Today is the feast day of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, more popularly known as “the Little Flower.”
Marie Thérèse Martin was born at Alençon, France on January 2, 1873, the youngest of five daughters. Her father, Louis, was a watchmaker, and her mother, Zelie, who died of breast cancer when Thérèse was four, was a lace maker. She was brought up in a model Christian home. While still a child she felt the attraction of the cloister, and at fifteen obtained permission to enter the Carmel of Lisieux.
For the next nine years she lived an ordinary religious life. She had a high degree of holiness by carrying out her ordinary daily life. She also had a great love of the Church and a zeal for the conversion of souls. She prayed especially for priests.
Thérèse’s last years were marked by hardship, which she endured without complaint. She saw her suffering as part of her spiritual journey. Thérèse died on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24, and was canonized in 1925. Her life is detailed in her autobiography called Story of a Soul. Pope John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church in 1997.