Posted by: vftmom247 | 2012/10/02

Saint Theresé

I have a slight confession to make. Please don’t send me hate mail, be totally bewildered, or question my vocation, but, (deep sigh), I have been a bit bi-polar when it comes to Saint Theresé of Liseaux. She is the patron saint of missionaries, expresses how we love beautifully, is incredibly intuitive, died at a young age of consumption…lots of good qualities. She is the favorite saint of more than a few of my fellow missionaries. So why such a struggle with her? The patron saint of missionaries? Should be right up my alley as one of my go-to saints along with Saint Anthony of lost possessions.

First of all, the first time I encountered her was through her autobiography, surrounded by twenty-somethings in missionary formation. Her autobiography is good, but to me, it is really easy to tell she was 24. I am not. The language gets flowery, I found myself going “yeah, riiiiight” a little too much when she described something from her very early childhood, and felt incredibly guilty because I wasn’t enjoying it. Then, I stumbled on another version of her autobiography with slightly toned-down language, more of what other people saw in her in common-sense language, and started to understand. The cool thing about Saint Theresé is that she didn’t want to do major things like slay dragons or be theologically radical, she just wanted to love Jesus, to put all her trust in God, and to surrender herself to Him. She wasn’t perfect. There is a great story about a nun that drove her totally nuts until she decided to consciously make herself love that nun. But what a shining example of how to trust God she was. Even when dying of consumption, gasping for breath, she still loved God, knew He had a plan for her, trusted in Him, and looked forward to going to Heaven, yet loved to the utmost fiber those around her. The letters she wrote to a priest-missionary she was mentoring may have been the final blow to my mistrust of St. Theresé. In these letters, she shows common sense, a tart sense of humor, and a motherly attitude towards this poor confused young priest. Now that is right up my alley. Then I figured out what was really holding me back.

Purple stole time. Time to confess. Part of the problem I originally had was language, but that was a smoke screen to hide a feeling of sheer awe that someone so young could place so much trust in God. Enough to ask Jesus to use her like a plaything, to do with her whatever would amuse him. How could I ever hope to have a fraction of that much trust and self-abandonment? Between that and the love that poured out of her..wow! But with her Little Way, a little at a time is okay. God knows that it is hard for me to place all my trust in Him, to give all control over to Him, to let Him do with me what He will. A little more every day is all He asks of me. If God knows I can do it, who am I to tell Him no?

So today, Saint Theresé is still not my favorite saint, but I have a profound appreciation of her. She both inspires and challenges me. Every day.

(Favorite Saints for those interested: Doubting Thomas, Saint Anthony, Padre Pio, and the future saints,Mother Teresa and John Paul II. Favorite go-to person after God and Jesus – Mother Mary…who else?)

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Responses

  1. Love St Therese! I keep meaning to read her autobiography…

    • If you don’t like one translation of the autobiography, try another. It is a worthwhile read!


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