St Therese of Lisieux: from Lisieux to the Four Corners of the World

St Therese of Lisieux: from Lisieux to the Four Corners of the World

Catherine Sheehan

From Lisieux to the Four Corners of the World

(Editions de Signe, 2001, 48pp, $9.95. Available from AD Books)

Doctor of the Universal Church

(Editions de Signe, 2001, 48pp, $5.95. Available from AD Books)

(Editions de Signe, 2001, 30pp, $2.95. Available from AD Books)

These three booklets have been produced especially in time for the tour of the relics of St Thérèse around Australia this year. All three are beautifully produced and would be an ideal introduction to this great saint for the uninitiated.

The first, From Lisieux to the Four Corners of the World, is a glossy magazine-style publication, which contains the complete story of St Thérèse, and the effect her short life had on the world. Also provided is a brief account of her life, her family history and her "little way" of spiritual childhood.

Accounts from writers, intellectuals, saints, popes and others from various walks of life are included, showing how St Thérèse deeply affected their lives, changing them forever.

The text of the Mass in honour of St Thérèse is provided, along with the novena through her intercession and the words she spoke during her agonising last days, recorded by her sister, as she died of tuberculosis. They are great testimony to her courage, faith and endurance to the end as she effectively suffocated to death from this terrible disease. During this excruciating death she maintained her complete confidence in God and even her sense of humour.

Mention is also made of the cause to have St Thérèse's parents, Louis and Zelie Martin, canonised. They were certainly an amazing family with all of their five daughters becoming nuns, four of them entering the same Carmelite convent in Lisieux.

This publication provides an excellent overview of the life and teachings of the young woman who was described as "the greatest saint of modern times" by Pope Pius X.

The second publication under review, Thérèse of Lisieux: Doctor of the Universal Church, is a booklet containing the text of the Apostolic Letter written for the occasion of St Thérèse being declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997. The letter outlines the process of the cause to have her declared a Doctor of the Church, despite the fact she was not a priest, a bishop, or a theologian; indeed, she never completed her formal education. She was a simple young woman who entered an enclosed convent at the age of 15 and who seemingly did nothing out of the ordinary, dying of tuberculosis at age 24.

Yet her life has created a rippling effect that has spread throughout the world.

Included in the booklet are beautiful photographs of St Thérèse at various stages of her life and of the casket containing her relics which we in Australia will be honoured to venerate this year.

Praying with St Thérèse of Lisieux is a small booklet containing a sample of the many prayers written by St Thérèse. These exemplify her spirituality, her profound love of Christ and her complete confidence in His love for her.

Included is St Thérèse's own "Daily Offering" and her "Offering to Merciful Love" in which she accepts her own weakness and imperfection and abandons herself to God's mercy, since she appreciates it is the only way she will achieve sanctity. She declares in one of the prayers, "I offer myself as a holocaust to your merciful love", presenting herself to God as a sacrifice to atone for the offences of sinners.

Catherine Sheehan is a Melbourne Catholic writer

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