Today my wife, Deborah, takes to the blog and writes about St. Therese of Lisieux .
The first overtly Catholic book I ever read was The Story of a Soul, the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux. That was the beginning of a relationship with her that continues to grow stronger all the time. As an Evangelical Christian, I never believed that Catholics “worshiped” saints, but I did think that interacting with dead people in any way was necromancy and therefore a grave sin. But once I understood the truth about how Catholicism understands the Church and our connection with those in heaven, I was excited about getting to know all these amazing brothers and sisters in Christ.
Much like any earthly friendship, my relationship with St. Therese has grown over time. As I said it started with reading her autobiography more than 10 years ago. Over the years I began reading more about her life and studying her writings. After we officially returned the Catholic Church in 2004, we discovered a Carmelite Monastery just over the mountain from our home. We started visiting there on Sundays when they have a service which ends with a prayer and veneration of a relic of St. Therese. There is also at the monastery, a little gift shop with books, statues and rosaries.
One year we made a visit to the monastery right before leaving on a trip to Haiti. I purchased the book “The Whole World Will Love Me,” and brought it along on our trip. One night in Haiti when I went back to my room to read a little before bed, I had a palpable feeling that St. Therese was with me. I can only explain it as the feeling that you have when you have just been reunited with a childhood friend. I spontaneously said “You are with me aren’t you?” and something inside me just knew it was true. I was thrilled and honored to be visited by such an amazing woman and spent the rest of the trip filled with joy and peace.
When I got back home that year my devotion to St. Therese increased dramatically. On my next visit to the monastery I picked up a little booklet of quotes from her. There is a simple quote for each day of the year. Whenever I am anxious I always “bring St. Therese with me.” I imagine her holding my hand and joining me on all of life’s adventures. With her by my side I know I will have strength on my own “little way.”