St. Thérèse of Lisieux, born Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin, lived in France from 1873 to 1897. Her short life was marked by suffering, first in the loss of her mother at age four, then separation from her older sisters, who joined the convent before Thérèse was old enough to follow, and later by her own slow death of tuberculosis. Despite all the hardships of her 24 years, Thérèse was, by all accounts, a joyful, peaceful soul .
Thérèse wrote her memoirs at the command of her sister, who was her mother superior at the time. She scoffed at the idea that anyone would actually be interested in reading about her life, but her writings quickly circulated around the world. Here was a very ordinary person who had found an extraordinary spirituality in everyday life. Hers was a spirituality of offering even the most mundane tasks to God, and performing them as if working for Christ himself. This was not a new idea, as St. Paul says in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men.” Still, Thérèse’s straightforward way of applying this principle to her own life served as an inspiration for countless faithful, including the likes of St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta, St. Josemaria Escriva, Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Francis, and even evangelical Protestant Pastor Rick Warren.
I have found St. Thérèse to be a powerful prayer warrior and a faithful friend. When she was dying, she promised she would spend her Heaven "doing good on earth." She has been true to that promise. I invite you to get to know St. Thérèse, if you haven't already, and discover the woman Pope St. John Paul II called the "greatest saint of modern times."