Sub-Saharan Africa, 01 October, 2022 / 10:15 am (ACI Africa).
On October 1, Catholics around the world honor the life of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, or St. Thérèse of Lisieux on her feast day. St. Thérèse was born January 2, 1873 in Alençon, France to pious parents, both of whom are scheduled to be canonized in October 2016. Her mother died when she was four, leaving her father and elder sisters to raise her.
On Christmas Day 1886 St. Thérèse had a profound experience of intimate union with God, which she described as a “complete conversion.” Almost a year later, in a papal audience during a pilgrimage to Rome, in 1887, she asked for and obtained permission from Pope Leo XIII to enter the Carmelite Monastery at the young age of 15.
On entering, she devoted herself to living a life of holiness, doing all things with love and childlike trust in God. She struggled with life in the convent, but decided to make an effort to be charitable to all, especially those she didn’t like. She performed little acts of charity always, and little sacrifices not caring how unimportant they seemed. These acts helped her come to a deeper understanding of her vocation.
She wrote in her autobiography that she had always dreamed of being a missionary, an Apostle, a martyr – yet she was a nun in a quiet cloister in France. How could she fulfill these longings?
“Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and places...in a word, that it was eternal! Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my Love...my vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!”