File:Saint Peter Catholic Church (Millersburg, Ohio) - stained glass, St. Thérèse de Lisieux - detail.jpg

St. Therese of Lisieux (St. Peter Catholic Church, Millersburg, Ohio; photo by Nheyob, Wikimedia Commons).

October 1 is the feast of St. Therese, Carmelite nun and Doctor of the Church. I have a giveaway and some special deals to celebrate. But first, here are five things you may not have known about this beloved saint.

1. She almost died as an infant.

Before Therese was even born, her mother, Blessed Zelie Martin, was already suffering from the breast cancer that would eventually kill her. She was unable to nurse Therese properly, but did not want to turn her over to a wet-nurse. A previous daughter had died in a nurse’s care, and daughter Celine had not fared well with a nurse either. Eventually, when Therese was nearly starved, Zelie did find a nurse for her. Therese lived with the nurse for over a year. Afterwards, she had trouble re-attaching to her own mother.

2. She dreamed of posing as a penitent.

Therese and her father, Blessed Louis Martin, used to bring fish to an order of nuns that cared for penitent girls. Some of the girls would join the order. Therese, in her humility, dreamed of hiding among them, letting no one know that she was not a penitent herself. Eventually, of course, she found her real vocation in the Carmelite cloister.

3. She believed perfect trust substituted for Purgatory.

Therese chided her cousin Marie Geurin for thinking she would go to Purgatory. “When we love, we can’t go there,” she said. She taught the novices under her direction that if they completely trusted in God and gave away all their merits to others, God would not betray their trust. He would take them to His side immediately after death.

4. She was a prolific letter writer.

A two-volume set of letters between the Martin family and others contains over 1200 epistles. Many were written by Zelie, giving us a glimpse into the years that Therese could not remember. Others were written by Therese to Celine, after Therese entered Carmel. Therese also had two priests with whom she corresponded. Some of the most beautiful and startling words she ever wrote were contained in the letters to these priests.

5. She painted a self-portrait that still exists.

One of Therese’s tasks in the cloister was painting religious paintings. In 1893 she painted a fresco in the Invalids’ Oratory. A sleeping child above the tabernacle to the left represents herself. She was struggling at this period to stay awake in prayer.

And if you knew all five of those things, you must have read Trusting God with St. Therese!

I’m holding my annual sale to mark her feast day. From now through the early morning hours of October 2, the ebook of Trusting God with St. Therese is only $.99 (regular $4.99). You can buy a signed paperback directly from me for $14, including shipping. As always, you can buy 5 paperbacks from me at the regular price ($15.95) and get a sixth free, shipping included. Email me at crossini4774 at comcast dot net for details of both paperback deals. Online the price is $15.95 each.

And if you’d like to win a free audiobook, please enter the contest here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy feast of St. Therese!

Connie Rossini

Written by Connie Rossini
Hi, I'm a Catholic writer and homeschool mother of four boys. I practice Carmelite spirituality. Check out my Books page for publications to help your whole family grow in holiness.

    7 Comments

  1. Jean Heimann September 29, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Her favorite flower was the daisy, not the rose.

    • Connie Rossini September 29, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Good one, Jean! We would think it was the rose, because of her “shower of roses” from Heaven.

  2. gentillylace October 2, 2015 at 3:29 am

    That is a very charming fresco with the self-portrait of a sleeping Therese!

    • gentillylace October 2, 2015 at 3:38 am

      And I forgot to mention that after Therese left school and before she entered Carmel, she had classes with Mme Papinau. (I remembered this because I wondered whether Mme Papinau was distantly connected to Louis-Joseph Papineau, who led the 1837 revolt against the British government in Canada.)

      • Connie Rossini October 2, 2015 at 7:38 am

        Thanks, Gentilly Lace. She was also tutored at times by her older sisters Marie and Pauline.

  3. Vicki G October 3, 2015 at 6:54 am

    The name given her at birth was Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin.

    • Connie Rossini October 3, 2015 at 11:28 am

      Thanks, Vicki! You even put in the accent marks (I always find that challenging online).