Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

1st October

St Thérèse of the Child Jesus is also known as “The Little Flower” and as St Thérèse “of the Roses.”

Thérèse saw herself as a “little flower of Jesus.” She compared herself to a simple wildflower that grows unnoticed, but still growing and giving glory to God in its simplicity. She declared that after her death she will let fall “a shower of roses” from heaven, so that even after her death she wanted to continue her mission to make God loved.

A few years before her death, Thérèse wrote the world-renowned book “The Story of a Soul.” Her sisters, nuns like her, had asked her to put in writing her childhood memories and her experiences as a young Carmelite nun.

St Thérèse is also known for her “Little Way.”  It simply involves living every day to the best of our ability, confident and trusting in God’s merciful love, like a child.

As a child Thérèse was quite mischievous and stubborn, throwing tantrums when things did not go her way. Encourage the children to identify with Thérèse’s childhood negative traits. Let them voice situations when they behaved in the same way. This could be the initial step towards self-awareness by acknowledging one’s shortcomings. It helps them to realize that Thérèse as a child could have behaved in some ways as they do, sometimes. Discuss with them what made her change.

The “Little Way” of St Thérèse involved “doing little things in a big way,” by doing it with great love. Include yourself in a discussion with the kids, how, as a family, we can walk “The Little Way” – by doing what needs to be done, without delay, without grumbling, whether we like it or not or whether we feel like it or not – by asking Jesus to help us when we find it difficult to do so.

Besides being proclaimed Doctor of the Church (a title given to certain saints for great learning and saintliness), she was also declared as Patroness of Missions, because although she was never a missionary herself,  she offered her prayers and her sufferings to sustain missionaries. Children may also be encouraged to follow this example from St Thérèse. You might consider sponsoring a child through an organisation like Missio. Kids can put aside some of their pocket money for this purpose, or decide to connect with the sponsored child by correspondence. This could be a family project for Mission Sunday or to be practised during Advent or Lent.

For family prayer time we can dedicate a session leading kids to start a personal prayer with:  “Thank you Jesus for helping me when ____ (I found it difficult to clean up my room, to put away toys, to obey immediately, to share, to make friends again, and so on).”

From a very young age, Thérèse wished to become a Saint. At age of 15, she entered the Carmelite Monastery after obtaining the permission from Pope Leo XIII.  Even though she struggled throughout her life, in finding her true vocation in her life, she lived a holy life by doing all things with love and childlike trust in God. In time she realized that her vocation, to serve God, is to love.

For today’s activity, we thought of spreading love towards people.  Check out this recipe, and bake some cookies with your family.

When they cool down, think and write a list of some people that are either alone or are going through difficult moments. Afterwards, write down a small prayer and put some of these cookies and the prayer in a plastic bag. Give the cookies and the prayer to those people you’ve listed. Let’s spread love!

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.