Things You Might Not Know About St. Therese


I found this lovely article on St. Therese today. It bothers me that many who love her do not know of her struggles with her faith and, thus, the magnitude of her triumph. Jesus told ‘Doubting Thomas’ that he believed because he had seen the wounds; but that those who had not seen and yet believed were even more blessed. St. Therese was one of those who was more blessed.

I was never much interested in the plaster saints so often presented in overly pious books. It is the flesh and blood struggle, the overcoming that fascinates me and fuels inspiration for me. I fell in love with St. Therese when I read several good biographies of her, her untameable mischief as a child (as one who has cared for dozens of children, looking at the very picture above you can see that, oh, this one is going to be trouble – but full of life and vigor. I like a lively, exuberant child. If they don’t exasperate me sometimes I figure they are not doing their job), the deeply profound struggles with faith. Hers was a truly heroic triumph. She is such a consoling saint companion, for when she walks with us in our darkest moments, she knows what they are, for she lived many of them.

I know today is St. Augustine’s Feast Day. Particularly important to me because I regard him as the patron of my conversion. I will write about him and St. Monica, his mother, and patron of HIS conversion, in a few days. But I really wanted to share this marvelous little piece with you.

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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5 Responses to Things You Might Not Know About St. Therese

  1. Audie says:

    The saints who have struggled or weren’t so perfect are the ones I want to imitate, as they seem more accessible to me. I love this piece, Charlie. And, I love this community.


  2. MM Bev says:

    Thank you so very much for putting this article on your site. So many people see St. Therese as saint who found a clever, simple and relatively easy way to attain heaven. Even those who read the unedited version of her autobiography today can miss the person she is. Therese was a total warrior, and her way is not easy or clever. It is simple, and like many “simple” things takes God’s grace, courage, perseverance, commitment every moment of the day to struggle to achieve. But she has proven that it is possible, and that God is more than willing to assist us to walk in her example. I wanted a book on Saint Theresa of Avila, which the public library didn’t have. All they had was her autobiography, which I took out rather reluctantly, because I had never heard of St. Therese of Lisieux.
    And then I read. And woven through the lines upon the pages was a golden thread which showed her as the person she really was, and the sentimentality of the style of writing from the time she lived disappeared, leaving behind the most incredible, virtually indescribable weaving of gold. Who can read her Oblation and not experience ice at the breath-taking, daring offering that it is.
    Two things I related to very much from the article. The difficulty in prayer and devotions, and the indescribable experience of someone living through days of strong temptation to commit suicide A person who knows this doesn’t want to kill themselves. They simply cannot stand to live with the mental and often also physical agony they are going through. An overwhelming desire for it to just end, just end, because the mind is convinced it will never end, is the predominant and constant thought.
    Today many people are able to be helped through medication and therapy, and as a consequence that temptation or desire disappears. For Therese it could only disappear with death itself. And a Carmelite offers her suffering for others…Therese did not have any kind of pain relief for the physical agony she was enduring – and it was agony. I believe towards the end of her life, even pieces of her lung passed through her, and TB does not just affect the lungs.
    And yet, as more than one pope stressed, she is a saint to lead us to heaven in this age. One can experience nothing in life that she did not, so that she has total understanding in coming to our aid. And she has shown us a simple, clear, understandable and most of all, ACHIEVABLE way to heaven. No mighty accomplishments, nothing but an undistinguished life in a convent, known by no one. In fact, one of the sisters said to another, what ever shall we say in the “obituary” we send to the other Carmels? So ordinary that no one living with her even noticed her. The “Story of a Soul” was what they sent around, and it got passed around. More and more and more wanted it. Our Therese took the world by storm. Achievable, achievable achievable as in the next right step, one at a time. A misstep? Tell Him, express your sorrow, ask His grace, pick yourself up,…. and take the next right step. You are only a tiny child, and how could God and His Mother not be head over heels in love with you?! And He is Dying to help you achieve your goal. What incredible, unfathomable hope! Beyond our understanding, flying far beyond our comprehension; but real, alive, ours! This is Therese’s real gift, not miracles and roses….a gift for all to follow as a sure path, a path that is basically taking…..the next right step.


  3. maryrose49 says:

    I so love St Therese. She gives me hope that I can get to heaven leading my very ordinary life. I also see such spirit in her eyes and such total honesty. A very real personality shines through. I too am reading more and more about her. She is a saint for our age.


    • MM Bev says:

      Oh Maryrose! How Therese must LOVE your name! Our Blessed Mother’s and rose! The saint who said “I will send down from heaven a shower of roses”. Well, she’s sure dropped one on you. We need those first three rosary beads: FAITH – which you certainly seem to have, and should it ever waver, Therese will be right there to help you; HOPE -“She gives me hope that I can get to heaven leading my very ordinary life” and that’s the whole point of her whole life, and it leads us to CHARITY: – which she teaches and show us, and Jesus, Our Love, gives us the grace and strength to do it She isn’t just the saint for our age. She’s has chosen to be the saint for you!


  4. Chris says:

    Thank you posting this Charlie.I can so relate to St. Therese’s struggles with the rosary and with despair. It is a relief to know I am not alone with this.I pray for God’s grace to grow in holiness and final perseverance.

    God bless you Charlie.


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