Therese, 1873-1897. Doctor of Confidence and Missionaries, Feast Oct
For a beautiful picture of Therese, click below,
you have problems trusting others? If you do not, you are rare. Most
of us have been lied to, cheated and promised things we never
received. Many of us have been mentally, emotionally or physically
abused to various degrees. Our heartaches, pain and conflicts come
from foe and friends alike. Institutions, government, society and
our culture have afflicted on us hurts and injury. Some of our
deepest feelings and emotions have come from our dearest love ones.
Is it any wonder we fail to trust others?
suspicions and disbelief pervade our world. We have been taken
advantaged of more than we care to admit. It is extremely difficult
to trust and have confidence in someone who has failed us. We are
caught up in a web of anxiety in wanting to trust and reluctant to
do so because of previous torments. We do not like to get
emotionally involved because we do not want to be abused, taken
advantaged of or hurt.
Unfortunately, we sometimes carry our
sentiments that we have toward creatures to our Creator. It is often
harder to trust, surrender and have confidence in God who is
invisible than creatures who we can see. We have been misled and it
is not easy to exercise confidence and trust in God when we have
been betrayed and exploited by God's creatures. Our confidence
toward God is often based on how we are treated by
God creates all creatures. We may not believe or
acknowledge that God abides in mean and evil people. However, God is
present and lives in all life. God has given us the breath of life
and His Spirit animates our bodies and souls. We are made to turn to
When we do not turn to God in childlike
confidence, we know that something is incomplete, missing or not
exactly right. Life is about growing and learning. In order to
survive, be satisfied and be at our best, human nature needs to trust and draw from God's grace. We
will always be unsatisfied until we acknowledge our need for a
higher power beyond our own. Peace of mind and heart comes from
trust and confidence in God.
Confidence in God is a virtue
that the Supreme Being bestows when we trust, hope and love with a
sincere and pure heart. Our Father wants all creatures to daily
trust in the Almighty's power exclusively. We get ample
opportunities to trust because we are human and have our share of
anxieties, temptations and worries. Our health, jobs, families and
communities challenge us daily. Life for many is a struggle. We can
be inundated with problems from our disordered nature and the
circumstances of our life. The greater the difficulties that each of
us face, the greater are the gifts that God affords us, if we call
upon God with confidence and trust.
It all starts within us.
Confidence emphasizes faith in oneself and one's power but it does
not usually imply conceit. Trust is an assured reliance on the
character, strength or truth of someone or something. Trust is
similar to hope, but not exactly. Hope is more pure, trusting and
pleasing to God because it depends and relies exclusively on
Confidence and trust in God come from a loving family,
wonderful parents and an environment that afford protection and
security. Even with these gifts there is no guarantee that we are
going to be able to grow and maintain confidence in God. Unless our
minds and hearts are nourished on something beyond and bigger than
we are, we will be dissatisfied. The Church as an institution can
inspires trust. However, we really have to work at it. It's never easy. Scandals abound. We must believe and pray daily. Seize it! It's
Most of us need to have a goal, intention, purpose or
mission in life to keep us focused and motivated toward our aims in
life. When God is included in our plans, our confidences, trust and
especially our hope takes on enormous strengths. The bigger and
purer our desires to please God, the more confidence we need. Then
we will be assured of receiving from God, Who never disappoints or
is outdone in generosity. Hope is relying on God's infinite goodness, promises and extravagant kindnesses. We hope to obtain pardon of all our sins. We hope
God's grace will give us eternal life now and after we
Therese Martin had powerful desires to please God.
Both, her hope and confidence, soared as she practiced virtue and
prayer. That is what prayer does best. It obtains tremendous
confidence in God.
Therese wanted to serve God and others in
religion. She wanted also to give God everything daily. She longed
to do more. She wanted to serve others exceedingly because she
possessed charity which is God's burning and consuming life. She
wanted and desired more than she was capable of giving. However, she
reconciled to herself how she would accomplish all that she wanted
to do. She justified it by reflecting that God never gives one a
desire that He is not able to satisfy. She realized her mission in
life was to pray for the Church intensely and offer everything up
for that intention. She reflected that each member of the Church had
a specific role and duty.
Missionaries have traditionally
been as the legs and arms of the Church in third world countries.
Many missionaries in foreign lands today desperately need safe, fast
and reliable transportation to carry God's message to those
unfamiliar with the Gospel. Therese knew that many are in dire need
continually. She really longed to be a missionary. She burned with a
desire to bring the Good News to others in foreign lands that did
not know the Messiah. She wanted others to know Jesus because she
experienced God's goodness greatly. She wanted to share Jesus. Her simple
faith and confidence trusted that God would allow her to be a
missionary 'in spirit'. We know today that Therese was not to be disappointed with her trust. The Church proclaims her as the Patroness of Missionaries today.
We too can assume that same attitude
of help toward missionaries by providing our time, talent and money.
Missionaries are desperately in need of our help. By helping them
within the gifts that God has given us, whether by our sacrifices or
in the form of money, prayers, action or attitude, physical or
spiritually, we share in their work. Our generous gifts by
individuals, groups, foundations and corporation contribute
significantly to the goals and missions of each and every
missionary. These contributors know that in meeting transportation
needs, they are also meeting critical human needs in the developing
world: delivering food, fuel, medicine; evacuating the sick and
dying; carrying crops, tools and construction materials;
transporting students, volunteers and pastoral teams; visiting
remote villages to baptize, forgive, marry and bury.
infused into Therese the gifts of the Spirit. She received God's
wisdom, knowledge and understanding in abundance. Therese believed
that since God is total Spirit and all powerful, the Almighty would
grant her this request because of her extraordinary confidence. From
her Discalced Carmelite, contemplative convent in France, where she
had joined at age fifteen, she heard about the missions all over the
world. She read the stories. She remembered the names. She would
pray for Father Venard, a missionary, and others that she heard and
St Theophane Venard who was a priest of the Paris
Foreign Mission Society, (and the favorite missionary of St Therese
because he was so ordinary) was canonized with 117 Vietnamese by the
Pope in 1988. Many people have read her book and their whole life changed dramatically but, sometimes, ever so slowly. It can do the
same for you. In fact, before St Therese was proclaimed a doctor,
I started this website, knowing from others that she was to become a doctor and
I wanted to write about her.
Our saint dreamt and lived the
missionary spirit by making sacrifices and offering up everything,
especially the difficulties she experienced. She would offer her own
sacrifices with those of Jesus to God the Father. She would be a
priest, which she longed for, in her own inimitable style and
manner. She would be a secret and hidden priest. The Church had
given her to Jesus and she was going to give Jesus to the Church in
her own special 'little way'. God's charity inflamed her and she
even sought out hardships in the hope that her sacrifices might
please God more if that were possible.
evangelizers, and those who are called by God, share in a special
mission or calling. This can happen inside or outside of an
organized religious organization. They do not have to go to a
One might petition God to enkindle in you the same ardor as Therese had.
Remember it is a gift to want to do this. She offered her life to
God for priests, missionaries and those who were sharing God's word
and life. They were on the battlefield. They were both active and
visible for souls. She was in the foxhole; her mission was secret,
hidden and invisible. However, all have similar missions for the
Therese reflected that she would be the heart of the
Church with a missionary spirit. Her hidden sacrifices and prayers
would be her offering to Jesus. This would serve as life-giving
source of energy for the Church and its members. Therese developed a
passionate longing to be a lover of the Church through her
missionary spirit of prayer, sacrifice and love for others. She had
everything. Why couldn't she share it entirely with
St. Therese and St Francis Xavier are the patron and patroness of
Foreign Missions. She had incredible confidence and hope in the
Infant Jesus. She would talk to Him as her, little Brother. She was
absolutely determined and convinced that by doing little, hidden
sacrifice, her Infant Brother would answer all her prayers toward
the missions. Prayer, and her desire to help others especially the
unfortunates and have-nots, inflamed her to spend herself without
regard for her health. Tuberculosis that was prevalent at that time,
however, wasted her away slowly. She was only age twenty-four when
she died. She passed as the youngest doctor of the Church. The
Church honored her almost immediately according to Her guidelines
with canonization-the highest and most glorious privilege She can
It was in this spirit of generosity that the
practice of daily virtue and prayer flourished. Likewise, her
extraordinary confidence in Almighty God abounded. Her complete
abandonment to God in a hidden, prayerful life amid many challenges
is revealed in her book: The Story of a Soul. Her autobiography
tells all. It was performing hidden virtues of faith, hope and
charity in religious community that she excelled. She was good to
Our new doctor even sought out hard-to-get-along
personalities to excel in virtue. She was a model and example for
all. Through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit she became a
passionate lover of the Church possessing a missionary spirit. She
understood through God's gifts and with full confidence and trust,
that God would complete all her desires. She stated confidently that
since she always did the will of God on earth, God would do her will
in heaven. That statement is constantly being proven true. Her
intercessory powers and her presence, through the visitation of her
relic worldwide, are extraordinary.
One of the lessons that
the 'little flower', as she is often called, teaches is that we can
have all that we want if we give back to God all that the Mighty One
wants from us. It is not how 'big' the deed done but how much
confidence and trust we surrender to God. God 'sees' our intention
as much as the deed we do. Therese could not do big things for God.
She could not be an actual missionary. She could not preach the holy
word outside her convent. She understood that God wanted her to do
'little' things and that would please the Infinite One just as much.
Her eminent holiness or her special style, called the 'little way',
spread and caught on around the world, in part, through her book,
The Story of a Soul. It has always been a best
Sinners and mystics alike have felt the influences of
our new doctor of missionaries. Her enormous spiritual charisma has
touched others worldwide. She is the darling of all and her charm is
irresistible. Therese is also the patron of florists around the
world. There are few churches in the world that do not have a statue
of St Therese of the Child Jesus or a statue of the Infant Jesus.
Her intercessory powers are extraordinary because of her ordinary
and simple confidence, trust and hope in her loving
Brother-our Eternal God!
Through her intercession we can gain increased
confidence and trust in a pessimistic world around us. We only need
to do little things well and the big ones will fall into place. We
need to practice ordinary things such as daily prayer. That's the
biggest challenge because we do not always feel like praying. God is
in the ordinary and plain events and circumstances of daily life. We
can find the Almighty anywhere. God's imprint and image inundate us.
The Deity's signature, glance and invitation are written on every
flower, every smile we offer and every kind word we extend. We need
to offset gossip, frowning, cursing and despairing with praising,
smiling, forgiving and, above all, praying. These are ordinary but
powerful virtues, which our new doctor of the Catholic Church
prescribes. St Therese urges us, as we are able, to adopt and use
her measures daily. Her 'little way' is a perfect prescription for
us today. To investigate the summarized prescriptions of all the doctors click on the below link.
and other people of goodwill will influence and transform our lives
when we open our hearts and minds to the influence of God's goodness
and graces. It is only by allowing the Spirit of Jesus to touch us
profoundly through grace that we will become what God is by nature.
We must remember Therese's ordinary yet extraordinary life. This
holy, cloistered, Carmelite nun is a prototype for all missionaries.
The Church affirms this. Those who help missionaries, as their means
allows and through their prayers for them, will be immeasurably
blessed and graced. We can all aspire to live a generous life if we
struggle to imitate Therese's virtues, sacrifices and prayer life
according to God's will for us.
She has the power to convince
us that little ordinary things done out of love and sacrifice for
God are truly, infinitely pleasing to the divine Guest within us.
Her influence will guide us to become more generous in service to
the Church and one's country if we entreat her. If you sincerely
want to comprehend her missionary spirit beseech her to ask God to
impress and impart her missionary spirit in you.
There are at
least five missionaries in Statuary Hall in the United State's
Capitol building in Washington, DC. Missionaries are heroic and
patriotic men and women who inspire individuals, countries and the
entire world. Read about them!
The world has a lot of
have-nots. There are over six billion people on our planet. Five billion
are in the 'third world'. Imagine that five/sixth of the world's
population live on less than $2.00 a day. This might sound unreal,
but it is the truth. In Africa alone the annual gross national
product per capita for the world's ten poorest counties range
from$80-$180. Fourteen of the twenty poorest indebted countries are in
Africa. America spends $4,000 a year on health care for each of its
citizens while Ethiopia spends about $3.
The AIDS epidemic
is greater that the poverty situation although both are
More than 12 million children in sub-Saharan Africa
- equivalent to every child in Britain under the age of 15 - have
been orphaned by Aids, according to a recent report (5/2001) by the
British charity Christian Aid.
By 2010, that figure will have
risen to 43 million children, by which time the virus will have cost
the South African economy alone more than 15 billion pounds ($22.5
billion), it warned.
Volunteers and Church organizations
throughout the world send missionaries and various professionals to
help these needy people. We all know of the "blood-bath" wars in
Rwanda and Burundi. Over 800,000 were slaughtered in only 100 days.
It's all documented and has been published by the press.
We do not need to go to these places if
God doesn't call us there physically. However, can we not pray to St
Therese to help us commiserate with unfortunates and less gifted
people around the world? Can we not offer prayers and little
sacrifices for them daily?
Let us cry to God, if we are so
moved, for Therese's missionary spirit to share with all needy
people in the world, abroad and at home, especially in poverty areas
such as Appalachia, inner cities of large metropolitan cities and
rural impoverished locations. Many people are outcast, poor,
forgotten, sick and alone.
Thanks to the many activities and
prayers of missionaries and religious orders that the Church offers
us, we, too, can be most assured of helping the needy through these
Church members when we give to them our money, prayers and gifts.
Many corporations, foundations and philanthropists have
billions. Many have given millions to non-profit organizations.
Perhaps they can increase their generosity at the desperate and
urgent needs of unfortunate victims from impoverished lands. Their
gifts also help brave missionaries who give their entire life to the
poor, the broken, the destitute and the dying.
Most of us
can vividly remember Teresa of Calcutta. She took her name from St
Therese and St Teresa of Avila. What a difference this Missionary of Charity sister
achieved toward the needy on every continent! Lest we forget,
regardless of our religion, we are all human beings on this planet
and all of us are our brother's keepers whether we want to admit it
or not. Every individual or group despite their financial status can
contribute something according to their means.
remember how Christ praised the widow's mite more than all the
others who gave that day in the temple because she gave everything
out of her need. The others gave out of their surplus. Jesus points
out a spirituality in the Gospels that Therese practiced with a
consumming passion. Jesus' words penetrated Therese. She practiced
ordinary 'little' virtues, extraordinarily.
One example of a
particular group who gives to the missionaries is MIVA. The
Missionary Vehicle Association since 1971 have been providing funds
to missionaries around the world to help them by supplying vehicles
they desperately need for all their ministries. MIVA America
receives hundreds of requests from courageous men and women engaged
in a wide range of vital, missionary ministries. All of them have
tremendous transportation needs in developing countries on every
continent where they serve.
All can remember Therese's
example as we struggle to imitate her. Therese teaches us that God
sees our intentions as much as our deeds. It is our helplessness and
our human frailty, as a newborn infant, which draws His care,
solicitude and attention. Therese fully comprehended that God is the
providential provider of all His children especially the most
needed, weak and fragile. The weaker she became toward the end of
her life, the more her 'missionary' spirit and confidence abounded
and soared in childlike trust toward her Father, Infant Brother and
divine loving Spirit.
Saint Therese is only the second doctor
of the Church in the Modern Era category. The other one is Alphonsus
Liguori who died in 1787.
The following is from the Catholic
Almanac, 1998 edition, and it quotes the Supreme Pontiff of the
Universal Church. "In response to the many requests and after much
attentive study, I have the joy of announcing that on Mission
Sunday, October, 19th, 1997, in St Peter's Basilica in Rome, I will
proclaim St Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, a doctor
of the Church. I have wished to solemnly announce this event here
(the Vicar was in France) because the message of St Therese, a young
holy woman so present to our times, is of particular interest to
you, young people. At the school of the Gospel, she indicates to you
the path of Christian maturity. She calls you to an infinite
generosity; she invites you to remain in the heart of the Church as
disciples and ardent witnesses of Christ's
"Therese's teaching" the Holy Father said, "is a
true science." It is the luminous expression of her knowledge of the
mystery of Christ and of her personal experience of grace. She helps
the men and women of today and she will help those of tomorrow to be
more aware of the gifts of God and to spread the Good News of God's
love. She would encourage us to trust in the Church's 2000 years of
motherly wisdom and riches.
The Bishop of Rome is telling
us-and not just the youth of the world-that Therese's message is for
anyone who wants to share the gospel's unlimited message of love.
She is a superb model not only because she is young but also because
she possessed the confidence and spirit of a young child. All can
aspire and hope to obtain this gift as we mature spiritually. It
does not depend on how young or old we are. Many people today are
increasingly cynical, pessimistic and skeptical. We are
extraordinarily self-consumed. We live in a me-myself-I-oriented
society to the utmost. It is most important to have self-esteem and
assurance of oneself. However, if we are to imitate Jesus, we must
become more generous, sharing and caring. How can this be done?
Listen to her: "The best means to reach perfection is through
receiving Holy Communion frequently. Experience sufficiently proves
it in those who practice it."
The other significant fact to
remember is the Church is growing younger in attitude. Although we
are older chronologically, our Church is a young Church. The Spirit
is always affording fresh and new insights. It is our
responsibilities to learn anew, see anew and act anew with the
spiritual dimensions that God provides daily. Through the power of
the eternal light, which is given to each of us to see, we can grasp
God's plan if we ask, seek and knock. We need to keep the
spirit and attitude of the child alive in us but act as adults as
the situation demands.
In 1999, Mission Sunday was on October
24th. The Propagation of the Faith, a unique Catholic organization
issued a flyer quoting Our Holy Father. He said: "Mission(Sunday)
must therefore be the passion of every Christian, a passion for the
salvation of the World". The reason he wanted it to be a passion for
all Christians is because two-thirds of the entire world, that's
about four billion people, do not yet know Jesus Christ as Lord,
Savior and Redeemer. This may sound incredible, but it is
We can be sure that the 'little flower' mastered the
message of the gospel and the letter and spirit of St Paul's
epistles. He and St Peter are the two Princes of the Apostles. St
Paul was one of the first missionaries of the new Church especially
to the Gentiles. His missionary journeys and those who followed in
his footsteps have given us the spirit of authentic missionary zeal.
Sts Paul, Francis Xavier, Frances Xavier Cabrini and Therese and
untold others possessed Jesus' consuming love for others. For info
on some missionary families, spirit and zeal click on the below links.
too, by petitioning for that same spirit from God, will be given
their gifts for the building up of the Church in our own special
way. We must remember that the poor may live very near us. They can
be materially poor or spiritually poor. Some need physical shelter
and some need the shelter of having a place in our hearts. We need
to be open to them and show our generosity if we expect to act as
God's children and adults. Therese's message is to pray and offer
little sacrifices to God in total confidence. God is our Infant and
Brother in all of us.
The History and devotion to our Infant
God goes far back. Another Carmelite, Fr. Cyril, in 1637 prayed
before a small statue of the Infant Jesus. It had been found by him
and discarded in the war. His hands were destroyed. Suddenly the
statue spoke to the stunned Carmelite. He said: "Have mercy on me
and I will have mercy on you. Give me hands and I will give you
peace. The more you honor me, the more I will bless
For other links about Infant Jesus and Therese of the
Child Jesus see below.
original statue had arms and was lost through the war. The Infant
Jesus statue has been restored for a reason. However, as the Infant
statue, found by Cyril, had no arms, there is another famous statue
that remains with no arms. This statue is that of the Mary, Jesus'
mother. It is in a house called Mary's house located near Ephesus,
The statue of the armless Mary is within a little,
stone house high on a wooded hillside near Ephesus. It is said to be
the site where the Blessed Virgin lived out her last days on earth
under the protection of the apostle John. This statue has not been
restored for a specific reason. It is a reminder to the entire
disable individuals in the world that they too, despite their
disabilities, can identify with Mary, as they live out their last
days on earth.
With Mary, the Mother of God, and all the
saints, especially Therese and John, we can be assured in performing
God's plan for us.
Through the intercession of the Infant
Jesus, another devotion that St Therese practiced, we can identify
with our Infant God and gain hope and peace in spite of any cross,
disability or challenges. What counts is confidence in the Christ
Child. Not without reason is St Therese declared the doctor of
confidence and missionaries.
Therese's confidence and ardor for God obviously was also imbued with her confidence and great fondness toward Mary, the Mother of God. The below link concerning St Therese and the Blessed Virgin Mary. This site is rather large. Click below.
Love is the Cross, and the
Cross is Love. ~ St. Therese of The Child Jesus and The Holy
The resources and links on St Therese are nearly endless
and are included with the other two Carmelite doctors: Sts Teresa
and John of the Cross. By clicking on Teresa, John or Therese you
will find endless Carmelite literature and websites. The below links
include St Therese:
Follow the reliquary of St Therese's tour on earth through the below link:
Another exciting FRENCH SITE relate to prayer:
Lest we forget, Therese had a devotion to the child Jesus AND the Holy
Face. Her official name in religion included BOTH:http://www.holyface.org/indexeng.htm
the Little Way of Love with Therese of Lisieux by John Nelson
summarizes in a few pages her bold confidence and "tranquil trust"
in God. In six, short, gorgeous chapters, the author enables one to
be on 'cloud nine'. This young woman, through the author, imparts to
us how to capture God with her daring, "loving-kindness" and invites
us to be challenged and do the same. Radiantly written! Compellingly
told! Perfect prose! A spiritual gem:
First Steps on the Little Way of St Therese of Lisieux by Father Peter John Cameron, O.P. is a 20 page pamphlet and a fascinating story, beautifully written, on why the Church bestowed the title of Doctor of the Church on St Therese. It is concise, powerful explanation on the details of her spirituality that has captured the hearts and souls of multitudes world-wide. The author is the Editor-in-Chief of the best seller, monthly publication, entitled Magnificat . I did not see any price on the pamphlet so you can write to Catholic Information Services, Knights of Columbus Supreme Council, P.O. Box 1971, New Haven, CT. 06521-1971 to obtain more information.
In addition to Therese being called the Doctor of the Little Way of Spiritual Childhood and the Doctor of Merciful Love, I have chosen the Doctor of Confidence and Missionaries.
The website entitled:
has many features that St Therese would wholehearted endorse. It contains beautiful information and stories that will both edify and surprise you with the concept and reality of what are little souls. This site is not only for the young but all Christians and contains sections that are powerful and moving about the passion of our Lord and Savior.
Imagine since she has gone to heaven, Therese's reliquary has toured 130 cities in a USA tour. Since then, she has toured a dozen counties. Currently (11/23) she's on an international tour. She toured Lebanan from Sept 1st,2002-Nov 15th. Next, she will tour Iraq and Egypt and more. Truly, Therese is in every sense of the word a traveling, celebrated missionary and seen by millions who flock to see her.
When the French saint was in the Washington DC metropolitan area around 3 years ago, she attracted 16,000 people. Her current international tour has drawn over a million.
This marvelous, miracle-worker saint inspires tremendous confidence and as the Pope said, her teaching is a true science.
Missionaries of the Church:
For additional Carmelite links go to Sts Teresa and John at the below links:www.doctorsofthecatholicchurch.com/TA.html
This was sent to me by a friend about the time of my sister, Kathleen Ann Murphy's, death, and it provided a great consolation. Therese's words will be most encouraging for anyone who bears any sorrow.
Seven Disguises In Which God Frequently Sends His Graces by Therese of Lisieux
In the disguise of ingratitude from friends.
In the disguise of being misunderstood.
In the disguise of failure.
In the disguise of being dishonored.
In the disguise of sickness.
In the disguise of poverty.
In the disguise of our daily work.
Our Lord isn't anxious for us to suffer so let's not complain to Him any more than is necessary! He sees us in our misery and looks forward to our final victory. If we could only appreciate the great work He's doing in preparing these crosses for us. - St. Thérèse of Lisieux
"The suffering endured for God are the greatest proof of our love for Him" - Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, the last doctor of the Church before Therese.
THERESE'S FAVORITE BOOK LISTED IN THE LINK BELOW