St. Therese of Lisieux
You love us, Mary, as Jesus loves us,
And for us you accept being separated from Him.
To love is to give everything. It's to give oneself.
You wanted to prove this by remaining our support.
The Savior knew your immense tenderness.
He knew the secrets of your maternal heart.
Refuge of sinners, He leaves us to you
When He leaves the Cross to wait for us in Heaven.
St. Therese of Lisieux, or the “Little Flower of Jesus,” was born in France in 1873. A pampered daughter born as the youngest of five daughters to pious parents, little Therese lived only to be 24-years old. Her short life, however, marked by much suffering was extremely inspirational and her spirituality known as “the Little Way” is as simple as it is compelling.
In her young life, St. Therese faced great losses including the death of her own mother when she was four years old and the loss of a beloved sister Pauline who entered the Carmelite convent when she was nine years old. Shortly after Pauline left home, Therese faced a grave illness that led her to pray while focusing on a statue of Mary in her room. Suddenly the statue of Mary smiled upon her in her sick bed and she was cured. This event began her earnest life of prayer but her sensitivities continued to fester and caused her considerable sorrow as did the parting of her other sisters, Marie and Leonie, who also left to join religious orders. In 1886, a Christmas conversion thrust 13-year-old Therese into greater maturity and increased desire for her own entrance into the Carmelite monastery. Her tenacious spirit, and God’s grace, led her to enter the cloistered Carmelite community at the age of 15 on April 9, 1988. After receiving Holy Communion on that day, Therese wrote, “At last my desires were realized, and I cannot describe the deep sweet peace which filled my soul. This peace has remained with me during the eight and half years of my life here, and has never left me even amid the greatest trials.” St. Therese died of tuberculosis on September 30, 1897, and was canonized on May 17, 1925,
by Pope Pius XI.
Proclaimed the Patroness of Missions by Pope Pius XI in 1927, St. Therese truly embodies the missionary spirit, not in distance traveled to foreign lands, but in grace merited for souls all over the world through her prayers and sacrifices offered and lived through her “Little Way.” Believing in the power and efficacy of faith working through love and inspired to be a saint despite her littleness, Therese writes, “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” Impassioned with zeal for love of souls, St. Therese generously answered the call to follow and imitate our Lord Jesus as a missionary even though she would never leave the walls of her cloistered convent in Carmel.
St. Therese, pray for us! Pray that we may faithfully live your “Little Way” and embrace your missionary spirit within our hearts and homes.
St. John Paul II
“Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ.”
This was St. John Paul II’s exhortation to the Church and to the world during his homily at the Mass for the Inauguration of his Pontificate on October 22, 1978. His words resound today, as they did through his entire papacy, for a world in such dire need of Christ’s peace and Divine Mercy.
St. John Paul II, the Great Mercy pope, was born Karol Jozef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland. He began his priesthood through ordination on November 1, 1946, and began his pontificate after his election on October 16, 1978, as the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years. In his long and remarkable papacy, which lasted over 27 years until his death on April 2, 2005, Pope John Paul II traveled to 124 countries, wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. He suffered with Parkinson’s Disease at the end of his life, and in this, witnessed in his own body the message that he proclaimed through his philosophical and theological writings and teachings… “Human persons are willed by God; they are imprinted with God’s image. Their dignity does not come from the work they do, but from the persons they are.” (St. John Paul II) He was canonized by Pope Francis on April 27th, 2014.
On the 12th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s death, Pope Francis paid homage to him during a Wednesday audience in St. Peter’s Square. Greeting and addressing the Polish pilgrims, Pope Francis recalled that the Polish saint entrusted the world with two great messages during his life and papacy; that is, “the merciful Jesus and that of Fatima.”
In the course of his life, St. John Paul II was devoted to the message of Divine Mercy as had been revealed to the Polish nun, St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, whom he canonized in the Jubilee Year of Mercy on
April 30, 2000. That same day he established the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday and said, “This is the happiest day of my life.” Later, in the year 2005, he would die on the Vigil Feast of Divine Mercy.
His devotion to our Blessed Mother is summed up in his Papal Motto, Totus Tuus (Totally yours). Living a life consecrated to Jesus through Mary, St. John Paul II wrote an encyclical on the Rosary, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, and at the same time introduced the Luminous Mysteries focusing on the public life of Jesus. His special relationship and connection with Our Lady of Fatima can be summed up in a quote by Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, “We cannot forget that he was saved by Our Lady of Fatima from the assassination attempt here in St. Peter’s. This is fundamental and central. It is never forgotten.”
St. John Paul II, pray for us! Pray that we may not be afraid. Pray that we will open wide the doors for Christ and His Mother Mary in our hearts and in our homes.