Therese of Lisieux called herself a “little flower.” Her flowery language and her child-like images have sometimes invited misunderstanding. She was an enormously strong woman and a profound interpreter of the contemplative life. Without the aid of male spiritual directors or copious maleauthored theologies, trusting in her own experience, she found her wholeness in Jesus and in her single-hearted abandon to Love, revealed the one thing necessary to know, God’s unconditional love for us. Paradoxically, she has managed “all the vocations.” Though she relinquished the vocation of the priest out of humility, she sounds as though she had the power to become one. She never left home, but is the patron saint of the missions, a doctor of the church, an apostle who travels the world, a prophet who speaks God’s word, a warrior who fought against the unpardonable sin, and a saint whose death was as painful as any martyrdom she imagined. If the “spirit groans within us,” it sang within her.
Essay by Mary Jo Weaver and Prayer by Laurel Jurecki