St. Thérèse, “The Little Flower”

Feast Day October 1st

Patron Saint of the Missions, good deeds, the sick, florists, loss of parents

Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the “Little Flower”, and found in her short life more inspiration for their own lives than in volumes by theologians. Therese died when she was 24, after having lived as cloistered Carmelite for less than ten years. She never went on missions, never founded a religious order, never performed great works. The only book of hers, published after her death, was an brief edited version of her journal called “Story of a Soul.” But within 28 years of her death, the public demand was so great that she was canonized.

Born toward the end of the nineteenth century, Thérèse entered the world when middle-class religion in France was narrow and rule-bound. Thérèse’s family was part of the rising bourgeoisie, secure, and with little interest in anything outside their own social and religious sphere. Her parents were comfortably off, and she had the benefit of a middle-class home with its relative comfort.

But life was far from ideal. Thérèse experienced the joys of family life as well as the heartbreaks. She was the youngest child of a working mother and later of a one-parent family. She had gone through a period of neurosis in girlhood, and after the loss of her mother, Thérèse was fearful, timid and self-protective.

Without realizing it, by the time she was eleven years old she had developed the habit of mental prayer. She would find a place between her bed and the wall and in that solitude think about God, life, eternity. Thérèse found a way to holiness that was full of confidence and love; her way was devoid of all fear and timidity in approaching God.

Thérèse be known as the Little Flower but she had a will of steel. When the superior of the Carmelite convent refused to take Therese because she was so young, the formerly shy little girl went to the bishop. When the bishop also said no, she decided to go over his head, as well.

Thérèse managed to convert all the events of her life, great and small, into love. Everything was a treasure given by God—she revealed a way to holiness that is within the reach of all. Little deeds of goodness and sacrifice. Thérèse blazed a trail to center herself on a God of compassion who welcomes sinners and “little ones.”

After her death, when her sisters arranged for Thérèse’s writings to be printed, what she had to say literally took the world by storm. People loved her and Thérèse was recognized and acclaimed by the thousands who read her autobiography and clamored for her canonization. Theologians expounded her doctrine, popes lauded her, her influence has been quite unparalleled in modern times. Her message was that we have only to give ourselves to the particular life God has given us, and to do so with love. As Thérèse wrote, “It’s love I ask for, love is all the skill I need.”


Intercessory Prayers to St. Thérèse

St. Thérèse, Flower of fervor and love, please intercede for us.

Fill our hearts with your pure love of God. Make us more aware of the goodness of God and how well He tends His garden. Instill in us your little way of doing ordinary things with extra-ordinary love.

Give us the heart of a child who wonders at life and embraces everything with loving enthusiasm. Teach us your delight in God’s ways so that divine charity may blossom in our hearts. Little Flower of Jesus, bring our petitions before God, our Father.

With your confidence, we come before Jesus as God’s children, because you are our heavenly friend.


Prayers by St. Thérèse

A Morning Prayer Written by St. Thérèse

O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to Its infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.

O my God! I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all Eternity.


See More

St. Thérèse’s Prayer to the Holy Face

O Adorable Face of Jesus, the only Beauty that captivates my heart, deign to imprint in me your Divine likeness so that you may not behold the soul of your little bride without seeing Yourself in her.

O my Beloved, for love of you, I accept not seeing here below the gentleness of your Look nor feeling the ineffable kiss of your Mouth, but I beg you to inflame me with your love so that it may consume me rapidly and soon bring me into your presence.