Saint Thérèse of Lisieux was born on July 2, 1873 in Alençon, a small town in Normandy. She grew up in a middle-class family. His parents, Louis and Zélie-Marie Martin, were watchmakers and lacemakers respectively. “The Good Lord gave me a father and a mother more worthy of Heaven than of Earth” wrote Thérèse Martin. Despite the hardships that the couple went through – loss of four of their nine children, illness, … – they always showed charity and transmitted their faith to their five daughters who all became nuns. Pope Francis canonized the couple on October 18, 2015. Their family, marital and professional life is a landmark for Christian households.
Thérèse Martin entered the Carmel of Lisieux, a town in Calvados, at the age of fifteen, where she moved in 1877 after the death of her mother. It was in her house in Les Buissonnets – which Thérèse describes as “the graceful nest of (her) childhood” – that she had a strong spiritual experience, which she called “the night of her conversion”.
On Christmas Eve 1886, young Thérèse did not feel like celebrating. Often ill and described as very emotional, she was seized that night with an extraordinary burst of joy. In her manuscripts written at the end of her life, she explains that she received from Jesus the grace to be “strong and courageous”. Freed from the imperfections of her childhood, she rediscovers the vivacity she had left at her mother’s bedside. She describes: “I felt charity enter my heart, the need to forget myself to please, and since then I have been happy.”
In addition to her many poems, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux wrote three autobiographical manuscripts collected in a book published under the name of “History of a soul”. Here are seven quotes from the words of Thérèse Martin who was beatified on April 29, 1923 and canonized on May 17, 1925 by Pope Pius XI.