 10.

St Therese of the Child Jesus
Story of a Soul, Ms A, 72r

To make the celebration complete

“She will be baptized this Saturday, all we need is you to make the celebration complete. Marie will be her godmother along with a young boy, about her age, as godfather.”

St. Zelie Martin
Letter to Madame Guérin, 3 January 1873

 

 

The Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Assumption at Alençon, France is famous as the location of the marriage of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux; their nuptials were celebrated in the church on Tuesday, 13 July 1858 at midnight.
 
St. Thérèse was baptized in this same church on Saturday, 4 January 1873, two days after her birth. The 1925 window in the baptistry, designed by executed by the native Alençon stained glass artist Louis Barillet, represents the baptismal rite. On 17 July 1944, the Church of Notre-Dame of the Assumption suffered enormously in the Allied bombardment of the city. Miraculously, the Barillet window in the baptistry chapel survived undamaged.
Above the baptismal font hangs St. Thérèse’s baptismal gown, which had been handed down from her sister Léonie. The godfather of whom Saint Zélie writes was Paul-Albert Boul, age 9,  the son of a friend of Saint Louis Martin. Barillet indicated the presence of the godparents Marie Martin and Paul-Albert Boul by the baptismal candle, which they both hold.
 
On the Second Sunday of Advent, 6 December 2009, this church of the Diocese of Séez celebrated the decree of Pope Benedict XVI, issued 6 June 2009, which elevated the historic Church of Notre-Dame of the Assumption to the rank of a minor basilica.
The Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Assumption is one of the most famous pilgrimage locations in France and in the Diocese of Séez. To make your own pilgrimage to Alençon, France visit the English language website of the Shrine of Alençon. When you visit the basilica, the baptistry chapel is the first chapel on the left as you enter the church.
 
To view the baptistry window in expanded detail and to see more stained glass windows in the Basilica of Notre-Dame of the Assumption, visit the Flickr basilica photo album of Patrick Berthou
alenÇon - portail assomption de la ste vierge
Notre-Dame of the Assumption over the portal of the basilica in Alençon

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