Marie Francoise Therese Martin was born on January 2, 1863 at Alencon in Normandy France. She lived the life of a normal child and entered the Carmel of Lisieux in 1889 when she was 15 years old. Finally St. Theresa entered eternal life on September 30, 1897. Theresa was not a great healer or miracle worker, but a woman who was faithful to her everyday chores to a heroic degree.
St. Theresa choose for her motto the well known words of St. John of the Cross: “Love is repaid by love alone.”
Not only did she take these words as her motto, but Theresa lived them throughout her life. The holy Nun lived her life of fidelity to her duties in what she called her “little way”. The “little way” is that of childhood simplicity and trust in the heavenly Father and a life in union with the suffering Christ. As St. Paul wrote, “We make up in our bodies, what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ”. St. Theresa was faithful in offering her sufferings in union with Christ. The Saints greatest work was her untireing prayer and suffering for Priests. As a young Nun she desired to be a missionary and when she could not, she became a missionary by offering prayers for the works of mission Priests.
St. Theresa also had a great devotion to the Mother of God, and our mother, heaven’s Queen. The great love that Theresa had for Mary is seen in a poem she wrote shortly before her death.
WHY I LOVE THEE, MARY
O thou who cam’st to smile on me
At the dawn of life’s beginning,
Come once again to smile on me…
The night is nigh.
I fear no more thy majesty,
So far removed above me,
For I have suffered sore with thee;
Now hear me, Mother mild!
O let me tell thee, face to face,
Dear Mary, how I love thee;
And say to thee forevermore:
I am thy little child.