Official Release about Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin

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Her parents and family

Louis Martin

Louis MartinLouis Martin was born at Bordeaux on the 22 August 1823 and was raised in a number of military camps, according as his father was garrisoned.

info document -  voir en grand cette imageHe chose to be a watchmaker by trade because of his love of precision work and also because he liked solitude.

At the age of 22 years he gave consideration to religious life. He presented himself to the Grand-Saint-Bernard Monastery but was informed that he could not be accepted without knowledge of Latin. The young man then applied himself courageously to the task. For one year he took lessons but eventually he abandoned his ideas of religious life.

He then undertook a course at Paris for three years in order to perfect his knowledge of his trade. While in Paris, he was a regular visitor to the Sanctuary of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (Our Lady of Victories).

In 1850, he set up business as a watchmaker at his parents home in Alençon. His faith remained alive and active. He never opened his shop on Sundays. As for his other interests – long periods spent fishing, a bit of hunting, and social evenings with other young people belonging to the Catholic Circle founded by his friend Vital Romet.

His mother worried that he was still single at the age of 34 years. But while she was learning the technique of Alençon lace stitching, she noticed the young and very gifted Zélie Guérin. The young couple were married on the 13 July 1858.

Zélie Martin

Zélie GuérinBorn on the 23 December 1831 at Gandelain in the Orne region, Marie-Azélie Guérin was an intelligent and industrious young woman.

She had given consideration to entering religious life but the Superior of the Hôtel-Dieu of Alençon bluntly discouraged her.

Disappointed, she decided to learn the trade of lace-maker. She rapidly excelled in this trade and at the age of 22 years she was running her own business at Rue Saint Blaise in partnership with her older sister, Marie-Louise.

Soon afterwards, however, Marie-Louise left the business to enter the Visitation Convent at Le Mans. As Sr. Marie Dosithée, she remained a constant spiritual advisor to Zélie, as well as to their young brother Isidore, the youngest child of the family.

Zélie was as proficient with the pen as with the needle. In a most lively manner, she recounted to her sister at the Visitation Convent – as well as to her eldest daughters boarding at Le Mans close to their aunt – the minute details of her daily life. It is largely thanks to this correspondence that we have some of the more delightful details from the childhood of Thérèse.

Marie (Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart)

Significant dates in her life

  • Feb 22nd, 1860
    • Marie is born. She is the eldest in her family and is baptised in the Church of Saint-Pierre at Montsort.
  • Oct. 1868
    • Marie and Pauline are sent to the Visitation Sisters’ boarding school
  • Jul 2nd, 1869
    • First Holy Communion in the Visitation Convent Chapel.
  • 1869
    • Confirmation
  • Jan 4th, 1873
    • The Baptism of Thérèse. Marie acts as godmother.
  • Aug 2nd, 1875
    • She leaves the Visitation boarding school having been awarded 6 first prizes.
  • 1882
    • Fr. Pichon S.J. becomes her Spiritual Director.
  • May 13th 1883
    • Marie cares for Thérèse who becomes seriously ill after Pauline’s entry into the Carmelite Convent. When Thérèse recovers, Marie perceives that she was healed by the Virgin’s smile.
  • 1885-1886
    • Marie becomes the confidante for Thérèse’s scruples.
  • Mar 25th 1885
    • She makes a private vow of chastity.
  • Oct 15th 1886
    • She enters the Carmelite Convent at Lisieux and takes the name Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart.
  • Mar 19th 1887
    • She takes the habit (final profession)
  • Dec. 1894
    • She encourages Mother Agnes of Jesus (Pauline) to ask Thérèse to write her memories of childhood.
  • Jun-Jul 1895
    • Thérèse makes her Offering to Merciful Love to Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart who accepts after some hesitation.
  • Sep 8-17, 1896
    • Marie asks Thérèse to put her “little doctrine” in writing (Manuscript B).
  • Mar 8th, 1937
    • Marie becomes seriously ill and receives the Sacrament of Extreme Unction (Last Rites)
  • Jan 1st, 1940
    • Marie dies at the Lisieux Carmelite Convent at the age of 80

Pauline (Mother Agnes of Jesus)

Significant dates in her life

  • Sep 7th, 1861 Pauline
    • The second daughter in the Martin family is born. She is called Pauline.
  • Sep 8th, 1861
    • Baptism in the Church of Saint-Pierre at Montsort.
  • Oct 1868
    • Pauline and her sister Marie become students at the Visitation Convent boarding school at Le Mans, where their aunt Sr. Marie Dosithée is a member of the Community.
  • Jul 2nd, 1874
    • Pauline makes her First Holy Communion in the Visitation Convent Chapel. She dreams of becoming a Visitation Sister.
  • 1875
    • When Marie finishes her studies at the boarding school, Pauline remains there alone. She corresponds regularly with her mother, Zélie Martin.
  • Aug 1st, 1877
    • Pauline leaves the Visitation Convent boarding school.
  • Aug 28th, 1877
    • After the death of Mrs. Martin, Thérèse decides : “For me, Pauline will be my mother !”
  • Feb 16th, 1882
    • At Saint-Jacques, in the Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pauline is prompted to enter the Carmelite Convent.
  • Oct 2nd, 1882
    • Pauline enters the Carmelite Convent at Lisieux, taking the name Sr. Agnes of Jesus.
  • Apr 6th, 1883
    • Pauline becomes a novice.
  • May 8th, 1884
    • Pauline makes her perpetual vows, placing her hands in those of Mother Geneviève of Saint-Thérèse, the foundress of the Carmelite Convent at Lisieux.
  • Feb 20th, 1893
    • She is elected Prioress for the first time. She is replaced by Mother Marie de Gonzague on March 21st, 1896.
  • Winter 1894
    • She instructs Thérèse to write her memories of childhood.
  • June 1897
    • She suggests to Mother Marie de Gonzague that she edit the writings of Thérèse.
  • Oct 19-20, 1898
    • The Story of a Soul is published. Pauline played a large role in the preparation of the book.
  • 1902
    • Mother Agnes of Jesus becomes Prioress again.
  • 1909
    • Mother Agnes of Jesus becomes Prioress again while the Canonisation Process of Thérèse is being prepared.
  • 1923
    • Pius XI confirms her as Prioress for life. She will play a huge part in making Thérèse known throughout the world. There is a considerable volume of correspondence.
  • Jun 7th, 1944
    • Lisieux is ravaged by fire. The Superior of the Mission de France urges the Prioress to leave the Convent with her Community and to take refuge in the Crypt of the Basilica.
  • Aug 27th, 1944
    • After 80 days, they return to the Convent which has been spared any damage.
  • Jan 1949
    • She contracts a lung infection.
  • Jul 28th, 1951
    • She dies at the age of 90.
  • Aug 1st, 1951
    • Most Reverend Picaud, Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux, presides at the solemn funeral Mass.

Leonie (Sr. Françoise-Thérèse)

Significant dates in her life

  • June 3, 1863
    • Léonie is born at Alençon. She is the third daughter in the Martin family.
  • May 23, 1875
    • First Communion at the Church of Notre Dame, Alençon.
  • Jun 18, 1877
    • She accompanies her sick mother to Lourdes along with Marie and Pauline.
  • Oct 3, 1881
    • At the age of 18, she finishes her studies at the Benedictine School at Lisieux where she was a boarder.
  • May 13, 1883
    • Thérèse is miraculously cured by the Virgin Mary in Léonie’s presence.
  • Jun 14, 1884
    • She acts as sponsor for Thérèse at the latter’s Confirmation.
  • Oct 7, 1886
    • While Mr. Martin is still residing at Alençon with his four daughters, she makes a first attempt at religious life by entering the Poor Clares. She stays only two months.
  • Jul 16, 1887
    • She enters the Visitation Convent at Caen at the age of 24.
  • Jan 6, 1888
    • Léonie leaves the Visitation Convent at Caen having stayed for 6 months.
  • Jan 10, 1889
    • She attends Thérèse’s first profession along with her father and sisters Céline.
  • Feb 12, 1889
    • Mr. Martin is admitted to the Bon Sauveur Hospital at Caen where he stays for 3 months. Léonie and Céline visit him regularly.
  • Jun 24, 1893
    • She enters the Visitation Convent for a second time.
  • Apr 6, 1894
    • At her first profession, she takes the name Sr. Thérèse-Dosithée.
  • Jul 20, 1895
    • Having spent two years in the Visitation Convent, Léonie (age 32 years) leaves and goes to reside with the Guérin family at Lisieux.
  • Jul 17, 1897
    • In her last letter to Thérèse, Léonie assures her sister that she will become a Visitation Sister.
  • Oct 4, 1897
    • Thérèse is buried. Léonie leads the mourning.
  • Jan 28, 1899
    • For the third and final time, Léonie enters the Visitation Convent at Caen. She is 35 years of age.
  • Jun 30, 1899
    • Léonie is once more professed at the Visitation Convent at Caen, this time taking the name Sr. Françoise-Thérèse.
  • Jul 2, 1900
    • Final profession at the Visitation Convent.
  • Aug 1910
    • At Bayeux, Léonie acts as a witness for the cause of Thérèse’s beatification.
  • Sept 1915
    • She meets her three sisters at the Carmelite Convent in Lisieux during the Apostolic Process of the cause of Thérèse’s beatification.
  • Apr 29, 1923
    • Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus is beatified at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome by Pope Pius XI. Léonie (Visitation Sister) and her three sisters (all Carmelite Sisters) are invited to Rome for the ceremony, but they decline out of a desire to remain faithful to their vocation to the enclosed religious life.
  • Jun 16, 1941
    • She dies at the Visitation Convent at Caen, aged 78 years.
  • Mar 11, 1945
    • The casket containing the relics of St. Thérèse, Patron Saint of France, is brought to the Visitation Convent at Caen, to “salute” the mortal remains of Léonie in the crypt.
    • For about the last 15 years, the Crypt which holds the mortal remains of Léonie has been made accessible to the many pilgrims who come to pray at her tomb.

Celine (Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face)

Significant dates in her life

  • Apr 28, 1869
    • The seventh daughter in the Martin family, named Marie-Céline, is born while the family are living at Rue du Pont-Neuf in Alençon.
  • Sept 5, 1869
    • She is baptised at Alençon.
  • 1876
    • She becomes a half-boarder at the Benedictine Abbey at Lisieux.
  • Mar 13, 1880
    • She receives her First Holy Communion in the Abbey’s Chapel.
  • Jun 5, 1880
    • She receives the Sacrament of Confirmation.
  • Oct 1880
    • Thérèse enters the Abbey’s school with Céline.
  • 1885
    • Céline leaves the Abbey school where she had been President of the “Children of Mary”. She frequently won the top prizes at school.
  • Apr 1888
    • Her hand in marriage is sought. Céline engages herself in painting and photography.
  • Jun 16, 1888
    • Céline tells her father of her desire to enter religious life.
  • Feb 12, 1889
    • Mr. Martin is admitted to the Bon Sauveur Hospital at Caen. Céline and Léonie stay nearby for three months with the Sisters of Saint Vincent de Paul.
  • Dec 8, 1889
    • Her Spiritual Director, Fr. Pichon, authorises her to make a vow of virginity.
  • Jul 29, 1894
    • Mr. Martin suffers a heart attack – Céline cares for him.
  • Sep 14, 1894
    • Céline enters the Carmelite Convent, taking her camera with her !
  • Feb 5, 1895
    • As a novice, she took the name Sr. Marie de la Sainte Face. Following her profession she became Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face and St. Teresa.
  • Jun 9, 1895
    • During Mass Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus asks for a special grace : to offer herself as a victim to Merciful Love.
  • Jun 11, 1895
    • She makes an offering with Thérèse.
  • Feb 24, 1896
    • Final profession.
  • 1898 – 1899
    • All during her lifetime, Sr. Geneviève took an active part in spreading the message of Thérèse by the written word, and also by photos and images.
  • 1952
    • Sr. Geneviève publishes “Conseils et Souvenirs” (Advice and Memories).
  • Feb 24, 1956
    • Céline celebrates her Diamond Jubilee. Most Rev. Jacquemain, Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux, authorises the opening of the Process for the Cause of the Servant of God, Louis Martin.
  • Feb 25, 1959
    • Sr. Geneviève dies.

Her life

Important dates in her life and glorification

Important dates in the life of Therese


  • 1873
    • 2nd January : Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin is born
    • 4th January : Baptism in the Church of Notre-Dame (Our Lady)
    • March 1873 – April 1874 : Nursed at Semallé (near Alençon)
  • 1874
    • 2nd April : Returns definitively to her family
  • 1877
    • 28th August : Mrs. Martin dies as a result of breast cancer. Thérèse chooses Pauline as her second mother. Mr. Guérin, brother of Mrs. Martin, advises Mr. Martin to move with his daughters to Lisieux where he himself works as a pharmacist.


At "Les Buissonnets"

  • 1877
    • 16th November : Mr. Martin arrives in Lisieux with his five daughters
  • 1878
    • 8th August : Thérèse sees the sea for the first time at Trouville
  • 1881
    • 3rd October : Thérèse enters the school at the Notre-Dame du Pré Abbey (Benedictine Sisters) as a half-boarder.
  • 1882
    • 2nd October : Pauline enters the Carmelite Convent at Lisieux and takes the name Sr. Agnes of Jesus.
  • 1883
    • 25th March : Thérèse falls seriously ill.
    • 13th May : Feast of Pentecost. Thérèse is cured at “Les Buissonets” by the Virgin Mary’s smile.
  • 1884
    • 8th May : Thérèse makes her First Holy Communion at the Abbey.Pauline (Sr. Agnes) makes her final profession at the Carmelite Convent.
    • 14th June : Thérèse is confirmed by Bishop Hugonin.
  • 1885
    • May : Thérèse enters a period of scrupulosity.
  • 1886
    • February : Due to illness, Thérèse leaves school. She takes private lessons at home.
    • 15th October : Marie, oldest sister and godmother of Thérèse, enters the Carmelite Convent at Lisieux and takes as her name, Sr. Marie-du-Sacré-Cœur (Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart)
    • 25th December : After midnight Mass, Thérèse receives the grace of conversion.
  • 1887
    • 29th May : Pentecost - Thérèse obtains her father’s permission to enter the Carmelite Convent at the age of 15 years.
    • July/August : Thérèse prays for the conversion of Pranzini who is condemned to death.
    • 1st September : Thérèse reads in the magazine “La Croix” the account of the execution of Pranzini and his conversion.
    • 31st October : Visit to Most Rev. Hugonin, Bishop of Bayeux, to obtain his permission to enter the Carmelite Convent.
    • 4th November – 2nd December : Pilgrimage to Italy
    • 20th November : Audience with Pope Leo XIII. Thérèse presents her petition to His Holiness.
  • 1888
    • 1st January : Thérèse is told of Bishop Hugonin’s favourable response but the Carmelites postpone her entry until after the winter.

The Carmelite Convent

    • 9th April : Thérèse enters the Carmelite Convent at the age of fifteen years and three months..
  • 1889
    • 10th January : Thérèse takes the habit. Thereafter she signs herself : Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face.
    • 12th February : Mr. Martin is admitted to the Bon Sauveur Hospital at Caen. He remains there for three months.
  • 1890
    • 8th September : Religious profession of Thérèse
    • 24th September : Thérèse “takes the veil” during a public ceremony.
  • 1892
    • 10th May : Mr. Martin is brought back to Lisieux.
  • 1893
    • 20th February : Sr. Agnes (Pauline) is elected Prioress of the Carmelite Convent. The out-going Prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague, takes over responsibility for the Noviciate. Thérèse is assigned to her to assist in the spiritual formation of the Novices.
  • 1894
    • 29th July : Death of Mr. Martin
    • 14th September : Céline Martin enters the Carmelite Convent
    • Winter : Out of obedience, Thérèse begins to write her memories of childhood (Manuscript A). She discovers her “little way”.
  • 1895
    • 21st January : Thérèse presents her second play on St. Joan of Arc.
    • 9th June : Feast of the Most Holy Trinity : Thérèse is inspired to offer herself to the Merciful Love of the Lord.
    • 17th October : A seminarian, Maurice Bellière, is entrusted to Thérèse
  • 1896
    • 21st March : Mother Marie de Gonzague is re-elected Prioress. She retains responsibility for the Noviciate and asks Thérèse to devote herself totally to the Novices.
    • Night of 2nd/3rd April : Her first haemoptysis (coughing of blood, consistent with tuberculosis). It is shortly after Easter and Thérèse enters into “the night of faith”.
    • 30th May : Father Adolphe Roulland is entrusted to her as a second spiritual brother.
    • September : Various writings (Manuscript B) for Sr. Marie du Sacré Cœur : “My vocation is love”.
  • 1897
    • June : Out of obedience, Thérèse writes Manuscript C
    • 8th July : Thérèse enters the Infirmary
    • 30th July : Thérèse is anointed.
    • 30th September : Thérèse dies at 7.30pm
    • 4th October : Thérèse is buried in the Cemetery at Lisieux.

Important dates of the glorification of Therese

  • 1898
    • 19-20th September : First publication of “Histoire d’une Âme” (“The Story of a Soul”). 2000 copies are printed.
  • 1899-1900
    • The first pilgrims begin to visit the grave of Thérèse. The first miracles are reported.
  • 1908
    • 26th May : Reine Fauquet, a young blind girl aged 4 years from Lisieux, is cured at the grave.
  • 1910
    • Most Rev. Lemonnier, Bishop of Bayeux, institutes the process of canonisation.
  • 1915
    • The second stage of the process begins (the Apostolic Process), thereby becoming a matter for the Holy See.
  • 1921
    • Pope Benedict XV promulgates the decree concerning the heroic virtues of the Venerable Servant of God
  • 1923
    • 29th April : Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus is beatified by Pope Pius XI and her remains are transferred from the Cemetery to the Carmelite Convent.
  • 1925
    • 17th May : Thérèse is solemnly canonised by Pope Leo XI in the presence of 500,000 pilgrims in Rome.
  • 1927
    • 14th December : Pope Pius XI proclaims Thérèse joint Patron of the Missions with Saint Francis Xavier.
  • 1929
    • 30th September : The foundation stone of the new Basilica at Lisieux is placed.
  • 1937
    • 11th July : Inauguration and consecration of the Basilica by Cardinal Pacelli, Legate of Pope Pius XI.
    • 24th July : The Mission de France is founded. Its seminary is located at Lisieux.
  • 1944
    • 3rd May : Pope Pius XII proclaims Thérèse as joint secondary patron of France with St. Joan of Arc.
  • 1947
    • 50th Anniversary of the death of Thérèse. Her relics are brought around to nearly all the dioceses of France.
  • 1954
    • 11th July : Dedication of the Basilica at Lisieux.
  • 1956
    • A facsimile edition of Thérèse’s manuscripts (original version of “The Story of a Soul”) is published.
  • 1973
    • Celebration of the centenary of her birth
  • 1980
    • 2nd June : Pope John Paul II makes a pilgrimage to Lisieux.
  • 1988
    • The Centenary Edition is published (a critical edition of the complete works of Thérèse)
  • 1992
    • The New Centenary Edition is published and presented to Pope John Paul II on the 18th February, 1993.
  • 1997
    • Centenary of the death of Saint Thérèse.
    • 19th October : Pope John Paul II proclaims Saint Thérèse a Doctor of the Church.

A completely normal life

The holiness of Thérèse is not based on extraordinary phenomena. It consists of “doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way !”

It is difficult to realise that the life of Thérèse Martin was a completely ordinary life. Because she became Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, known throughout the entire world, with numerous titles (Universal Patroness of the Missions, Secondary Patron of France, Doctor of the Church, etc.) one forgets that she passed almost unnoticed in her family, among her peers, in the Convent and with her Spiritual Director.… Perhaps the only time she would have been the object of notoriety was when word went around Lisieux about the young girl who had the audacity to speak with Pope Leo XIII during an audience in Rome (a national newspaper even made mention of it). She then entered the Carmelite Convent at the age of 15 years, 3 months. When she died, an unknown, in a small rural Carmelite convent, there were hardly 30 people at her burial in the Cemetery at Lisieux. Yet at her canonisation in Rome on the 17th May 1925, there were 500,000 present. How ?

So yes ! Hers was a very ordinary, hidden life.

Alençon (1873-1877)

Aquarelle de Thérèse à AlençonThe story begins with a Christian family in Alençon. The father was Louis Martin, a watchmaker and jeweller ; the mother was Zélie Guérin, a lace-maker. They had nine children, four of whom died in infancy. They were left with four daughters and then, at the age of 40 years, the mother discovered that she was expecting once more. Thérèse was born on the 2nd January 1873. She was a bright, lively, little girl and after spending one year in the care of a nurse (her mother was unable to nurse her) she returned to a happy life, surrounded by the love of her parents and sisters. This youngest girl received from her family a deep, lively and charitable faith. Everything was going well until Zélie Martin died from breast cancer (August 1877). Thérèse was 4½ years old.

It was a huge shock for the little Thérèse. She chose her sister Pauline as a second mother but the hurt brought on by the whole experience of her mother’s death was deep and would take 10 years to heal.

Lisieux (1877-1888)

With five daughters to take care of, Mr. Martin decided to accept the advice of his brother-in-law Isidore Guérin, a pharmacist in Lisieux. The entire Martin family took up residence at “Les Buissonnets”. Thérèse found the atmosphere here quite pleasant but the five years that she spent as a pupil at the Benedictine Sisters’ school were to be for her “the saddest of her life”. She was a good pupil but shy and scrupulous and unable to cope very well with the knocks that one expects to receive at school.

Aquarelle de la guérison de Thérèse aux BuissonnetsPauline’s departure for the Carmelite Convent at Lisieux re-opened the wounds. At ten years of age, Thérèse fell seriously ill : she had alarming symptoms of infantile regression, hallucinations and anorexia. Medical treatment seemed to have no effect. Prayers were offered by the family and at the Carmelite Convent. Then, on the 13th May 1883, a statue of the Virgin Mary smiled at Thérèse and instantly she was cured.

In the following year, on the 8th June 1884, her First Holy Communion was for Thérèse a “fusion” of love. Jesus gave himself to her and she gave herself to him. Already she was thinking of becoming a Carmelite. She was somewhat destabilised when her “third mother”, her sister Marie, left home to enter the Carmelite Convent. She suffered because of obsessive scruples, became hypersensitive and prone to excessive crying. She longed to grow up and to feel free. Then on Christmas night 1886, grace touched her heart. Through a very real experience of “conversion” she was transformed into a strong woman. The child in the crib, the Word of God, communicated his strength to her in the Eucharist.

Now she felt prepared to tackle the obstacles between her and life as a Carmelite : her father, her uncle, the Convent Chaplain, the Bishop, Pope Leo XIII. Grace had opened her heart and now she wanted to save sinners with Jesus, who on the cross, had thirsted for souls. At 14½ years of age Thérèse decided to remain at the foot of the Cross in order “to gather the divine blood and to give it to souls”. Such was her vocation : “to love Jesus and to make him loved”.

In 1887, Thérèse heard of an assassin who had killed three women at Paris. So she began to pray for him and to make sacrifices, wanting at all costs to save him from hell. Henri Pranzini was found guilty and sentenced to be guillotined. But just as he was about to go to his death, he embraced the crucifix ! Thérèse cried with joy : she felt that her prayers had been heard and she called him her “first child”.

During a pilgrimage to Italy, Thérèse noticed that outside of their “sublime vocation” priests have their little foibles. She grasped the fact that it is necessary to pray for priests because they are “weak and fragile” men. She understood that her vocation was not just to pray for the conversion of great sinners but also to pray for priests. During this same pilgrimage, she asked the Pope to be permitted to enter the Carmelite Convent at the age of 15 years. She received an evasive answer – “if God wills” – but on the 9th April 1888 she left forever her father, her sisters, Les Buissonnets and her dog Tom.

At the Carmelite Convent (1888-1897), a way of solitude

She was happy to be there “forever”, a “prisoner” with him … and to have 24 sisters. She accepted everything with enthusiasm – community life, the cold, the often sterile prayer life, and loneliness (even though she was with two of her sisters). Her greatest suffering was to be her beloved father’s illness when he was admitted to the Bon Sauveur Psychiatric Hospital at Caen. This was a new family crisis for Thérèse. She immersed herself in prayer with the Suffering Servant of Isaiah (chapter 53) on the way of Jesus’ passion. But the spiritual climate of her Carmelite Convent, where God was feared and seen as a dispenser of justice, weighed heavily on her. She aspired to Love when she read Living Flame of Love by St. John of the Cross. In 1891 (she was 18 years of age) a priest pushed her out onto “the waves of confidence and Love” where she had dared not go, having been held back from this audacious path, even by her sister Pauline, Mother Agnes of Jesus, who became Prioress in 1893.

By now her father had returned to his family and he died in 1894. Céline, who had cared for him, then entered the Carmelite Convent.

Aquarelle de Thérèse au CarmelIt was around this time that the young Sr. Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face (the name summarised her vocation) discovered, after years of searching, the way of childlike spirituality which was to transform her life. She received the grace to explore more deeply the Fatherhood of God which is nothing other than Merciful Love (expressed in the incarnate Jesus Christ). The Christian life is nothing other than life as a child of the Father (“a son in the Son”) which is inaugurated at Baptism and lived out in absolute trust. “If you do not become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of God”, said Jesus (Mt 18,3). By chance, Mother Agnes directed her to write her memories of childhood. Thérèse obeyed and wrote 86 pages in a little copybook.

So, while at that time some elite and rare souls were offering themselves as victims to God’s Justice, the “weak and imperfect” Thérèse offered herself to his Merciful Love on the 9th June 1895 during Mass for the feast of the Most Holy Trinity.

This total gift renews her and consumes all sin in her. In September 1896, Thérèse feels that her beautiful vocation (“Carmelite, spouse and mother”) is not enough for her. She is afflicted during prayer by the calling of great desires : to be a priest, a deacon, a prophet, a doctor of the Church, a missionary, a martyr. These sufferings soon disappear, however, when she discovers her vocation while reading a passage from St. Paul on love (1 Corinthians 13). Everything becomes clear for her and she is able to write : “O Jesus, my Love … my vocation, at last I have found it … my vocation is Love ! … Yes, I have found my place in the Church and it is You, O my God, who have given me this place ; in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be Love … thus I shall be everything … and thus my dream will be realised !!!” (Manuscript B, 3v) Haunted more and more by her anxieties for sinners who do not know this Merciful Love, she found herself in a long, dark night where her faith and her hope had to struggle. Her struggle at this time was all the more intense as tuberculosis began to attack her health and to weaken her. She used her last energies to teach the childlike way to five novices for whom she was responsible and also to two spiritual brothers, missionary priests for Africa and China.

While living this “com-passion”, in union with the Passion of Jesus in Gethsemane and on the Cross, and physically drained by the haemoptyses, she nevertheless kept her smile and her exquisite charity, and this buoyed up the morale of her sisters who were distressed to see her dying in such suffering. Out of obedience, she persisted until exhaustion to record, truthfully and transparently, the memories of moments when she “sang the mercies of the Lord” during the course of her short life. She prayed that she would “do good on earth after her death, until the end of the world” and humbly prophesied that her mission after her death would be to “give her little way to souls” and to “spend her heaven doing good on earth”. She died on the 30th September 1897.

One year after her death, a book based on her writings was published : the book entitled l’Histoire d’une Âme (The Story of a Soul) would go on to conquer the world and make known this young sister who loved Jesus to the point of “dying of love”. This hidden life was to shine out in the universe, and has done so for over 100 years …

Her writings

Manuscripts of saint Thérèse of Lisieux

« Story of a soul »

« I believe that my mission is about to begin, my mission of making known the love of God as I love him, to give him my little way to souls. » (Final Conversations, 17 July, 1897)

The 20th of October 1898, Mother Agnes of Jesus and Mother Marie de Gonzague, had been working on a project, to publish an exceptionally long obituary (476 pages !) to be sent to all the Carmels in France. The surplus copies were sold off (print run : 2 000 copies ; price : 4 francs).

In fact, Mother Agnes had put together her little sister’s manuscripts (which were later called A, B and C) which had been written « under obedience, » corrected the (frequent) spelling mistakes, brought paragraphs together, removed some paragraphs, and divided the works into chapters. Of the three addressees only one remained : Mother Marie de Gonzague. In accordance with her request, it was completed with Thérèse’s poems and some letters. The Carmel feared a low price for the book, which was financed without enthusiasm by her generous Guerin uncle. To everyone’s surprise, a second edition was required six months later (4,000 copies) and soon a third . . . It was an explosion. By 1956 there were 40 editions, not to mention the translations which began in 1901. There were more than 50 listed, with figures always being exceeded and uncontrollable as the pirate editions multiplied.

The book was an instrument of conversion, of various cures, and found in all parts of the world. It is the book which pushed the enthusiastic pilgrim to come to pray to the « little saint, » as they say, at her grave in the Lisieux cemetery. Soon, pastoral needs would protect this place from pious vandalism.

It was only in 1956, after the death of Mother Agnes, who had practically rewritten her sister’s texts, that Pius XII ordered a return to the original manuscripts and the three texts of Thérèse were published.

The critical edition - an exact copy - completed by the Carmelite priest François de Sainte Marie (who died in 1961), with the help of the Carmelite nuns in Lisieux, was a considerable achievement. Finally, the real Thérèse appeared « stripped, » not sweetened.

From 1969, a team took up the task and continued the critical edition of 266 known letters, 54 poems (1979), 8 plays (1985), 21 prayers (1988) and the Final Conversations (1971).

This work (1969-1988), which received the Cardinal Grente Grand Prize from the Académie Française in 1989, was to eventually lead to the New Centenary Edition, in eight volumes (CerfDDB).

The whole work was gathered into one volume - Completed Works (CerfDDB) - running to 1,600 pages of bible paper. The collection was presented to John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger on February 18, 1993.

Poetry of saint Thérèse of Lisieux

My song for today

My life is but an instant, a passing hour.
My life is but a day that escapes and flies away.
O my God ! You know that to love you on earth
I only have today !…

Oh, I love you, Jesus ! My soul yearns for you.
For just one day remain my sweet support.
Come reign in my heart, give me your smile
Just for today !

Lord, what does it matter if the future is gloomy ?
To pray for tomorrow, oh no, I cannot !…
Keep my heart pure, cover me with your shadow
Just for today.

If I think about tomorrow, I fear my fickleness.
I feel sadness and worry rising up in my heart.
But I’m willing, my God, to accept trial and suffering
Just for today.

O Divine Pilot ! whose hand guides me,
I’m soon to see you on the eternal shore.
Guide my little boat over the stormy waves in peace
Just for today.

Ah ! Lord, let me hide in your Face.
There I’ll no longer hear the word’s vain noise.
Give me your love, keep me in your grace
Just for today.

Near your divine Heart, I forget all passing things.
I no longer dread the fears of the night.
Ah ! Jesus, give me a place in your Heart
Just for today.

Living Bread, Bread of Heaven, divine Eucharist,
O sacred Mystery ! that Love has brought forth…
Come live in my heart, Jesus, my white Host,
Just for today.

Deign to unite me to you, Holy and sacred Vine,
And my weak branch will give you its fruit,
And I’ll be able to offer you a cluster of golden grapes
Lord, from today on.

I’ve just this fleeting day to form
This cluster of love, whose seeds are souls.
Ah ! give me, Jesus, the fire of an Apostle
Just for today.

O Immaculate Virgin ! You are my Sweet Star
Giving Jesus to me and uniting me to Him.
O Mother ! Let me rest under your veil
Just for today.

My Holy Guardian Angel, cover me with your wing.
With your fire light the road that I’m taking.
Come direct my steps… help me, I call upon you
Just for today.

Lord, I want to see you without veils, without clouds,
But still exiled, far from you, I languish ?
May your lovable face not be hidden from me
Just for today.

Soon I’ll fly away to speak your praises
When the day without sunset will dawn on my soul.
Then I’ll sing on the Angels’lyre
The Eternal Today !…

Living on Love !…

On the evening of Love, speaking without parable,
Jesus said : « If anyone wishes to love me
All his life, let him keep my Word.
My Father and I will come to visit him.
And we will make his heart our dwelling.
Comimng to him, we shall love him always.
We want him to remain, filled with peace,
In our Love !… »

Living on Love is holding You Yourself.
Uncreated word, Word of my God,
Ah ! Divine Jesus, you know I love you.
The Spirit of Love sets me aflame with his fire.
In loving you I attract the Father.
My weak heart holds him forever.
O Trinity ! You are Prisoner
Of my Love !…

Living on Love is living on your life,
Glorious King, delight of the elect.
You live for me, hidden in a host.
I want to hide myself for you, O Jesus !
Lovers must have solitude,
A heart-to-heart lasting night and day.
Just one glance of yours makes my beatitude.
I live on Love !…

Living on Love is not setting up one’s tent
At the top of Tabor.
It’s climbing Calvary with Jesus,
It’s looking at the Cross as a treasure !…
In Heaven I’m to live on joy.
Then trials will have fled forever,
But in exile, in suffering I want
To live on Love.

Living on Live is giving without limit
Without claiming any wages here below.
Ah ! I give without counting, truly sure
That when one loves, one does not keep count !…
Overflowing with tenderness, I have given everything,
To his Divine Heart… lightly I run.
I have nothing left but my only wealth :
Living on Love.

Living on Love is banishing every fear,
Every memory of past faults.
I see no imprint of my sins.
In a moment love has burned everything…
Divine Flame, O very sweet Blaze !
I make my home in your hearth.
In your fire I gladly sing :
« I live on Love !… »

Living on Love is keeping within oneself
A great treasure in an earthen vase.
My Beloved, my weakness is extreme.
Ah, I’m far from being an angel from heaven !…
But if I fall with each passing hour,
You come to my aid, lifting me up.
At each moment you give me your grace :
I live on Love.

Living on Love is sailing unceasingly,
Sowing peace and joy in every heart.
Beloved Pilot, Charity impels me,
For I see you in my sister souls.
Charity is my only star.
In its brightness I sail straight ahead.
I’ve my motto written on my sail :
« Living on Love. »

Living on Love, when Jesus is sleeping,
Is rest on stormy seas.
Oh ! Lord, don’t fear that I’ll wake you.
I’m waiting in peace for Heaven’s shore…
Faith will soon tear its veil.
My hope is to see you one day.
Charity swells and pushes my sail :
I live on Love !…

Living on Love is wiping your Face,
It’s obtaining the pardon of sinners.
O God of Love ! may they return to your grace,
And may they forever bless your Name…
Even in my heart the blasphemy resounds.
To efface it, I always want to sing :
« I adore and love your Sacred Name.
I live on Love !… »

Living on Love is imitating Mary,
Bathing your divine feet that she kisses, transported.
With tears, with precious perfume,
She dries them with her long hair…
Then standing up, she shatters the vase,
And in turn she anoints your Sweet Face.
As for me, the perfume with which I anoint your Face
Is my Love !…

« Living on Love, what strange folly ! »
The world says to me, « Ah ! stop your singing,
Don’t waste your perfumes, your life.
Learn to use them well… »
Loving you, Jesus, is such a fruitful loss !…
All my perfumes are yours forever.
I want to sing on leaving this world :
« I’m dying of Love ! »

Dying of Love is truly sweet martyrdom,
And that is the one I wish to suffer.
O Cherubim ! Tune your lyre,
For I sense my exile is about to end !…
Flame of Love, consume me unceasingly.
Live of an instant, your burden is so heavy to me !
Divine Jesus, make my dream come true :
To die of Love !…

Dying of Love is what I hope for.
When I shall see my bonds broken,
My God will be my Great Reward.
I don’t desire to possess other goods.
I want to be set on fire with his Love.
I want to see Him, to unite myself to Him forever.
That is my Heaven…that is my destiny :
Living on Love !!!…

My joy

There are some souls on earth
Who search in vain for happiness,
But for me, it’s just the opposite.
Joy is in my heart.
This joy is not ephemeral.
I possess it forever.
Like the springtime rose,
It smiles at me every day.

Truly I’m so happy.
I always have my way…
How could I not be joyful
And not show my cheerfulness ?
My joy is to love suffering.
I smile while shedding tears.
I accept with gratitude
The thorns mingled with the flowers.

When the blue Sky becomes somber
And begins to abandon me,
My joy is to stay in the shadow
To hide and humble myself.
My joy is the Holy Will
Of Jesus, my only love,
So I live without any fear.
I love the night as much as the day.

My joy is to stay little,
So when I fall on the way,
I can get up very quickly,
And Jesus takes me by the hand.
Then I cover him with caresses
And tell Him He’s everything for me,
And I’m twice as tender
When He slips away from my faith.

If sometimes I shed tears,
My joy is to hide them well.
Oh ! How many charms there are in suffering
When one knows how to hide it with flowers !
I truly want to suffer without saying so
That Jesus may be consoled.
My joy is to see him smile
When my heart is exiled…

My joy is to struggle unceasingly
To bring forth spiritual children.
It’s with a heart burning with tenderness
That I keep saying to Jesus :
« For you, my Divine Little Brother,
I’m happy to suffer.
My only joy on earth
Is to be able to please you.

Lord, I’m willing to live a long time more
If that is your desire.
I’d like to follow you to Heaven
If that would make you happy.
Love, that fire from the Homeland,
Never ceases to consume me.
What do life and death matter to me ?
Jesus, my joy, it’s to love you ! »

Why I love you, o Mary !

Oh ! I would like to sing, Mary, why I love you,
Why your sweet name thrills my heart,
And why the thought of your supreme greatness
Could not bring fear to my soul.
If I gazed on you in your sublime glory,
Surpassing the splendor of all the blessed,
I could not believe that I am your child.
O Mary, before you I would lower my eyes !…

If a child is to cherish his mother,
She has to cry with him and share his sorrows.
O my dearest Mother, on this foreign shore
How many tears you shed to draw me to you !…
In pondering your life in the holy Gospels,
I dare look at you and come near you.
It’s not difficult for me to believe I’m your child,
For I see you human and suffering like me…

When an angel from Heaven bids you be the Mother
O the God who is to reign for all eternity,
I see you prefer, O Mary, what a mystery !
The ineffable treasure of virginity.
O Immaculate Virgin, I understand how your soul
Is dearer to the Lord than his heavenly dwelling.
I understand how your soul, Humble and Sweet Valley,
Can contain Jesus, the Ocean of Love !…

Oh ! I love you, Mary, saying you are the servant
Of the God whom you charm by your humility.
This hidden virtue makes you all-powerful.
It attracts the Holy Trinity into your heart.
Then the Spirit of Love covering you with his shadow,
The Son equal to the Father became incarnate in you,
There will be a great many of his sinner brothers,
Since he will be called : Jesus, your first-born !…

O beloved Mother, despite my littleness,
Like you I possess The All-Powerful within me.
But I don’t tremble in seeing my weakness ;
The treasures of a mother belong to her child,
And I am your child, O my dearest Mother.
Aren’t your virtues and your love mine too ?
So when the white Host comes into my heart,
Jesus, your Sweet Lamb, thinks he is resting in you !…

You make me feel that it’s not impossible
To follow in your footsteps, O Queen of the elect.
You made visible the narrow road to Heaven
While always practicing the humblest virtues.
Near you, Mary, I like to stay little.
I see the vanity of greatness here below.
At the home of Saint Elizabeth, receiving your visit,
I learn how to practice ardent charity.

There, Sweet Queen of angels, I listen, delighted,
To the sacred canticle springing forth from your heart.
You teach me to sing divine praises,
To glory in Jesus my Savior.
Your words of love are mystical roses
Destined to perfume the centuries to come.
In you the Almighty has done great things.
I want to ponder them to bless him for them.

When good Saint Joseph did not know of the miracle
That you wanted to hide in your humility,
You let him cry close by the Tabernacle
Veiling the Savior’s divine beauty !…
Oh Mary ! how I love your eloquent silence !
For me it is a sweet, melodious concert
That speaks to me of the greatness and power
Of a soul which looks only to Heaven for help…

Later in Bethlehem, O Joseph and Mary !
I see you rejected by all the villagers.
No one wants to take in poor foreigners.
There’s room for the great ones…
There’s room for the great ones, and it’s in a stable
That the Queen of Heaven must give birth to a God.
O my dearest Mother, how lovable I find you,
How great I find you in such a poor place !…

When I see the Eternal God wrapped in swaddling clothes,
When I hear the poor cry of the Divine Word,
O my dearest Mother, I no longer envy the angels,
For their Powerful Lord is my dearest Brother !…
How I love you, Mary, you who made
This Divine Flower blossom on our shores !…
How I love you listening to the shepherds and wisemen
And keeping it all in your heart with care !…

I love you mingling with the other women
Walking toward the holy temple.
I love you presenting the Savior of our souls
To the blessed Old Man who pressed Him to his heart.
At first I smile as I listen to his canticle,
But soon his tone makes me shed tears.
Plunging a prophetic glance into the future,
Simeon presents you with a sword of sorrows.

O Queen of martyrs, till the evening of your life
That sorrowful sword will pierce your heart.
Already you must leave your native land
To flee a king’s jealous fury.
Jesus sleeps in peace under the folds of your veil.
Joseph comes begging you to leave at once,
And at once your obedience is revealed.
You leave without delay or reasoning.

O Mary, it seems to me that in the land of Egypt
Your heart remains joyful in poverty,
For is not Jesus the fairest Homeland,
What does exile matter to you ? You hold Heaven…
But in Jerusalem a bitter sadness
Comes to flood your heart like a vast ocean.
For three days, Jesus hides from your tenderness.
That is indeed exile in all its harshness !…

At last you find him and you are overcome with joy,
You say to the fair Child captivating the doctors :
« O my Son, why have you done this ?
Your father and I have been searching for you in tears. »
And the Child God replies (O what a deep mystery !)
To his dearest Mother holding out her arms to him :
« Why were you searching for me ?
I must be about My Father’s business. Didn’t you know ? »

The Gospel tells me that, growing in wisdom,
Jesus remains subject to Joseph and Mary,
And my heart reveals to me with what tenderness
He always obeys his dear parents.
Now I understand the mystery of the temple,
The hidden words of my Lovable King.
Mother, your sweet Child wants you to be the example
Of the soul searching for Him in the night of faith.

Since the King of Heaven wanted his Mother
To be plunged into the night, in anguish of heart,
Mary, is it thus a blessing to suffer on earth ?
Yes, to suffer while loving is the purest happiness !…
All that He has given me, Jesus can take back.
Tell him not to bother with me…
He can indeed hide from me, I’m willing to wait for him
Till the day without sunset when my faith will fade away…

Mother full of grace, I know that in Nazareth
You live in poverty, wanting nothing more.
No rapture, miracle, or ecstasy
Embellish your life, O Queen of the Elect !…
The number of little ones on earth is truly great.
They can raise their eyes to you without trembling.
It’s by the ordinary way, incomparable Mother,
That you like to walk to guide them to Heaven.

While waiting for Heaven, O my dear Mother,
I want to live with you, to follow you each day.
Mother, contemplating you, I joyfully immerse myself,
Discovering in your heart abysses of love.
Your motherly gaze banishes all my fears.
It teaches me to cry, it teaches me to rejoice.
Instead of scorning pure and simple joys,
You want to share in them, you deign to bless them.

At Cana, seeing the married couple’s anxiety
Which they cannot hide, for they have run out of wine,
In your concern you tell the Savior,
Hoping for the help of his divine power.
Jesus seems at first to reject your prayer :
« Woman, what does this matter, » he answers, « to you and to me ? »
But in the depths of his heart, He calls you his Mother,
And he works his first miracle for you…

One day when sinners are listening to the doctrine
Of Him who would like to welcome them in Heaven,
Mary, I find you with them on the hill.
Someone says to Jesus that you wish to see him.
Then, before the whole multitude, your Divine Son
Shows us the immensity of his love for us.
He says : « Who is my brother and my sister and my Mother,
If not the one who does my will ? »

O Immaculate Virgin, most tender of Mothers,
In listening to Jesus, you are not saddened.
But you rejoice that He makes us understand
How our souls become his family here below.
Yes, you rejoice that He gives us his life,
The infinite treasures of his divinity !…
How can we not love you, O my dear Mother,
On seeing so much love and so much humility ?

You love us, Mary, as Jesus loves us,
And for us you accept being separated from Him.
To love is to give everything. It’s to give oneself.
You wanted to prove this by remaining our support.
The Savior knew your immense tenderness.
He knew the secrets of your maternal heart.
Refuge of sinners, He leaves us to you
When He leaves the Cross to wait for us in Heaven.

Mary, at the top of Calvary standing beside the Cross
To me you seem like a priest at the altar,
Offering your beloved Jesus, the sweet Emmanuel,
To appease the Father’s justice…
A prophet said, O afflicted Mother,
« There is no sorrow like your sorrow ! _ » O Queen of Martyrs, while remaining in exile
You lavish on us all the blood of your heart !

Saint John’s home becomes your only refuge.
Zebedee’s son is to replace Jesus…
That is the last detail the Gospel gives.
It tells me nothing more of the Queen of Heaven.
But, O my dear Mother, doesn’t its profound silence
Reveal that The Eternal Word Himself
Wants to sing the secrets of your life
To charm your children, all the Elect of Heaven ?

Soon I’ll hear that sweet harmony.
Soon I’ll go to beautiful Heaven to see you.
You who came to smile at me in the morning of my life,
Come smile at me again … Mother… It’s evening now !…
I no longer fear the splendor of your supreme glory.
With you I’ve suffered and now I want
To sing on your lap, Mary, why I love you,
And to go on saying that I am your child !…

Prayers of saint Therese of Lisieux

Daily offering

My God, I offer You all the actions of this day in union with the intentions and glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I wish to sanctify each and every heartbeat, every thought, every simple little action, by joining them to His infinite merits ; and I desire to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of His merciful love.

O my God ! For myself and for all my dear ones, I implore the grace to perfectly fulfill Your holy will and to accept for love of You all the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that one day we may be united in Heaven for all eternity.


Act of oblation to merciful love

Offering of myself as a Victim of Holocaust to God’s Merciful Love

O My God ! Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to Love you and make you Loved, to work for the glory of Holy Church by saving souls on earth and liberating those suffering in purgatory. I desire to accomplish your will perfectly and to reach the degree of glory you have prepared for me in your kingdom. I desire, in a word, to be a Saint, but I feel my helplessness and I beg you, O my God ! to be yourself my Sanctity !

Since You loved me so much as to give me your only Son as my Savior and my Spouse, the infinite treasures of his merits are mine. I offer them to you with gladness, begging you to look on me only through the Face of Jesus and in his Heart burning with Love.

I offer you, too, all the merits of the Saints (in Heaven and on earth), their acts of Love, and those of the Holy Angels. Finally, I offer you, O Blessed Trinity ! the Love and merits of the Blessed Virgin, my dear Mother. It is to her I abandon my offering, begging her to present it to you. Her Divine Son, my Beloved Spouse, told us in the days of his mortal life : « Whatsoever you ask the Father in my name he will give it to you ! » I am certain, then, that you will grant my desires ; I know, O my God ! That the more you want to give, the more you make us desire. I feel in my heart immense desires and it is with confidence I ask you to come and take possession of my soul. Ah ! O cannot receive Holy Communion as often as I desire, but, Lord, are you not All-Powerful ? Remain in me as in a tabernacle and never separate yourself from your little host……

I want to console you for the ingratitude of the wicked, and I beg of you to take away my freedom to displease you. If through weakness I sometimes fall, may your Divine Glance cleanse my soul immediately, consuming all my imperfections like the fire that transforms everything into itself……

I thank you, O my God ! for all the graces you have granted me, especially the grace of making me pass through the crucible of suffering. It is with joy I shall contemplate You on the last day carrying the scepter of your Cross. Since you deigned to give me a share in this very precious Cross, I hope in Heaven to resemble you and to see shining in my glorified body the sacred stigmata of Your Passion…

After earth’s exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the Fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for Heaven. I want to work for your Love alone with the one purpose of pleasing you, consoling your Sacred Heart, and saving souls who will love you eternally.

In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is stained in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own Justice and to receive from your Love the eternal possession of Yourself. I want no other Throne, no other Crown but You, my Beloved !……

Time is nothing in your eyes, and a single day is like a thousand years ; you can, then, in one instant prepare me to appear before you…

In order to live in one singlel act of perfect Love, I offer myself as a victim of holocaust to your merciful love, asking you to consume me incessantly, allowing the waves of infinite tenderness shut up within you to overflow into my soul, and that thus I may become a Martyr of your Love, O my God !…

May this martyrdom, after having prepared me to appear before you, finally cause me to die and may my soul take its flight without any delay into the eternal embrace of Your Merciful Love…

I want, O my Beloved, at each beat of my heart to renew this offering to you an infinite number of times, until the shadows having disappeared I may be able to tell you of my Love in an Eternal Face to Face !…

Marie, Françoise, Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face unworthy Carmelite religious

Her message

The message of Therese

Her mission

To save souls

One Sunday in July of 1887, towards the end of Mass in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Thérèse received the eucharistic grace of her mission.

As she closed her missal, she was captivated by a picture of the crucified Christ which slipped out from among the pages :

"I was struck by the blood flowing from one of the divine hands. I felt a great pang of sorrow when thinking this blood was falling to the ground without anyone’s hastening to gather it up. I was resolved to remain in spirit at the foot of the Cross and to receive the divine dew. I understood I was then to pour it out upon souls. The cry of Jesus on the Cross sounded continually in my heart : “I thirst !” These words ignited within me an unknown and very living fire. I wanted to give my beloved to drink and I felt myself consumed with a thirst for souls. As yet, it was not the souls of priests that attracted me, but those of great sinners ; I burned with the desire to snatch them from the eternal flames…"(Manuscript A, 45v)

Her mission at the Carmelite Convent

In order to be also a missionary, Thérèse felt called to the Carmelite Convent to follow in the footsteps of her “Mother”, Saint Theresa of Avila, through the gift of her life and through prayer which goes beyond all boundaries. Like her Spanish Mother, “she wished to give one thousand lives in order to save one soul”.

When she entered the Carmelite Convent, she declared :

“I have come to save souls and above all to pray for priests”

“To love Jesus and to make him loved” became more and more the goal of her entire life.

She was delighted when she was granted two spiritual brothers whom she was to help in their ministry by prayer and sacrifice :

abbé Bellière
abbé Bellière

-*Father Maurice Bellière, a seminarian aged 21 years, asked for the help of a Carmelite Sister to sustain him in his vocation. He was ordained a White Father and departed for Nyassaland (Malawi today). He returned to France and was admitted to the Bon Sauveur Hospital at Caen where he died in 1907 at the age of 33 years. Thérèse helped him a lot through her correspondence. She wrote him 11 important letters.

abbé Roulland
abbé Roulland

-*Father Adolphe Roulland of the Paris Foreign Missions, left for Su-Tchuen in China, from where he also corresponded with Thérèse. Before leaving, he had celebrated a First Mass at the Carmelite Convent in Lisieux and had a conversation with his “sister”. She wrote him six letters. He died in France in 1934.

Both priests helped Thérèse to widen her horizons of the world. Even though she was sick, “she saw herself as a missionary”.

Her “infinite desires” which caused her to suffer during prayer, pushed her to want to : travel over the whole earth … to preach the gospel on all five continents simultaneously and even to the remotest isles … I would be a missionary, not for a few years only but from the beginning of creation until the consummation of the ages … (Ms B, 3r)

Her Mission in Heaven

Her desire to be a missionary further intensified as she lay on her sick-bed and she looked forward to being an even greater missionary after her death :

“I do not intend to remain inactive in Heaven, my desire is to continue working for the Church and for souls. It is what I ask of God and I am certain he will grant it.” (LT 254)

“I feel that my mission is about to begin, my mission of making others love God as I love him, my mission of teaching my little way to souls.” (JEV 85)

“I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth until the end of time.” (JEV, 85)

Her universal impact

Surprisingly, the Church proclaimed Thérèse patroness of the missions in 1927 along with the Jesuit Saint François-Xavier.

As patroness of both the foreign missions and the home missions, Sr. Thérèse, without ever having left her little cell, had immersed herself so much in Trinitarian Love through the bits and pieces of everyday life that the Heart of Jesus radiated his mercy on the world.

Vocations attributed to Thérèse

After the death of Thérèse, numerous vocations to the priesthood and religious life were born out of devotional encounters with Thérèse. She kept her promises. A multitude of priests and missionaries confided their ministry to her.

More than 50 congregations across the world take their inspiration from the spirituality of Saint Thérèse. These are mostly apostolic congregations who have inculturated the message of Thérèse in their surrounding culture. They number about 5000 members.



  • Deus Caritas
    Lisieux. Institut séculier
    Fondation : 1963
  • Missionnaires de la Plaine et de Ste Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus
    Fondation : 1921
  • Frères Missionaires de Ste Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus
    Fondation : 1948
  • Soeurs oblates de Ste Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus
    Fondation : 1924


  • Instituto Piccole suore di S. Teresa del Bambino Gesù
    Fondation : 1923
  • I Sacerdoti oblati di S. Teresa del Bambino Gesù
    Fondation : 1965
  • Carmelitane Missionarie di S. Teresa del Bambino Gesù, Santa Marinella Fondation : 1925
  • Discepole di S. Teresa del Bambino Gesù
    Fondation : 1926
  • Ancelle di Santa Teresa del Bambino Gesù
    Fondation : 1937


  • Zgromadzenie Siostr Karmelitanek Dzieciatka Jezus
    w Markach k. Warszawy
    Fondation : 1921
  • Zgromadzenie Siostr Sw. Teresy od Dzieciatka Jezus
    w Podkowie Lesnej
    Fondation : 1936
  • Zgromadzenie Siostr Terezjanek « Jednosc »
    w Siedlcach.
    Fondation : 1925


  • Compagnia S. Teresa del Bambino Gesù
    Lugano. Institu séculier
    Fondation : 1926


  • Theresienschwestern des katholischen Apostolates
    Fondation : 1928



  • Petits frères de Ste Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus
    Rivière Froide
    Fondation : 1960
  • Petites soeurs de Ste Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus
    Rivière Froide
    Fondation : 1948


  • Carmelite Sisters of St. Therese of the Infant Jesus
    Fondation : 1917


  • Missionarias de Santa Teresinha
    Bragança do Para.
    Fondation : 1954


  • Les Petites soeurs de Notre-Dame du Sourire,
    Pieuse Union
    Fondation : 1954


  • Misioneras Eucaristicas de Santa Teresita
    Fondation : 1936
  • Misioneras carmelitas de S. Teresa del N. Jesùs
    Fondation : 1936


  • Hermanas Misioneras de Santa Teresita
    Fondation : 1929


Papua-New Guinea

  • Sisters of Saint Therese
    Fondation : 1954



  • Congrégation des soeurs de Ste Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus
    Fondation : 1959
  • Soeurs de Ste Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus
    (Limete) Kinshasa
    Fondation : 1966
  • Soeurs de Sainte Thérèse
    Fondation : 1966


  • Filles de Ste Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus
    Fondation : 1940


  • Teresian Sisters
    Fondation : 1931
  • St. Therese Sisters
    Fondation : 1932


  • Bene-Teresiya (Filles de Ste Thérèse de Lisieux)
    Fondation : 1933


  • Teresian Sisters
    Fondation : 1984


  • Oblates catéchistes petites servantes des pauvres
    Fondation : 1914


  • Congregation of the Sisters of St Therese of the Child Jesus
    Fondation : 1970



  • Little Flower Congregation, Prêtres et séminaristes
    Fondation : 1931
  • Congregation of St Therese of the Child Jesus, Frères
    Fondation : 1931
  • Bethany Sisters of Little Flower
    Fondation : 1921
  • Missionary Sisters of St Therese of the Child Jesus
    Fondation : 1959
  • Sisters of Jesus, « Jesus Bhavan »
    Fondation : 1980
  • Congregation of the Mother of Carmel
    Pious Union


  • Two congregations have existed.
    Any information until today.
    Fondation : 1928 and 1931


  • Missionary Catechists of St Therese of the Infant Jesus
    Fondation : 1958

Proche Orient

  • Congrégation maronite des soeurs de Ste Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus
    Fondation : 1935

Doctor of the Church

Interview of Bishop Guy Gaucher

St Thérèse of Lisieux is the third woman, after St Catherine of Sienna and St Thérèse of Avila, to be proclaimed Doctor of the Church. Monseigneur Guy Gaucher, Auxiliary Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux, explains the importance of this proclamation.

First of all, could you specify for us what is a Doctor of the Church ?

Monseigneur Guy Gaucher : You need to fill three conditions to become a Doctor of the Church.

  • Firstly : to be a canonised saint.
  • The second one, the most important and the most precise one : to have brought to the Church a doctrine which is said to be eminent, that is to say that it is worthy and is useful to the universal Church. It does not mean something completely new, because the fact is that there is nothing new to bring the word of God. But the Church is in History. It is about bringing something to a moment in the Church, that is recognised as a very important theological and spiritual contribution.

This doctrine is then proposed in a file (a « positio ») which is there to justify the application for a Doctorate.

This « positio » is examined by four instances : the theologians from the Congregation of Faith, the theologians from the Congregation of Saints, and the cardinals from both Congregations. Once these four « examinations » are carried out, the affair is brought to the Holy Father.

  • And the third thing it the declaration of the Doctorate by the Holy Father in the name of the Church.

How did the question of the Doctorate come about for Thérèse ?

Mgr G. : The story of the Doctorate for Thérèse is an old one. We could say, to a certain extent, that it goes back to the time of Thérèse herself, as she had wished to be a doctor. « I feel the vocation of the warrior, the priest, the apostle, the doctor, the martyr… Ah ! In spite of my littleness, I would like to enlighten souls as did the prophets and the Doctors. » (B2°v-3r°)

In the Church the question came up practically just after her canonisation. Right from 1926-27, came about from nearly everywhere in the world, and from further than France, laypeople, priests, abbots, bishops, who said that they wanted Saint Thérèse to be proclaimed Doctor of the Church.

In 1932, during a Congress that was held in Lisieux for the inauguration of the Crypt, Father Desbuquois, a famous Jesuit, wished, during a conference that Thérèse would be Doctor of the Church, and he justified this wish. The following day, his request was echoed in the paper La Croix.

A file was sent to Pope Pius XI. This Pope loved Thérèse and he had beatified her, canonised Thérèse, and declared her « Patroness of the Missions ». But for the Doctorate he said « no » because she was a woman. He had already refused the Doctorate for Thérèse of Avila for the same reason. Maybe it was to premature ?

In 1970, an event of vital importance took place : Paul VI declared two women Doctors, Thérèse of Avila and Catherine of Sienna. The door was opened.

Cardinal Garonne, Archbishop of Toulouse and member of the Curia gave a conference on Thérèse for the centenary of her birth, where he stated that he could very well see Thérèse Doctor. Then in 1981, Cardinal Etchegaray, president of the Episcopal Conference of France, asked Rome that Thérèse be declared doctor in the name of the French Bishops. The Carmelites were given responsibility for this question to the postulator of the causes of the saints.

You yourself, did you have a particular role to play ?

Mgr G : In 1989, having worked for a long time on the team editing the works of Thérèse and finding myself auxiliary bishop to Mgr. Pican in Lisieux, he gave me a letter holding a mission in which he asked me to take over the file for the doctorate, in liaison with the Carmelites.

Their General Chapter, in 1991, voted to request the Doctorate from the Holy Father.

The question then was put to the Bishops of France, in Lourdes in 1991 : they voted for the doctorate.

Then another fifty Episcopal Conferences voted.

There were also laity, priests, nuns, who did could vote but addressed the « petitions » to Rome.

Rapidly, in early 1997, we presented a « positio » to the Congregation for the cause of saints. Everything was positive and was sent to the Holy Father.

It should be noted that this was not only a ’franco-french’ affair, nor just a Carmelite one either. It was an affair for the universal Church.

So it was on 19th October 1997, Sunday for the Missions, at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome that John Paul II proclaimed Thérèse of Lisieux Doctor of the Church.

In your opinion, was it particularly meaningful that Thérèse, who is a woman, should become Doctor of the Church ?

Mgr G : The message from Thérèse, the spirituality of Thérèse are particularly well adapted to our era.

It is particularly important in the debate on the place of women in the Church. It is indeed a debate on the doctorate. Certain people say that they love her and her saintliness but not having written any theological treaties, she could not be a doctor.

With this point of view, for nineteen centuries there couldn’t be women Doctors. Indeed, education and studies were reserved only for men. Already, in 1973, Father Urs von Balthasar, one of the great theologians of the XX century asked, in Notre-Dame in Paris, for the centenary of Thérèse, that the masculine corporation of theologians incorporate the works of some great mystical women of the Church. He quoted Hildegarde, Catherine of Sienna, Thérèse of Avila, etc.

When will one integrate Thérèse in the Theology, which has remained a speculative and masculine theology ? Now women study, but up to this point, they were not able to. For example, Catherine of Sienna, in the XIV century, who died at the age of thirty-three, was illiterate. We have an illiterate Doctor of the Church. She was suspected, she was mystical. She was supported by Raymond de Capoue, Dominican, who was her spiritual father and General of the Order. He saw that this woman had something to say, and that Theology is not just something speculative but it is also symbolical, intuitive and narrative.

Saint Thomas of Aquine shows us that there are two ways to talk of God : the speculative way, which he used, but also the metaphorical, symbolical way. For different reasons women more often use that way. Thérèse of Avila, two centuries later, said that she knew nothing. She was even threatened by the Inquisition. She was saved by the Dominicans, the Jesuits, who showed that she was not crazy and that she had a deep experience of Christ. There were very anti-feminine prejudiced ideas. Women were considered as « ignorant » and did not have the right to speak. Joan of Arc was subjected to the consequences…

But there is another way, than the speculative one, to speak of Christ, and to bring an understanding of God, as Bathasar would say, light and intuition that often men did not have. He particularly insisted on the fact that in the discovery of the Mercy of God, which is at the heart of the mystery of God, women went much further than men.

It is true that the saints are theologians because they experienced Christ, and as Julien Green used to say « they took that road ». Even if they believed they were stammering, because God is God, and they don’t know how to talk about him. Having said this, of course we need speculative theologians.

That means that Thérèse is considered as a theologian ?

Mgr G. : Cardinal Poupard, at the 1990 synod on the preparation of priests, declared that in the course of theological studies for seminarians it is impossible not to one way or another, encounter Thérèse of Lisieux, whether it be studying Christology, ecclesiastic studies, … , studies on Mary, or in spirituality.

I have personally given may lessons from Thérèse in the seminaries and I know they mean a lot to the young priests.

Thérèse had an understanding of the Trinity, of the Incarnation, the connection between the Father and the Son. She found the Church to be a place to of communion and of love where the Holy-Spirit came first. She opened a way to saintliness for all, even if they were poor, if they had confidence in God. Because Hope is a fundamental virtue in our world. She lived and experienced a dedication to Mary prior to that of Vatican II.

At the Council of Vatican II, Thérèse was never mentioned, no more than Thérèse of Avila. Modern saints were not mentioned, but rather the Fathers of the Church. That is how a Council works. But Thérèse was there. Articles were written that show the main axes of Thérèse’s theology were there in Vatican II.

But in the « Catechism of the Catholic Church » (1992) she is quoted six times and always at strategic points. We find there Thérèse of Avila, Catherine of Sienna and others, but she is the most quoted of all the women. It is a strong sign and one that is full of hope.

To be convinced one must read John Paul II’s apostolic letter : The Science of the Divine Love.

  • Angelus. Sunday, 24 August, 1997, Hippodrome of Longchamp, Mass for the close of the JMJ.
  • Apostolic Letter of John Paul II, for the Proclamation of the St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face « Doctor of the Universal Church »
Angelus of Pope John Paul II

At the time of closing this World Day in France, I make a point of evoking the high figure of St Thérèse of Lisieux, who entered the Life here a hundred years ago. This young Carmelite nun was wholly seized by the Love of God. She radically lived the offering of herself in response to the Love of God. In the simplicity of everyday life she could also practise brotherly love. With the imitation of Jesus, she agreed to sit down « at the table of the sinners », her « brothers », so that they are purified by the love, because it was animated by the burning desire to see in all enlightened men the « of the luminous torch of the faith. » (Ms C, 6r°).

Thérèse knew the suffering in her body and the test of her faith. But she remained faithful because, in her great spiritual insight, she knew that God was right and merciful ; she knew that the Love is received more from God than it is not given by man. Until the end of the night, she put her hope in Jesus, the suffering Servant who gave his life for mankind. (cf. Is 53,12).

The book of the Gospels never left Thérèse (cf Letter 193). It penetrates the message with an extraordinary surety of judgement. She understands that in the life of God, Father, Son and Spirit, « love and truth meet » (PS 85/84,11). In a few years, she traverses « a race of giant » (ms A, 44°v). She discovers that her vocation is to be love itself in the heart of the Church. Thérèse, humble and poor, traced the « small way » of the children who rely on the Father with a « daring confidence ».

The teaching of Thérèse, true science of love, is the luminous expression of her knowledge of the mystery of Christ and of her personal experience of grace ; helps the men and the women of today, and she will help those of tomorrow, to better perceive the gifts of God and spread the Good News of his infinite Love.

Carmelite nun and apostle, spiritual mistress of wisdom to many consecrated people or laity, patroness of the missions, St Thérèse occupies a place of choice in the Church. Her eminent doctrines deserve to be recognized.

Answering many requests, and after careful study, I have the joy of announcing that, on Mission Sunday, October 19, 1997, in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, I will proclaim St Thérèse of the Child-Jesus and the Holy Face a Doctor of the Church.

I have made a point of announcing this act publicly and solemnly here, because the message of St Thérèse, holy, young and present in our time, is appropriate to you particularly, to you young people : at the school of the Gospel, it opens the way of Christian maturity to you ; it calls you with an infinite generosity ; it invites you to remain in the « heart » of the Church as disciples and burning witnesses of the charity of Christ.

Apostolic Letter of John Paul II

For the proclamation of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face


1. The science of divine love, which the Father of mercies pours out through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, is a gift granted to the little and the humble so that they may know and proclaim the secrets of the kingdom, hidden from the learned and the wise ; for this reason Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, praising the Father who graciously willed it so (cf. Lk 10:21-22 ; Mt 11:25-26).

Mother Church also rejoices in noting that throughout history the Lord has continued to reveal himself to the little and the humble, enabling his chosen ones, through the Spirit who « searches everything, even the depths of God » (1 Cor 2:10), to speak of the gifts « bestowed on us by God… in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths in spiritual language » (1 Cor 2:12,13). In this way the Holy Spirit guides the Church into the whole truth, endowing her with various gifts, adorning her with his fruits, rejuvenating her with the power of the Gospel and enabling her to discern the signs of the times in order to respond ever more fully to the will of God (cf. Lumen gentium, nn. 4, 12 ; Gaudium et spes, n. 4).

Shining brightly among the little ones to whom the secrets of the kingdom were revealed in a most special way is Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, a professed nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, the 100th anniversary of whose entry into the heavenly homeland occurs this year.

During her life Thérèse discovered « new lights, hidden and mysterious meanings » (Ms A, 83v) and received from the divine Teacher that « science of love » which she then expressed with particular originality in her writings (cf. Ms B, 1r). This science is the luminous expression of her knowledge of the mystery of the kingdom and of her personal experience of grace. It can be considered a special charism of Gospel wisdom which Thérèse, like other saints and teachers of faith, attained in prayer (cf. Ms C, 36r·).

2. The reception given to the example of her life and Gospel teaching in our century was quick, universal and constant. As if in imitation of her precocious spiritual maturity, her holiness was recognized by the Church in the space of a few years. In fact, on 10 June 1914 Pius X signed the decree introducing her cause of beatification ; on 14 August 1921 Benedict XV declared the heroic virtues of the Servant of God, giving an address for the occasion on the way of spiritual childhood ; and Pius XI proclaimed her blessed on 29 April 1923. Shortly afterwards, on 17 May 1925, the same Pope canonized her before an immense crowd in St Peter’s Basilica, highlighting the splendour of her virtues and the originality of her doctrine. Two years later, on 14 December 1927, in response to the petition of many missionary Bishops, he proclaimed her patron of the missions along with St Francis Xavier.

Beginning with these acts of recognition, the spiritual radiance of Thérèse of the Child Jesus increased in the Church and spread throughout the world. Many institutes of consecrated life and ecclesial movements, especially in the young Churches, chose her as their patron and teacher, taking their inspiration from her spiritual doctrine. Her message, often summarized in the so-called « little way », which is nothing other that the Gospel way of holiness for all, was studied by theologians and experts in spirituality. Cathedrals, basilicas, shrines and churches throughout the world were built and dedicated to the Lord under the patronage of the Saint of Lisieux. The Catholic Church venerates her in the various Eastern and Western rites. Many of the faithful have been able to experience the power of her intercession. Many of those called to the priestly ministry or the consecrated life, especially in the missions and the cloister, attribute the divine grace of their vocation to her intercession and example.

3. The pastors of the church, beginning with my predecessors, the Supreme Pontiffs of this century, who held up her holiness as an example for all, also stressed that Thérèse is a teacher of the spiritual life with a doctrine both spiritual and profound, which she drew from the Gospel sources under the guidance of the divine Teacher and then imparted to her brothers and sisters in the Church with the greatest effectiveness (cf. Ms B, 2v°-3r°).

This spiritual doctrine has been passed on to us primarily by her autobiography which, taken from three manuscripts she wrote in the last years of her life and published a year after her death with the title Histoire d’une âme (Lisieux 1898), has aroused an extraordinary interest down to our day. This autobiography, translated along with her other writings into about 50 languages, has made Thérèse known in every part of the world, even outside the Catholic Church. A century after her death, Thérèse of the Child Jesus continues to be recognized as one of the great masters of the spiritual life in our time.

4. It is not surprising then that the apostolic see received many petitions to confer on her the title of Doctor of the Universal Church.

In recent years, especially with the happy occasion of the first centenary of her death close at hand, these requests became more and more numerous, including on the part of Episcopal Conferences ; in addition, study conferences were held and numerous publications have pointed out how Thérèse of the Child Jesus possesses an extraordinary wisdom and with her doctrine helps so many men and women of every state in life to know and love Jesus Christ and his Gospel. In the light of these facts, I decided carefully to study whether the Saint of Lisieux had the prerequisites for being awarded the title of Doctor of the Universal Church.

5. In this context I am pleased to recall briefly some events in the life of Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Born in Alençon, France, on 2 January 1873, she is baptized two days later in the Church of NotreDame, receiving the name Marie-Françoise-Thérèse. Her parents are Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin, whose heroic virtues I recently recognized. After her mother’s death on 28 August 1877, Thérèse moves with her whole family to the town of Lisieux where, surrounded by the affection of her father and sisters, she receives a formation both demanding and full of tenderness.

Towards the end of 1879 she receives the sacrament of Penance for the first time. On the day of Pentecost in 1883 she has the extraordinary grace of being healed from a serious illness through the intercession of Our Lady of Victories. Educated by the Benedictines of Lisieux, she receives First Communion on 8 May 1884, after an intense preparation crowned with an exceptional experience of the grace of intimate union with Jesus. A few weeks later, on 14 June of that same year, she receives the sacrament of Confirmation with a vivid awareness of what the gift of the Holy Spirit involves in her personal sharing in the grace of Pentecost. On Christmas Day of 1886 she has a profound spiritual experience that she describes as a « complete conversion ». As a result, she overcomes the emotional weakness caused by the loss of her mother and begins « to run as a giant » on the way of perfection (cf. Ms A, 44v°-45v°).

Thérèse wishes to embrace the contemplative life, like her sisters Pauline and Marie in the Carmel of Lisieux, but is prevented from doing so by her young age. During a pilgrimage to Italy, after visiting the Holy House of Loreto and places in the Eternal City, at an audience granted by the Pope to the faithful of the Diocese of Lisieux on 20 November 1887, she asks Leo XIII with filial boldness to be able to enter Carmel at the age of 15 years.

On 9 April 1888 she enters the Carmel of Lisieux, where she receives the habit of the Blessed Virgin’s order on 10 January of the following year and makes her religious profession on 8 September 1890, the feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary. At Carmel she undertakes the way of perfection marked out by the Mother Foundress, Teresa of Jesus, with genuine fervour and fidelity in fulfilling the various community tasks entrusted to her. Illumined by the Word of God, particularly tried by the illness of her beloved father, Louis Martin, who dies on 29 July 1894, Thérèse embarks on the way of holiness, insisting on the centrality of love. She discovers and imparts to the novices entrusted to her care the little way of spiritual childhood, by which she enters more and more deeply into the mystery of the Church and, drawn by the love of Christ, feels growing within her the apostolic and missionary vocation which spurs her to bring everyone with her to meet the divine Spouse.

On 9 June 1895, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, she offers herself as a sacrificial victim to the merciful Love of God. On 3 April of the following year, on the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, she notices the first symptoms of the illness which will lead to her death. Thérèse welcomes it as a mysterious visitation of the divine Spouse. At the same time she undergoes a trial of faith which will last until her death. As her health deteriorates, she is moved to the infirmary on 8 July 1897. Her sisters and other religious collect her sayings, while her sufferings and trials, borne with patience, intensify to the moment of her death on the afternoon of 30 September 1897. « I am not dying ; I am entering life », she had written to one of her spiritual brothers, Fr Bellière (Lettres 244). Her last words, « My God, I love you », are the seal of her life.

6. Thérèse of the Child Jesus left us writings that deservedly qualify her as a teacher of the spiritual life. Her principal work remains the account of her life in three autobiographical manuscripts (Manuscrits autobiographiques A, B, C), first published with the soon to be famous title of Histoire d’une Âme.

In Manuscript A, written at the request of her sister Agnes of Jesus, then Prioress of the monastery, and given to her on 21 January 1896, Thérèse describes the stages of her religious experience : the early years of childhood, especially the time of her First Communion and Confirmation, adolescence, up to her entrance into Carmel and her first profession.

Manuscript B, written during her retreat that same year at the request of her sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, contains some of the most beautiful, best known and oft-quoted passages from the Saint of Lisieux. They reveal the Saint’s full maturity as she speaks of her vocation in the Church, the Bride of Christ and Mother of souls.

Manuscript C, composed in June and the first days of July 1897, a few months before her death and dedicated to the Prioress, Marie de Gonzague, who had requested it, completes the recollections in Manuscript A on life in Carmel. These pages reveal the author’s supernatural wisdom. Thérèse recounts some sublime experiences during this final period of her life. She devotes moving pages to her trial of faith : a grace of purification that immerses her in a long and painful dark night, illuminated by her trust in the merciful, fatherly love of God. Once again, and without repeating herself, Thérèse makes the light of the Gospel shine brightly. Here we find the most beautiful pages she devoted to trusting abandonment into God’s hands, to unity between love of God and love of neighbour, to her missionary vocation in the Church.

In these three different manuscripts, which converge in a thematic unity and in a progressive description of her life and spiritual way, Thérèse has left us an original autobiography which is the story of her soul. It shows how in her life God has offered the world a precise message, indicating an evangelical way, the « little way », which everyone can take, because everyone is called to holiness.

In the 266 Lettres we possess, addressed to family members, women religious and missionary « brothers », Thérèse shares her wisdom, developing a teaching that is actually a profound exercise in the spiritual direction of souls.

Her writings also include 54 Poésies, some of which have great theological and spiritual depth inspired by Sacred Scripture. Worthy of special mention are Vivre d’Amour !… (Poésies 17) and Pourquoi je t’aime, ô Marie ! (Poésies 54), an original synthesis of the Virgin Mary’s journey according to the Gospel. To this literary production should be added eight Récréations pieuses : poetic and theatrical compositions, conceived and performed by the Saint for her community on certain feast days, in accordance with the tradition of Carmel. Among those writings should be mentioned a series of 21 Prières. Nor can we forget the collection of all she said during the last months of her life. These sayings, of which there are several editions, known as the Novissima verba, have also been given the title Derniers Entretiens.

7. From careful study of the writings of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and from the resonance they have had in the Church, salient aspects can be noted of her « eminent doctrine », which is the fundamental element for conferring the title of Doctor of the Church.

First of all, we find a special charism of wisdom. This young Carmelite, without any particular theological training, but illumined by the light of the Gospel, feels she is being taught by the divine Teacher who, as she says, is « the Doctor of Doctors » (Ms A, 83v), and from him she receives « divine teachings » (Ms B, 1r). She feels that the words of Scripture are fulfilled in her : « Whoever is a little one, let him come to me…. For to him that is little, mercy shall be shown » (Ms B, 1v ; cf. Prv 9:4 ; Wis 6:6) and she knows she is being instructed in the science of love, hidden from the wise and prudent, which the divine Teacher deigned to reveal to her, as to babes (Ms A, 49r ; cf. Lk 10:21-22).

Pius XI, who considered Thérèse of Lisieux the « Star of his pontificate », did not hesitate to assert in his homily on the day of her canonization, 17 May 1925 : « The Spirit of truth opened and made known to her what he usually hides from the wise and prudent and reveals to little ones ; thus she enjoyed such knowledge of the things above - as Our immediate Predecessor attests - that she shows everyone else the sure way of salvation » (AAS 17 [1925], p. 213).

Her teaching not only conforms to Scripture and the Catholic faith, but excels (« eminet ») for the depth and wise synthesis it achieved. Her doctrine is at once a confession of the Church’s faith, an experience of the Christian mystery and a way to holiness. Thérèse offers a mature synthesis of Christian spirituality : she combines theology and the spiritual life ; she expresses herself with strength and authority, with a great ability to persuade and communicate, as is shown by the reception and dissemination of her message among the People of God.

Thérèse’s teaching expresses with coherence and harmonious unity the dogmas of the Christian faith as a doctrine of truth and an experience of life. In this regard it should not be forgotten that the understanding of the deposit of faith transmitted by the Apostles, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, makes progress in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit : « There is growth in insight into the realities and words that are passed on… through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts (cf. Lk 2:19 and 51). It comes from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which they experience. And it comes from the preaching of those who have received, along with their right of succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth » (Dei Verbum, n. 8).

In the writings of Thérèse of Lisieux we do not find perhaps, as in other Doctors, a scholarly presentation of the things of God, but we can discern an enlightened witness of faith which, while accepting with trusting love God’s merciful condescension and salvation in Christ, reveals the mystery and holiness of the Church.

Thus we can rightly recognize in the Saint of Lisieux the charism of a Doctor of the Church, because of the gift of the Holy Spirit she received for living and expressing her experience of faith, and because of her particular understanding of the mystery of Christ. In her are found the gifts of the new law, that is, the grace of the Holy Spirit, who manifests himself in living faith working through charity (cf. St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., I-II, q. 106, art. 1 ; q. 108, art. 1).

We can apply to Thérèse of Lisieux what my Predecessor Paul VI said of another young Saint and Doctor of the Church, Catherine of Siena : « What strikes us most about the Saint is her infused wisdom, that is to say, her lucid, profound and inebriating absorption of the divine truths and mysteries of faith…. That assimilation was certainly favoured by the most singular natural gifts, but it was also evidently something prodigious, due to a charism of wisdom from the Holy Spirit » (AAS 62 [1970], p. 675).

8. With her distinctive doctrine and unmistakable style, Thérèse appears as an authentic teacher of faith and the Christian life. In her writings, as in the sayings of the Holy Fathers, is found that lifegiving presence of Catholic tradition whose riches, as the Second Vatican Council again says, « are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and prayer » (Dei Verbum, n. 8).

If considered in its literary genre, corresponding to her education and culture, and if evaluated according to the particular circumstances of her era, the doctrine of Thérèse of Lisieux appears in providential harmony with the Church’s most authentic tradition, both for its confession of the Catholic faith and for its promotion of the most genuine spiritual life, presented to all the faithful in a living, accessible language.

She has made the Gospel shine appealingly in our time ; she had the mission of making the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, known and loved ; she helped to heal souls of the rigours and fears of Jansenism, which tended to stress God’s justice rather than his divine mercy. In God’s mercy she contemplated and adored all the divine perfections, because « even his justice (and perhaps even more so than the other perfections) seems to me clothed in love » (Ms A, 83v·). Thus she became a living icon of that God who, according to the Church’s prayer, « shows his almighty power in his mercy and forgiveness » (cf. Roman Missal, Opening prayer, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time).

Even though Thérèse does not have a true and proper doctrinal corpus, nevertheless a particular radiance of doctrine shines forth from her writings which, as if by a charism of the Holy Spirit, grasp the very heart of the message of Revelation in a fresh and original vision, presenting a teaching of eminent quality.

The core of her message is actually the mystery itself of God-Love, of the Triune God, infinitely perfect in himself. If genuine Christian spiritual experience should conform to the revealed truths in which God communicates himself and the mystery of his will (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 2), it must be said that Thérèse experienced divine revelation, going so far as to contemplate the fundamental truths of our faith united in the mystery of Trinitarian life. At the summit, as the source and goal, is the merciful love of the three Divine Persons, as she expresses it, especially in her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love. At the root, on the subject’s part, is the experience of being the Father’s adoptive children in Jesus ; this is the most authentic meaning of spiritual childhood, that is, the experience of divine filiation, under the movement of the Holy Spirit. At the root again, and standing before us, is our neighbour, others, for whose salvation we must collaborate with and in Jesus, with the same merciful love as his.

Through spiritual childhood one experiences that everything comes from God, returns to him and abides in him, for the salvation of all, in a mystery of merciful love. Such is the doctrinal message taught and lived by this Saint.

As it was for the Church’s Saints in every age, so also for her, in her spiritual experience Christ is the centre and fullness of Revelation. Thérèse knew Jesus, loved him and made him loved with the passion of a bride. She penetrated the mysteries of his infancy, the words of his Gospel, the passion of the suffering Servant engraved on his holy Face, in the splendour of his glorious life, in his Eucharistic presence. She sang of all the expressions of Christ’s divine charity, as they are presented in the Gospel (cf. PN 24, Jésus, mon Bien-Aimé, rappelle-toi !).

Thérèse received particular light on the reality of Christ’s Mystical Body, on the variety of its charisms, gifts of the Holy Spirit, on the eminent power of love, which in a way is the very heart of the Church, where she found her vocation as a contemplative and missionary (cf. Ms B, 2r·-3v·).

Lastly, among the most original chapters of her spiritual doctrine we must recall Thérèse’s wise delving into the mystery and journey of the Virgin Mary, achieving results very close to the doctrine of the Second Vatican Council in chapter eight of the Constitution Lumen gentium and to what I myself taught in the Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Mater of 25 March 1987.

9. The primary source of her spiritual experience and her teaching is the Word of God in the Old and New Testaments. She herself admits it, particularly stressing her passionate love for the Gospel (cf. Ms A, 83v). Her writings contain over 1,000 biblical quotations : more than 400 from the Old Testament and over 600 from the New.

Despite her inadequate training and lack of resources for studying and interpreting the sacred books, Thérèse immersed herself in meditation on the Word of God with exceptional faith and spontaneity. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit she attained a profound knowledged of Revelation for herself and for others. By her loving concentration on Scripture - she even wanted to learn Hebrew and Greek to understand better the spirit and letter of the sacred books - she showed the importance of the biblical sources in the spiritual life, she emphasized the originality and freshness of the Gospel, she cultivated with moderation the spiritual exegesis of the Word of God in both the Old and New Testaments. Thus she discovered hidden treasures, appropriating words and episodes, sometimes with supernatural boldness, as when, in reading the texts of St Paul (cf. 1 Cor 12-13), she realized her vocation to love (cf. Ms B, 3r-3v). Enlightened by the revealed Word, Thérèse wrote brilliant pages on the unity between love of God and love of neighbour (cf. Ms C, 11v-19r) ; and she identified with Jesus’ prayer at the Last Supper as the expression of her intercession for the salvation of all (cf. Ms C, 34r-35r).

Her doctrine, as was said, conforms to the Church’s teaching. From childhood she was taught by her family to participate in prayer and liturgical worship. In preparation for her first Confession, first Communion and the sacrament of Confirmation, she gave evidence of an extraordinary love for the truths of the faith, and she learned the Catechism almost word for word (cf. Ms A, 37r-37v). At the end of her life she wrote the Apostles’ Creed in her own blood, as an expression of her unreserved attachment to the profession of faith.

In addition to the words of Scripture and the Church’s doctrine, Thérèse was nourished as a youth by the teaching of the Imitation of Christ, which, as she herself acknowledges, she knew almost by heart (cf. Ms A, 47r). Decisive for fulfilling her Carmelite vocation were the spiritual texts of the Mother Foundress, Teresa of Jesus, especially those explaining the contemplative and ecclesial meaning of the charism of the Teresian Carmel (cf. Ms C, 33v). But in a very special way, Thérèse was nourished on the mystical doctrine of St John of the Cross, who was her true spiritual master (cf. Ms A, 83r). It should cause no surprise, then, if she who had been an outstanding pupil in the school of these two Saints, later declared Doctors of the Church, should later become a master of the spiritual life.

10. The spiritual doctrine of Thérèse of Lisieux has helped extend the kingdom of God. By her example of holiness, of perfect fidelity to Mother Church, of full communion with the See of Peter, as well as by the special graces obtained by her for many missionary brothers and sisters, she has rendered a particular service to the renewed proclamation and experience of Christ’s Gospel and to the extension of the Catholic faith in every nation on earth.

There is no need to dwell at length on the universality of Thérèse’s doctrine and on the broad reception of her message during the century since her death : it has been well documented in the studies made in view of conferring on her the title of Doctor of the Church.

A particularly important fact in this regard is that the Church’s Magisterium has not only recognized Thérèse’s holiness, but has also highlighted the wisdom of her doctrine. Pius X had already said that she was « the greatest saint of modern times ». On joyfully receiving the first Italian edition of the Story of a Soul, he extolled the fruits that had resulted from Thérèse’s spirituality. Benedict XV, on the occasion of proclaiming the Servant of God’s heroic virtues, explained the way of spiritual childhood and praised the knowledge of divine realities which God granted to Thérèse in order to teach others the ways of salvation (cf. AAS 13 [1921], pp. 449-452). On the occasion of both her beatification and canonization, Pius XI wished to expound and recommend the Saint’s doctrine, underscoring her special divine enlightenment (Discorsi di Pio XI, vol. I, Turin 1959, p. 91) and describing her as a teacher of life (cf. AAS 17 [1925], pp. 211-214). When the Basilica of Lisieux was consecrated in 1954, Pius XII said, among other things, that Thérèse penetrated to the very heart of the Gospel with her doctrine (cf. AAS 46 [1954], pp. 404-408). Cardinal Angelo Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII, visited Lisieux several times, especially when he was Nuncio in Paris. On various occasions during his pontificate he showed his devotion to the Saint and explained the relationship between the doctrine of the Saint of Avila and her daughter, Thérèse of Lisieux (Discorsi, Messaggi, Colloqui, vol. II [1959-1960], pp. 771-772).

Many times during the celebration of the Second Vatican Council, the Fathers recalled her example and doctrine. On the centenary of her birth, Paul VI addressed a Letter on 2 January 1973 to the Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux, in which he extolled Thérèse’s example in the search for God, offered her as a teacher of prayer and theological virtue of hope, and a model of communion with the Church, calling the attention of teachers, educators, pastors and theologians themselves to the study of her doctrine (cf. AAS 65 [1973], pp. 12-15). I myself on various occasions have had the joy of recalling the person and doctrine of the Saint, especially during my unforgettable visit to Lisieux on 2 June 1980, when I wished to remind everyone : « One can say with conviction about Thérèse of Lisieux that the Spirit of God allowed her heart to reveal directly to the people of our time the fundamental mystery, the reality of the Gospel…. Her ’little way’ is the way of ’holy childhood’. There is something unique in this way, the genius of St Thérèse of Lisieux. At the same time there is the confirmation and renewal of the most basic and most universal truth. What truth of the Gospel message is really more basic and more universal than this : God is our Father and we are his children ? » (Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, vol. III/1 [1980], p. 1659).

These simple references to an uninterrupted series of testimonies from the Popes of this century on the holiness and doctrine of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and to the universal dissemination of her message clearly express to what extent the Church, in her pastors and her faithful, has accepted the spiritual doctrine of this young Saint.

A sign of the ecclesial reception of the Saint’s teaching is the appeal to her doctrine in many documents of the Church’s ordinary Magisterium, especially when speaking of the contemplative and missionary vocation, of trust in the just and merciful God, of Christian joy and of the call to holiness. Evidence of this fact is the presence of her doctrine in the recent Catechism of the Catholic Church (nn. 127, 826, 956, 1011, 2011, 2558). She who so loved to learn the truths of the faith in the catechism deserved to be included among the authoritative witnesses of Catholic doctrine.

Thérèse possesses an exceptional universality. Her person, the Gospel message of the « little way » of trust and spiritual childhood have received and continue to receive a remarkable welcome, which has transcended every border.The influence of her message extends first of all to men and women whose holiness and heroic virtues the Church herself has recognized, to the Church’s pastors, to experts in theology and spirituality, to priests and seminarians, to men and women religious, to ecclesial movements and new communities, to men and women of every condition and every continent. To everyone Thérèse gives her personal confirmation that the Christian mystery, whose witness and apostle she became by making herself in prayer « the apostle of the apostles », as she boldly calls herself (Ms A, 56r·), must be taken literally, with the greatest possible realism, because it has a value for every time and place. The power of her message lies in its concrete explanation of how all Jesus’ promises are fulfilled in the believer who knows how confidently to welcome in his own life the saving presence of the Redeemer.

11. All these reasons are clear evidence of how timely is the Saint of Lisieux’s doctrine and of the particular impact her message has had on the men and women of our century. Moreover, some circumstances contribute to making her designation as a Teacher for the Church of our time even more significant.

First of all, Thérèse is a woman, who in approaching the Gospel knew how to grasp its hidden wealth with that practicality and deep resonance of life and wisdom which belong to the feminine genius. Because of her universality she stands out among the multitude of holy women who are resplendent for their Gospel wisdom.

Thérèse is also a contemplative. In the hiddenness of her Carmel she lived the great adventure of Christian experience to the point of knowing the breadth, length, height and depth of Christ’s love (cf. Eph 3:18-19). God did not want his secrets to remain hidden, but enabled Thérèse to proclaim the secrets of the King (cf. Ms C, 2v·). By her life Thérèse offers a witness and theological illustration of the beauty of the contemplative life as the total dedication to Christ, Spouse of the Church, and as an affirmation of God’s primacy over all things. Hers is a hidden life which possesses a mysterious fruitfulness for spreading the Gospel and fills the Church and the world with the sweet odour of Christ (cf. LT 169, 2v).

Lastly, Thérèse of Lisieux is a young person. She reached the maturity of holiness in the prime of youth (cf. Ms C, 4r). As such, she appears as a Teacher of evangelical life, particularly effective in illumining the paths of young people, who must be the leaders and witnesses of the Gospel to the new generations.

Thérèse of the Child Jesus is not only the youngest Doctor of the Church, but is also the closest to us in time, as if to emphasize the continuity with which the Spirit of the Lord sends his messengers to the Church, men and women as teachers and witnesses to the faith. In fact, whatever changes can be noted in the course of history and despite the repercussions they usually have on the life and thought of individuals in every age, we must never lose sight of the continuity which links the Doctors of the Church to each other : in every historical context they remain witnesses to the unchanging Gospel and, with the light and strength that come from the Holy Spirit, they become its messengers, returning to proclaim it in its purity to their contemporaries. Thérèse is a Teacher for our time, which thirsts for living and essential words, for heroic and credible acts of witness. For this reason she is also loved and accepted by brothers and sisters of other Christian communities and even by non-Christians.

12. This year, when the centenary of the glorious death of Thérèse of the Child Jesus the Holy Face, as we prepare to celebrate the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, after receiving a great number of authoritative petitions, especially from many Episcopal Conferences throughout the world, and after accepting the official petition, or Supplex Libellus, addressed to me on 8 March 1997 by the Bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux, as well as from the Superior General of the Discalced Carmelites of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and from the Postulator General of the same order, I decided to entrust the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which has competence in this matter, with the special study of the cause for conferring the title of Doctor on this Saint, « after hearing the opinion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the eminent doctrine » (Apost. Const. Pastor Bonus, n. 73).

After the necessary documentation had been collected, the two above-mentioned Congregations addressed the question in the meetings of their respective consultors : the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 5 May 1997, with regard to the « eminent doctrine », and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 29 May of the same year, to examine the special « Positio ». On the following 17 June, the Cardinals and Bishops who are members of these Congregations, following a procedure approved by me for this occasion, met in a plenary interdicasterial session and discussed the cause, giving a unanimously favourable opinion on granting the title of Doctor of the Universal Church to St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. I was personally informed of this opinion by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and by the Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Alberto Bovone, titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Numidia.

In view of this, on 24 August last, during the Angelus prayer in the presence of hundreds of Bishops and before a vast throng of young people from around the world, gathered in Paris for the 12th World Youth Day, I wanted personally to announce my intention to proclaim Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face a Doctor of the Universal Church during the celebration of World Mission Sunday in Rome.

Today, 19 October 1997, in St Peter’s Square, filled with faithful from every part of the world, and in the presence of a great many Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, during the solemn Eucharistic celebration I proclaimed Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face a Doctor of the Universal Church in these words :

Fulfilling the wishes of many Brothers in the Episcopate and of a great number of the faithful throughout the world, after consulting the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and hearing the opinion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding her eminent doctrine, with certain knowledge and after lengthy reflection, with the fullness of Our apostolic authority We declare Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, virgin, to be a Doctor of the Universal Church. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

This having been duly enacted, We decree that this Apostolic Letter is to be religiously preserved and to have full effect both now and in the future ; furthermore, it is thus to be judged and defined as right, and whatever to the contrary may be attempted by anyone, on whatever authority, knowingly or unknowingly, is null and void.

Given in Rome, at St Peter’s, under the Fisherman’s ring, the 19th day of the month of October in the year of the Lord 1997, the 20th of the Pontificate.

Theresian places

Places imbued with saint Thérèse’s presence

The Buissonnets

The Buissonnets (1877-1888)

In November 1877, shortly after the death of Mrs. Martin, the family moved to a house just outside Lisieux. The house, which they rented, was just off the road to Pont l’Evêque, on a little road called “Chemin du Paradis” (“Paradise Way”). Thérèse Martin spent eleven years of her life here, until she joined the Carmelite Convent.

The pilgrim’s first impression on entering Les Buissonnets is the striking calm and sense of peace. In this environment one can immediately imagine how happy Thérèse must have been here, surrounded by her loving father and sisters.

When talking of her childhood memories, Thérèse tells us that it was only in Les Buissonnets that she was ‘truly happy’ ; however she also wrote that the period of her life from the age of four and a half until her fourteenth year was the ‘most painful’.

Her two older sisters took on the role of a mother to Thérèse after her mother’s death and it was in this house that she had to endure the pain of loneliness when they both entered the convent.

Nevertheless, Les Buissonnets, surrounded by trees, was a very special place during the childhood of the little Thérèse and pilgrims can feel this when they visit the different rooms of the house.

  • The kitchen fireplace reminds us of the grace of Christmas 1886.
  • The dining room where Thérèse had her last meal before entering the Carmelite Convent. Chambre aux Buissonnets
  • The room where she was cured by the Virgin Mary on Sunday 13th May, 1883.
  • In the last one, are displayed her toys.

The statue in the garden invites us to think of the courage with which Thérèse asked her father’s permission to enter the Convent on the 29th of May, the Feast of Pentecost, 1887.

Opening times

  • From Monday of Easter to beginning of October
    • 09:00-12:00 - 14:00-18:00
  • October, February, March
    • 10:00-12:00 - 14:00-17:00
  • November, December, January
    • 10:00-12:00 - 14:00-16:00
  • From the middle of November to the middle of December ; December 25 and January 1
    • Closed

The Oblate sisters of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

Following Christ on the trail of Saint Thérèse

Testifying the tenderness of God the Father :

  • « Loving and making Good Lord be loved »
  • Living the Little way of a Childhood Spirituality
  • Being missionaries of the Merciful Love
  • Helping priests, missionaries and all of the Church

Père Gabriel MartinA few years before the canonisation of Saint Thérèse, Father Gabriel MARTIN, a priest from Vendée, received the first intuitions of the project of the foundation of the Oblate Sisters of Saint Thérèse.

Béatrix DouillardMiss Béatrix DOUILLARD, become Mother Marie-Thérèse of Mercy carried out the project.

The 6th April 1933, the Congregation is recognised by the Church of Bayeux-Lisieux.

By taking on this mission of following the desire of Saint Thérèse, Father MARTIN passed on a great loved for the Church and a great will to serve it.

Religious and of an apostolic life, we live in small communities.

  • In France : in Paris and Alençon, in Vendée, Calvados, Charente-Maritime and Landes regions.
  • In Africa : in Chad and in Central Africa.

For 75 years, the sisters have lived in the Buissonnets in Lisieux at the service of the pilgrims and visitors.

You’re welcome there !

Saint Peter’s Cathedral

Saint Peter’s Cathedral

This Cathedral is of great interest architecturally and historically to its visitors. It is a fine example of Norman Gothic art, reminding us that Lisieux was a cathedral town up until 1790.

We owe the construction of this cathedral to Bishop Arnoult. He was a friend to King Louis VI and an advisor to the Duke of Normandy. He started the cathedral in 1149 on his return from the second crusade where he had accompanied the King of France.

The cathedral was partially destroyed by fire in 1126 ; the north tower collapsed in 1554. In 1793 the bells were smelted down and the cathedral itself became a center of revolutionary festivities. In 1802 the cathedral was returned to its original role as a place of worship. It escaped the bombings of 1944 as did the ancient episcopal palace (the modern law courts).

We note in passing that the episcopal see of Lisieux was occupied from 1432 – 1442 by Monsignor Pierre Cauchon, a collaborator with the occupying English forces ; he had previously condemned Joan of Arc to be burned at the stake as a heretic.

But the cathedral is of interest to the pilgrim to Lisieux for a different reason. This is the cathedral where Thérèse participated in the life of the local Church during her youth. For ten years Thérèse came here every Sunday and often during the week with her father and sisters to attend Mass. A modern statue by Lambert-Rucky stands in the south aisle marking the place where Thérèse attended Sunday Mass. During the week she would attend Mass in the apse chapel that had been decorated by Pierre Cauchon. Near the door of the north aisle is the chapel where Fr. Ducellier heard Thérèse’s first confession.

Opening times

  • everyday
    • 09:30-18:30

The Carmel of Lisieux

The Carmel of Lisieux

The Origin of the Carmelite Order

On Mount Carmel, in the Holy Land, close to what is now known as Haïfa, are caves where hermits lived in the spiritual tradition of the prophet Elijah. In the thirteenth century some of these hermits created an order known as ‘Brothers of the Virgin Mary’. The Carmelite order was born.

During the sixteenth century in Spain , Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross profoundly reformed the Carmelite order. They simplified it, centering the fraternal life around contemplative prayer along with work within the solitude of a strict cloister. They became “little deserts” praying for the salvation of the world.

The Carmelite Convent of Lisieux

Carmel de Lisieux
Carmel de Lisieux
le cloître

The Carmelite convent in Lisieux was founded in 1838. When Thérèse Martin entered it on the 9th April 1888, there were 26 Sisters in it, their average age being 47. They prayed together for six and a half hours every day, two hours of which were spent in contemplative prayer.

They worked to earn a modest living. They had two hours for communal recreation. Fasting was very severe. They rose at 5.45am in the morning, even in winter. They went to bed at about 11.00pm.

A Carmelite Missionary

The future Patron Saint of the Missions entered a Carmelite Convent that was truly missionary. It was missionaries from this convent who founded the first Carmelite Convent in the Far East at Saigon in 1861.

The seed that was carried from Lisieux bore fruit as many more Carmelite Convents were soon founded throughout the Far East. Starting from Saigon : Hanoi, It was in this missionary environment that Thérèse lived and had it not been for her illness in 1896 she would certainly have gone to Tonkin.

Thérèse Martin entered the convent which would become for her ‘the desert where the Good God wanted her to hide’. She came ‘to save souls and above all to pray for the priests’. The Lisieux Convent celebrated its 50 years of existence that year.

The Convent Chapel

On entering the convent chapel in Lisieux the pilgrim feels in communion with St. Thérèse who lived here from 9th April, 1888 until 30th September, 1897. It is also possible to unite oneself to the community prayer of the Carmelite Sisters.

There have been numerous renovations and additions to the chapel, for example the extension of the Chapel of the Reliquary and the side aisle of the church. Despite these changes this is the same chapel that Thérèse knew.

tombeau de sainte Thérèse
tombeau de sainte Thérèse
la plus grande partie des Reliques de sainte Thérèse se trouvent au-dessous de la statue

Pilgrims can come and venerate the remains of St. Thérèse in the Chapel of the Reliquary. Some of her remains have been inserted into the figure which represents her on her death bed. Almost all of the relics are enclosed in a casket underneath the reliquary. Every year on the last Sunday in September, the relics are brought in procession through Lisieux.

Above the reliquary is a statue of the Virgin Mary which is the same statue that cured Thérèse by ‘her beautiful smile’ on 13th May 1883 at her home in Les Buissonnets.

Since the works, you can reach the chapel by a pathway of inwardness which allows one to have a deeper meaning of the message of saint Thérèse.

Opening times of the chapel :

  • from November 1st to Easter Sunday
    • 07:20-18:30
  • from Easter Sunday to November 1st
    • 07:20-19:00

Opening times of the museum :

  • 09:30-12:15
  • 13:30-18:00
  • closed in January

The Basilica

The Basilica

The idea of building a basilica at Lisieux in honour of the newly canonised saint (1925) met with much opposition from the local clergy. The town already possessed many religious buildings and it was thought that devotion to Thérèse, which enjoyed great popularity among the French soldiers during the First World War, had had its day.

Basilique sainte-Thérèse de lisieuxHowever, Bishop Lemonnier was not persuaded by these objections. In 1925, he commissioned a Parisian architect to draw up a preliminary design. But the proposed design provoked many criticisms. It was felt – most notably abroad – that the proportions were somewhat cramped. For the most loved Saint in the world, nothing but the most beautiful basilica would suffice.

An internationally respected architect from the north of France, Mr. Louis-Marie Cordonnier, was asked to submit a design.

Pope Pius XI had canonised Thérèse on 17th May 1925 and considered her to be the jewel of his Pontificate. He strongly desired the construction of a sanctuary at Lisieux. The Pope’s desire contributed to the reduction in local opposition and on the 21st September 1927, Bishop Lemmonier approved Cordonnier’s design. Bishop Suhard, who succeeded Bishop Lemmonier some months later, did not reverse the decision of his predecessor and the first works began in 1929.

The work advanced to the point that on the 30th September 1929, the foundation stone of the new building was laid. From that moment onwards, the building of the basilica progressed at an accelerated rate. In November 1929, Pius XI made it known to Bishop Suhard that the new basilica would have to be “very big, very beautiful, and as soon as possible !” :

Total surface area 4,500 m² Height of dome 90 m Height below vault 34 m

On the 11th July 1937, during the 11th National Eucharistic Congress, Cardinal Pacelli (the future Pope Pius XII) conducted the solemn blessing of the Basilica.

The Basilica suffered little during the bombings of June 1944 and the completion works (stained glass and mosaics) continued up until 11th July 1954, on which date the sanctuary was consecrated by Most Reverend Martin, Archbishop of Rouen, with the Papal Legate, Cardinal Feltin, presiding.


On days when there are large crowds, 3000 pilgrims can be seated in the Basilica. Participation in the ceremonies of the sanctuary is unhindered and there are no columns to block one’s view.

Basilique sainte-Thérèse de lisieux
Basilique sainte-Thérèse de lisieux
vue intérieure

On other days, pilgrims like to contemplate the mosaics and stained glass which were produced in the studios of Pierre Gaudin (1908 – 1973), an artist who was trained at the sacred art studios of Maurice Denis and Georges Desvallières. It was at their school that Pierre Gaudin discovered the great tradition of the glass artists of the Middle Ages. The colour of the glass is used to encourage contemplation … Only a small amount of sunlight is required in order for Pierre Gaudin’s windows to create a particularly warm atmosphere in the basilica. Nevertheless, under the influence of Fr. Germain, first Rector of the Basilica, the artist gave priority to his love for abstract art. Without making the windows into pictures of glass (as had been done by the glass artists of the 19th century) he conceived of a figurative project, and so gave to all pilgrims the possibility of discovering through his work, the central message of Thérèse.

  • Novena of prayer
    Basilique sainte-Thérèse de lisieux
    Basilique sainte-Thérèse de lisieux
    le reliquaire de sainte Thérèse dans le transept

The Crypt

Basilique sainte-Thérèse de lisieux
Basilique sainte-Thérèse de lisieux
la crypte

The Crypt is entirely covered in marble and mosaics.

In 1958 the decoration of the Crypt was completed with the laying of five mosaics representing the important stages in Thérèse’s life : the Baptism of Marie Françoise Thérèse Martin at the Church of Notre-Dame at Alençon on 4th January 1873 ; the First Holy Communion of Thérèse at the Benedictine Abbey of Lisieux on 8th May 1884 ; the miraculous healing of Thérèse at Les Buissonnets on the Feast of Pentecost on 13th May 1883 ; Thérèse’s profession on 8th September 1890 ; Thérèse’s death on 30th September 1897.

The crypt holds the reliquary of Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, parents of saint Thérèse.

The Adoration Chapel

Basilique sainte-Thérèse de lisieuxA Church’s function is to facilitate participation in the liturgy but it must also facilitate contemplation. Accordingly, the Adoration Chapel that we enter by the Crypt, is a place to pray in silence and peace.

  • The right-hand wall is that of the Crypt and its marble arches remind us that we are still in the Basilica ;
  • The pews are those that were once to be found in the Chapel of the Carmelite Convent ;
  • The altar is modelled on that of the Carmelite Convent ;
  • Underneath the tabernacle, which is also modelled on that of the Carmelite Convent, one finds an icon of the Trinity.

The Bell Tower

Having remained unfinished for some time, the Bell Tower now houses 51 bells. The bell-tone is sounded by 6 bells, the heaviest of which, the great bell (9,000 kgs) displays its motto in bronze : I ring out the call of the peoples to unity in Love.

The chimes are played on the hour and on the half-hour according to the liturgical season.

With 45 bells, the chimes of the Basilica of Lisieux are completely chromatic and possess a high sound quality. They rank among the most beautiful in Europe.

Opening times

  • December, January, February : 9:00-17:30
  • March, November : 09:00-18:00
  • April, October : 09-18:30
  • May, June, September : 09:00-19:00
  • July, August : 9:00-19:30

Mass in French

  • From Monday to Saturday :
    • 11:00
  • Sunday :
    • 10:30
    • 17:00
  • Saturday in July and August :
    • 17:00 (Sunday mass in the crypt)

Confessions in French

  • 10:00-10:45 / 15:00-17:00



The town (95km south of Lisieux) conserves two very important places from the childhood of Thérèse.

  • The house of her birth where she was born on 2nd January 1873
  • Notre Dame Church which conserves the baptistery where she was baptised on 4th January 1873.

Following Madame Martin’s death, Mr. Martin and his daughters left Alençon to settle in Lisieux.

N.B. : the family house is closed until May 2009

Opening times of the family house :

  • From 1st October to 31st May
    • 9h30 - 12h00 / 14h30 - 17h00
    • Closed on Tuesday
  • From 1st June to 30 September
    • 9h00 - 12h00 / 14h00-18h00
    • every day
  • January
    • closed

Address :
50 rue Saint Blaise
61000 Alençon
Tel : 02 33 56 09 87
fax : 02 33 56 09 87

Thérèse’s Normandy

Thérèse Martin was Norman from Alençon to Lisieux and was brought, throughout her childhood and adolescent years, to discover and love the beauty of the countryside.

The Country

  • Saint-Ouen-Le-Pin (9km from Lisieux) - Thérèse used to spend her holidays with her cousins on the farm (private place : no visits), property once owned by her aunt Madame Guerin. In July and August 1884, she came for convalesce after whooping cough. She was to return there in 1885. She stayed in the master house (private place : no visits) on the corner of the Roque-Baignard road and the path which brings you to the church of the village where Thérèse went to mass.
  • Ouilly-Le-Vicomte (5km from Lisieux) - Monsieur Martin accompanied by Thérèse, used to go there to fish in the Pâquine, tributary of the Touques river.
  • Rocques (3.5km from Lisieux). Monsieur Martin used to walk there to fish on the Pâquine river and to visit the church.
  • Saint-Martin-de-la-Lieue (4km from Lisieux) - This was the place, with its old 16th century manoir called Saint Hiippolyte, that Mr Martin used to fish in and where he caught on 8th September 1879 a fish weighing 2.170kg.
  • Pont-l’Evêque (18km from Lisieux) - Monsieur Matin used to go there to fish on the Touques river. An excursion that would bring Thérèse and her sisters Léonie and Céline in the fields surrounding Pont-l’Evêque.

The Sea

  • Trouville - Deauville (30km from Lisieux) - It was the 8th August 1878, at the age of five and a half, that Thérèse discovered for the first time the sea at Trouville where her father had brought her. In 1885, Thérèse spent a while in Deauville from 3rd to 10th May in the Roses chalet (private place : no visits) that she nicknamed the chalet of the Colombe/dove, situated 17 quai de la Toques. In 1886, early July, she came alone to Trouville to the Lilac chalet (private place : no visits). She only stayed three days there, falling sick because of the homesickness for the Buissonnets. From 20th to 26th June 1887 she went back to this same chalet on holidays, 29 rue de la Cavée.
  • Honfleur (35km from Lisieux) - In June 1887, Thérèse in the company of her father and her sisters Léonie and Céline, came to this lovely town. She went on pilgrimage to Notre-Dame de Grace to plead with Our Lady to gain permission for her to enter Carmel.
  • Le Havre (58 km from Lisieux) - With her father and her two sisters Léonie aged 24 years and Céline aged 18 years, Thérèse arrived on the quay of Le Harvre and went to the International Maritime Exhibition where 3000 exhibitors exhibited all along the Bassin du Commerce with boats from many different nationalities.

The Towns

  • Bayeux (70km from Lisieux) - On 31st October 1887, Thérèse, in the company of her father, went to Bayeux to ask Monseigneur Hugonin permission to enter Carmel. He refused to give his approval.
  • Caen (50km from Lisieux)
    • The Visitation : it was here that Léonie lived her religious life as Sr Françoise-Thérèse. Today, the crypt holds Léonie’s tomb. The present-day community carries out there the order of the visitation.
    • Hôpital Bon Sauveur : Monsieur Martin stayed there from 12th February 1889 to 10 May 1892. Today, it is possible to visit a modern chapel situated there.

Holy Louis & Zélie


Blessed Louis Martin


Looking for an ideal

Louis Martin was born in Bordeaux in 1823. Son a military man, he spent his first years moving a lot. Then his family finally settled in Alençon where Louis went to school.

He learned about clock-making in Rennes, Strasbourg and Paris. These were decisive years for him during which the desire arose to give his life to God, in the monastery of Grand St Bernard. His difficulty in mastering Latin caused him to abandon this project. He then opened a jeweler’s and clock-making boutique in 1850 at rue du Pont Neuf in Alençon.

Until his wedding in 1858, he shared his time between work, his past-times (in particular fishing), meditation and meeting others. He took part in the circle of Vital Romet, which gathered about 12 young Christian adults around Fr. Hurel and discovered a form of social engagement in the framework at the conference of St. Vincent of Paul.

Time for marriage

His mother who could not accept his celibacy talked to him about Zélie Guérin with whom she was learning lacework. Their first encounter on the Sarthe bridge was to be decisive. Less than a year later they married on 12th July 1858 at 22h in the town hall in Alençon and at midnight on the 13th of July in the church of Notre Dame.

Married life was to last 19 years

It was to be marked by :

  • the choice of experiencing continence in marriage
  • welcoming of nine children five of whom would live.

The correspondence of Mrs. Martin revealed the profound affection that united the couple.

  • Louis’ participation in educating the children
  • his professional choice of renouncing his own career to help his wife direct the lace
  • making company she had founded .
  • the deep faith in the family that made them so aware of those surrounding them. - the repercussions in the religious and social life of the time (it was the end of the Second Empire and the birth of the III Republic…)
  • and finally the long ordeal that Madame Martin had to endure ; that of cancer that she died of at the age of 46 on 28th August 1877.

A time of loss

The period as a widower was to begin for Louis which he decided to spend in Lisieux near the Guérins, his wife’s family.

Some letters from this period shows us an attentive father to each one of his daughters and who was ready to accept their choice of entering the order. After Thérèse entered Carmel, he fell ill in 1888 which brought him to Bon Sauveur in Caen.

During times of remission, one could see him taking care of the sick around him.

Paralyzed he was brought back to his family where he died on 29th July 1894 at 71 years old.

Blessed Zélie Martin


Zélie, a girl from XIXth century, an heiress of her time

Second child of Isidore Guérin and of Louise-Jeanne Macé, Azélie-Marie Guérin (only ever called Zélie) was born on 23rd of December 1831 in Gandelain, a community in Saint Denis sur Sarthon in the Orne region, where her father, a former soldier from the empire period, was engaged as a gendarme.

She was baptized the day after her birth in the church at Saint Denis sur Sarthon. She had a sister, Marie Louise who was two years older. She was to become Sister Marie-Dosithée at the Visitation order in le Mans. A brother, Isidore was born ten years later and was to be the spoilt child of the family.

In a letter addressed to her brother, she herself defined her childhood and her youth as « sad as a shroud, because, if mother spoiled you, with me, you know, she was too severe ; she who was so good did not find a way with me, and so I suffered terrible heart ache. »

This education was to mark her character, her very (too ?) scrupulous manner of living her spirituality.

Zélie, active woman, an entrepreneur, committed to justice…

After her studies in the convent of the Adoration Perpétuelle, Lancrel road, Alençon, she felt a religious calling but, faced with the refusal of the Mother Superior, she took on a professional course and initiated with success the manufacture of the famous Alençon stitch. Toward the end of 1853, she began as a « manufacturer of the Alençon Stitch » at 36 rue Saint Balise and created work from home for many hand-workers. Her workshop was renowned for the quality of her work. The relationship that she had with her personnel whom she said she must love as members of her own family, just like her neighbors and the people she knew, showed us that she was always ready to fight injustice and to support those who were in need. The Bible guided her every move.

Zélie, a loving wife

On the bridge of Saint Léonard in the month of April 1858, Zélie Guérin met a man whose allure impressed her…It was Louis Martin, a clock-maker. Three months later, on 12th July 1858 at 22h00 their civil wedding took place and two hours later at midnight on 13th July, at a private ceremony, they exchanged vows in the church of Notre-Dame. They were married by Fr. Hurel, parish priest at Saint Léonard. The love she shared with her husband can be read in her letters : « Your wife who loves you more than her life », « I embrace you, I love you »…These were not only words : their joy was being together and sharing their daily lives with the Lord looking upon them.

Zélie, a fulfilled and a distressed mother

Between 1860 and 1873, 9 children were born into the Martin home, 4 of whom died at a young age. Zélie felt the joy and the sadness with the births and the deaths : As we read in her correspondence : « I love children so much, I was born to have children… » Then, after the birth of Thérèse, her youngest daughter ; « I have already suffered so much in my life. » Educating her daughters took up all of her heart’s energy. For her children she wanted the best…to become saints ! This did not stop her organizing parties, games…they had fun in this family !

Zélie, ill and still confident

From 1865 on Zélie suffered with a gland on her right breast that degenerated to become cancerous. « If the Lord wants to cure me, I would be very happy, because deep down, I want to live ; it would pain me to leave my husband and my children. But another of part of me says : if I am not cured, it is because I will perhaps be more useful if I go ».

On 28th August 1877 at half past twelve, midnight, Zélie died in the company of her husband and her brother. Let’s leave the last words to Thérèse : « I loved mother’s smile and her deep look seemed to say : »Eternity delights me and attracts me, I am going to the blue sky to see God !"

The process of the blessed Louis and Zélie

The parents of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Louis Martin (1823-94) and Zélie Guérin (1831-77), were declared “Venerable” by Pope John Paul II on 26 March 1994 and beatified in Lisieux on October 19, 2008.

« The good God gave me a father and mother more worthy of heaven than of earth » Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (letter 261 from 26-7-1897)

Le couple Martin

For the parents of Thérèse, the place of God in their lives was primary. Thérèse was deeply influenced by their deep faith and by the religious fervour of the entire family.

The processes for the Canonisation of the Servants of God, Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin, the parents of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, were instigated separately by the dioceses of Bayeux-Lisieux and Sées, between 1957 and 1960. The Causes were then forwarded to Rome.

These two Causes are investigated according to a historical method and are presented to the Congregation for Saints as one single study or positio and will be discussed at the same time. If the Church so decides, this couple will then be glorified together.

The faithful are invited to jointly invoke in their prayers Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin for the granting of favours and miracles through their intercession.

Anybody who has received graces through the intercession of Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin, or anybody wishing to make a donation or seek information, is invited to contact :

Postulation Générale
des Carmes Déchaux
Corso d’Italia 38
00198 Roma

Prayer through the intercession of the Parents

Prayer to request that Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin may be canonized by the Church and to obtain graces through their intercession.

God of eternal love, You give us Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse, as an example of holiness in marriage.

They remained faithful to You and Your commandments in all the duties and trials of life.

They desired to raise their children to become saints.

May their prayers and example help Christian family life to blossom in our world today.

If it be your will, grant us the grace we now ask of You, through the intercession of Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, and let them be counted among the Saints in your Church.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If you obtain graces by their intercession, please advise :

the Pilgrimage of Lisieux
33 rue du Carmel
14100 Lisieux


  • Since my young son entered to the Faculty of Science, I have never ceased to entrust him it to Saint Thérèse and to Mr. and to Mrs. Martin, asking them always to take care of him, especially at the time of the examinations. I have never doubted of their help and they always grant my request.
  • Thank you for the successes of my young son. I offer a Mass of Thanksgiving and a donation to Thérèse de Lisieux and I encourage readers to make their requests to Mr. and Mrs. Martin and their saintly daughter. - A Grandmother A.D.
  • I have arthritis and I have had difficulties walking. I requested Louis and Zélie Martin by making a novena. For some time I have been walking much better and I thank them. - J.D.(Rhône)
  • Please offer two Masses in honour of Louis and Zélie Martin to thank them for two graces obtained : negative test results for my son-in-law while we were in fear, and the success of a last chance operation that I had to undergo. For this, Mr and Mme Martin are highly praised. - Mme P. (Haute-Garonne)
  • I warmly thank Zélie and Louis Martin whose help I sought so that my daughter would get in a quarrel with her sisters-in-law on the occasion of the distribution of her parents-in-law estate. I am very happy because she has since accepted an invitation to a meal with the family of her late husband and all has gone well. Again a big thank you to Zelie and Louis Martin and to my dear little Thérèse. - Anonymous

Their 150th wedding anniversary

Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin

150 years ago, Louis and Zélie Martin, parents of Thérèse, were married in Alençon and intended fulfilling their lives with a big family.

To live their love, they had to renounce their previous vocational callings to religious life. They integrated in their lives, like many couples of their time, an intense, active, regular and ardent participation in the life of the Church. They lived for the sacraments ; they gave of their time to the parish and shared daily a time for prayer, for meditation with mutual respect and discretion for each other. They always remembered the sacrament of reconciliation as advised by the church and lived in the received grace. Engaged in the confidence of the ordinary way of the sanctification of their life as a couple, they gave life to nine children, while conserving, each of them, their professions.

Family difficulties were going to happen in their lives and call on their faith, intensifying their confidence in the Lord. They lived difficult lives of intense labor, confronted with sickness and the death of four children and had to overcome the deaths of their little ones at early ages. They only had five children left, including Thérèse, the youngest, who is known world-wide or her evangelical and missionary accomplishment.

Five years after their wedding, in 1858, Louis and Zélie started their own sewing company in Alençon. Louis worked with his wife. He did his utmost to create new models. The results were conclusive. They needed to find a market. He frequently went from Alençon to Paris to develop their clientele, and to ensure the sales of Zélie’s production. It was during this period that his nephew Adolphe Leriche took over the clock-making shop. Louis and Zélie left the Pont-Neuf street in Alençon to set up in Saint Blaise street.

During this period Zélie assured with extraordinary courage her maternal responsibilities, her professional engagements and her painful battle with cancer that she lost on 28th August 1877. She was 46 years old and left her husband - whose fragility she could sense - and her five daughters. The eldest, Pauline, was only 17 years old and the little Thérèse was gently going towards her fifth birthday. For her, life in Alençon was to end without her Mummy. Her life in Lisieux was beginning.

In this ordinary family, enlightened by faith, they confronted the hazards of life, undermined in sickness, but emerged and asserted itself, and gave vocations to the five daughters. Four of them chose Carmel, in Lisieux. Léonie chose the Visitation in Caen.

The beatification of the parents high-lighted the humble response of this couple who was attentive in inscribing in their daily engagement for their children and for the spiritual development of each of them. They were confronted with the most painful events of their lives. Their peaceful faith, humble, ardent and deeply rooted in the life of the Church helped them to survive. In her passionate enthusiasm Thérèse does not hesitate to write to Fr. Rouland, two months before her death, at the end of July 1897 : « The good Lord gave me parents who deserved heaven more than earth, they asked God to give them many children and to take them for Himself. This wish was granted : four little angels flew to heaven and the five children who lived took Jesus as a spouse. » We are in good company.

The Martin Couple : a halo for two

Work for a possible beatification of Louis and Zélie Martin began in 1957.

But it was for even longer that couples and families prayed to them and received special graces from them. Obviously they are not being beatified because they gave life to the « greatest saint of modern times » (Pius X) but because each of them lived the Bible as best they could. It was John Paul II who wanted that their causes be presented together. He declared them « venerable » on 26th March 1994. Only a miracle was needed for the beatification. This happened on 29th June 2002 in Monza (diocese of Milan) where the little baby Pietre Schiliro, who was condemned because of a serious problem on his lungs, which he suffered from birth, was cured after a novena to the Martin parents. A medical file of 967 pages was given to the doctors of the Congregation for the cause of Saints who admitted his cure could not be explained, accept by a miracle. On 3rd July 2008, Pope Benedict XVI signed the document approving this decision.

In the little town of Alençon, Louis Martin was a watch-maker and jeweler and Zélie (maiden name Guérin) lace-maker, used to sew the famous Alençon stitch. Fervent Christians, who were truly charitable people, had nine children. Infant mortality, a terrible problem in XIX century, took four children, two of whom were boys. They did not want for their daughters to have lives of working-class women or having to face unemployment, so they worked very hard, going through a period of Prussian occupation in 1870.

Suffering from breast cancer that generalized, Zélie had « little Thérèse » at the age of 41, who was saved at birth thanks to her nurse, Rose Taillé de Semallé. Thérèse only knew her mother for four and half years. She remembers these years of being full of love and family joy.

Exhausted by her suffering, Zélie died on 28th August 1877. The shock was terrible for the entire family but in particular for her youngest daughter. It took her ten years to get over it.

Widower with five young daughters, Louis Martin made the great sacrifice of leaving Alençon and coming to Lisieux where his brother-in-law Isidore Guérin, pharmacist and his wife would help educating the children. He was to live another seventeen years but was to know his own « passion » in sickness that was to last six years. He accepted the religious vocations of his five daughters ; this « ordinary » family was not that ordinary. It experienced what Thérèse wrote in 1897 : « To love is to give all and to give oneself. » (Poem n°54)

The human charm of christian saintliness

Alençon and Lisieux, July 12-13, 2008
150th wedding anniversary
of the Venerable Servants of God, Zélie Guérin and Louis Martin

Cardinal MartinsCéline… : « lift your eyes to the Celeste Father, And you will see on the seats of honour a loving Father… A dear Mother… To whom you owe your immense happiness !… »

Dear brothers and sisters,

I wanted to begin this reflection with the words from Thérèse herself, describing the family atmosphere in which she grew up.

The family, from XIX century to today

When the skies are without God, the earth fills with idols. From XIX century, when the Martin family lived, and at the beginning of the XX century, people progressively lost interest in education in the family and were more so concerned with socioeconomic issues. Charles Péguy, who was born five days after Saint Thérèse underlined this point nearly prophetically : « A Christian child is nothing more than a child who read a million times the childhood story of Jesus ». In the daily rhythm and daily words we can still find unconscious reflections from this Christian population « who went and sang » and who « reseated their chairs with straw in the same state of mind as the sculptured their cathedrals. » However we cannot say that little Charles responded to the description of the Christian child so dear to the adult Péguy. Around him, in his family and school, no one lived this way, looking familiarly and affectionately towards Jesus. But this was true for the Martin family.

This refusal of paternity followed through to the XX century in a more complex way, essentially in the adherence to the great totalitarian models, who intended replacing the family, by confiding education to the communist or national-socialist, totalitarian state. This abdication and eclipse of the father figure continues in our consumer society where the career and outer image have taken the place of the children’s education. Education is a question of witnessing.

Without long speeches, with sermons, Monsieur Martin introduced Thérèse to the ultimate meaning of existence. Louis and Zélie were educators because they had no problems educating.

The family today : Love, ill in the family

At the beginning of this year a daily Italian newspaper (« Il Mattino di Napoli » [The Morning Naples] from 14th January 2008) published an article from Claude Risé, under this significant title « Love has fallen ill in families ».

Love has fallen ill, more precisely, love has fallen ill, in the place where each human being experiences love for the first time, being loved and loving others […] In our families today, children are in competition with lots of other things for the love of their parents.

An exceptional family : as witnessed by the Martin daughters

Here is the experience of the Martin daughters.

« All of my life the Good Lord has surrounded me in love ; my first memories are marked by smiles and tender caresses ! » (Ms A, 4v°) here is the most lively portrait of the Venerable Servants of God, Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin, as noted by the most illustrious daughters. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, described in the first pages of Story of a Soul, the gentleness and the joy of life in her family life. Thérèse the youngest doctor of the Church, described her family as the earth of a garden, a « holy land » where she grew up with her sisters, under the skillful and expert guidance of the incomparable parents. She wrote to Father Bellière just a few months before her death : « The Good Lord gave me a father and a mother who deserved Heaven more than earth ». This deep conviction of the Martin daughters of the saintliness of their parents was shared by other members of the family as others who talked about them as the saintly couple. Fourteen years after the death of Zélie, in a letter from 1891, Céline Guérin, her aunt, wrote to Thérèse who was already in Carmel : What did I do to deserve that the Lord would surround me with such loving hearts ! I only answered the last look of a mother who I loved a lot, a lot.

Léonie, herself, who created such difficulties for her parents, repeated to the Sisters of the Visitation in Caen : « Noblesse oblige, I belong to a family of saints ; I have to be up to standard. »

The Martins are not saints for having given birth to a saint, but for having inspired to saintliness as a couple. They were driven by a reciprocal desire, there was in both of them the willingness to look for in life that they were living, the will of God and the obedience to his commandment : « Be saints for I am a saint ». Louis and Zélie Martin were the humus and fertile ground where Thérèse was born and lived for fifteen years, before becoming « the greatest saint of modern times ». (Pius X)

Their secret : an ordinary « extraordinary » life

Louis and Zélie were luminous examples of married life lived in faithfulness, in welcoming life and in the education of their children. A Christian marriage lived in an absolute confidence in God and who could be proposed to families today. Their marriage was exemplary, full of Christian virtues and human wisdom. Exemplary does not mean that we should copy, photocopy their life reproducing all of their doings and gestures, but that we should use, like they did, the supernatural means that the Church offers to each Christian to carry out his vocation to saintliness. Providence wanted their Beatification to be announced during the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the marriage, 13th July 1858.

Why after such a long time ? Is such a family not far from our time ? In what way are the Martin parents modern ? Can they help our families to take on today’s challenges ?

I am certain that a vast debate will begin around this couple at their Beatification. Conferences, debates, discussion groups will try to determine their experience with our history that is so complex. One this however must be very clear : The Church did not canonize a period, but examined the saintliness. With the Martins, the Church proposes to the faithful the saintliness and the perfection of a Christian life, that this couple achieved in an exemplary manner and, to use the language of the Trial, to a heroic degree. The Church is not interested in the exceptional but underlines how in their daily lives they were the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Mathew 5.13-14). The Servant of God, John Paul II declared : « It is necessary that the heroic becomes daily and that the daily becomes heroic ». The Church established that Louis and Zélie made something heroic out of their daily lives and from heroism something daily. This is possible for each Christian whatever his state in life. I am pleased to quote here a passage from the famous letter to Diognete on marriage and which the Martin couple knew exactly how to carry out : Christians do not differentiate themselves from other men by their territory not by their language not by their clothing. […] They marry as other do and have children, but they do not abandon the newly-born. They live in the body but not according to the body. They spend their life on earth but are citizens of heaven. They obey established laws, but their way of living surpasses the laws.

This letter traces a concrete model of a possible life, a route that all disciples of Jesus are called to follow, even today : to announce the beauty of a Christian marriage with its authentic experiences that are credible and attractive. To carry out this one needs couples and parents who are mature in love. Louis and Zélie embraced this form of married life to follow Christ. Husband, wife, and parents in Christ, where marriage is welcomed as a call and a mission given by God. With their life they announced to all the good news of the love « in Christ » : the humble love, love that spares nothing to start anew every morning, love capable of confidence and sacrifice. This communion clearly emerges from the letters exchanged between the two.

In one of his brief letters, which is practically a synthesis of matrimonial love, Louis signs in the following way : « Your husband and true friend, who loves you for life ». To these words, Zélie echoes : « I follow you in spirit throughout the day, I tell myself : »He is doing such a such at the moment« . I am so impatient to be with you, my dear Louis ; I love you with all my heart, and I can feel my affection doubling in your absence ; it would be impossible for me to live far from you. »

What is the secret of this communion ? Maybe the fact that, before looking in each other’s eyes, they looked directly at Jesus. They lived sacramentally reciprocal communion, trough Communion that they both cultivated with God. That is what is new « Hymn of hymns », which are part of Christian couples ; not only they must sing it, but only they can sing it. Christian love is a « Hymn of hymns » that the couple sings with God.

Vocation in a family

Vocation is, above all else, a divine initiative. But a Christian education favors a generous response to the call of God : « It is in the heart of the family that parents should be for their children, by the words and their example, the first announcers of the faith, and they should favor vocations in everyone, and in a special way the consecrated vocation » (CCC, 1656) So if the parents do not live the evangelical values, the young men and the young women could not hear the calling, understand the necessity of sacrifices and appreciate the beauty of the goal to be reached. In fact, it is in the family that the young people experience evangelical values, of the love that is give to God and to others. They must be educated to understand their responsibility in their freedom, to be ready to live, according to their vocation, the highest level of spiritual realities. (John-Paul II, Vie consecrate).

All of the Martin children were welcomed as a great gift of God to be given back to God. The mother, her heart broken with pain, offered her four children who had died at an early age. The father offered his five daughters, on their entry to the convent. For their children, they not only suffered the pain of physical birth but also the pain brought on in faith until Christ was formed within them (Galates 4, 19).

They were truly ministers of life and saintly parents who engendered saints ; they guided and educated saintliness. The Martin family, like the family in Nazareth, was a school, a place of learning and a place of preparation for virtue. A family who, today, will become the landmark for each Christian family.

The Martin Couple : a Path of Sanctity that Imparted Faith

Conference by Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins,
given at Alençon, France, July 12, 2008,
to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the wedding
of the Venerable Zélie Guérin and Louis Martin
(translated by Juan Marrera and Rosemary Peters for thereseoflisieux.org
from the French text at the Web site of the diocese of Seez)

"Granite Anniversary"

It is very moving for me, and a gift from God, to be here with you in this place today. The Church of Notre-Dame in, with its flamboyant gothic portico, is a true jewel, or, as you say, a true work of lace, the Alençon-stitch in stone. They have told me that "if we want to locate God in the most beautiful place in the Church we must put him outside !"

I am grateful for your kindness that in this evening of 12 July I may be here with all of you to commemorate the 150th wedding anniversary of the Venerable Servants of God, Zélie Guérin and Louis Martin. I believe that their marriage and their life were realized with rare mastery by the true Architect of this finest masterpiece. The spouses Louis and Zélie Martin are chosen stones, true "living and precious stones sculpted by the Holy Spirit," like the finest point d’ Alençon lace for the Church of God, which is the dioceses of Sees and Bayeux-Lisieux, where they lived and died.

This is their golden anniversary in Christ, or rather thrice golden, one could say, for it has been 150 years. I think it is fair to call this anniversary "the granite anniversary," as your bishop, His Excellency Msgr. Jean-Claude Boulanger, has characterized it on the diocesan Web site. Observing the homes in the historic center of your beautiful and famous city, I have admired your particularly fine granite, and I find the image of granite the perfect one to characterize the solidity and simplicity of the love and faith of the Martin spouses.

Permit me to quote the words of a contemporary of the Martins’ daughter Thérèse, Paul Claudel (1868-1955), who, in the Prologue to his play The Tidings Brought to Mary (L’Annonce Faite á Marie) wrote :

"It is not for the stone to choose its place, but for the Master of the work to choose it. Sanctity does not consist in being stoned in the land of the Turks or kissing the mouth of a leper, but in keeping God’s commandments immediately, whether to remain in our place or to climb higher."

The Martins are saints chosen by God to be these saints, to be employed in building His Church. Sanctity consists precisely in this : to be willing to do the will of God, where He places us, whether it means staying in the same place or going up higher.

God is "thrice holy ;" God is the "Father truly holy, the fount of all holiness," who "sanctifies" the gifts and the faithful "with the effusion of his Spirit." For this reason sanctity, all sanctity is nothing but the reflection of God’s glory. In raising someone to the honors of the altar, the Church first wants to tell and to proclaim the glory and the mercy of God. At the same time, by her testimony, the Church offers believers an example to imitate and, by their intercession, a source of help to which they have recourse.

Precisely on this July 12, in 1858, at 10:00 p.m. in the city of Alençon, the Venerable Servants of God Zélie Guérin and Louis Martin contracted their civil marriage. A couple of hours later, at midnight, with a few relatives and close friends, and accompanied by Father Hurel, a priest friend, they crossed the threshold of this parish church to celebrate their union in Christ in the strictest intimacy. The night of their wedding recalls the nights of Christmas and Easter, the night which "alone among all" has earned the right to know the moment and the hour of the fact that transformed human history. Thus began the Martins’ "Song of Songs."

An "apostolic couple"

Therese, as a Carmelite, invited Céline to sing a song of gratitude for Céline’s reception of the Habit :

"Raise your eyes to your Holy Homeland,
and on thrones of honor you will see
a beloved Father … a dear Mother …
to whom you owe your immense happiness ! … [1]

The Venerable Servants of God Zélie and Louis, whom the Pope will have the joy of raising to the honors of the altar, were above all a couple united in Christ who lived the mission of transmitting their faith with passion and a rare sense of duty. Though they lived in a particular historical moment, the nineteenth century, very different from our own, they both witnessed and undertook in a wholly natural way, I would say almost a physical way, in what we call today "evangelization." We can even define them as an "apostolic couple," like Priscilla and Aquila : the spouses Louis and Zélie devoted themselves as a Christian lay couple to the apostolate of evangelization, and did so with serious conviction across the whole arc of their existence, both within and outside the domestic circle. In the lives of these "incomparable parents," as Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face called them, the "gift of self" is altogether extraordinary.

But the holiness of their lives, like their reputation for sanctity, is not limited to the period of their marriage. It was present before that. The life of both developed in the search for God, in prayer, animated by the profound desire above all to realize His will. At the outset they oriented themselves toward the consecrated religious life, seeking help and discernment. If we recounted the many acts of charity they performed right here, in the streets of your city, we would never finish being edified. Some of your [local] citizens, descendants and friends of the Martins, have been concrete witnesses to their "gift of self" and have given evidence, first for Thérèse and later for her parents, in the various informative trials by which the church proves the authenticity of the candidate’s sanctity.

When the Church gathered testimony for Thérèse, many people spoke of her parents and of their exquisitely Christian qualities. It would be enough to read Story of a Soul and to pass through the streets of this city to discover the places where Louis and Zélie grew up, received their human and Christian education, worked : Zélie, as a lacemaker (and such a lacemaker !) in the rue Saint-Blaise, and Louis, as a watchmaker and jeweler, in the rue Pont-Neuf. Here they deepened their faith and conceived of the gift of themselves to the Lord. God, however, had other plans for them, and one day here, on the Saint-Leonard bridge, their paths crossed ; they met and fell in love. Soon after they were married and became parents. And it is here, in this very church, that Thérèse, their youngest daughter, was born into Christ. The baptismal font remains the same, the true womb of the Church, Mother and maker of saints, the only womb that makes us all children of the unique Father : the only matrix of sainthood.

The incomparable mother and incomparable father[5]

The openness and welcome of the Martin home were proverbial. Not only was their house open and welcoming to whoever knocked but also the hearts of the spouses were large, warm, and always ready to give of themselves. Contrary to the bourgeois ethics of their century and their milieu, which, behind the "decor," tended to conceal the worship of money and contempt for the poor, Louis and Zélie, together with their five daughters, devoted a large part of their time and their earnings to help those in need. At her parents’ inquiry, Céline Martin, Sister Genevieve in the Carmel, testified about the love her father and mother gave to the poor :

"If thrift reigned in our house, when it came to assisting the poor my parents were positively prodigal. They went toward them, sought them out, and invited them into our house, where they were nourished, given supplies of food, clothed, and urged toward a better life. I can still see my mother hastening toward a poor old man. I might have been seven years old, but I remember this as if it were yesterday. We were passing by when we met, in the road, a man who aroused compassion. Mother sent Thérèse to give him some alms. This poor man displayed such gratitude that Thérèse began talking to him. And so Mother invited him to follow us, and we returned home. She prepared a good lunch for him—he was dying of hunger—and gave him some clothes and a pair of shoes … And she invited him to come back to us if he needed anything else." [6]

About her father, [Céline/Genevieve] added :

"He tried to find the poor work according to their condition, took them to the hospital to recover when necessary, or found them some honorable solution according to their situation. In this way he helped a family from the former nobility that had fallen into misery […] In Lisieux, at the Buissonnets, every Monday morning the poor would come to ask for charity. They always received something, whether food or money, and often it was little Thérèse who delivered the alms … One day, in church, Father had met an elderly person who seemed very poor. He brought him home and gave him a meal and all he needed. When the man rose to leave, Father asked him to bless us, Thérèse and me. We were just children, and we knelt before him and he blessed us." [7]

Extraordinary things are happening here ! We do not stand before simple goodness, but before the love of the poor lived to a heroic degree as in the Gospel of St. Matthew. [8] In this luminous couple shines something of the perennial holiness that we find all throughout the long history of the Church. I will quote a passage from a letter that Tertullian wrote to his wife. It seems to me that these sentiments were brought to exemplary fruition in Louis and Zélie, who put God before all else and at the center of their lives.

What a beautiful couple is formed by two believers who share the same hope, the same ideal, the same way of life, the same conduct of service ! Sister and brother, and servants of the same Lord, without the slightest division of body or soul, together they pray, together they kneel, and together they fast. They teach each other, encourage each other, and sustain each other mutually. Together they are in the holy gathering, together at the table of the Lord, together in trials, in persecutions, in joy. There is no danger that one might hide something from the other, that they might avoid each other, that one might be a weight upon the other. Willingly these two visit the sick and help the needy. They give charity without any bad feeling, sacrifice without haste, and perform their devotions each day without pause. They do not know the furtive sign of the cross ; they give thanks without the slightest reticence and bless each other without shame in their voices. They recite psalms and hymns, alternating verses, and offer their finest songs in praise to their God. Seeing and hearing this, Christ rejoices and sends his peace to these spouses. Wherever these two are, there also Christ resides. [8]

The reputation for sanctity

Every Pontiff who has dealt with little Thérèse has shed light on the exemplary sanctity of the Martin couple, seeing the clear relationship between their holiness and that of their daughter : Saint Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII, Blessed John XXIII, the Servant of God Paul VI—of Father Luciano I will say more shortly—through the great Pope John-Paul II. The sanctity of these spouses is not due to the holiness of their daughter ; it is a true sanctity, personally chosen, as they followed a path of obedience to the will of God, who wants all his children to be holy as he himself is Holy. In fact, we might say that Thérèse was the first "postulator" [advocate] for the holiness of her parents : holiness in the truest sense of the word, not just a turn of phrase. Thérèse often speaks of her father in words like "holy," "servant of God," "just." She admires in her parents not only their gifts, their human touch and hard-working nature, but also their faith, hope and charity, their heroic exercise of the theological virtues. She observes all these elements, which are under examination in every canonical inquiry. If I could, I would call her a postulator.

The Church is indebted to Louis and Zélie, the true masters and models of the sanctity of Thérèse, as von Balthasar has so rightly affirmed in Sisters of the Spirit, writing

"Everything Therese achieves at the supernatural level is rooted in something she has experienced on the natural level. Nothing moved her more, perhaps, than the experience of being loved by her father and mother ; consequently, her image of God is colored by a child’s love. And it is to Louis and Zélie Martin that we owe the doctrine of the "little way" and of "spiritual childhood," for they brought to life in Thérèse of the Child Jesus that God who is more than father and mother." [8]

Von Balthasar’s observation is of capital importance. It clearly affirms that we owe the doctrine of the "Little Way," which made Thérèse a Doctor of the Church in the science of the love of God, to the holiness and the exemplary life of Louis and Zélie. Today the Church, preparing to beatify this couple, shows us that, in whatever state of life we have chosen, holiness is possible, that everyone can practice it. And it can be a great holiness. But should this not be the reality for every couple ? Is the family not called to transmit to her children the mystery of the "God who is more than father and mother" ? Is the family not perhaps a school of true humanity, a gymnasium of holiness ? It is the privileged space for forging character and knowledge. Here is the mission, from the very beginning, the duty of the couple, of the Christian family.

Upon closer reflection, the reputation for sanctity of this couple surpasses the confines of your Diocese. It is present, we could say, in the entire Catholic Community as shown in the innumerable and minutely detailed documentation built up over more than 80 years.

We owe this sign to Thérèse herself. If it is true that Story of a Soul, which was first published in 1898, is, after the Bible, the book translated into the most languages, everyone perfectly understands the vast resonance of the Martin couple in the world. Perhaps it is no exaggeration to say that, in terms of fame, after the Holy Family of Nazareth, the "Holy Family Martin" should occupy the second place. The Servant of God John Paul I, then Patriarch of Venice (1969-1978), in his well-known book lllustrissimi, wrote :

"When I heard that the cause of the beatification of the parents of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus had been opened, I said, ’Finally a dual cause ! St. Louis IX became a saint without his Marguerite, St. Monica without her Patrice ; Zélie Guérin, on the other hand, will be a Saint with Louis Martin, her husband, and with Thérèse, her daughter !" [9]

As early as 1925, Cardinal Antonio Vico, sent by Pius XI as his Legate to Lisieux to preside over the solemn festivities in honor of the very-recently canonized St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, said to Mother Agnès of Jesus (Pauline, the second Martin daughter) : "Now it is time to look after Papa … From Rome itself comes this commission, which I am charged to give you." [10] If the parents’ cause was not opened immediately after this, we might attribute the delay to the understandable perplexity of Mother Agnès of Jesus.

Incomparable parents

All who have taken up Story of a Soul, however briefly, have appreciated the human and spiritual dimension of these parents who created, with wisdom, the family atmosphere in which Thérèse grew up. One cannot help but love these incomparable parents. Zélie’s rich correspondence testifies to the way Mme. Martin sustained the human, Christian, and spiritual formation of all the members of her family. First of all, there is her brother, Isidore, before and after his marriage ; then her sister-in-law, Céline Fournet ; and then, of course, her own daughters. Not one of her letters fails to manifest the presence of God, not a formal presence or one based on convenience of circumstance but a constant reference for all aspects of life. A correspondence that testifies to a delightful attention to everyone’s well-being and that now has a global reach. A growth that is full and valid because she always placed God as her center and focus. Louis, her husband, was less talkative and did not like to write. He never refused to testify openly about his faith, and he had no fears about the mockery to which he was subjected. In his marital life, at home with his five daughters, in the management of his watchmaker-and-jeweler business, and also with his friends, on the road or traveling, in all circumstances, for him “God was served first.”

A missionary family from the start, when, in France, soon after, there arose the work of the Propagation of the Faith by Pauline Jaricot and that began the missionary movements of the nineteenth century. We know that the Martin parents signed up all their daughters in the Work of the Holy Childhood (Thérèse’s inscription dated January 12, 1882, is preserved), and they contributed generously for the construction of new churches in foreign missions. For Thérèse, being able to participate in the activities of the Work of the Holy Childhood certainly helped to develop her missionary zeal. Louis and Zélie were saints who produced a saint. They were missionary spouses who not only participated in the missionary spirit of their time but also raised up for the Church the Patroness of the Universal Missions (1927).

Zélie and Louis are saints, not so much for the methods or means they chose to participate in evangelization, which were evidently those of the Church and the society of their times ; rather, they are saints because they lived and imparted the faith within their family in a serious and committed way. They evangelized their children through the example of their lives as a couple, through their works and teaching in the heart of the family. In this regard, it is enough to remember that Thérèse herself wrote in Story of a Soul about the fascination that her father and mother had over her.

“All the details of my Mother’s illness are still present to me and I recall especially the last weeks she spent on earth. Céline and I "were like two poor little exiles, for every morning Mme. Leriche" [11] came to get us and brought us to her home where we spent the day. One morning we didn’t have time to say our prayers and during the trip Céline whispered : "Should we tell her we didn’t say our prayers ?" "Oh ! yes," I answered. So very timidly Céline told Mme. Leriche, who said : "Well, my little girls, you will say them," and placing us both in a large room, she left. . . . Céline looked at me and we said : "Oh ! this is not like Mama . . . She always had us say our prayers with her. . . ." [12] Her father, “the King of France and Navarre,” as she loved calling him, exercised a beautiful spiritual inspiration for her. His gentlemanly ways inspired veneration and respect. “What shall I say of the winter evenings at home, especially the Sunday evenings ? Ah ! how I loved, after the game of checkers was over, to sit with Céline on Papa’s knees . . . . . He used to sing, in his beautiful voice, airs that filled the soul with profound thoughts, or else, rocking us gently, he recited poems that taught the eternal truths. . . . . Then we all went upstairs to say our night prayers together and the little Queen was alone near her King, having only to look at him to see how the Saints pray . . .” [13]

Christian Initiation in the Family

We can define Manuscript A as “the manuscript that [describes] Thérèse’s family-based Christian initiation.” A process conducted with the same seriousness of purpose as her schooling. Faith, in the Martin household, was not just a series of rules to be followed, but a lived faith. Throughout Manuscript A Thérèse thanked not only her parents, by then deceased (her mother in 1877 and her father in 1894), but also her older sisters.

I wish to underscore here the great merits not only of the parents but also of these elder sisters, and, therefore, of the whole family. The parents taught themselves the teachings of the Church, and then taught all their children. And it is a telling thing that they deserve the credit for the most illustrious of their daughters, who, after being taught and molded by these “incomparable parents,” became Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, and who not long ago (1997) was declared a Doctor of the Church. She, who was taught, now teaches.

With the beatification of this family, this is the challenge the Church presents today to all Christian families. They were not simply instruments who were carrying the faith like an aqueduct transports water, but the depositum fidei, an “exchange house” of faith, transmitted and enriched by their own personal faith experience, of hope and charity. They did not transmit faith as a well-worn tradition, something sketchy and abstract, but as something alive : not a faith like an inheritance left by the dead, no, but through baptism, they grafted onto their children the living and vital current of the Church, never substituting for the Church, but with the Church and in the Church. They worked together with the Church in perfect harmony. I want to observe again that the sanctity of this couple is found to be congruent with Vatican II and other Documents of the Church. I think above all of the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes (“Joy and Hope”) in its chapter on the “Sanctity of Marriage and the Family.” [14]

Preceded by the example and the communal prayer of the parents, the children and all those living within the family circle will open more easily to the feelings of humanity and find more readily the road of health and sanctity. How can we not see how much the Martin family aligns with this text ? But all this can surprise us when one dreams of a time so distant from ours. It’s been 150 years, July 12, 1858, in France during the Second Empire. We, men and women of the Third Millennium, have difficulty imagining everyday life in that setting, without electricity, without heat, no radio or television, none of the modern means of communication that characterize modern life today. But we here, today, we judge sanctity, not the distance that separates us from their testimony ; we judge sanctity, not the form through which they presented it to us. Their sanctity is distant from us in form, but not in substance, content, or doctrine. The Martins kept the best wine till the last (John 2:10). Just like the light from the Church’s documents, this couple may be presented as a family engaged in evangelizing their children. In their time they participated in an evangelization that seems awkward, perhaps, in its catechism and precepts. The doctrine of the Church was taught not only in parishes but also in the family ; one learned the truths of the faith by heart. In everything the Church followed the method of teaching common at that time, in which memory played an important role. The Martin family are witnesses in their home—with their children and all around them, their parents and their servants—of the role of evangelization, not as individuals but as a couple ; all the family has a mission and a task to carry out.

Paul VI writes in his encyclical Evangelii nuntiandi (71) about matters that we see lived out by the Martin family :

“At the core of the evangelistic apostolate of the laity, it is impossible not to underscore the evangelizing role of the family. It has well deserved, at different moments in history, the beautiful name “the domestic church” sanctioned by Vatican II. That means that, in each Christian family, we should find the diverse aspects of the whole Church. The family, like the Church, should be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and where the Gospel shines. At the heart, therefore, of each family conscious of its mission, all the members of the family evangelize and are evangelized. The parents not only transmit the Gospel to their children but also receive this same Gospel, lived profoundly, from them. Through such a family many other families are evangelized wherever they are found.”

Despite the family moves, each house they occupied (the one on rue du Pont-Neuf, the one on rue Saint-Blaise, and Les Buissonnets) was a “small domestic Church” where the Martins are again in harmony with our times.For their five children (four others died very young), the family of Zélie and Louis was a privileged place to experience love and the transmission of the faith. In their home, in the intimacy of the family hearth and domestic life, each gave and received. Amidst their many professional worries the parents knew, the one and the other, how to teach the first lessons of the faith to their own children from infancy. They were the first teachers who began to form their children in prayer, in the knowledge and love of God, in showing the children how to pray alone and together, in accompanying them to Mass and visits to the Blessed Sacrament. They taught the children to pray, not merely by telling them to pray but by transforming their home into a “school of prayer.” They taught them how important it is to stay with Jesus, to listen to the Gospel of which we speak today. Moreover, the spiritual life, cultivated from a young age, as was the case for Zelie and Louis, was nourished at the source of parish life. They were faithful readers of The Liturgical Year by Dom Guéranger, a book Thérèse appreciated well and one she discovered first precisely at home.

Dear brothers and sisters, Louis and Zélie reveal to us a simple truth, a very simple truth : Christian sanctity is not a goal for the few. It is truly a common vocation for all, for each baptized person. Louis and Zélie tell us simply that sanctity concerns the wife, the husband, the children, the worries of work, and also the realm of sexuality. The saint is not a superman or superwoman ; the saint is a true person. On April 4, 1957, Céline, known in the Carmel as Sister Géneviève of the Holy Face, testifying at the process about the heroic virtue of her father, spoke of “the beauty of a conjugal life lived entirely for the good God alone, without egoism or withdrawal into the self. If the servant of God wanted many children, it was to give them to God without reservation. And all this within the simplicity of a life that was ordinary, hard-working, and filled with hardships welcomed with abandonment and confidence in the Divine Will. [15]

I finish by repeating the words which conclude the Declaration of the Virtues of Louis and Zélie on October 13, 1957 :

We have before us a couple, and a family, who have lived and acted in complete conformity with the Gospel, concerned only with living out at each moment of the day the plan God prepared for them. In seeking and hearing His voice, they sought only to attain perfection. Louis and Zélie are not protagonists (heralds ?) of fiery movements or of a particular, specific apostolate, but they lived the ordinary life of their whole family always lit by the divine and the supernatural. That is the central aspect, available to anyone, offered for the families of today to imitate. With the Martin family placed before us, we can receive nourishment, strength, and orientation to avoid the modern force of secularization and thus to rise above many sorrows and to see the gift of conjugal love and, with it, the gift of fatherhood and motherhood in their proper light as the Gift of God beyond measure.

[1] from Thérèse’s poem « Song of Gratitude of Jesus’ Fiancée » in The Poetry of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. tr. Donald Kinney, O.C.D. Washington, D.C. : ICS Publications, p. 86.

[2] Ms. A, 4v

[3] LT 91.

[4] Positio 1, Section 603, p. 420 [from the documents of the process of beatification].

[5] Positio I, §56, p. 41.

[6] 5. Matthew 25, verses 31-46, especially verse 40 : « you have done it to Me. »

[7] 6. TERTULLIAN, To my wife, II, 8-9 : PL 1,1302B-1304A ; translated E.-A. De Genoudet.

[8] Sisters in the Spirit : Thérèse of Lisieux and Elizabeth of Dijon. Ignatius Press, 1992 : p. 125. Cited in the papers of the beatification process, Summarium Documentorum, XXVIII, Roma, 1987, p. 1042.

[9] Illustrissimi : Letters from Pope John Paul I. (Little Hills Press, Australia : 1990). The book is a collection of « open letters » written by Msgr. Albino Luciani, Patriarch of Venice, two and a half years before he was elected Pope John Paul I. He wrote these letters to figures from history or mythology, writers, figures in Italian literature , and to the saints of the Church.

[10] cf. the papers of the beatification process at Summarium Documentorum, op. cit., p. 1138.

[11] Wife of Aldolphe Leriche, only nephew of Mr. Martin ; it is to the Leriches that he had given up the watchmaking-jewelry business at 15 rue du Pont-Neuf.

[12] Story of a Soul, Ms. A, 19v.

[13] Story of a Soul, Ms. A, 18r.

[14] GS 48, 2nd part, chapter 1, no. 48, section 3.

[15] Procès, Vol. II, Summarium, page 22, ad. 6) Diocèse de Seéz.

Their Beatification

Souvenir Album of a historic day

Lisieux, Sunday 19th October 2008

Souvenir of a family gathering in the presence of many invited people among whom :

  • Cardinal SARAIVA MARTINS, Portuguese orgin, emeritus prefect of the Congregation of the cause of saints. He is especially sent by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
  • Cardinal Ivan DIAS, prefect of the Congregation for the evangelization of the people.
  • Cardinal Eusebio Oscar SCHEID, archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  • Cardinal Paul POUPARD, emeritus prefect of the Council for Culture
  • Carinal Bernard PANAFIEU, emeritus archbishop of Marseille
  • Madame Christine Boutin, Minister du homes and towns, delegated minister by the French government.
Le Cardinal Dias salue Madame Boutin. A ses côtés, Mgr Pican, le Cardinal Poupard à droite, M. Bernard Aubril, maire de Lisieux, à gauche

Many nations came to acclaim the newly blessed couple. On this Missionary Sunday, one could hear French, English, Portuguese, Slovak, Russian, Chinese,… In all, more than 12000 people present. Without counting the 173 million television viewers who followed the event live on television.

Rite for the Beatification during the ceremony

Fr. P. Antonio Sangalli, vice postulate for the cause of the Martin couple, in the name of the postulate Fr. P. Siméon of the Holy Family, draws the profile of the couple, bringing out the reason for their beatification.

The Bishops of the Sees of Alençon and of Bayeux-Lisieux then address their petition to t he Legate, asking him to precede with the beatification.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins, in the name of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, proclaimed the decree for the beatification.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins
Cardinal Saraiva Martins
proclame Louis et Zélie Martin « bienheureux »

The assembly expressed its joy and acknowledgment by singing : « Laudate Dominum, louez le Seigneur »

The Reliquary was revealed by the young Pietro Schiliro, who was miraculously cured by the parents. From outside the crowds are in united. Only she will see the fireworks which mark the event.

le reliquaire des bienheureux
le reliquaire des bienheureux
dévoilé sous un tonnerre d’applaudissements

A real family celebration

sur l’esplanade de la Basilique

The esplanade which was left quiet all during the ceremony was then turned into a place for a picnic offering the possibility for families and volunteers to exchange, discovering with the time anecdotes and the real life of the Martin family, so very like ours in many ways.

sur le parvis de la Basilique

In the meantime to make the couple Louis and Zélie Martin better known, stands presented reviews from the Sanctuary and the correspondence between Louis and Zélie among which 10 letters will be read in theatrical form in the afternoon.

Jeu scénique à la basilique
Jeu scénique à la basilique
lecture de 10 lettres de Madame Martin

A « meeting point » encouraged exchanges among families over a cup of coffee. All of this in a festive atmosphere.

En avant la musique
En avant la musique
c’est la fête sur le parvis de la Basilique

In short, with a beautiful sunshine, it was a successful day thanks notably to the help of numerous volunteers, all happy to give of themselves for this lovely cause.


The prayer intentions addressed through the intercession of the Martin couple quickly filled the basket placed near the reliquary.

la foule
la foule
vénère les reliques des bienheureux
  • « I give thanks with all of my heart to the Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin…on this day of 19th October last, while I was still moved by the magnificence of the ceremony for the beatification, a message was waiting for me which came from one of my daughters who hadn’t given me any news for two years : she has accepted to meet me on 13th November next, on the day of her 50th birthday. What joy ! It was a great moment of grace. Thank you. » Mme D.
Intentions de prière
Intentions de prière
Bienheureux Louis et Zélie, priez pour nous
  • « I have been married for 2 months, and for my husband and me it was very important to give ourselves to the protection of Louis and Zélie, who we cherish in particular. In the afternoon of the beatification, while the reliquary of the blessed couple was exposed on the platform outside of the Basilica, a lot of people were hurrying to touch it, but the people who were responsible for the security only allowed the children to go beside it and to kiss the reliquary. I was looking at the reliquary with love whenb one of the guards took me by the hand and said to me with the voice of a grandfather : “go on little one, go and give Louis and Zélie a little kiss”. In fact I am 20 years old but he thought I was only12. Alleluia ! without thinking I jumped onto the platform and I put my arms around the reliquary and kissed the sculpted picture of the face of Louis. In my head I was thanking the Blessed couple with all my heart, what grace, what kind thought ! and it has always been like that since I met Thérèse ! The doctrine of Thérèse, is to become like a child and it was especially true for me ! » Joséphine

Homely of the Beatification

By his Eminence the Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins
Former Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Representing His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
on the occasion of the beatification of the Venerable Servants of God
Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin, Spouses and Parents

Basilica of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus,
Lisieux October 19, 2008, 29th
Sunday after Pentecost World Mission Day

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins
Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins

Witnesses of Conjugal Love

“… shine like the stars of the universe, holding firmly to the words of life” Ph 2, 15d-16a

Brother Bishops and Priests,
Distinguished Guests,
Dear Pilgrims, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Worthy of Heaven”

In 1897, Therese wrote in Story of a Soul : “Pardon me, Jesus, if I go too far in telling you all my desires and my hopes that reach infinity, pardon me and heal my soul by giving it what I hope far !…(Ms B 2v°). Jesus always listened to Therese’s desires, even that which she confided in a letter to Father Belliere, and that many people now know by heart:God gave me a father and a mother who were more worthy of heaven than of earth (Lt 261).

I have just completed the Rite of Beatification with which our Holy Father the Pope has inscribed together the names of the two spouses in the Book of the Blessed. This Beatification of Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin, whom Therese defined as parents without equals, worthy of heaven, holy ground permeated with the perfume of purity (cf.Ms A), is very important in the Church.

My heart is full of gratitude to God for this exemplary witness of conjugal love, which is bound to stimulate Christian couples in practicing virtue just as it stimulated the desire for holiness in Therese.

While reading the Apostolic Letter of the Holy Father, I thought of my father and mother, and now I invite you to think of your parents that altogether we may thank God for having created and made us christians through the conjugal love of our parents. The gift of life is a marvellous thing, but even more wonderful for us is that our parents led us to the Church which alone is capable of making us Christians. For no one becomes a Christian by oneself.

Natives of Normandy, a gift to us all

Among the vocations to which individuals are called by Providence, marrage is one of the highest and most noble. Louis and Zelie understood that they could become holy, not in spite of marriage, but through, in, and by marriage, and that their becoming a couple was the beginning of an ascent together. Today the Church celebrates not only the holiness of these children of Normandy, a gift to us all, but admires,as well, in this Blessed couple that which renders more splendid and beautiful the wedding robe of the Church.

The conjugal love of Louis and Zelie is a pure reflection of Christ’s love for his Church, but it is also a pure reflection of the resplendent love without stain or wrinkle, but holy and immaculate (Ep 5,27) as the Church loves its Spouse, Christ. The Father chose us before the foundation of the world, that we may be holy and without reproach in His sight, in love (Ep 1,4).

“Only the violent bear heaven away”

Louis and Zelie were witnesses to the radical gospel engagement of the vocation of marriage, to the point of heroism for from the time of John the Baptist until now , the kingdom of heaven suffer violence and the violent bear it away (Mt 11,12) The Martins were not afraid to do violence to themselves in order to possess this kingdom of heaven, and thus they have become the light of the world that today the Church places on a lampstand so that it may shine on all those in the household (the Church). They shine before men that those wo ss their good works may glorify our Father who is in heaven. Their example of the Christian life is like a city on a mountain top that cannot be hidden.( Mt 5, 13-15).

“Master, give us your opinion”

But what was the secret of their success in living their life as Christians ? It has been made known to you, O man, that which is good and which God asks of you : to seek justice, to practice mercy, and to walk humbly with God (Mi 6,8). Louis and Zelie, a man and a woman who walked humbly with God in seeking the opinion of the Lord ; Master, give us your opinion. They sought the opinion of the Lord. They thirsted to know the opinion of the Lord They loved the opinion of the lord They accepted the opinion of the Lord without recrimination, without discussion or even worse objection. And in order to be certain that they were following the true opinion of the Lord , they turned to the Church, the expert teacher of humanity, and to its teachings. There wasn’t a single aspect of their private or public life which wasn’t in perfect harmony with the teachings of the Church, in their era as well as in ours.

“Serving God first”

For Mr. And Mrs. Martin that which was Caesar’s and that which was God’s was very clear. “My Lord God served first,” said Joan of Arc. The Martins made that the motto of their home. The complete submission of this couple to the will of God was remarkable. When suffering touched their lives, their spontaneous reaction was always to accept the will of God. Mrs. Martin often said, “God is the Master. He does what He wishes.” Mr. Martin echoed his wife in saying : “God is served first.” Husband and wife, they served God in the poor, not because of bursts of generosity, not through a sense of social justice, but simply because in the poor they recognized Jesus. To serve the poor is to serve Jesus, it is to render to “God what is God’s : each time that you have done this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.” (Mt 25, 34-40)

Heaven isn’t empty ; “Heaven is full of souls”

In a few minutes we will express our profession of faith with the Apostles’ Creed. that Louis and Zelie repeated so often during Mass and, above all, taught to their children. After we proclaim our faith in the holy Catholic Church, the Creed adds the Communion of Saints.

I believed, said Therese, I felt deep in my heart that there is a heaven and that Heaven is filled with souls who cherished me and who looked upon me as their child… (Ms B 2v°). In this heavenly home full of souls, as Therese tells us – today and from now on we can call upon the Blessed Louis and Zelie, whom we invoke for the first time, asking them to pray to God for us. Please, cherish us, look upon us as your children. Cherish the whole Church. Above all, cherish our homes and our children. […]

–*Louis and Zelie represent a gift for spouses of every age by the respect, and the harmony which marked their love during 19 years. Zelie expressed that when she wrote to Louis : “I could not live without you, my dear Louis.” He responded, “I am your husband and your friend whose love is yours for a lifetime.” They lived with heroism their marriage vows of fidelity to the bond that united them, to the fruitfulness of their love, in good times as in bad, in sickness and in health.

–*Louis and Zelie represent a gift for parents : Ministers of love and of life, they brought forth nine children for the Lord. Among these children, we particularly admire Therese. […]

–*Louis and Zelie represent a gift for all those who have lost their spouses : Being widowed is always difficult to accept. Louis faced the loss of his wife with faith and generosity, choosing for the good of his children to move to Lisieux, even though he would have preferred to stay in Alençon.

–*Louis and Zelie represent a gift for all those who face illness and death : Zelie died of cancer. Louis’ life ended after a succession of incapacitating strokes. In our modern world which seeks to hide from death, they teach us to look it in the face and abandon ourselves to God.

An Exemplary Model of a Missionary Household

Finally, I thank God, in this 82nd World Mission Day, because Louis and Zelie give us an exemplary model of a missionary household. This is the reason that the Holy Father wanted the beatification to take place on this day which is precious to the Universal Church, to unit the masters Louis and Zelie to the disciple Therese, their daughter, who is the Patron of the Missions and a Doctor of the Church.

The testimonies of the Martin children concerning the missionary spirit which reigned in their household are striking and unanimous : “My parents were very interested in the salvation of souls… But the apostolic work which we knew the best was the Propogation of the Faith to which, each year, our parents made a very generous contribution. It was this same zeal for souls which made them want so much a son who would become a missionary and daughters who would become nuns.” (Positio, Vol.II, p.972)

Recently, Cardinal Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization (Propaganda Fide) wrote : “For a disciple of Christ, to announce the Gospel isn’t just an option, but a commandment of the Lord… A Christian must have as a mission to spread the Gospel in each heart, in each house, in each culture” (Lambeth Conference, July 23, 2008).

My Brothers and Sisters, may your families, your parishes, your religious communities here and through the whole world, also be households of saints and missionaries, as was the household of the Blessed spouses Louis and Zelie Martin.


Visiting Lisieux

Welcome Service

Organising a pilgrimage

If you wish to come on pilgrimage, it is advisable to make contact with :
Service Accueil
31 rue du Carmel - CS 62095
Tel. : (00 33)(0)2 31 48 55 08
Fax : (00 33)(0)2 31 48 55 26
info chez therese-de-lisieux.com

Coming with a Group ?

You could benefit from our help in organising a programme tailored to the needs of your group. In particular you can ask for :

  • a reservation for a particular time and place for a celebration or service,
  • a reservation to see the film « The True Face of St Thérèse » or other films,
  • your group can be accompanied by one or more hostesses
  • the availability of one of the chaplains for a talk,
  • etc.

Coming as an individual ?

We can help you to get the most from your time in Lisieux.

  • Possibility of a guided pilgrimage in July and August - except August 15 : for those coming alone or with their family there is a pilgrimage following the footsteps of St Thérèse each day. It is directed by a pilgrimage hostess. Meet at 14.00 at the chalet in front of the Basilica for visits to sites associated with Thérèse : the Basilica, the Buissonnets, St Peter’s Cathedral, the Carmel Chapel and museum.
  • Film on the life of St Thérèse
    • from Easter Monday to October 10 : in the cinema hall at the Basilica, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00.
    • from October 11 to Easter Sunday : at the Centre d’Accueil Pastoral International, in front of the Basilica.
  • Diorama Thérèse Martin - a wonderful journey for young and old which follows the life of St Thérèse using life size wax models and lights :
    • on the site of the Basilica
    • from All Saints to Easter, open on week-ends and holidays, from 14:00 to 17:00
    • from Easter to All Saints, everyday from 11:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00
    • in January : closed
    • adults : 3 € - children : 1 € - groups : 2 €
  • Visit the dome
    • July and August : 14:00-17:30
  • Exhibitions/Displays
    • in the Basilica : The life of saint Thérèse
    • in the Crypt of the Basilica : The Carmel and Thérèse
    • in the Center across the Basilica : temporary exhibitions

Youth Service

The Youth Service


The Youth Service Lisieux is made up of :

  • a manager, pastoral leader
  • an accompanying priest
  • many pastoral presenters
  • a secretary.

All year we welcome groups from parishes, chaplaincies, schools…. and we suggest you come :

  • as an individual or group for a day or more
    • to experience the pilgrimage
    • to experience a special time in connection with your theme
    • Prepare a retreat : first communion, confirmation….
  • a gathering
    • festive days in June
    • Wednesdays in June
    • walk
    • workshop.

our mission : make Thérèse’s message known

For this, we provide you with :

  • Film on the life and message of St. Thérèse (35 min.)
  • Diorama (13 scenes on the life of St. Thérèse, audio guided visit of 25 min.)
  • Meetings, testimonies conference….
  • Guided visits by a pastoral leader :
    • House of the Buissonnets
    • Cathedral Saint Pierre
    • Chapel at Carmel
    • Basilica
    • Dome
    • Crypt
    • Celebrations, masses, prayer times…

Financial participation : please contact us.

Pèlerinage Sainte Thérèse
SERVICE JEUNES/Youth service
31 rue du Carmel - BP 62095
14102 LISIEUX Cédex
Tel/Fax : 02 31 48 55 09
E-mail : service-jeunes chez therese-de-lisieux.com

The Youth service is open

  • from Monday to Friday
  • from 9h00 to 12h30 and from 13h30 to 17h00


Thérèse looking for volunteers !

Every year, more than fifty people, French and other nationalities, come and give of their time to the pilgrims. They all relate the human and spiritual enrichment that their time in Lisieux brought them.

Bénévoles 2009

The volunteering period is divided into two seasons :

  • the summer, reserved for students, seminarians and young professionals
  • the rest of the year, that is to say from Easter to the end of June and from September to mid-October, is open to all willing people who are available !

In both cases, the volunteers are responsible for :

  • welcoming and giving information to the pilgrims and tourists who are visiting the Basilica, occasionally at Saint Pierre’s Cathedral or at the Buissonnets (St. Thérèse’s house) ;
  • taking care of reception in the exhibition areas and also, depending on the time of year, guide the pilgrims (guided visits of the Basilica and the other places of pilgrimage in the Summer) ;
  • helping with the youth gatherings (in May and June).

Conditions required for volunteers :

  • aged 18 or over ;
  • length of the stay : minimum stay of three weeks if you are coming for the first time ;
  • qualities : sensible and be able to take initiative, be available and open, be punctual, like good humour and comradeship.

Bénévoles 2009Important :

  • If you are not Catholic thank you for letting us know.
  • It is imperative that foreigners can speak good French.

Experiences :

  • Each one of us volunteers leaves for home bringing with us the torch of Christianity with Thérèse who works 24 hours out of 24, 365 days and nights of the year to give us the strength and the courage to see this mission through : save souls. Andrée (France), 2009
  • Links of prayer and friendship are created every day. All of these encounters will stay forever in my mind. Georgette (Belgium), 2009
  • Every person is unique. We were able to bring away with us lots of things and graces. You are all so fulfilled and happy are those who meet you. Elie, Youssef, Rawad (Lebanon), 2009
  • I’m leaving a new person who has changed not only because of St. Thérèse and the atmosphere in Lisieux, but also because of all those I encountered here Missy (USA), 2009
  • I will certainly promote volunteering in Lisieux ! I hope that others will know the same joy that I have encountered here : we receive so much from a human and a spiritual point of view. May St. Thérèse accompany those who are leaving and those who are coming ! Cyrille (France), 2009

Bénévoles 2009

  • My trip was short but very enriching in encounters….I truly understood here the importance of my duty of the mission in my daily life…. Jean-Eudes, 2008
  • Very happy to have come to Lisieux. Warm welcome, good atmosphere, and good encounters…It’s a pity to be so far away ! But to come back to see Little Thérèse, you don’t count the miles. - Joseph (France), September 2007
  • « I discovered many faces of the Church through the pilgrims from the whole world and through the cosmopolitan community of the volunteers (Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium.,,,) St. Thérèse gives me a taste for COME BACK. Blessed are you Lord ! »- Jean Lin, 2006
  • « With the volunteers, I found the joy of giving, of sharing, of living and belonging to God. In Lisieux, I experienced this presence in the love of others. Thank you to every other volunteer from all of the different countries for what they taught me : how to love, especially like Thérèse did, by giving everything. » Brother Bachir de la Trinité, (Lebanon), 2005
  • « I am happy again this year to participate in welcoming the pilgrims. The time for fraternity with the volunteers from all different horizons and the encounters with the pilgrims, the tourists, coming towards Thérèse have all been occasions of prayer to say THANK YOU to God for his wonders, as Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus teaches us. Thank you Thérèse for reminding us of this thoughtful love which did not spare anything to joins us and carry us towards life. » Eric (France), 2005

Send your application with a covering letter to :

Pèlerinage Sainte Thérèse
Service « Pastoral-Accueil »
31 rue du Carmel - BP 62095
Tel : 02 31 48 55 08
Fax : 02 31 48 55 26
e-mail : info chez therese-de-lisieux.com


Ermitage Sainte Thérèse

Open strictly only for pilgrims

Situated near the Carmel, close to the SNCF train station, the Ermitage is one of the two Spiritual Centres for Pilgrimage (pèlerinage).

Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse

Built in 1928, this big building of Norman style can welcome a hundred people. Its double vocation allows it to welcome independently pilgrims and those on retreat, individually or in groups.

  • A chapel in the centre of the house is open to all of those welcomed in the Ermitage and who would like a time for prayer in community or individually :
  • Meeting rooms are at the disposal of groups of pilgrims if they so wish
  • A lift brings you to the upper floors
  • A car park is reserved for people who are staying there

Pilgrims can be lodged and have their meals there in the same conditions as in other religious homes.

A calendar for retreats, weekends is proposed every year to all of those who would like to deepen their Christian life through inspiration from the spiritual experience of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

How to get there

  • Train : Lisieux train station - 10 minutes on foot or by taxi
  • Car : 23, rue du Carmel - entry through the porch at the Ermitage


Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse
23 rue du Carmel,
14100 Lisieux
Tel : 02 31 48 55 10
Fax : 02 31 48 55 27
e-mail : ermitage-ste-therese chez therese-de-lisieux.com

Foyer Louis and Zélie Martin

Open strictly only for pilgrims

The Foyer Louis and Zélie Martin is part of the Sainte Thérèse of Lisieux Sanctuary as a centre for spiritual welcoming, offering the possibility of being lodged and having your meals in the same conditions as in other religious homes.

Foyer Louis et Zélie MARTIN

Since November 1995, sisters of Missionary Workers of the Immaculate, members of the Child Missionary Donum Dei, secular carmelitian third parties, from all five continents, worked to insure the upkeep of the centre.

From March 1, 2015, there will be a new team of sisters from the italian Congregation « Ancelle di Santa Teresa del Bambino Gésù ».

The building structure easily allows the welcome of sick or disabled people (no medical help is given) but the Foyer Louis and Zélie Martin is very much open to all : individuals, groups or families who would like to experience their pilgrimage in joy, song and prayer.

  • On the ground floor, the foyer has a large room (caters for about 250 people) and a smaller room (caters for about 50 people) useful for gatherings such as meetings, conferences, prayer evenings, etc..
  • The two dining rooms are between the ground and the first floor.
  • On this same level, you can also meditate in the little chapel
  • The three otherlevels are for lodgings. The maximum amount that is catered for is 140 beds in 55 rooms : individual rooms, rooms for couples, rooms with 2,3 4 and 6 beds. The sheets are provided but not towels which you are asked to bring.
  • A big lift goes to the five levels of the building
  • and a car park is situated behind the building and is reserved for those staying at the Foyer.
  • Pilgrims can be lodged and have their meals there in the same conditions as in other religious homes.
  • Home cooking is plentiful and there is also possibility for those on special diets.

The Foyer Louis and Zélie Martin being situated near to the Carmel and the Basilica, pilgrims can easily take part in the activities organised by the Sanctuary of Lisieux : celebrations in the Carmel or the Basilica, discovery of the Thérèsian places (les Buissonnets, Saint Pierre’s Cathedral), visit exhibitions or diorama…


Foyer Louis et Zélie Martin
15 avenue Sainte Thérèse
14100 Lisieux
Tel : 02 31 62 09 33
Fax : 02 31 62 88 65
e-mail : foyer-martin chez therese-de-lisieux.com

The Missionary Workers

The Missionary Workers of the Donum Dei Family

The Missionary Family Donum Dei was founded by a French priest, Fr. Marcel Roussel-Galle, who was born in 1910 in a little village in the Franche-Comté region and who died in Rome on 22 February 1984.

abbé RousselHaving been ordained at Besançon in 1934, Fr. Roussel became intensely preoccupied with the issues facing the Church at that time. Cardinal Suhard had stirred the Church in France to become conscious of the profound de-christianisation of the country. Fr. Roussel was deeply distressed when Fr. Godin published his book, “France, A Mission Country”.

For Fr. Roussel, Thérèse is second only to the Blessed Virgin as his confidante, his constant friend. It was with Thérèse that he would build a spiritual Family. It was also with her that he would discover the burning thirst of God : to pour his love into the hearts of all people.

Fr. Roussel also understood that his mission was greater than him and that ultimately his mission was to found a Spiritual Family which, following Thérèse, would live the offering to Merciful Love in the world and would be its apostle.

As Parish Priest in the little village of Doubs from 1942 to 1947, he wrote : “the pagan masses attract me : I would love to evangelise them through young women who have given themselves and consecrated themselves totally to God …”

Fr. Roussel went to Paris in 1947 and very quickly he succeeded in bringing together a number of young women who were attracted by the ideal that he proposed. On the 11th February 1950 he gathered them together and gave them the name “Missionary Workers of the Immaculate”.

What was their vocation ? Like Thérèse, their vocation consisted in offering to Jesus their virginity, their entire love and to offer themselves to his Merciful Love.

What was their mission ? To help others to rediscover Christ as he showed himself to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well, and to reveal to the whole of humanity Jesus as God’s gift.

Travailleuses Missionnaires

The first people to whom the Missionary Workers carried their faith in the Merciful Love of Christ were the prostitutes in the Pigalle district of Paris. They also ministered to the workers in the large factories on the outskirts of Paris, to secondary school students, to the sick in hospital and to other workers in various different types of work.

As the years went by, the Family grew : the number of foundations increased and vocations came from different parts. After their time of formation in France and Rome, the Missionary Workers offered themselves to Jesus as spouses through the same offering to Merciful Love as that made by the little Thérèse.

Their communities are always international in order to show that Merciful Love wants to unite people of all races in one family.

They live their vocation in many different ways : as individuals working in the work place ; the Eau Vive restaurant chain ; centres for prayer ; apostolates to prisoners, poor areas and hospitals, as well as catechetical and chaplaincy services in colleges, etc.

In 1981, some mothers approached the Missionary Workers requesting that they be given spiritual help in order to strengthen their life as spouses and mothers. Faced with the world-wide crisis that was undermining the human family, Fr. Roussel felt called to found a movement of mothers to be apostles in their own homes and in the homes of others. These mothers, called Missionary Mothers, became organised and the formation meetings brought them into contact with the way of Thérèse. They too, with their husbands, offered themselves to Merciful Love.

In 1984, Fr. Roussel found that his Spiritual Family had different faces : Missionary Workers, mothers, families, and young people. Despite different ways of living, the same spirit of love was in their hearts. Father Roussel decided that all the members should be grouped together into one spiritual family to be called the Donum Dei Missionary Family. “If only you knew the gift God is offering you”. He understood that this Family could not remain faithful to its mission to live the message of little Thérèse in the world if it was not – like Thérèse – rooted in the Carmelite Order. Shortly before his death on the 22nd February 1984, Fr. Roussel entrusted the Donum Dei Missionary Family to the Carmelite Order so that it would be incorporated into the International Tertiary Secular Order.

This was finally realised on the 22nd February 1987. At this moment, there are about 30 groups of the Donum Dei Family spread across the five continents.

The Missionary Family is present in Lisieux since November 1995 at the invitation of the Diocese. Its mission is to maintain the Louis and Zélie Martin Foyer – 15 Avenue Sainte Thérèse – as a centre of prayer and accommodation at the service of the pilgrim to Lisieux. The Missionary Workers of the Immaculate also participate in the liturgical life of the Saint Thérèse Pilgrimage by leading the singing at Mass and by organising prayer liturgies at the request of groups coming to Lisieux.

The Donum Dei Missionary Family is also present at Lisieux through its members who often gather with the Missionary Workers of the Immaculate for days of spiritual reflection and family sharing.


Events and news from the Sanctuary of Lisieux

Coming in Lisieux

Times and usefull addresses


  • Chapel
    • open :07:20-19:00 (18:30 from November 1 to March 15)
  • Prayers
    • Morning prayer
      • Week : 07:20
      • Sunday : 08:00
    • Mid-day prayer
      • 13:45 (except on Monday)
    • Vespers
      • 18:00
  • Mass
    • 08:00 (except Sundays, Bank holidays and certain feast days)*
    • 09:00 (with the Carmelites and outside of feast days)
    • 11:15 (with the Carmelites Sundays and feast days)
      * Sundays and feast days = 1st January, Easter Monday, 1st and 8th May, Ascension Thursday, Pentecost Monday, 14th and 16th July, 15th August, 1st and 15th October, 1st November, 14th December, Christmas) : 8:00 mass in the chapel at the Ermitage
  • Pilgrims prayer
    • in July and August, from Tuesday to Saturday : 20:30
  • Museum
    • open :
      • 09:30-12:15 / 13:30-18:00
      • Closed : in January

Basilica - Crypt

  • Open :
    • December, January, February : 09:00-17:30
    • March, November : 09:00-18:00
    • April, October : 09:00-18:30
    • May, June, September : 09:00-19:00
    • July, August : 09:00-19:30
  • Masses
    • Sunday :
      • 10:30 Basilica (from Easter Sunday to All Saints) / Crypt
      • (from 2nd November to Palm Sunday)
      • 17:00 Crypt (all the year)
    • Monday to Saturday :
      • 15:30 Crypt (from 2nd January 2012)
  • Centre d’accueil (opposite the Basilica) - open
    • November, December, January, February : 09:30-17:15
    • March, October : 09:30-17:45
    • April, May, June, September : 09:00-18:15
    • July, August : 09h00-18:45
  • Cinema of the Basilica
    • 35-minutes film on St Thérèse’s life
    • in French or English, sub-titles in German, Spanish, Italian, Polish and Portuguese
    • from the week-end after Easter to the end of the Thérésian feast day activities : 14:00 - 15:00 - 16:00
    • from October to Easter Sunday : the film is shown at the Pastoral Center John-Paul II : 14:00 - 15:00 - 16:00
  • Museum of the Diorama
    • 11 wax scenes from the life of Thérèse (audio guided visit of 25 min.)
    • from 1st April to 1st November, except Sundays and liturgical feast days : 11:00-13:00
    • 14:00-18:00
  • Dome
    • in July and August : 14:00-18:30

Cathedral of Saint Peter

  • open
  • 09:30-18:45 (Sunday 10-18:00)
  • Masses
    • Sunday : 11:00
    • From Monday to Friday : 18:00
    • Saturday : Sunday mass 18:00 ( St-François Xavier church), 18:30 (St Désir church)

Buissonnets (Home of saint Thérèse)

  • From Easter Monday to beginning of October : 09:00-12:00 / 14:00-18:00
  • October, February, March : 10:00-12:00 / 14:00-17:00
  • November, December, January : 10:00-12:00 / 14:00-16:00
  • from mid-November to mid-December, December 25, January 1 : closed

Welcome Houses for pilgrims (for lodging and / or meals)

  • Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
    23 rue du Carmel
    14100 Lisieux
    Ph. 02 31 48 55 10 - Fax 02 31 48 55 27
    ermitage-ste-therese chez therese-de-lisieux.com
  • Foyer Louis et Zélie Martin
    15 avenue Sainte-Thérèse
    14100 Lisieux
    Ph. 02 31 62 09 33 - Fax 02 31 62 88 65
    foyer-martin chez therese-de-lisieux.com

For any further information :
Service Accueil
BP 62095
F-14102 LISIEUX cedex
Phone : 02 31 48 55 08 - Fax 02 31 48 55 26
info chez therese-de-lisieux.com

Program 2016

Jubilee of Mercy

  • « Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy to live in our everyday lives the Mercy that our Father has shown us since the begining of time ». - Pope Francis Papal Bull.
  • I cannot fear a God who made himself so small for me ! I love Him, He is only love and mercy !” - Thérèse

November 2015

  • 7-8 November 2015 - Carmelite weekend
    • Living the Year of Mercy with Thérèse” (by Carmelites and Carms of Lisieux)
    • From Saturday 4:30pm to Sunday 6pm
    • inscriptions : www.carmeldelisieux.fr (events)

December 2015

  • Opening of the Year of Mercy in the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
    • Monday 7th December 2015
      • 6pm First Vespers, Carmel
    • Tuesday 8th December 2015
      • 3:30pm Mass, Lower Basilica
      • 4:30pm Visit Cloister of Mercy
      • 6pm Vespers, Carmel
      • 8:30pm Evening gathering “songs and prayers”, Carmel
    • Sunday 13th December 2015 - Opening of the Holy Door
      • 10:15am Rendez-vous in the grounds of the Basilica
      • 10:30am Opening of the Holy Door and mass, Basilica
      • 3:30pm Vespers, Lower Basilica
      • 5pm Mass Lower Basilica
        Visit Cloister of Mercy

February 2016

  • Thursday 11th February 2016 - Spiritual evening
    • Learning to pray with St. Thérèse", Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    • 8:30pm Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse
  • Tuesday 16th February 2016 - Conference for Lent : Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy (linked to the Parish in Lisieux)
    • Presentation of the Papal Bull, Mgnr Michel Guyard
    • 2:30pm and 8:30pm, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • from 20th to 21st February 2016 - Week end for fiancés
    • Preparation for marriage with saints Louis and Zélie Martin
    • from Saturday morning to Sunday lunch-time, Ermitage Saint Thérèse
  • from 21st to 27th February 2016 - retreat for Lent
    • "Interior Voyage with Thérèse of Avila” Fr. Bernard Bézier
    • from Sunday evening to Saturday morning, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • Tuesday 23rd February 2016 Conference for Lent : Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy (linked to the Parish in Lisieux)
    • Justice and Mercy with Saint Thérèse” Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    • 2:30pm and 8:30pm, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • 27th - 28th February - Carmelite weekend
    • Living the Year of Mercy with Thérèse” (by Carmelites and Carms of Lisieux)
    • From Saturday 4:30pm to Sunday 6pm
    • inscriptions : www.carmeldelisieux.fr (events)

March 2016

  • 1st March 2016 Conference for Lent : Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy (linked to the Parish in Lisieux)
    • The gifted child, companion to Charles Péguy” Brother Philippe Hugelé, Carm
    • 4:30pm and 8:30pm, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • from Friday 4th March to Saturday 5th March 2016 - 24 hours for God
    • Adoration and reconciliation, Chapel in Carmel
    • 5pm Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
    • 6pm Vespers
    • from 6:30pm to 7am Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
    • 7:15am morning prayer
    • 8h/9h/11h15 Mass as usual
    • 12h Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Tuesday 8th March 2016 - Conference for Lent : Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy (linked to the Parish in Lisieux)
    • The Jubilee, a favourable time” Fr. Sylvain Lamerand
    • 4:30pm and 8:30pm, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • Thursday 10th March 2016 - Spiritual evening
    • Learning to pray with Saint Thérèse”, Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    • 8:30pm Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • Tuesday 15th March 2016 Conference for Lent : Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy (linked to the Parish in Lisieux)
    • The ministry of Mercy”, Fr. Benjamin Boisson
    • 2:30pm and 8:30pm, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • Holy Week
    • Holy Wednesday - 23rd March
      • 5pm Penitential service, Lower Basilica
    • Holy Thursday - 24th March
      • 8am Readings, Carmel
      • 10 am Lessons “Thérèse and the Eucharist”, Fr. Lemoine, Ermitage
      • 2:30pm Visit of the Cathedral
      • 5pm Celebration of the Last Supper, Carmel
      • 6pm Celebration of the Last Supper, Lower Basilica
    • Friday 25th March
      • 8am Readings, Carmel
      • 10am Lessons "Thérèse of the Holy Face”, Brother Bernard Bézier, Carme, Ermitage
      • 3pm Stations of the Cross, Basilica
      • 5pm Celebration of the Passion, Carmel
      • 6pm Celebration of the Passion, Lower Basilica
    • Saturday 26th March
      • 8am Readings, Carmel
      • 10am Lessons Thérèse’s experience of Jesus and Easter. “I understood what true glory was” Brother Philippe Hugelé, Carm, Ermitage
      • 2:30pm visit Les Buissonnets
      • 9pm Easter prayer service, Lower Basilica
      • 9:30pm Easter prayer service, Carmel
    • Easter Sunday 27th March
      • 10:30am Mass in Basilica
      • 2:30pm Visit of the Basilica
      • 3:30pm Vespers in Lower Basilica
      • 5pm Mass in Lower Basilica

April 2016

  • Sunday 3rd April 2016 - Sunday of Mercy
    • Jubilee Process
    • Sermon by a representative of Pope Francis
    • Confession possible
    • Visit the Cloister of Mercy
  • Thursday 14th April 2016 - Spiritual evening
    • “Learning to pray with Saint Thérèse”, Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    • 8:30pm Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • from 16th to 17th April - Weekend “Families”
    • Activities for children in the steps of saints Louis and Zélie Martin
    • from Saturday morning to Sunday lunch time, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse

May 2016

  • from 5th to 7th May 2016 - Festival for the Ascension Thursday (linked with the Parish in Lisieux)
    • Thursday 5th May 2016
      • 10:30am Mass in Basilica
      • 9pm Sound and Light Show “A hurricane of Glory”, Cathedral
    • Friday 6th May 2016
      • 9pm Sound and Light Show “A hurricane of Glory”, Cathedral
    • Saturday 7th May 2016
      • 9pm Sound and Light Show “A hurricane of Glory”, Cathedral
    • Sunday 8th May 2016
      • 10:30am Mass, Basilica
      • followed by the inauguration of the chapel of Lebanon, Basilica
      • 5pm Mass Lower Basilica
  • 15th May 2016 - Pentecost
    • 10:30am Mass, Basilica
    • 3:30pm Vespers, Lower Basilica
    • 5pm Mass, Lower Basilica
  • 29th May - Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ
    • 10:30am Mass, Basilica
    • 3:30pm Procession of the Blessed Sacrament
    • 5pm Mass, Lower Basilica
  • Thursday 26th May - Spiritual evening
    • “Learning to pray with Saint Thérèse”, Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    • 8:30pm Ermitage Sainte Thérèse

June 2016

  • 11th-12th June 2016 Carmelite weekend
    • “Living the Year of Mercy with Thérèse chez Thérèrse” (by Carmelites and Carms of Lisieux)
    • From Saturday 4:30pm to Sunday 6pm
    • inscriptions : www.carmeldelisieux.fr (events)
  • Thursday 16th June - Spiritual evening weekend
    • “Learning to pray with Saint Thérèse”, Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    • 2030 Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • from 19th -25th June - retreat
    • “Mercy following the word of God and Thérèse”, Fr. Gabriel Ribreau
    • from Sunday evening to Saturday morning, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse

July 2016

  • 9th to 12th July - Feast of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin
    • Saturday 9th July - Alençon
      • Walk for couples, conference, mass
    • Sunday 10th July - Lisieux
      • 10:30am Mass, Basilica
      • Blessing of the Families
    • Monday 11th July
      • 3:30pm Mass Basilica
    • Tuesday 12th July
      • 3:30pm Mass, liturgical feast, Basilica
  • from 10th - 16th July 2016 - retreat
    • “With Thérèse, always finding delight in what Jesus gives us”, Fr. Pierre Descouvemont
    • from Sunday evening to Saturday morning, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse

August 2016

  • from 8th to 15th August - Animation from the Carmes
    • Week of spiritual activities proposed by some Carm brothers from the Province of Paris, along with the Carms and Carmelites from Lisieux
    • Basilica
  • 14th -15th August 2016 - Assumption
    • Saturday 14th August 2016
      • 8:30pm Procession and prayer with Our Lady, Basilica
    • Sunday 15th August 2016
      • 10:30am Mass, Basilica
      • 3:30pm Procession with the Statue of Our Lady of the Smile from the House of Les Buissonnets to the Basilica and Vespers
  • from 17th - 30th August - Sessions for Thérèsian studies
    • “The poem of September” Manuscript B
    • Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
    • Information and enrolment : OET Frères Carm, 42 rue du Docteur Lesigne 14100 Lisieux ; etudes-theresiennes chez carmes-paris.org
  • from 21st to 27th August 2016 - retreat
    • “I sing what I want to believe, Saint Thérèse”, Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    • from Sunday evening to Saturday morning, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse

September 2016

  • from 4th to 10th September - retreat
    • "Joy in Saint Thérèse”, Fr Benjamin Boisson
    • from Sunday evening to Saturday morning, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • Thursday 15th September 2016 - Spiritual evening
    • “Learning to pray with Saint Thérèse”, Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    • 8:30pm Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • 24th September to 2nd October 2016 - Saint Thérèse festivities
    • Saturday 24th 2016
      • 8:30pm Procession of the Relics from Carmel to the Basilica, prayer
    • Sunday 25th September, 2016
      • 10:30am Mass, Basilica
      • 3:30pm Procession from the Basilica to the Cathedral and Vespers

October 2016

  • 24th September to 2nd October Saint Thérèse festivities
    • Saturday 1st October 2016 - solemnity of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face
      • Day of the sick and disabled, Basilica
      • Afternoon Mass, Basilica
    • Sunday 2nd October 2016 Pèlerinage de la Famille du Carmel
      • 10:30am Mass, Basilica
      • 3pm Procession from the Basilica to the chapel at Carmel and Vespers
  • Thursday 13th October 2016 - Spiritual evening
    • “Learning to pray with Saint Thérèse” Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    • 8:30pm Ermitage Sainte Thérèse

November 2016

  • from 5th to 6th November 2016 - Week end for fiancés
    • Preparation for marriage with saints Louis and Zélie Martin
    • from Saturday morning to Sunday lunch-time, Ermitage Saint Thérèse
  • Thursday 10th November 2016 - Spiritual evening
    • “Learning to pray with Saint Thérèse”, Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    • 8:30pm Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • from 13th to 19th November 2016 - retreat for closing the Year of Mercy
    • Saint Thérèse and Mercy “To me, He gave his infinite mercy”, Fr Patrick Lemoine
    • from Sunday evening to Saturday morning, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse
  • Sunday 20th November 2016 - Closing of the Year of Mercy
    • Solemnity of Christ the King
    • 10:30am Mass, Basilica
    • 12h Closing of the Holy Door
  • from 26th to 27th November - weekend “18-30 year olds”
    • entering Advent
    • from Saturday morning to Sunday lunchtime, Ermitage Sainte Thérèse

December 2016

  • from 3rd December 2016 to 5th February 2017 - Cribs from around the world
    • 9:30am to 5pm Centre John Paul II, every day except Christmas day and January 1st
    • Sundays : guided visits 3:30pm
  • Thursday 15th December 2016 - Spiritual evening
    • “Learning to pray with Saint Thérèse”, Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    • 8:30pm Ermitage Sainte Thérèse


  • At the Basilica in Lisieux, Holy Door
    • Open from 13th December 2015 to 20th November 2016
    • For pilgrims who would not be able to go to the Holy Door in Rome, the Pope authorizes the Bishops to open a Holy Door in Cathedrals and churches of their choice. Passing through this door in prayer grants the Lord’s indulgence for us or for a deceased person.
  • Cloister of Mercy, place of meditation
    • open every day, same hours as the Basilica
    • under the cloister under the Basilica
  • Confessions
    • Carmel:10h-11h00/15h-17h
    • Basilica : Easter to All Saints 10h30-12h/15h-17h00
    • Lower Basilica : Easter to All Saints 10-30-12h/15h-17h00

Program for 2015

In the course of the year with St. Thérèse and Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin

December 2014

  • Once a month – a literary evening
    • Presentation of a book by its author
    • linked with the library from Carmel
    • 20h30-22h
    • Abri Sainte-Thérèse, 16 rue du Carmel
    • info : library at Carmel 02 31 62 76 69
  • 6 December 2014 - 2 February 2015 – Exhibition of Cribs from around the world
    • honoured guest : Italy
    • Centre Pastoral Jean-Paul II, Basilique
    • every day (except 25 December and 1st January) : 9h30-17h
    • Sunday, 15h30 : guided visit

February 2015

  • Until the 2nd February -Exhibition of cribs from around the World : Italy
    • everyday, 9h30-17h (except on 1st January)
    • guided visit on Sunday at 15h30
  • 24/02 - Conference on Lent (linked to the Parish in Lisieux)
    • 14h30 or 20h30

March 2015

  • 03/03 - Conference on Lent (linked to the Parish in Lisieux)
    • 14h30 or 20h30
  • 08-14/03 - Retreat for a life of devotion « Your face is my only homeland »
    • Fr. Bernard Bézier, carme
    • 6 days to learn about the holiness of St. Thérèse
    • The retreats begin at 19h and end at 10h
    • bring Bible, Prayer Book
    • Information and enrolment : 02 31 48 55 10 - ermitage-ste-therese chez therese-de-lisieux.com
  • 10/03 - Conference on Lent (linked to the Parish in Lisieux)
    • 14h30 or 20h30
  • 14-15/03 - Week-end for fiancés
    • Information and enrolment at : info chez therese-de-lisieux.com
  • 17/03 - Conference on Lent (linked to the Parish in Lisieux)
    • 14h30 or 20h30
  • 18/03 - Spiritual Evening : learn to pray with St. Thérèse
    • conference, prayer time, theme discussion
    • Fr. Patrick Lemoine, from Institut Notre-Dame de Vie
    • 20h30-22h, Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse
  • 24/03 - Conference on Lent (linked to the Parish in Lisieux)
    • 14h30 or 20h30
  • 29/03 - Palm Sunday
    • 10h30 and 17h Mass, lower Basilica

April 2015

  • 01/04 - Holy Wednesday
    • 17h Penetential Service, lower Basilica
  • 02/04 - Holy Thursday - celebration of the Last Supper
    • 17h Carmel
    • 18h Lower Basilica
  • 03/04 - Good Friday
    • 15h Stations of the Cross, Basilica
    • 17h Celebration of the Passion of Christ, Carmel
    • 18h Celebration of the Passion of Christ, lower Basilica
  • 04/04 - Holy Saturday
    • 18h Vespers at Carmel
    • 21h Pascal Evening prayer, lower Basilica
    • 21h30 Pascal Evening prayer, Carmel
  • 05/04 - Easter Sunday
    • 10h30 Mass, Basilica
    • 15h30 Vespers, lower Basilica
    • 17h Mass, lower Basilica
  • 06/04 - Easter Monday
    • 10h30 Mass lower Basilica
  • 15/04 - Spiritual Evening : learn to pray with St. Thérèse
    • conference, prayer time, theme discussion
    • Fr. Patrick Lemoine, from Institut Notre-Dame de Vie
    • 20h30-22h, Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse
  • 18-19/04 - Week-end parents-children
    • Information and enrolment : info chez therese-de-lisieux.com
  • 25-26/04 - Week-end for grandparents and grandchildren
    • Information and enrolment : info chez therese-de-lisieux.com

May 2015

  • From May to September - Prayer Time
    • 14h45-15h15
    • Adoration : Tuesday and Wednesday, Adoration Chapel in the lower Basilica
    • Rosary : Tuesday and Friday, chapel de la Vierge in the lower Basilica
    • Veneration of the Relics of Blessed Louis et Zélie Martin : Saturday, lower Basilica
    • Veneration of the Relics of St. Thérèse : Sunday, Basilica
  • 14/05 - Ascension Thursday
    • 10h30 Mass, Basilica
    • 17h Mass, lower Basilica
  • 20/05 - Spiritual Evening : learn to pray with St. Thérèse
    • conference, prayer time, theme discussion
    • Fr. Patrick Lemoine, from Institut Notre-Dame de Vie
    • 20h30-22h, Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse
  • 24/05 - Pentecost Sunday
    • 10h30 Mass, Basilica
    • 15h30 vespers, lower Basilica
    • 17h Mass, lower Basilica

June 2015

  • From May to September - Prayer Time
    • 14h45-15h15
    • Adoration : Tuesday and Wednesday, Adoration Chapel in the lower Basilica
    • Rosary : Tuesday and Friday, chapel de la Vierge in the lower Basilica
    • Veneration of the Relics of Blessed Louis et Zélie Martin : Saturday, lower Basilica
    • Veneration of the Relics of St. Thérèse : Sunday, Basilica
  • 07/06 - Feast of the Blessed Sacrament
    • 10h30 Mass, Basilica
    • 15h30 Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and vespers
    • 17h Mass, lower Basilica
  • 10/06 - Spiritual Evening : learn to pray with St. Thérèse
    • conference, prayer time, theme discussion
    • Fr. Patrick Lemoine, from Institut Notre-Dame de Vie
    • 20h30-22h, Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse
  • 17/06 - Thérèsian Days for the Youth
    • Festive Celebration, sharing experiences, visiting places,…
    • Inscriptions : Service Jeunes, 31 rue du Carmel, 14100 Lisieux ; Tel:02 31 48 55 09 ; service-jeunes chez therese-de-lisieux.com
  • 20/06 - Thérèsian Days for the Youth
    • Festive Celebration, sharing experiences, visiting places,…
    • Inscriptions : Service Jeunes, 31 rue du Carmel, 14100 Lisieux ; Tel:02 31 48 55 09 ; service-jeunes chez therese-de-lisieux.com
  • 21-27/06 - Retreat for all « 10 psalms in prayer with Thérèse »
    • Fr. Gaby Ribreau
    • 6 days to learn about the holiness of St. Thérèse
    • The retreats begin at 19h and end at 10h
    • bring Bible, Prayer Book
    • Infos and enrolment : 02 31 48 55 10 - ermitage-ste-therese chez therese-de-lisieux.com

July 2015

  • From May to September - Prayer Time
    • 14h45-15h15
    • Adoration : Tuesday and Wednesday, Adoration Chapel in the lower Basilica
    • Rosary : Tuesday and Friday, chapel de la Vierge in the lower Basilica
    • Veneration of the Relics of Blessed Louis et Zélie Martin : Saturday, lower Basilica
    • Veneration of the Relics of St. Thérèse : Sunday, Basilica
  • Every day from Tuesday to Saturday - Pilgrims Prayer
    • 20h30, Chapel at Carmel
  • every day (except 12th July) - Guided Pilgrimage
    • 14h departure from the Information Office, grounds of the Basilica
    • walk (3 hours)
  • 08/07 - Spiritual Evening : learn to pray with St. Thérèse
    • conference, prayer time, theme discussion
    • Fr. Patrick Lemoine, from the Institut Notre-Dame de Vie
    • 20h30-22h, Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse
  • 11/07 - Feast of Blessed Louis et Zélie Martin, in ALENçON
    • walk for couples
    • conference
    • Mass
  • 12/07 - Feast of Blessed Louis et Zélie Martin, in LISIEUX
    • 10h30 Mass, Basilica
    • afternoon sharing experiences, vespers
  • 12-25/07 - Course : The Autobiography (Manuscript A), from childhood memories to the offering of love
    • organised by the Carmelite Brothers, with the Institut d’Etudes Thérésiennes
    • This course is open to all who would like to know more about the young Doctor of the Church, and in particular to those who teach matters on Thérèsian spirituality.
    • Information and enrolment : Fr. Philippe Hugelé, carme - IET Tel. : 02 31 48 66 43 ; etudes-theresiennes chez carmes-paris.org
  • 25-26/07 - Week-end 18-30 year-olds
    • Information and enrolment : info chez therese-de-lisieux.com

August 2015

  • From May to September - Prayer Time
    • 14h45-15h15
    • Adoration : Tuesday and Wednesday, Adoration Chapel in the lower Basilica
    • Rosary : Tuesday and Friday, chapel de la Vierge in the lower Basilica
    • Veneration of the Relics of Blessed Louis et Zélie Martin : Saturday, lower Basilica
    • Veneration of the Relics of St. Thérèse : Sunday, Basilica
  • Every day from Tuesday to Saturday - Pilgrims Prayer
    • 20h30, Chapel at Carmel
  • Every day (except 15th August) - Guided Pilgrimage
    • 14h departure from the Information Office, grounds of the Basilica
    • walking tour (3 hours)
  • 10-16/08 - Spiritual Week
    • by the Carmel Brothers Province of Paris
    • Mass, accompanied meditation, teachings, evening prayer
  • 12/08 - Spiritual Evening : learn to pray with St. Thérèse
    • conference, prayer time, theme discussion
    • Fr. Patrick Lemoine, from Institut Notre-Dame de Vie
    • 20h30-22h, Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse
  • 14/08 - Evening prayer before the Assumption
    • 20h30 Evening Prayer, lower Basilica
  • 15/08 - Assumption
    • 10h30 Mass, Basilica
    • 15h30 procession of the Statue of Our Lady of the Smile from the Buissonnets house to the Basilica and vespers
    • 17h Mass, lower Basilica
  • 23-29/08 - Retreat for all « the secrets of the joy of the word of God with Thérèse »
    • Fr. Pierre Descouvemont
    • 6 days to learn about the holiness of St. Thérèse
    • The retreats begin at 19h and end at 10h
    • bring Bible and Prayer Book
    • Information and enrolment : 02 31 48 55 10 - ermitage-ste-therese chez therese-de-lisieux.com

September 2015

  • From May to September - Prayer Time
    • 14h45-15h15
    • Adoration : Tuesday and Wednesday, Adoration Chapel in the lower Basilica
    • Rosary : Tuesday and Friday, chapel de la Vierge in the lower Basilica
    • Veneration of the Relics of Blessed Louis et Zélie Martin : Saturday, lower Basilica
    • Veneration of the Relics of St. Thérèse : Sunday, Basilica
  • 06-12/09 - Retreat for all « The Joy of the Word of God with Thérèse »
    • Père Philippe Hugelé, carme
    • 6 days to learn about the holiness of St. Thérèse
    • The retreats start at 19h and end at 10h
    • Bring Bible and Payer Book
    • Information and enrolments : 02 31 48 55 10 - ermitage-ste-therese chez therese-de-lisieux.com
  • 16/09 -Spiritual evening : learn to pray with St. Thérèse
    • conference, prayer time, theme discussion
    • Fr. Patrick Lemoine, from the Institut Notre-Dame de Vie
    • 20h30-22h, Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse
  • 26/09 - 04/10 - St. Thérèse Feast day activities
    • Saturday 26/09
      • 20h30 Procession of the Relics from Carmel to the Basilica and prayer
    • Sunday 27/09
      • 10h30 Mass at the Basilica
      • 15h30 Procession from the Basilica to the Cathedral and evening prayer

October 2015

  • 01/10 - St. Thérèse Feast Day
  • 03/10 - Day for the sick and disabled
  • 04/10 - Sunday closing of St. Thérèse’s feast day activities Pèlerinage de la Famille du Carmel (organisé par les frères carmes de la Province de Paris)
    • 10h30 Mass at the Basilica
    • 15h00 Procession from the Basilica to Carmel and evening prayer
  • 14/10 - Spiritual Evening : learn to pray with St. Thérèse
    • conference, prayer time, theme discussion
    • Fr.Patrick Lemoine, from the Institut Notre-Dame de Vie
    • 20h30-22h, Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse

November 2015

  • 01/11 - All Saints
    • 10h30 Mass Basilica
  • 06-12/09 - Retreat for priests « Ah ! Let us pray for priests »
    • Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    • 6 Days to learn about the holiness of St. Thérèse
    • The retreats begin at 19h and end at 10h
    • Bring Bible, Prayer Book
    • Information and enrolment : 02 31 48 55 10 - ermitage-ste-therese chez therese-de-lisieux.com
  • 08-09/11 - Week-end for fiancés
    • Information and enrolment : info chez therese-de-lisieux.com
  • 18/11 - Spiritual Evening : learn to pray with St. Thérèse
    • conference, prayer time, theme discussion
    • Fr. Patrick Lemoine, from the Institut Notre-Dame de Vie
    • 20h30-22h, Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse

December 2015

  • 05/12-02/02/2016 - Exhibition of cribs from around the world : 10th anniversay
    • Centre John-Paul II, opposite the Basilica
    • every day, 9h30-17h
    • except 25th December and 1st January
    • guided visit : Sunday, 15h
  • 16/12 - Spiritual Evening : learning to pray with St. Thérèse
    • conference, prayer time, theme discussion
    • Fr. Patrick Lemoine, from the Institut Notre-Dame de Vie
    • 20h30-22h, Ermitage Sainte-Thérèse

Relics’ travels

About the Relics of saint Thérèse

The source of the movement for the veneration of the relics of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face began in the cemetery of Lisieux shortly after her death on 30th September 1897.

Reliquaire de sainte ThérèseAt the Carmel, after the death of a sister, an obituary notice was written and sent to the Friends of the monastery. That of Thérèse of the Child Jesus was composed from the three autobiographical manuscripts that she had written out of obedience. Its success brought about the first edition of ’Story of a Soul’, published 30/09/1898, 2000 copies, followed by a second edition in May 1899 ; 6000 copies in 1900. Translations followed, first into English in 1901, and then, during the following four years, into eight languages.

Ancienne tombe de sainte ThérèseVery quickly readers of ’Story of a Soul’ came on pilgrimages to Thérèse’s grave in Lisieux. They wrote to the Carmel to ask for relics. The movement grew. A procession of pilgrims arrived each day, climbing from the station with a constant relay of carriages to the tomb on the heights of the city. Miracles happened there, including the cure on May 26th 1908, of a little blind girl, four years old, named Reine Touquet, from a modest background, whose mother had brought her to the grave the day before. This miracle was talked about far and wide.

And so there were more and more pilgrims to the grave. People prayed there, their arms raised, left letters, photographs, flowers were brought ex-votos were placed : crutches, canes, things of all sorts (see Guide for Pilgrims, Descouvemont, p.44), candles were lit….Big pilgrimages were organised.

The body of Thérèse was exhumed in the cemetery on 6th September 1910, in the presence of the Bishop and about a hundred others. The remains were placed in a lead coffin and transferred to another tomb. A second exhumation took place on 9th 10th of August 1917. On 26th March 1923, the solemn transfer of the coffin from the cemetry to the chapel of the Carmel took place. The Beatification of Thérèse was pronounced in Rome on 29th April 1923.

The Canonisation took place in Rome on 17th May 1925. On 30th September 1925, in Lisieux, the Papal legate, Cardinal Vico, came to kneel before the open reliquary where the body of Thérèse lay, to place a golden rose in the hand of the statue, made by the trappist monk Marie-Bernard, from the Abbey of Soligny.

But how do we explain the « storm of glory », which in a quarter of a century, made this young girl who died at only 24 years and 8 months, known to the entire world ?

It is a whole epic that ’A story of a Life’, (by Guy Gaucher), allows us to see. It is the itinerary of a woman who dared believe, with a daring audacity, in the Love of the Merciful Father, ’the most fundamental reality of the Gospel’ (John Paul II in Lisieux) (ref. cover of book).

Our aim here is not to present the message of Thérèse, nor the action throughout the world, that made this Doctor of the Church known. We would merely like to understand what is happening around the relics of Thérèse, as much in Lisieux as in the other countries where she has travelled.

For a catechesis of the Relics,

The relics refer us to Saint Thérèse. Understanding Thérèse is about understanding how she lived her faith. Her life is a testimony, her message is enlightening, her attitudes liberating, her judgement full of balance.

But by venerating the relics the pilgrim is not only coming to ’remember’ but to encounter Thérèse herself. The pilgrim explains that it is about living a personal experience with her that is unique and often decisive in ones life. To a certain extent Thérèse’s past is of interest to the pilgrim only because she is there ’in the present’, in the world of today, and this presence represents what the pilgrim will be tomorrow. It is why a catechesis before, during and after the passage of the relics is necessary, because the presence of Thérèse creates a space which places us before the meaning of our own daily lives : it opens the topic of the presence of the Ressurected Christ today.

Thérèse can only be understood by attending the school of Jesus with her.

The starting point of the catechesis is questioning the « sense »of the relics.

Avoid two non-sensical risks

First avoid ’rationalist’’ prejudice : the veneration of relics is an ancient action that brought about absurdities in the history of religions (see the book of Calvin). Pilgrim centers fought to have relics, created them, and made them into a business etc. Mankind, crushed by his human condition, by the fear of suffering and of death, needs to protest against that which crushes him. He takes refuge in magical behaviours that protect him and allow him to survive. Today science enlightens us on these attitudes that are created out of the power of the subconscious mind. Alot of marvellous phenomena that happened in the past have found scientific explanations. Those which are not explained today, will be tomorrow. Those who have a biassed attitude from the beginning refuse to consider the facts themselves. Apparently they see in the relics a deceptive naivety, exploitation, weakness of the human spirit.

The Opposite attitude is to avoid all critical spirit. ’Relics work’, it is a talisman that protects ; surpernatural powers are considered radioactive, which work without us knowing it. Follow a certain procedure, do not miss anything, and the result is there. The medals, the reliquary, the prayers are compulsory. To be even surer, you add Saint Benedict or a few other miracle-workers . The real story of Thérèse, her ideal are all far away.

Between the two, there is however, a « meaningful » way (full of meaning)

it is that of the spiritual way : proposing the testimony of Thérèse, the different stages of her life, the discoveries, the sources, the meaning she gave to her life. It is a proposal of faith. Thérèse does not teach, nor develop concepts, she lives a spritiual experience (she only speaks about this to answer questions imposed on her :Ms A and C, or suggested to her : Ms B). She does not write in order to have disciples, but she believes her way can help « many souls » to find their way. What Thérèse actually brings us, is not so much a theological concept in itself, but more so a means of translating what happens to us in a spiritual experience. The last text that she wrote (on the back of a picture 25 August 1897) sums it up : ’I cannot fear a God who made himself so small for me…I love him !…because He is only Love and Mercy !’.

When we question the pilgrims, it is the heart of this message that touches them, whatever their age, their culture, their country and even their religion. ’The God of Love is at the base of it all, even if, ’the night of faith’ can invade the conscience of the believer.

Speaking of a spiritual experience is speaking about life « in accordance with the Holy Spirit ». He who acted in the real life of Thérèse, in her personality, He, is the one who gives Himself to us when we open our hearts to His presence in response to the call that the veneration of relics creates in us. Meeting Thérèse makes it possible for us, if we wish, to meet Him who was the love of her life.

The manifestations around the relics surprise us, they seem to belong to a ’poplular religion’. The religion of ’the people of God’ does it not belong to ’theology in action’ that Pope John Paul II loves ? That is to say it is ’a language on God, on the relationship between God and man.

Liturgy is a good avenue to the catechesis because it is a symbolic way, addressing every sense and not just the intellect. In everything that is organised around the relics, the liturgy is an important moment, focussing on the sacrements of the Church of Christ, with the word of God, and the sacraments (baptisim, confirmation, reconciliation…)It creates in the heart, what Paul called the signs of the Spirit : peace, joy, comfort, reconcilation, strength in times of struggle’.

In the different countries where the relics have visited, the same thing is to be found : movements of conversion (’metanoïa’), that is to say surpassing oneself, what one thinks, what one lives, towards a confidence, no longer founded on only human reason, but on that on which reason is founded (the sense given by faith in our veritable human condition). It is an opening to self-transcendence that comes to the forefront in our existance (immanence) : the Ressurected Christ, who was at the heart of Thérèse’s life, is in the heart of the believer.

The places of pilgrimmage are often catalysts for permitting this experience. All of his was in my life, but now the signs can talk. ’You made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless as long as they do not rest in You’.

In Lisieux, the different Thérèsien places (les Buissonets, San Pierre’s Cathedral, the Carmel, the Basilica) are often vectors of those moments. It is possible to ’try’ the signs (sacraments) of faith and to meet, through Thérèse, He who was in the heart of her life.

Thérèse, Doctor of the Church, offers us a whole range of possibilities to develop this catechesis :

  • the time given to sacraments ;
  • the word of God, to which she has a very special approach ;
  • the meaning of her vocation in the church ;
  • the things in her life that testify her relationship with Jesus ;
  • her simple and hidden life…

To bring the relics to a country supposes

  • a preparatory action : presenting the life, the message and the meaning of Thérèse ;
  • an adapted catechesis when Therese is there : time for prayer, for veneration, individual contacts (dialogue, reconciliation, sacrements, etc…) ;
  • action afterwards in order to continue what was done and to be attentive to what grows after sowing the seeds.

The main ’actor’ is the Holy Spirit, it is He who decides that a life should take a new meaning, become spiritual. (So the relics, an important souvenir from the past, leads to the future).

The Relics of saint Thérèse throughout the world

All over the world, with different demonstrations, it is through the reliquary that Thérèse is welcomed. Thousans of kilometers are travelled. What are the crowds coming from everywhere looking for ? And there are not only catholics but also those from various Christian churches or even people of different religions (notably islamic ?). Who are they looking for ?

The « media marketing tool » (as a professional from the tourist industry calls it) is however quite poor, despite the beauty of the casket offered by Bresil and its protective case made of plexiglass. The crowds show a child-like enthusiasm but nothing magical. They touch the reliquary and celebrate it in silent reverence or with joyous party-like attitudes ; flowers, plaudits, fireworks, song, orchestras…, but more than anything else they demonstrate prayer, veneration, emotion. They come to participate in the Eucharist and praise.

They do penance, receive the sacrament of Reconciliation, spend long hours praying… They want to get to know Thérèse, read her works, find pictures and medals of her. The veneration of the relics is certainly an experience of the believer before the sacred (a Muslim from the Lebanon : ’it is a blessing from God’). It establishes communication with God. So the important thing is to clarify what they represent.

Calendar of the peregrinations

Calendar of the Reliquary of the Centenary

Reliquaire du Centenaire de sainte Thérèse


  • Until the 15th February : CAMEROON
  • 28 February - 11 May : IRELAND
  • 19 May - 4 June : GUYANA
  • 16 September - 16 October : ENGLAND


  • 15 January - 14 March PHILIPPINES
  • 27 March - 15 April : JORDANIE
  • 19-28 April : FRANCE (Diocese of Reims)
  • 30 April - 9 June : GERMANY/SWISS GERMANY
  • 23 June - 17 August : EQUATOR
  • 10 September - 3 October : CANADA
  • 1 November - 15 February 09 : CAMEROON


  • 15 April - 15 May : SOUTH GERMANY
  • 18 May - 1 July : LITUANIA
  • 2-16 July : LETTONIA
  • 19-27 July : ESTONIA
  • 30 August - 23 September : HUNGARY (Congrès Nouvelle Evangélisation)
  • 25 September - 16 October : GUAM
  • 15-28 October : FRANCE (Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière de Paris)
  • 28 October - 5 November : FRANCE (Notre-Dame des Victoires à Paris)
  • 5-7 November : FRANCE (Paris, Montmartre)
  • 8 Nov. - 28 Ded. : ITALY (14 nov. private chapel of Holy Father Benedict XVI)


  • 15-19 February : FRANCE (La Guerche de Bretagne)
  • 23 March - 3 April : FRANCE (Rouen)
  • 22-23 April : FRANCE (Pellevoisin)
  • 29 April - 4 May : FRANCE (Versailles ND des Armées)
  • 6-15 May : FRANCE (Sées)
  • 24 May – 6 June : FRANCE (Lyon)
  • 16-26 June : FRANCE (Le Mans)
  • 3-30 July : FRANCE (Diocese St Flour - Murat - Mauriac)
  • 13 August - 29 December : ITALY


  • 14 January – 9 March : BURKINA FASO
  • 6-7-8 February : TOURS (Oratoire Ste Face)
  • 29 April - 15 August : POLAND
  • 22 August - 8 September : SEYCHELLES
  • 16 September - 18 October : NEW ZELAND
  • 14-15 October : FRANCE (Paris, paroisse de Cergy-Pontoise)
  • 15 October - 1er November : FRANCE (Paris, l’hôpital la Pitié-Salpêtrière)
  • 22-23 October : FRANCE (Vire, Bény-Bocage)
  • 28 October - 16 December : PORTUGAL


  • 15 January - 22 april : BENIN
  • 3-23 June : FRANCE (Diocese de Meaux)
  • 25 June - 27 July : GABON
  • 1 August - 19 September : COLOMBIA
  • 30 September - 13 October : FRANCE (Diocese de Vannes)
  • 23 October - 9 November : FRANCE (congrès d’évangélisation à Paris)
  • 10-28 November : FRANCE (Diocese de Luçon)
  • 1-20 December : FRANCE (Diocese de Nice)


  • 10 January - 13 January : REUNION ISLAND
  • 14 February - 3 March : MADAGASCAR
  • 4 March – 13April : MAURITIAS
  • 4 May - 15 June : ITALY (Turin, Venise)
  • 15 June : FRANCE (maison natale d’Alençon)
  • 17 July - 7 August : MALTA
  • 4 September - 22 December : SPAIN


  • 1-20 January : FRANCE (Diocese of Saint-Brieuc)
  • 1February - 3 May : AUSTRALIA
  • 4 May - 20 August : POLYNESIE FRANCAISE (Nouvelle-Calédonie, Wallis, Tahiti, Marquises, Ile de Guam)
  • 1 September - 17 November : LEBANON
  • 20 November - 26 December : IRAQ


  • 16 January - 28 March : MEXICO
  • 15 April – 28 June : IRELAND
  • 12-15 August : FRANCE (Honfleur)
  • 8-9 September : FRANCE (Lisieux, Les Buissonnets)
  • 17 September - 15 December : CANADA


  • 30 January - 28 April : PHILIPPINES
  • 6-14 April : TAIWAN
  • 14-19 April : HONG-KONG
  • 4 May – 26 December : ITALY


  • 20 January - 21 February : THE NETHERLANDS
  • 27 February- 21 March : RUSSIA (Russie d’Europe / Volga)
  • 5-20 April : RUSSIA (Siberia occidentale)
  • 22 April - 5 May : RUSSIA (Sibérie orientale)
  • 5 May - 30 June : KAZAKHSTAN
  • 9 July - 3 0ctober : ARGENTINIA
  • 4 October /November / December : UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


  • 14 December 1997 - December : BRAZIL


  • August : FRANCE (JMJ Paris, Notre-Dame des Victoires)
  • October : ITALY (Milan, Doctorat à Rome)
  • 14 December : BRAZIL


  • Janauary - May : FRANCE (monasteries, communities, parishes)
  • June - August : FRANCE (monasteries, communities, parishes)
  • 8-11 August : GERMANY (Altötting)
  • 20-25 August : ITALY (Rimini)
  • 27 August - 27 September : FRANCE (monasteries, communities, parishes)


  • March - November : FRANCE (parishes of Paris)
  • 17-21 November : BELGIUM(Namur / Beauraing / Arlon)
  • 10-23 December FRANCE (Ariège / Bordeaux)


  • October - November : FRANCE (Lyon / Marseille / Venasque)


One year after the visit of St. Thérèse’s relics to Britain,pilgrims are still reflecting on the experience, as Lay Carmelite Johan Bergström-Allen reports…

The relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux came to England and Wales in the autumn of 2009. Over the course of a month, more than a quarter of a million pilgrims came to venerate the relics and to learn about Thérèse Martin’s Little Way of Spiritual Childhood. A year later people across Britain are still talking about the experience, not least within the Carmelite Family to which Thérèse herself belonged.

The Carmelite Family of friars, nuns and lay people was heavily involved in organising events in many of the 30 venues where the relics were brought.

One of those venues was St. Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham, England’s second largest city, where lay members of the Carmelite Order organised talks about Thérèse and were on hand to welcome pilgrims in September 2009.

One of the lay members of the Carmelite Order in Birmingham, Mr. John Berry, also has national responsibility for overseeing the tertiary (lay) communities of the British Province of Carmelites. In a recent letter to his fellow tertiaries, John wrote : ‘It’s hard to believe it is one year already since the visit of the relics of St. Thérèse. The relics made an enormous impact wherever they went and the interest shown by Catholics, Christians of other traditions, and people of other faiths was truly inspirational. How are our Lay Carmelite communities a year after the relics visit ? I would like to think that we have indeed taken the message of St. Thérèse to heart and put her Little Way into practice in our lives. Thérèse assures us that our little everyday expressions of love have great value in God’s eyes, and she reminds us that “God does not look at the greatness of our actions, but at the love with which they are carried out.” Thérèse reminds the Church our time that all of God’s children are called to holiness and not just the few !’

South of Birmingham in the county of Kent, the Carmelite friars at Aylesford Priory welcomed thousands of pilgrims who came to pray alongside the relics of St. Thérèse the weekend of 9th-11th October 2009.

A year later some of those pilgrims returned to Aylesford for special events reflecting back on the relics visit experience. A special retreat on the life and spirituality of St. Thérèse was led by Fr. Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm., former Prior General of the Carmelite Order.

Fr. Joseph was among those at Aylesford in October 2010 who welcomed members of the Society of the Little Flower, which perpetuates the message of St. Thérèse and raises funds for the missions of the Carmelite Order around the world. Together they reflected back on the many ‘roses’ of grace that had been received from God in the last year through the intercession of St. Thérèse.

Carmelites in England’s biggest county, Yorkshire, also took the opportunity of the first anniversary of the relics visit to reflect on its legacy. On the feast day of St. Thérèse, 1st October 2009, the relics had been taken to York Minster, one of the most important cathedrals in the Church of England. It was the first time that the relics had been taken to a place of worship that is not Roman Catholic, and Thérèse’s beautiful message was warmly welcomed by many Protestants who admire her devotion to God’s Word in Scripture.

The senior Anglican clergyman at York Minster is the Dean, Very Rev. Keith Jones. He has a strong personal devotion to St. Thérèse and was keen for her relics to be brought to York Minster.

Local Carmelite nuns, friars and laity were present to welcome the relics at the Minster in 2009, and a year later gathered with the Dean at the Carmelite Spirituality Group which meets monthly in York. The Dean spoke about Thérèse as a spiritual genius who enables people to have a direct encounter with Jesus Christ. The Dean praised the simplicity of her life and her message, which is simply an echoing of the Gospel and makes her a credible and engaging witness to Christ. He recalled the great sense of prayer in the Minster the previous year which was open all night for pilgrims ; some 10,000 people passed by the reliquary casket from many different walks of life who shared with Thérèse their hopes and troubles, and who connected more deeply with God and with one another.

Shortly after leaving York Minster the relics of St. Thérèse were taken across the county to St. Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds. Again, tens of thousands of pilgrims came to pray alongside the relics over the course of a weekend in October 2009.

The events in St. Anne’s Cathedral were organised by Fr. John Wilson, the Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation in Leeds Diocese. In October 2010 he looked back on the visit with Carmelites at their Spirituality Group meeting in the city. He recalled the sense of expectancy before the visit, which was widely reported in the media, both religious and secular. He spoke of Thérèse as proof that people are drawn to holiness, and described her as someone who helps people searching for holiness to approach God with confidence, not only Roman Catholics but also other Christians, people of other faiths, and even non-believers. Fr. John recalled the large numbers of people who queued to get into the Cathedral, who were willing to be counted as Christian. He observed that, with hindsight, the visit of St. Thérèse’s relics was good preparation, spiritually and logistically, for the visit of Pope Benedict to Britain a year later.

Carmelites reflecting with Fr. John also spoke of how the relics visit gave an insight into the reality of the Church ; at Leeds the bishop, clergy, religious, laity, young, old, male and female all gathered together as members of the body of Christ. Pilgrims were reminded that they are part of a universal Church, experiencing the relics visit as it has been experienced in other parts of the globe. The visit of Thérèse’s relics also reminded the Church of its duty to welcome all people and to turn no one away who is seeking God.

Fr. John spoke about how the relics had been an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel, and to listen afresh to the Word of God as the Scriptures were proclaimed at various liturgies. He described how the relics visit had also been an affirmation of the Resurrection ; Christians believe in the communion of saints, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting, all of which was recalled by the presence of the relics. Several Carmelites reflected on how St. Thérèse had pointed people to Christ in the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation. They also noted how the relics had reminded us of the sacramentality of the Christian faith, that is, how outward gestures and objects express some inward truth ; people wanted to touch the reliquary, to kiss it, present gifts to Thérèse, and thus show through their actions the deepest longings of their hearts.

The Carmelites in Leeds agreed with Fr. John that the visit of the relics had also been a formative experience for the many children and young people who came to the cathedral ; this once-in-a-lifetime occasion will have made a deep impression on them, and allowed for unique encounters to take place between pilgrims.

Many members of the Carmelite Family in Britain recall the visit of St. Thérèse’s relics with affection, and continue to experience graces from the event. One such grace has been an increased interest in the Carmelite way of life. Some monasteries of Carmelite nuns in Britain have received enquiries from women inspired by Thérèse’s life of prayer and service, discerning whether they too might have a vocation to the religious life. Carmelite friars have also received similar enquiries from young men wondering if God is calling them to be priests and brothers.

The intercession and inspiration of St. Thérèse is also being credited for the establishment of new communities of Lay Carmelites, including a Carmelite Spirituality Group that will begin meeting in the city of Manchester in 2011. The group will meet at the Catholic Chaplaincy to the Universities of Manchester, and the convenors believe it is no coincidence that their planning visit to the Chaplaincy took place exactly a year after the relics of St. Thérèse had been there. As Universities Chaplain Fr. Ian Kelly said, ‘With Thérèse, there are no coincidences !’

A year after the visit of St. Thérèse’s relics to England and Wales, the Carmelite Family can state that their sister’s impact is indeed a living legacy.

For more information about the Carmelite way of life and communities in Britain please visit :

Visit of the relics in England and Wales

16 September - 16 October

A time of grace for England and Wales

At the request of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and the bishops of England and Wales, the relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux will be visiting England and Wales from 16 September to 16 October 2009.

Many people have been praying and asking for this to happen, and now their prayers have been answered. We can be sure that this will be a time of grace.

To find out more information about the Relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Itinerary of the Relics’ Visit


Presentation of our publications :


Following Christ with Therese Following Christ with Therese

Therese of Lisieux - 2008 number 1 Therese of Lisieux - 2008 number 1
You can find in this magazine : The story of Louis and Zélie Martin : their meeting, family life, the strong points of their spirituality, their holiness, and the graces they obtained…and Editor’s Choices to read ! Click here

Therese of Lisieux - 2009 number 2 Therese of Lisieux - 2009 number 2
You can find in this magazine : Thérèse and the English : an old friendship, St. Thérèse crosses the Channel, The Reliquary of Louis and Zélie Martin… and Editor’s Choices to read ! Click here

To order or for other Information :
Pèlerinage de Lisieux-Service Revues
B.P. 62095 - F - 14102 Lisieux cedex
E-mail : revues chez therese-de-lisieux.com


Thérèse de Lisieux

Discover the Thérèse of Lisieux magazine

Many of you come to the place where Thérèse Martin lived.
Here in the sanctuary we are very pleased with these encounters and moments of sharing.
It is for this reason that we would like, with the Thérèse de Lisieux magazine, to help you maintain that link every month.
The editorial staff strives to make her spiritual message known : “Love Jesus and make him loved”.

The contents are as follows :

  • An editorial on the current message of the Saint.
  • A section on History on the moments of the life of Thérèse, of her family and of its influence.
  • A message from Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus in its multiple facets.
  • The voyage of Thérèse throughout the world, event of the last decade. ‘I want to travel the world’ translates the emotion, the joy, the surprise…in the four corners of the world.
  • A report (8 pages) on an essential theme of our faith, in the light of Thérèse, Doctor of the Church.
  • Life in the Sanctuary, a busy place animated with the events and the visits of the pilgrims.
  • Current events concerning Thérèse around the world.
  • Readers’ letters corner to share your experience with Thérèse.
  • This magazine is in French.

Therese of Lisieux N° 7 - Calendar 2013

You can find in this magazine : Thérèse of the Child Jesus and Faith ; the story of Thérèse’s belongings ; Thérèse adopted by the latin american countries ; and the Calendar : With Saint Thérèse and her family live each day of the year. Each month indicates the dates of celebrations and Theresian events…

couv calendrier 2013
Therese of Lisieux – Calendar 2013

  • Editorial
    Living in trust and love with God (Download file)
    Msgr. Bernard Lagoutte
  • Message
    Thérèse of the Child Jesus and Faith (Download file)
    Fr. Jean Pierre Robin
  • History
    When Thérèse’s belongings tell a story… The large tumbler and the thimble
    Fr. Jean Etève
  • Go out into all the world
    When the latin american countries adopted Thérèse (Download file)
  • Calendar 2012 (Download file)
    With Saint Thérèse and her family live each day of the year
  • Pray with Therese
    Jesus… My own folly is to trust (Download file)
    Fr. Patrick Lemoine

Therese of Lisieux - N°6

You can find in this magazine : Thérèse and the Gospels ; Thérèse and the Blessed Virgin Mary in Walsingham ; Thérèse and the ordinary way to Holiness ; a special St Thérèse day in England ; Thérèse and the Eucharist ; pilgrims groups in Lisieux from many countries…

TDL n°6
Therese of Lisieux n°6

  • Editorial (Download file)
    « She’s been there ! »
    Msgr. Bernard Lagoutte
  • History
    Her Greatest Treasure : Thérèse and the Gospels (Download file)
    Fr. Aloysius Rego
    St. Thérèse and the Blessed Virgin Mary in Walsingham
    Fr. Peter Pitre
    Fr. Alan Williams
  • Message
    St. Thérèse and the ordinary way to Holiness (Download file)
    Msgr. Philip Boyce
  • Go out into all the world
    « A full day with Thérèse » (Download file)
    Sr Marie-Christine
  • Dossier
    Thérèse and the Eucharist (Download file)
    Benedict XVI
    Thérèse and the Eucharist
    Fr. Patrick Lemoine
    The Eucharist at the Heart of the Martin Family
    Mrs. Dominique Menvielle
    Lisieux, a eucharistic « Mount Tabor »
    Sr Marie-Christine
    The 50th International Eucharistic Congress
    Fr. Declan Hurlay
    Putting Jesus at the heart of our lives
    Fr. Douglas Harriis
  • News
    From USA, a musical work
    Christopher Wicks
    From UK - August Lisieux Retreat
    Fr. Joseph Farrell
    From USA, Missouri
    Christine Ehrhard
    From USA, Nebraska
    Sr. Karen Marie Wilson
    Scotland Motherwell
    Jane Burns
    From UK, Manchester
    Fr. Jim Clarke
    From UK, The Parish of St. Theresa’s of Lexden celebrated 40 years in 2011
    Mike Roche and Vicky Whittam
    From UK Salford with Fr. Paul Daly
    From UK, Chelmsford
    From the Philippines
    Fr. Marcelino Mesa
    From New Zealand
    Fr. Peter Conaghan
    From Japan, Diocese of Nigata
    American Pilgrims in Lisieux
    Fr. Peter Dugandzic
    From Canada
  • Letters to the Editor
    Rain of roses
  • Find out more
    Editor’s choice
  • Pray with Thérèse
    Jesus thirsts for Love ! (Download file)
    Fr. Patrick Lemoine

Therese of Lisieux N° 5 - Calendar 2012

You can find in this magazine : 2012 the time of our lives, When Thérèse’s belongings tell a story…, Feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Calendar : With Saint Thérèse and her family live each day of the year. Each month indicates the dates of celebrations and Theresian events.

Therese of Lisieux – Calendar 2012

  • Editorial
    Day to day with Thérèse and her Parents (Download file)
    Msgr. Bernard Lagoutte
  • Message
    2012 The time of our lives
    Msgr. Guy Gaucher
  • History
    When Thérèse’s belongings tell a story… (Download file)
    Msgr. Guy Gaucher
  • I would like to travel over the whole earth
    16th July : Feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel (Download file)
  • Calendar 2012 (Download file)
    With Saint Thérèse and her family live each day of the year
  • Pray with Therese
    The Holy name of Jesus (Download file)
    Fr. Patrick Lemoine

Therese of Lisieux - N°4

You can find in this magazine : the trip of Thérèse to Rome ; the story of Thérèse’s family ; the audacity of Love ; saint Thérèse’s Relics in South Africa ; John Paul II and Thérèse of Lisieux ; some months spent in Bangladesh with a volunteer from the Shrine of Lisieux…

Therese of Lisieux n°4

  • Editorial (Download file)
    Jesus with us on our paths
    Msgr. Bernard Lagoutte
  • History
    Roma ! Roma !
    Msgr. Guy Gaucher
    The story of Thérèse’s family (Download file)
  • Message
    The audacity of Love (Download file)
    Msgr. Keith Barltrop
    The symbole of the flower
    Paola Mostarda
  • I would like to travel over the whole earth
    In South Africa (Download file)
    Sr Marie-Christine
  • Dossier
    John Paul II and Thérèse of Lisieux (Download file)
    « God, rich in Mercy »
    John Paul II
    En route… The Little Way
    « Living on Love is living on your life »
    Sr Marie Simon-Pierre
    « Training evangelical workers »
    John Paul II
    Announcing the Gospel
    John Paul II
    « Sing of your Mercy »
  • News
    St. Thérèse in Bangladesh (Download file)
    Ria Augustijns
  • Life at the Shrine (Download file)
    From India
    From Norway
    Harald Haveland
    From Irak
    From the USA
  • Letters to the Editor
    Rain of roses
  • Find out more
    Editor’s choice
  • Pray with Thérèse
    Thérèse and Mary Magdaleine (Download file)
    Fr. Patrick Lemoine

Therese of Lisieux - N°3

You can find in this magazine : Thérèse copes with the illness of her father ; the Turin Shroud : a witness to Christ’s Life and Love ; Thérèse, a boundless trust ; the visit of saint Thérèse’s Relics to England and Wales ; renovation of the Martin family house in Alençon ; the spiritual abandonment in Thérèse and Newman ; a new church Saint-Theresa in Philippines…

cover of TDL copier
Therese of Lisieux n°3

  • Editorial (Download file)
    « I will not be inactive in heaven, I desire to work for the church » St. Thérèse
    Msgr. Bernard Lagoutte
  • History
    Thérèse copes with her father’s illness
    Msgr. Guy Gaucher
    The Turin Shroud bears witness to Christ’s Life and Love
  • Message
    Trust triggers miracles
    Fr. John Udriss
  • I would like to travel over the whole earth (Download file)
    In England and Wales
    Sr Marie-Christine and Josiane Angot
  • Theresian Spirituality
    The Abysses of Love and Mercy of the Heart of Jesus : St. Thérèse of Lisieux and the Sacred Heart (Download file)
    Maureen O’Riordan
    "Mary, more mother than queen"
    Fr. Dominique Sterckx
    Why a carmelite nun as patroness of the missions ? (Download file)
    Msgr. Guy Gaucher
    "Love is paid by love alone" the Family Martin’s Loving answer in family charity
    Dominique Menvielle
  • News
    Alençon : home to the Martin family
    Spiritual Abandonment in St. Thérèse and Newman
    Cardinal Jean Honoré
    A new church : St. Theresa in Lipa (Philippines) (Download file)
    The beatification of Louis and Zelie Martin as seen by an American : A Rose Ever Blossoming
    Fr. Donald Kinney
    A group of 30 pilgrims from various parts of the United States
    India - Foundation stone of the Little Flower Seminary Chapel blessed at Lisieux (Download file)
    Dr. Johnson Puthussery
    United Kingdom
    Western Australia Perth
  • Letters to the Editor
    Rain of roses
  • Find out more
    Editor’s choice
  • Pray with Thérèse (Download file)
    Theresa, the little sister of priests throughout the world
    Fr. Patrick Lemoine

Therese of Lisieux - N°2

You can find in this magazine : Thérèse and the English : an old friendship, St. Thérèse crosses the Channel, The Reliquary of Louis and Zélie Martin… and Editor’s Choices to read !

Therese of Lisieux - N°2
Therese of Lisieux n°2

  • Editorial (Download file)
    « I will no longer leave You » St. Thérèse
    Msgr. Bernard Lagoutte
  • History
    Thérèse and the English : an old friendship
    Fr. Thomas Nimmo Taylor
  • Message
    Searching for a « lift » in spiritual life. The place of confidence
    Fr. Georges Thottathil
  • I would like to travel over the whole earth
    St. Thérèse crosses the Channel
    Msgr. Keith Barltrop
    The Reliquary of Louis and Zélie Martin (Download file)
    Fr. Antonio Sangalli
  • Dossier (Download file)
    « Completely yours. Thérèse gives herself »
    Fr. N. Taylor
    Fr. Emmanuel Renault
    Fr. Terrence Cyr
    Carmelite Friars of Aylesford
  • News
    St. Thérèse goes to space
    Focus : group of catholic University students (USA)
    Miss Claires de Loynes
    Volunteer in Lisieux (USA)
    Miss Missy Guerrero
    Interview with Sister Cecil Hwang (Korea)
    Mrs. Dominique Menvielle
    "Beyond my expectations". A place for Filipinos
    Mr. Manuel Baldemor
    Jubilee of the parish « St. Thérèse of Lisieux, little Flower church » (India)
    Mr. Patrick Kollannur
  • Letters to the Editor
    Rain of roses
  • Find out more
    Editor’s choice
  • Pray with Therese
    God thirsts for our love
    Fr. Patrick Lemoine

To order or for other Information :
Pèlerinage de Lisieux-Service Revues
B.P. 62095 - F - 14102 Lisieux cedex
E-mail : revues chez therese-de-lisieux.com

Therese of Lisieux - N°1

The story of Louis and Zélie Martin : their meeting, family life, the strong points of their spirituality, their holiness, and the graces they obtained…and Editor’s Choices to read !

Therese of Lisieux - N°1
Therese of Lisieux n°1

  • Editorial (Download file)
    Louis and Zélie declared blessed
    Msgr. Bernard Lagoutte
  • History
    A home of love : Louis and Zélie Martin
    Dominique Menvielle
  • Message
    Paola Mostarda
  • Dossier (Download file)
    A way of Life
    Faith and Trust in God
    Jesus present and served first
    The Virgin Mary
    Turning to heaven
    On suffering
    In charity
  • News
    Towards Beatification
    Marie-Béatrice de Cérou
    Miracle in Monza
    Testimony of Adele and Valter Schiliro (Download file)
    The spouses Louis and zélie Martin
    Fr. Antonio Sangalli
  • Letters to the Editor
    Rain of roses
  • Find out more
    Editor’s choice
  • Pray with Therese
    Those who have followed the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
    Fr. Patrick Lemoine

To order or for other Information :
Pèlerinage de Lisieux-Service Revues
B.P. 62095 - F - 14102 Lisieux cedex
E-mail : revues chez therese-de-lisieux.com

Vie Thérésienne

Vie thérésienne

The quarterly review Vie Thérésienne took the continuation of the Studies and Documents of 1961.

Review of research historical, spiritual, bibliographical ; 4 issues per annum, 72 pages, in French only.

Subscription :

  • France :
    • 1 year = 33 €
    • 2 years = 62 €
  • Abroad :
    • 1 year = 44 €
    • 2 years = 83 €

The Union of Priests

The Union of priests

Therese's handwriting MsC69

The Union of priests of saint Thérèse celebrating its 80th anniversary !

Thérèse Martin (1873-1897) entered Carmel in Lisieux to pray for priests, to give her life for them and for sinners. Having become a saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face in 1925, she shone throughout the world, as a thaumaturge and a spiritual mistress. In 1927 she was declared by Pius XI patroness of the universal missions just as Saint Fraçois-Xavier. During her life time she supported a seminarist Maurice Bellière as would a little sister and a priest Adolphe Roulland, to whom she proposed her little way of confidence and of love.

After her death, thousands of priests around the world confided their minister to her and a number of them owe her their vocation.

From 1929, the Union of priests of saint Thérèse of Lisieux gathered priests from all around the world who continue on their way with the Carmelite, give themselves and their ministry to her.

The message of Thérèse and her intercession are open to the future. The priests and deacons can confide in “the greatest saint of modern times” (Saint Pius X), their “little sister” to be witnesses of the Good News in the today’s world.

This has been the aim of the Union of priests of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux for the last 80 years.

How does it work ?

The orientations and statutes of this Union can be asked for at the Sanctuary in Lisieux. A “letter for Priests”, link with the family of the Union, is sent to all members four times a year, by post or electronic mail. This letter is published in French, English, Spanish and Italian. The members of the Union have their heart set on perfecting their knowledge on the life and the message of St. Thérèse, by studying her writings which are now accessible in recent editions.

since 2008, it is suggested that members of the Union of priests discover the priests who were in the life of Thérèse. Some published :

  • l’abbé Maurice Révérony, a lovely priestly figure
  • l’abbé Lucien Dumaine, 1st priest in the life of Thérèse
  • l’abbé Delatroëtte
  • l’abbé Charles Marie
  • l’abbé Domin, confessor and disciple of Thérèse

Members of the Union of priests throughout the world

  • France Aisnes, Alpes de Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardèche, Aube, Aude, Ouches-du-Rhône, Calvados, Cantal, Charente, Charente-Maritime, Côtes d’Armor, Doubs, Drôme, Eure-et-Loire, Finistère, Gard, Gers, Hérault, Ille-et-Vilaine, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Isère, Loir-et-Cher, Loire-Atlantique, Loiret, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Lozère, Maine-et-Loire, Manche, Marne, Mayenne, Meuse, Morbihan, Moselle, Nord, Oise, Orne, Pas-de-Calais, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées, Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Rhône, Haute-Saône, Sarthe, Savoie, Haute-Savoie, Seine, Seine-Maritime, Yvelines, Deux-Sèvres, Somme, Tarn-et-Garonne, Var, Vaucluse, Vendée, Hauts-de-Seine, Val d’Oise, La Réunion
  • Europe Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Czech Republic.
  • Africa South Africa, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Nigeria, Congo Republic, Madagascar, Thad, Togo, Zambia
  • Asia India, Lebanon, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam
  • America Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, United States of America, Guatemala, Haiti, Peru, Saint-Dominguez
  • Oceania Australia

Inscription to be returned to :
Union sacerdotale
Pèlerinage Sainte-Thérèse de Lisieux
BP 62095 - F-14102 LISIEUX cedex
Tel. : (00 33) 02 31 48 55 00
Fax : (00 33) 02 31 48 55 25
union-sacerdotale chez therese-de-lisieux.com

Your inscription to the Sacred Union permits you to be connected with Lisieux and all members around the world, in prayer and through the letter every term. We encourage you to make it known. The participation towards the cost could be the cost of a mass (the publishing and posting of the letter costs more than 5€). Thank you to all of you who have already paid their subscription.

The Disciples of Saint Thérèse

The Disciples of Saint Thérèse

The Union for the Disciples of Saint Thérèse is an answer to the desire of men and women who are anxious to progress in Christian life by studying the young Carmelite of Lisieux.

Who are the Disciples of Saint Thérèse ?

In order to walk in the same path as her and to live the Word of God, Christians choose :

  • to pray as she did : « For me, prayer is an impulse from the heart, it is a simple look towards Heaven, it is a cry of acknowledgement and of love in the heart of an ordeal or in the heart of joy ; and it is something big, supernatural that dilates my soul and unites me to Jesus.”
  • to engage in her Little Way of Spiritual Childhood : « What pleases Him (Jesus) is to see me loving my littleness and my poverty, it is the blind Hope that I have in his Mercy.”
  • to enter into her preoccupation of the missionary of the Church : “I would like to be a missionary…In the heart of the Church, me Mother, I will be love and therefore I will be all !”

Through which means ?

  • prayer so that Jesus becomes for them, as for Thérèse, their unique Love, with the help of Mary, our Mother.
  • listening to the words of Thérèse : reading her writings and the works which develop her spirituality and the thérèsian magazines (Thérèse de Lisieux and Vie Thérèsienne).
  • the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation that are received regularly
  • meditation of monthly letters of the Union of the Disciples (and the Retreat at Lent).


  • "I would like to continue to receive the monthly letters which are a great comfort and can help me in my circle on an apostolic level." E.G.(75)
  • "Sister-Disciple of Thérèse, the monthly letters are like a message that she would write to me every month. I always find something to help me understand more deeply the Little Way.” a Carmelite in Portugal
  • "The monthly letters are precious support to prayer in particular in Lent at home." D.H.(47)

How to enroll ?

Inscription is free, as is the service for monthly letters. However, we thank those who can, who give a financial participation (10€ covers the cost of a yearly subscription). We would also like to thank those who can help the groups of the Disciples of St. Thérèse around the world, particularly those in Africa, to receive their letters.

BP 62095

disciples chez therese-de-lisieux.com

Children friends of Saint Thérèse

Children friends of Saint Thérèse

Spiritual Union on Thérèse

An Association

  • founded by Mgr Suhard, Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux (1928-1931). This association testifies of the place that children hold in the big spiritual family of Thérèse ;
  • the children are particularly entrusted to St. Thérèse. The first Sunday of every month in Lisieux the pilgrim mass celebrated for them ;
  • the parentsand their family find their spiritual support. In the light of the example given by Louis and Zélie Martin, they are encouraged to work on their spiritual awareness and on the Christian education of their children. It is why it is important that the children be enrolled by a close family member, a god-father or god-mother, who can participate in the magnificent task of shaping hearts.


  • « Dear St. Thérèse, through this letter we have come to ask you to protect Anne Rose. All of the children in our family are enrolled as Little Protected children. We have every confidence in you and we know that you will protect her and will guide her all through her life. » Mme A. (Vosges)
  • « Dear St. Thérèse, I am god-mother to a little girl name Julie who was born in Brittany. We know that you will look after her and will protect her throughout her life. We hope that she will be filled with Faith all through her life and she will be able to communicate it to others. » J et D F. (Vosges)

To enroll a child (under 12 ans)

  • Write to the Sactuary, indicating clearly :
    • his/her family name and christian name
    • date and place of birth
    • his connection with you
    • your address and that of the child who we will send a souvenir to.
  • The inscription is free. Those who may like to may make an offering, notably to cover the cost of postage.

For any information and inscription

  • Contact RIA au 02 31 48 55 08
  • Petits Amis de Sainte Thérèse
    BP 62095
    14102 Lisieux cedex
  • info chez therese-de-lisieux.com

Following Christ with Therese

Following Christ with Therese

Following Christ with Therese
Following Christ with Therese

Therese responds to all the questions that we ask about her life and her message.

To order or for other Information :
Pèlerinage de Lisieux-Service Revues
B.P. 62095 - F - 14102 Lisieux cedex
E-mail : revues chez therese-de-lisieux.com

The Association of « Villes Sanctuaires » of France

The Association of « Villes Sanctuaires » of France

The Association of the Sanctuary-Towns in France regroups Tourist Offices and Sanctuaries whose common objective is :

  • the partnership between the tourist offices and the people who are responsible for the sanctuaries to give a better welcome to tourists, visitors and pilgrims and to inform them better.
  • the setting-up of a united network by putting together and exchanging of experience and competencies of each person,
  • putting into action a strategy to promote, which is carried out in a special partnership with the Maison de France (organization for tourism in France and abroad)


  • 1993
    • informal contact between the directors of the tourist offices in Lisieux, Paray le Monial and le Puy en Velay at the MITCAR fair.
  • 1994
    • six of the most important places for pilgrimages in France (Lisieux, le Puy-en Velay, Nevers, Paray-le-Monial, Rocamadour and Sainte-Anne d’Auray) meet together and found the Association
  • 1997-2004
    • Chartres, Lourdes, le Mont-Saint-Michel and Ars all join in turn, the Association
  • 2008
    • new associates : the Sanctuaries of la Salette and of Pontmain
  • 2009
    • joining of the Sanctuary of Notre-Dame de Laus with the Tourist office of le Gap region.
  • Today
    • the Association counts 13 town-sanctuaries – this number is non-exhaustive

How it works

Five times a year, the rectors or their representatives from the sanctuaries meet with the directors of the tourist offices from the respective towns in order to carry out common objectives to promote and to welcome visitors. This gathering, which is a real stimulant for the town and the sanctuary, also shows the common desire to integrate the holy place with the city. The sanctuary should not be considered or seen as something outside of the town and its preoccupations.

To welcome you

The Association for the Sanctuary-Towns is available to help you organize your trip in France. Visit the site.

Member towns of the association

OCL bookstore

Comprehensive catalogue of books on Thérèse

Thérèse’s writing



Two and a half years before her death in 1897 at the age of 24, as Thérèse Martin began writing down her childhood memories at the request of her blood sisters in the Lisieux Carmel, few could have guessed the eventual outcome. Yet this « story of my soul », first published in 1898 in a highly edited version, quickly became a modern spiritual classic, read by millions and translated into dozens of languages around the world. Decades later, in response to growing requests from scholars and devotees of the Saint, a facsimile esition of the manuscripts appeared, along with more popular French editions of what the Saint had actually written. Here, expressed with all of Thérèse's original spontaneity : confidence and love, the « little way », abandonment to God's merciful love, and her « mission » in the church and world today. Father John Clarke's acclaimed translation, first published in 1975 and now accepted as the standard throughout the English-speaking world, is a faithful and unaffected rendering of Thérèse's own words, from the original manuscripts. This new edition, prepared for the centenary of the Saint's death, includes a select bibliography of recent works in English on Thérèse, along with a new referencing system now widely used in studies of her doctrine. A faithful translation of the very famous autobiographical manuscripts of St. Thérèse. A best-seller first published in 1898 one year after her death and which made Thérèse known all over the world. An indispensable book to really get know St. Thérèse.

ICS - 304 PAGES - 17.90 €


A « Little Book of Thérèse of Lisieux » captures in simple format the very essence of the little Flower. The quotations gathered here, from Thérèse’s own xritings, sayings and prayers, provide a profound insight into the saint’s thinking, thus offering the reader food for thought and substance for prayerful reflection..

COLUMBA - 128 PAGES - 5.60 €


Letter-writing at the turn of the last century was an important activity for the people of France. Those who received letters from family and friends alike usually kept the hand-written texts sent to them as precious gifts. That is why this collection of letters by and to one of the greatest saints of modern times is so interesting to us today. No mere notes slapped together in distracted haste, the missives found in this volume reveal communications of warm personal sentiment along with expressions of lively spiritual development. Thérèse's efforts as a fifteen year-old to enter Carmel before reaching the required age appear in revealing detail. This « tortuous course of a very subtle diplomacy » is set out not only by the letters of Thérèse herself, but also by those of so many others who shared her hopes and eventual victory. The translator-editor gives us 75 pages of introductory remarks which set the stage for and acquaint us with Thérèse's correspondence in this and in the second volume of her Letters. Saint Thérèse shows the path of her growth as a religious and deep spiritual writer in these letters. The reader learns much about all of Thérèse's correspondents, and gains familiarity with the development of her thought and message. This edition contains the results of recent fascinating research that unveils the setting in which she wrote. Fifty pages of « complementary documents » give us useful tools for studying the texts in this and also in ICS Publications' first volume of Thérèse's Letters. All the letters sent by Thérèse and all those she received plus very instructive introductions and notes : a very rich document giving a great possibility of becoming more familiar with St. Thérèse’s doctrine. An invaluable complement to her Autobiography. Volume I, 1877-1890 : from the very first letter she wrote with her sister Pauline guiding her hand to the day of her profession in Carmel when she was 17. Volume II, 1890-1897 : from her profession to death.

Vol 1 - 1877 / 1890 - ICS - 687 pages - 21.75 €

Vol 2 - 1890 / 1897- ICS - 676 pages - 21.75 €


Despite their importance, the poems of St. Thérèse of Lisieux are among the least known of her writings, previously available only in highly edited selections. Here for the first time in English is the complete collection of Thérèse's poetry, faithfully translated from the French critical edition by Donald Kinney, O.C.D. Also included are a preface by Jean Guitton, a general introduction to Thérèse's spiritual and poetic development, and individual introductions to each of the poems, indicating its background and significance. The volume closes with the French text of the poems and an index to their major themes and images. 63 poems and many notes. In addition to a general introduction, every poem has its own introduction givin information about its background and significance. The poems of Thérèse are a real mirror of her soul.

ICS - 335 pages - 16.60 €


St Therese of Lisieux is one of the best-loved saints of the Church. Her writings are amongst the most popular works of spirituality that the world has never known. Admitted to Carmel in 1888 at the age of fifteen, she only lived nine more years. St Therese wrote with utter simplicity, and yet, because of her outstanding spiritual discernment, John Paul II has declared her a Doctor of the Church. Her gifts as a poet, however, have remained largely unknown to English-speaking readers, here, for the first time ever, are English translations of no fewer than seventy-two of the poems of this remarkable Carmelite nun, more than in any previously published book : translations of all sixty-two of the poems in Un Cantique d'Amour, together with ten verse pasages from her plays, the Récréations pieuses. Also these translations have now all been made from the fully authentic original texts of Therese's manuscripts. Scholarly ans sensitive in his interpretation, Alan Bancroft captures the intelligence and fervour of Thérèse's verse. These poems, like her prose writing, celebrate her joyous surrender to the glory of God.These poems - like Therese’s prose writing - celebrate her joyous surrender to the glory of God.

Gracewing - 246 pages - 19.00 €


« For me, » wrote Thérèse of Lisieux toward the end of her life, « prayer is an inspiration of the heart, it is simple glance directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial, which expands my soul and unities me to Jesus ». Besides the countless spontaneous prayers found throughout her autobiography, letters, poetry, and plays, St. Thérèse left behind 21 additional independent prayers, from every period of her life, here collected for the first time. In this book we find prayers to the Infant Jesus and the Holy Face, prayers to Mary and the saints, prayers composed in joy and sorrow, prayers written for her novices and missionary brothers. All of them reflect the Saint's passionate love of God, which she wished to share with friends near and far. The highlight of this volume is the first critical text of Thérèse's famous « Offering to Merciful Love », fully annotated. Ample background materials explain the setting and significance of each prayer. Scholars will find here essential information for the study of the Saint's doctrine ; general readers will find this book an indispensible resource for learning to pray as Thérèse did. « It is prayer, it is sacrifice which give me all my strengh ; these are the invincible weapons Jesus has given me. They can touch souls much better than words. » In addition to her manuscripts, letters, poems and plays, St. Thérèse wrote 21 independent prayers collected here. Published in English for the first time, the Critical Edition of her prayers is fully annotated and has a very informative general introduction. Includes the famous « Act of Oblation »

ICS - 120 pages - 12.75 €


Those who attended St. Therese of Lisieux during her last illness were living in the company of one of God's « greatest » saints, one prepared for our times. Fortunately for us they did not simply listen to her conversations, they wrote them down, totally unaware that eventually a great multitude of yet unborn friends of St. Therese would hunger for her words. After the passing of so many years since her death, September 30, 1897, and her canonization, May 17, 1925, there still is great interest in this very powerful friend of God. St. Thérèse day after day, suffering but smiling, praying, surrendering herself completely to the Love of God. 850 sayings noted by her sisters during the last six months of her life. The message drawn through these last words is full of realism and optimism : an edifying testament Thérèse left for us !

ICS - 322 pages - 16.65 €


Composed of 328 brief quotations arranged under 20 different topics, such as love of God, love of neighbor, faith, humility, detachment, confidence, self-abandonment, gratitude, zeal and suffering, The Thoughts of St. Therese consists of the Saint's own words and writings, from The Story of a Soul (her autobiography), Counsels and Reminiscenses, and her letters. This book will be a revelation to many that « The Little Flower of Jesus » (1873-1897), despite having lived and taught « The Little Way of Spiritual Childhood, » beloved and employed by so many people, was nonetheless an intrepid, ardent, dedicated and disciplined soul, a truly great, great saint and one who as a message for us all. For St. Therese possessed, as these pages so amply demonstrate, an intimate knowledge of our Faith and of Sacred Scripture ; she totally embraced suffering for the love of God ; and she abandoned herself so completely to Our Lord that she did not even concern herself over her own spiritual welfare. And in the process she acquired a profound Catholic wisdom untypical of a young woman who lived to be only 24, a wisdom which she communicates to us here so simply and so beautifully. It is impossible to imagine that any reader will come away from this little book without having been profoundly influenced by this great « little » soul who was totally transformed by her love of God. Amid the abundant writings of St. Thérèse there are so many beautiful fragments we would love to remember… Thoughts of St. Thérèse is a compilation of 328 quotations taken from The Story of a Soul and Counsel and Reminiscences (her sister Céline’s recordings), arranged under different topics : Love of God, Hope, Confidence, Simplicity, Prayer, Suffering… A real anthology of St. Thérèse !

TAN - 180 pages - 8.00 €


Therese's writings and counsels on Trust and Self-surrender. Hardly twenty-four years of age, Thérèse Martin died of tuberculosis in Normandy in 1897. From a large family, her mother had died of breast cancer when Thérèse was only four. Her father, a master watchmaker, died after years in a mental hospital. These writings show how it is that this young French woman, in such a short life, has inspired millions. In recognition of her special teaching mission for God's people, the Church has proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church, the only woman apart from Catherine of Sienna and St Teresa of Avila. This booklet is divided into 7 sections : Saint Teresa and the Holy See, The Secret of sanctity, Spiritual childhood, Simplicity, The Night of the soul, Charity, and lastly some Prayers of Saint Teresa. A well-chosen selection of St. Thérèse’s sayings, grouped into six chapters : the secret of sanctity, Spiritual Childhood, Simplicity, the night of the soul, charity and prayers.

CTS - 44 pages - 3.60 €




Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897) is one of the most popular and beloved of the saints. Her « little way » is perhaps the most admired of all spiritual paths. Yet few figures in the history of Christianity have been so misunderstood and misrepresented. In this celebrated study the distinguished biographer Monica Furlong strips away the layers of sentimentality to reveal a startlingly unfamiliar and surprising Thérèse : no less attractive, and even more extraordinary. Monica Furlong is the author of acclaimed biographies of Thomas Merton and Alan Watts, as well as several novels and influential studies of religion and spirituality. Her most recent book isC of E : The state It's In. In this celebrated study the distinguished biographer Monica Furlong strips away the layers of sentimentality to reveal a startlingly unfamiliar and suprising Thérèse : no less attractive, and even more extraordinary.

DARTON LONGMAN TODD - 135 pages - 13.20 €


She lived 24 years and was an obscure nun for nine of those. She died in 1897 and was canonized in 1925. Yet she is known the world over by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Her statue soon appeared in most Catholic Churches in the world. With St. Joan of Arc she shares the title « Patroness of France » and with St. Francis Xavier the honor of « Principal Patroness of all Missionaries ». Her devotees acknowledge her as a second St. Jude in her powerful intercession with God. Her appeal is universal, from peasants to Popes, and people of all stations know her and call upon her for help. What factors conspired to shape St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus ? John Beevers asks himself this question in The Making of a Saint. As author of an earlier biography, The Storm of Glory, and as translator of her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, he brings to his task an authority on her life unsurpassed perhaps by any writer in English. The story of this life is a marvel, a miracle, of divine grace. For the life of St. Thérèse is the lesson to all men of spiritual greatness to be achieved by perfect love of God and total consecration of all our actions, even the smallest, to His greater honor and glory. After having written a first book on St. Thérèse in 1950, John Beevers wrote The Making of a Saint, a new biography enriched by the publication of the authentic manuscripts and of details about her family background previously unknown. This second biography was first published for the centenary of the birth of Thérèse in 1973.

TAN - 157 pages - 8.00 €


« He willed to create souls comparable to lilies and roses, but he has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God's glances when he looks down at his feet. Perfection consists in doing his will, in being what he wills us to be. »St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She is called « The Little Flower », but St. Thérèse of Lisieux was no shrinking violet. Denied entry to the Carmelite convent because of her youth, St.Thérèse argued her cause all the way to Pope Leo XIII. Finally admitted to Carmel in 1888 at age fifteen, she lived only nine more years, but in those nine years she archieved a state of holiness few have attained. Described by Pope St.Pius X as « the greatest saint of modern times, » St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus is one of the most popular saints the world has ever known. Her « Little way » of spirituality, which emphasizes finding the pathway to God in the simple and ordinary, has been embraced by people of good faith from every nation and walk of life. Now, in this carefully researched biography, the lifes, times, and spirituality of St. Thérèse of Lisieux are brought to vivid life. This candid portrait of a modern-day saint is sure to be an inspiration to all who seek to find their own « Little Way » to God. « This is a popular biography, based on careful research » —Theology Digest - « Miss O'Connor has presented St.Therese as a believable young woman who rose to the heights of sanstity. A very refreshing look at a very popular saint. » ---The Priest.- « O'Connor's book is a fascinating and candid portrait of the »Little Flower« based in part on the author's original research in the archives of Lisieux Carmel. » —Spiritual life -« Particulalry notable (is) the author's brisk and candid portrayal of Therese's character - a lively, stubborn, obedient woman with a sense of humor and a hard, but appealing spirituality. » —Spiritual Book News « This is a popular biography, based on careful research » : Theology Digest « Miss O’Connor has presented St.Therese as a believable young woman who rose to the heights of santity. A very refreshing look at a very popular saint. » : The priest « O’Connor’s book is a fascinating and candid portrait of the »Little Flower« based in part on the author’s original research in the archives of Lisieux carmel : Spiritual Life »Particularly notable (is) the autor’s brisk and candid portrayal of Therese’s character-a lively, stubborn, obedient woman with a sense of humor and a hard, but appealing spirituality : Spiritual Book News



« I do not repent of having surrendered myself to love » Born in 1873 at Alençon in France, Marie Françoise Thérèse Martin died in 1987 aged 24 of advanced intestinal tuberculosis, at her Carmel convent in Lisieux. 100 years later John Paul II declared her a « Doctor of the Church ». She was canonised as a saint, in record time, only 28 years after her death. She never went to university, hardly travelled, had no academic or other titles. Yet she (through her story and writing) was almost a household name during the Great War of 1914. this authorative life of Thérèse, a true classic, tells the story of one of Christ's true « little one's » Born in 1873 at Alençon in France, Thérèse Martin died in 1987 aged 24 of advanced intestinal tuberculosis, at her Carmel convent in Lisieux. 100 years later John Paul II declared her a « Doctor of the Church ». She was canonised as a saint after her death. She never went to university, hardly travelled, had no academic or other titles.


SAINT THERESE OF LISIEUX her family her god her message

« The greatest saint of modern times », said Pope Pius X back in 1914, speaking of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. And, in 1997, Pope John Paul II declared Thérèse a Doctor of the Church, citing the timeliness of her doctrine and the wisdom and practicality with which she grasped the Gospel message. Why all this acclaim for Thérèse, who was only a little middle-class girl from France at the end of the 19th century ? The Centenary of her death, 1897-1997, was celebrated all over the globe. Why is Thérèse so universally loved, invoked and imitated by people from all walks of life in every country in the world ? Fr. Bernard Bro, director of the French publishing house Editions du Cerf and a key figure in publishing the definitive editions of Thérèse's writings, decided to set forth the aspects of her life, personnality, and writing that do indeed mark Thérèse of Lisieux as one of the truly great exponents of Catholic doctrine. What she offers in her life and in her writing, he claims, is « one of the most certain and simplest evangelical shortcuts ever proposed ». What we find in her words is a « struggle between darkness and faith, humor and sadness, realism and pretense, maturity and childhood…The life, words, and the texts of Thérèse are of an astonishing freshness, accuracy, immediacy, strength, and genius under the banal appearance ». According to Fr. Bro, Thérèse does not flinch before the important questions everyone must face : Why death ? How can we continue in hope when suffering and pain threaten to overwhelm us ? How, as people of faith, are we to deal with the questions that somtimes nag at our minds ? How can we remain faithful, and joyful, when we are shaken by circumstances of our life ? And the first of all, how are we to love ? Thérèse answered these questions both by her life and through her writing. Fr. Bro explores those answers with the same freshness ans boldness that characterize Thérèse herself. Why death ? How can we continue in hope when suffering and pain threaten to overwhelm us ? How, as people of faith, are we to deal with the questions that somtimes nag at our minds ? How can we remain faithful - and joyful - when we are shaken by circumstances of our life ? And the first of all, how are we to love ? Thérèse answered these questions both by her life and through her writing. Fr. Bro explores those answers with the same freshness ans boldness that characterize Thérèse herself.

IGNATIUS - 253 PAGES - 15.00 €


Growing up in Lisieux, France, was occasionally painful but usually delightful for Thérèse Martin (the Little Flower) and her sister. For practical Marie, studious Pauline, hot-tempered Léonie, mischievous Céline, and beautiful, lovable Thérèse, growng up meant growing closer to God. The Little Flower found her pathway to holiness right in her own back yard. With their disagreements, secrets, visits to the convent, school adventures, and the romances, these five girls are an ejoyable handful for their kindly, widowed father. But Thérèse, because she loves her family, discovers that one of her sisters might unwittingly prevent her dearest wish from coming true. In this Vision book, Helen Walker Homan, who writes in the tradition of Louisa Mae Alcott, has created another classic of delightful family life among five sisters, one of whom became a saint. In this Vision book, Helen Walker Homan, who writes in the tradition of Louisa Mae Alcott, has created another classic of delightful family life among five sisters, one of whom became a saint.

IGNATIUS - 149 PAGES - 10.00 €

Thérèse’s family and environment


LOUIS AND ZELIE MARTIN The seed and the root of the little flower

This is a true love story. Louis Martin and Zelie Guérin, the parents of the greatest Saint of modern times, fell love at first sight. They loved all their children and wanted to provide the best for them, but above all they loved God and desired that each of their family would also love Him. This is also a story of battles and conflict. The Martins lived at a time of trouble for the Church in Rome and of war between France and Prussia. Their main battle, however, was in achieving holiness for themselves and each of their children. The story of Louis and Zélie is written in the form of letters to their daughter, St Thérèse of Lisieux, each letter linked to the next forming a continuous narrative. Described also are the brief lives of Thérèse's two brothers and two of her sisters. A fuller account is given of her sisters Marie, Pauline and Céline who all became Carmelite nuns, and also of Léonie who joined the Visitation Order. Almost from birth in 1873, Thérèse had within her a sense of the presence of God. She loved Him with her whole heart, mind and soul. She also loved her parents, knowing that she owed to them the foundation of much of the strength of her spiritual life. Thérèse is often known as The Little Flower and her parents may rightly be thought of as The Seed and The Root of that Flower. Louis and Zélie Martin as a married couple were declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II on 26th March 1994. This is the first time for many centuries that a married couple have been thus honoured in the Church. How did the Martins achieve this honour ? What was their secret ? These letters to Thérèse reveal that they simply lived ordinary lives extraordinarily well. The story of Louis and Zélie is written in the form of letters to their daughter, St Thérèse of Lisieux, each letter linked to the next forming a continuous narrative. Described also are the brief lives of Thérèse’s two brothers and two of her sisters. A fuller account is given of her sisters Marie, Pauline and Céline who all becme Carmelite nuns, and also of Léonie who joined the Visitation Order.

QUILLER PRESS- 274 pages - 23 €

ST THERESE OF LISIEUX by those who knew her

Thérèse of Lisieux was declared Saint of Churh over fifty years ago. This book presents what those who knew her said about her when the first steps were taken towards her canonisation. Her sister, a maid, a school friend, her novice mistress, her novices and others, all have something to telle us about her from their own personal experience. And what they have to say provides a wonderful complement to her own,Story of Soul. The Thérèse they present is as loving, gentle and unassuming as we have always known her, but that quiet strength of character and undoubtable courage of the person wholly yielded up to God in loving trust regain their rightful emphasis in this restoration of « the true face » of St Thérèse. Like so many popular figures, Thérèse has suffered in the past from a tendency on the part of some well, meaning devotees to glamorise her. More recently, howewer, both scholars and friends have sought greater authenticity, and it is this desire to know the authentic Thérèse which prompted a team of Carmelite scholars to publish the Process of Beatification shortly before the fifieth anniversary of her canonisation. St Thérèse of Lisieux by Those Who Knew Her brings the work of these scholars within the reach of St Thérèse many English-speaking friends all over the world. This book presents what those who knew her said about her when the first steps were taken towards her canonisation. Her sister, a maid, a school friend, her novice mistress, her novices and others, all have somehing to tell us about her from their own personal experience.

VERITAS - 281pages - 12.60 €


This biography of Céline Martin will be most welcomed by the innumerable devotees of St.Thérèse because Céline was her closest sister and friend, had a great influence on Thérèse, and also became a very holy woman herself. Céline entered the same Carmélite monastery as Thérèse and became Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face. She was the close confidante of Thérèse who confided in Céline all of her spiritual lights and graces and the great work the Holy Spirit was doing in her soul. Céline witnessed the short life and agonizing death of her beloved sister, having the privilege of receiving from Thérèse her last glance before her final ecstasy. Céline was the one who gave to the world the autobiographical manuscript of Thérèse, Story of a Soul, as well as her doctrine of Spiritual Childhood. Céline's spiritual path was strewn with difficulties : she had numerous struggles, temptations and moments of darkness. She knew the bitterness of discouragement because her faults stubbornly refused to be uprooted. But she persevered on the « little way » in the foo-steps of her great sister and became very saintly. She is an inspiring and consoling example for all who struggle for virtue without much apparent success. Illustrated. « This book is a must for anyone who loves Thérèsian spirituality for it sheds new light on many facets of Thérèse's background. » « If you struggle for accomplishement on the road to holiness, Céline is the book for you. We leran from her how to embrace holy childhood. A beautiful book. » This book seeks to present the thought of St Thérèse on prayer against a double background of Carmelite spirituality and her life as a nun in the Lisieux Carmel.

IGNATIUS - 195 pages - 10.90 €


Pope St. Pius X called St. Thérèse the Little Flower « the greatest Saint of modern times » ; Pope Pius XI declared her co-patroness of the Missions throughout the entire world with St. Francis Xavier ; and Pope Pius XII declared her co-patroness of France with St. Joan of Arc. Yet St. Thérèse died at just 24, having been a Carmelite nun only 9 years. What was the secret of her greatness ? Giants in any sphere of human endeavor stand on the shoulders of giants. Nobody gets to Heaven alone. we are all what our birth, our families, our education, our country, etc. have helped to make us. In the Story of a Family, Fr. Stéphane-Joseph Piat has masterfully reconstructed for us the lives of Louis and Zélie Martin, St. Thérèse's parents, as well as those of her four sisters and near relatives, plus her own early life. In the process, he has produced one of the most moving books a Catholic will likely ever encounter. The life of the Martin family, though disciplined, ordered and holy, was far from being a calm, serene, uninterrupted joy. Louis and Zélie married relatively late in life, 35 and 28, had 9 children, of whom 4 died in infancy or quite young ; they lived through the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) and had to quarter German troops in their home ; each ran a seperate small business ; as parents, they struggled with severe childhood illness in their children, plus a host of other problems ; Zélie died of cancer at only 45, when St. Thérèse was just 4, leaving Louis to raise her and the other children. All 5 of Louis' and Zélie's daughters entered religion. For a time, during his declining years, Louis had to be cared for in a severe debility by first a sanatorium and then by relatives. But Louis and Zélie met all their troubles with faith and even the perish priest declared that Louis and Zélie were saints. The Story of a Family is a tender and touching panorama of Catholic family life at its best, a story that will thrill, motivate and inspire Catholic families so long as faith is alive. Whoever takes up this story is in for one of the great reading experiences of his life. For this story tears at the heart-strings as it reveals the making of a great, great Saint in the family context of what certainly has to have been the flower of French Catholic life. « God was pleased all through my life to surround me with love » Thérèse writes in her autobiography, obviously referring to her family. Here is the story of this family, M. and Mme Martin and their daughters as well as near relatives who all constituted the crucible where « the grestest saint of Modern Times » (St. Pius X) was molded.

TAN - 459 pages - 19.00 €


This famous little classic by Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face, Céline Martin, is a wonderful treasury of little-known stories and sayings of St. Thérèse, almost equivalent to a second Story of a Soul. Céline was St. Thérèse's closest friend and her disciple in Carmel, having been placed under St. Thérèse's direction in the noviciate. Here Céline recounts a wealth of precious memories of her sister-teachings, anecdotes, hidden virtues, conversations and even amusing remarks-by which St. Thérèse translated her beautiful doctrine of Spiritual Childhood into the homely routines of daily life. Plus, Céline gives us privileged details of St. Thérèse's last months and beautiful death. Truly it seems an act of Divine Providence that this book was written, for Céline, blessed with a keen memory and loving heart, gathered up what she saw and heard, carefully preserving it in this now-famous little work. MY SISTER SAINT THERESE is a wonderful book of spiritual encouragement which should go far toward fulfilling St. Therese's great desire to teach others to love God as she loved Him. « I feel that my mission is soon to begin to make others love God as I do, to teach others my 'little way'. I will spend my Heaven in doing good upon earth… » St. Therese. « See, if we place all our confidence in the good God, and constantly put forth our best efforts, while hoping everything from His Mercy, we too shall receive the reward of the greatest saints. » St. Therese Souvenirs of conversations and anecdotes reported by Celine, St. Thérèse’s sister. Known as Sr. Geneviève of the Holy Face in religion, Céline who had had Thérèse as Novice-Mistress, transmits the teaching of Thérèse through her recollections of her.

TAN - 249 pages - 9.00 €


The Magnificent correspondence between Thérèse of Lisieux and a struggling young priest, and the inspiring story behind the intersection of two very different lives. As St. Thérèse lay dying in the Carmel of Lisieux, she overheard a conversation that amused her. Outside her window, two nuns were discussing what they could write in her obituary that might possible be of any interest, since the twenty-four-year-old nun had never done anything worth noting. Thérèse was pleased ; she had always kept a low profile. With the posthumous publication of her spiritual autobiography in 1898, however, that anonymity would disappear instantly and forever : instead, Thérèse became one of the best known and most beloved saints of all time. Amid growing interest in her writings comes this complete, collected correspondence between herself and a young seminarian, Maurice Bellière. Though they never met in person, they exchanged twenty-one letters that open a window on the heart of St. Thérèse, a window that would have remained forever closed had Maurice not written to the Mother Superior at the convent asking for a nun to pray for him. The Mother Superior chose Thérèse, and in these conversational letters she reveals herself in a way that we would never have known from her autobiography. In his accompanying text, Bishop Patrick Ahern expertly leads the reader into the worlds of Maurice and Thérèse, and in doing so reveals the full beauty of the saint's spirituality. For the first time, a whole book consecrated to one of the two young missionary spiritual brothers of St. Thérèse : Maurice Bellière, and to their prayerful correspondence. Through the letters sent to Maurice by his « good and very dear sister Thérèse », we are invited to deepen our knowledge of her and her message.

D.L.T - 284 pages - 15.95 €


The transformative relationship of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her novice, Sister of the Trinity In 1894, after having spent her youth in Paris, Marie-Louise Castel entered the Carmel of Lisieux. She was twenty years old. Thoughful and full of life she was the beneficiary of the advice and friendship of her young mistress of novices : Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. She lived in the Carmel of Lisieux until her death in 1944 putting into practice in her daily life the « little way » taught to her by her saintly novice mistress. Her recollections have been put together here by Fr. Pierre Descouvemont, well known for his studies in Thérèsian spirituality. They constitute a unique witness regarding St. Thérèse and her entourage, and provide a first-hand account of life in the Carmel of Lisieux during the fifty years following the death of the Little Flower : the process of her canonization with all the consequences which that had on the day-to-day activities behind the cloister grill. The unpretentious testimony of Sr. Marie of the Trinity demonstrates very well how anyone who practices the « spirituality of the smile » can reach heroic heights of sanctity. The cross became for her, as it was for St. Thérèse whom she so admired and sought to imitate, a source of great joy. Suffering terribly from a painful facial ulcer in the final years of her life, she remained always « a child who knew no evil. » Her favorite saying, which she had learned from St. Thérèse and which she was known often to repeat was, « No ! Life is not sad ! » It's an attitude and outlook on life that is found on every page of this inspiring work. The youngest novice entrusted to Thérèse. In her spontaneity and vivacity, Thérèse found a heart after her own. Marie de la Trinité was a first-class witness at the process, and here are collected many of her recordings. In addition to her remembrances, we are given in this book the biography of this close friend of Thérèse’s, a friend who not only recorded her teaching, but also put it into practice.

ALBA HOUSE - 147 pages - 15.00 €

ST BENEDICT & ST THERESE the little rule & the little way

Fewer saints could be more different than Thérèse of Lisieux and Benedict of Nursia. One was a teenage girl in nineteenth-century France ; the other the sixth-century founder of Western monasticism. Benedict lived to a ripe old age and was honoured by popes and monarchs ; Thérèse died young in the obscurity of her provincial convent. Despite their differences, the lives and writings of Benedict and Thérèse complement one another beautifully. As the New Testament is hidden in the Old and the Old is made manifest in the New, so Thérèse's « little way » is hidden in the « little rule » of Benedict. Likewise, the old monk's widson is made explicit in the young girl's teaching. Benedict's influence on Thérèse began at her Benedictine school, and she marked her devotion to Benedict is like a grandfather in the family of faith, while Thérèse is a little child. He represents the widson of age ; she stands for the widson of innocence. With sharp observation and profound insights, Dwight Longenecker unlocks the writings of Benedict and Thérèse so each one illuminates the other. Not just an academic study, St Benedict and St. Thérèse is a refreshing, witty and inspiring challenge for all who aspire to a deeper life of faith. Dwight Longenecker unlocks the writings of Benedict and Thérèse so each one illuminates the other. Not just an academic study, St Benedict and St. Thérèse is a refreshing, witty and inspiring challenge for all who aspire to a deeper life of faith.

GRACEWING - 217 pages - 15.00 €

I THIRST Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and mother teresa of calcutta

The heartfelt bond between Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and Mother Teresa of Calcutta can be traced to their common interest in assuaging the thirst of Christ on the Cross. Not only their thirst for Jesus, but Jesus thirst for them, for us. Their profound resemblance to one another is to be found in their unalterable desire to slake the thirst of Christ, to console Him in the face of the indifference of so many people, to quench His thirst for love, to love Him in others and letting them be loved by Him. They did so by opening up the floodgates of tenderness which had prevented the love in His heart from being welcomed as it ought. The cry of Jesus, mentioned countless times in their writings, was a determining factor in each of their lives. The words « I Thirst », are to be found side by side with the Crucifix in all the houses of the Missionaries of Charity, and the photograph of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, patroness of the missions, is never far away. Saint Thérèse and Mother Teresa are like two mirrors mutually reflecting the compassion of Christ. These two witnesses, making use of the « little way » of confidence and surrender, accessible to all, were chosen by God to reveal to us His thirst for love. In this Vision book, Helen Walker Homan, who writes in the tradition of Louisa Mae Alcott, has created another classic of delightful family life among five sisters, one of whom became a saint.

ALBA HOUSE - 101 pages - 15.00 €


Was St Thérèse's mother herself a saint ? Zélie Martin and her husband Louis were declared Venerable by the Church in 1994 for their « Heroic Virtue », and the couple's cause is now progressing toward Beatification. Zélie married at 27, bore 9 children, ran a home business and did a superb job of raising 5 daughters, including « the greatest saint of modern times ». She died of breast cancer at 45, but her greatness was recognized by her family and her friends, and is now known to the world. Zélie suffered many of the ordinary burdens of life, yet she was happy, loved her children « madly »and enjoyed them immensely. Turned down by the convent because of poor health, Zélie Martin courageously faced the worldly struggles of dealing with family worries, illnesses, the death of 4 of her children, discipline problems, business problems, irreligious people, even quartering and counseling young German soldiers during the Franco-Prussian War-bringing her totally Catholic outlook to everything she did. This book was written by her daughter Celine, who had access to Zélie's letters and to the reminiscences of her older sisters in the Carmel of Lisieux. It is authentic and inspiring, showing what a tremendous life's work and accomplishment it is to be a truly Catholic mother. Looking at Zélie's picture, one can see her incredible character, integrity, goodness, constancy and love. This book was written by her daughter Celine, who had access to Zélie’s letters and to the reminiscences of her older sisters in the Carmel of Lisieux. It is authentic and inspiring, showing what a tremendous life’s work and accomplishment it is to be a truly Catholic mother. Looking at Zélie’s picture, one can see her incredible character, integrity, goodness, constancy and love.

TAN - 122 pages - 6.00 €


Louis Martin was the pattern of Fatherhood on which St. Thérèse built her now famous « Litlle Way of Spiritual Childhood ». Louis was declared Venerable by Church in 1994, along with his wife Zélie, and the couple's cause is now progressing toward beatification. What kind of a father was he ? These authentic reminiscences describe Louis Martin's marriage at age 34, his love and support for Zélie, his firm discipline and tender affection for his children, his piety, observance of Sunday, business practices, selfless conduct, generosity to the poor, etc. Celine gives particular attention to the sufferings of the father's old age, foreseen in a vision by Thérèse, which included a period of time spent in mental institution. She describes his beautiful death, as well as a sign receveid by Thérèse indicating that their father's soul had gone straight to Heaven. A selection of letters written by Louis gives additional insights into his character. All of Louis Martin's daughters considered themselves highly blessed to have had so good a father. And we today in turn are blessed to possess an authentic portrait (front cower) of the saintly father of « the greatest saint of modern times ». All of Louis Martin’s daughters considered themselves highly blessed to have had so good a father. And we today in turn are blessed to possess an authentic portrait (front cower) of the saintly father of « the greatest saint of modern times ».

TAN - 122 pages - 6.00 €



BY LOVE ALONE Daily Readings with St Thérèse of Lisieux

This book is part of the acclaimed Enfolded in Love series of books, which presents selections from the spiritual classics in a form suitable for daily reading and meditation

DARTON LONGMAN TODD - 77 pages - 5.15 €


St Thérèse of Lisieux, now a Doctor of the Church, summarized her spirituality in these simple but profound words, « My Little WAy is all love ». Her complete and unshakable trust in the love of God our Father was the foundation of her spiritual life, a chidlike relationship with our Creatir that raised her to the heights of sanctity in only 24 years of life. St. Thérèse's spirituality, her Little Way of Spiritual Childhood, is one that can be imitated and practiced by all souls, no matter waht their state in life. Her spirituality has been recognized by the Church as a special gift from God for ordinary people everywhere to reach heroic sanctity. Monseigneur Vernon Johnson, a famous convert and apostle of St. Thérèse, presents in the book the most clear, practical and yet profound explanation of this « little way », a way to perfection that changed his life and the lives of countless others. Johnson summarizes the spiritual approach of St.Thérèse in these three words : Love, Humility, Confidence. St Thérèse’s spirituality, her Little Way of Spiritual Childhood, is one that can be imitated and practiced by all souls, no matter what their state in life. her spirituality has been recognized by the Church as a special gift from god for ordinary people eveywhere to reach heroic sanctity.

IGNATIUS - 230 pages - 13.00 €


This study of the life and character of Thérèse of Lisieux is a truly extraordinary book, a remarkable, penetrating, and fascinating search for the truth behind one of the most astounding religious figures of modern times. A young nun who entered a convent at fifteen and died at twenty-four, Thérèse roused an incredible storm of spontaneous veneration only a few months after her death, and has been called by one Pope as « the greatest saint of the modern times ». Countless statues and pictures of the sweetly smiling saint, most of them in questionable taste, flooded the world. But who was she, really ? The Hidden Face has sprung from this question. It presents the true Thérèse, as conscientiously and objectively as possible, and gives at the same time a convincing interpretation of her sainthood. It is a book not for Catholics alone, but for anyone fascinated by the force of spirituality, by the incalculable effects of what Pascal called the « greatness of the human soul ». It opens the cloistered world of the Carmel, takes off all the sugar coating, and reveals the stark drama behind convent walls, the tension between personalities, the daily details of conventual life. And it throws light on the tremendous purifying process that turned the pampered darling of a doting family into a saint of heroic virtue. The work of a mind of rare intelligence and integrity, this book is unique among the lives of saints. First published in Germany in 1944, the original is now in its eighth edition. This English translation was based on a new, revised version that took into account the latest most authentic edition of the saint's writings. This study of the life and character of Thérèse of Lisieux is a truly extraordinary book, a remarkable, penetrating, and fascinating search for the truth behind one of the most astouding religious figures of modern times.

IGNATIUS - 417 pages - 17.50 €


On World Misison Synday, October 19, 1997, Pope John Paul II declared St. Therese of Lisieux a « Doctor of the Universal Church »….

SAINT PAUL - 240 pages - 15.00 €


« In September of 1995, Father Conrad De Meester, an old friend, sent me a copy of his thoroughgoing study of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Dynamique de la Confiance. It took me six months to read it slowly, a little bit at a time. I have the habit of writing the date when I finish a book on the title page, with a comment recording my impression of it. On the title page of this book I wrote simply : »This is a masterpiece.« Thus begins New York's Auxiliary Bishop Patrick V. Ahern's Preface to this classic work by one of the world's most respected experts on the life and teaching of this latest Doctor of the Church, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. The men and women of today, often disheartened by worry and discouragement, will be reminded by the »Little Flower« that daily life with all its ups and downs can become a marvelous springboard to sanctity. Her »Way of spiritual childhood« is nothing less than »the translation of the evangelical ideal providentially offered to the modern world" (Yves Congar). But how did she come to such a profound yet simple insight into the secret of the way to God's heart, and thus to eternal happiness with Him in Heaven ? This book retraces the itinary that led Thérèse to her great discovery and beyond ; it enters into her simple and surprising psychology, and relives with her gradual blossoming of her conviction. Between God and Thérèse, conscious of her own incompleteness, it is confidence which, finally, bridges the gap. Confidence and love. Once we understand this, we shall see that there is great power in utter confidence in God and love for Him. A close and careful reading of The Power of Confidence will show us how and why this is true for everyone. This book retraces the itinary that led Thérèse to her great discovery and beyond ; it enters into her simple and surprising psychology, and relives with her gradual blossoming of her conviction.

ALBA HOUSE - 371 pages - 18.55 €


In her autobiography, Thérèse of Lisieux writes : « Ah ! how many lights have I not drawn from the works of our holy Father, St. John of the Cross !… At the ages of 17 and 18, I had no other spiritual nourishment. » In this book, Bishop Gauchar, a well-known French author and eminent authority on St. Thérèse, meticulously traces John's influence on the young Carmelite nun and finds that he was a presence that guided and inspired her throughout her short life, right up to the day she died. « God's poet » was for her a teacher of Faith, Hope and especially Love. No other book about Saint and Doctor of the Church really meant by « the flames of love », which consumed her as surely as the flames of any holocaust. To live and « to die of love » was her sole passion ; « to love Jesus and to make him loved » was the essence of her singular vocation and mission in life. Through the pages of this book, we are able, at least a little, to gain entrance into the heart of all her poetry and, at the same time, are given a new, or perhaps very first, understanding of some of the more difficult passages from the writings of her spiritual father and mentor, St. John of the Cross. The influence of St. John of the Cross in the Life and Writings of St. Thérèse of Lisieux - by Bishop Guy Gaucher.

ALBA HOUSE - 160 pages - 13.50 €


From the age of fifteen until her death at twenty-four, Thérèse of Lisieux lived a hidden life in the seclusion of a Carmelite convent. Today, she ranks alongside such great figures as St Augustine and Thomas Aquinas as a Doctor of the Church, and is an inspiration for countless men and women of all ages and cultures. What explains her extraordinary appeal ? This warm and intimate portrait of Thérèse demonstrates that the message of her life is more relevant now than ever and introduces us to a practical spirituality for our times. Her life was a celebration of littleness and weakness - that are despised in this world with its relentless materialism, and yet which lead us directly to the loving heart of God. This warm and intimate portrait demonstrate that the message of Thérèse’s life is more relevant now than ever and introduces us to a practical spirituality for our times.

Canterbury Press - 104 pages - 11.15 €


For the final eighteen months of her life, as she was literally being suffocated to death by pulmonary tuberculosis, Thérèse of Lisieux experienced a harrowing « trial of faith ». Although never faltering in her profession of faith, she had to struggle to believe in the existence of life beyond the grave. Her struggle to assent to the existence of heaven caused her more agony, she said, than her physical disease. By her own admission, her trial was a veritable martyrdom. Her trial of faith wan an intense manifestation of her profound union with Christ in his redemptive suffering for the salvation of the world and reveals a hitherto largely unappreciated facet of her very special mission here on earth, namely, to expiate sins against the faith and to impart and strengthen the gift of faith in members of the Church who find themselves subjected to similar doubts and difficulties by a world that no longer knows what it believes about life after death. This work highlights in particular the redemptive role all Christians are called upon to play by virtue of their Baptism. In this context, Thérèse, the saint of the « little », and might we not also add, « universal » way, illustrated by her life and teaching the centerpiece of the Second Vatican Council's universal call to holiness of all the faithful. This book shows us how. A very elaborate study of the trial of faith experienced by St. Thérèse during the last 18 months of her life. Through his study, the author wishes to highlight some aspects of the doctrines of redemption, grace and ecclesiology, especially the co-dedemptive role all Christians are called to play.

ST PAUL - 207 pages - 13.50 €


This book was written in anticipation of the day when Thérèse of Lisieux was to be ranked among the Doctors of the Church - that long-awaited day finally came on the 19th October 1997. The author, a priest who knew the blood sisters of the Little Flower personally, presents his own fascinating insights. As a Carmelite and Founder of the secular Insitute of Notre Dame de Vie, Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus (1894-1967) dedicated his whole life to the study of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her Little Way. Here he helps us penetrate the heart of her message regarding the discovery of God as Love. As the perfect disciple of Elijah, St. Teresa of Avila, and especially St. John of the Cross, St. Thérèse of Lisieux was an authentic contemplative who became the « most powerful leader of souls in our times. » This book places her teaching on spiritual childhood in reach of all. « …One cannot fail to place Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus among the most important disciples of St. Thérèse of Lisieux in the twentieth century… and, indeed, for all time to come » (Guy Gaucher). Foreword to the English language edition by Bishop Patrick V. Ahern. Three conferences on St. Thérèse given by a Carmelite priest who dedicated his whole life to study of St. Thérèse. A great help to penetrate the heart of the message of St. Thérèse whom he calls « a spiritual Genius », a teacher of Gospel truth par excellence ; a prophetic book.

ALBA HOUSE - 155 pages - 6.60 €


The great laws of science do not exist because one day a scholar discovers and formulates their reality. They were there immutable after the creation of the world. The same is so in the spiritual world. Thérèse Martin invented nothing. She simply relied on the Gospel and brought to light a principle of an ever-present force and she did so with utter simplicity. Young people of every age will acknowledge within themselves their most basic and generous aspirations. Those who have some experience of God's ways well know that beyond research, human judgements, failings and beyond the finest accomplishments, it is the function of the unique Love lived by all the saints that makes a person to take up a veritable burden and bear even what seems most burdensome. Thérèse is a lesson to all of spiritual greatness to be achieved by perfect love of God and total consecration of all our actions, even the smallest, to His greater honor and glory. The kernel of St. Thérèse’s message : she is the Saint of Love. However, much more than a summary, this book is a leap forward : a call to conversion.

ALBA HOUSE - 108 pages - 5.00 €


First complete, accurate, unaltered presentation of Therese's « Little Way » to appear in English. Deploring the many works which present only a part or a distorted version of the spirituality of St. Therese, Father Jamart spent many years of research and study to prepare this book in which he cuts away the sensational, the pietistic, and the emotional elements which have crept into writings about the « Little Way ». Contrary to the belief that Therese's spiritual mission was limited to the recalling of sinners to God and the sanctification of priests, the author shows conclusively that « her way of spiritual childhood » was and is intended as a way of life for all. Bearing in mind the universality of Therese's doctrine, Fr Jamart proceeds with simplicity of style and orderly progression of thought, creating a work, not for the initiated few, but for all Christians seriously interested in finding a sure and easy way to Christ. According to the judgement of the Carmelite nuns of Lisieux, this work « represents the pure doctrine of Thérèse, without deviation ». The Little Way of St. Therese explained with simplicity and rigor : no disortion, no betrayal of Thérèse’s message, just her pure doctrine.

ALBA HOUSE - 318 pages - 21.00 €


Throughout the Church a year of celebration began on 30 September 1996 to commemorate the centenary of the death of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a contemplative Carmelite nun who died at the age of twenty-four. Thérèse is an extremely popular saint among people of the most varied backgrounds. For some, however, her image was too saccharine and pietistic. In recent decades a new face has been appearing, which, though not taking away from her attractiveness, shows her to be a very strong and fascinating woman, as well as one of the most important spiritual writers of our time. Indeed, on the 19th October 1997, Thérèse was proclaimed Doctor of the Universal Church…Father Christopher O'Donnell, a Carmelite teaching in the Milltown Institute, Dublin, takes up a theme proposed in current theology especially by Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar, namely, the important contribution to theology offered by spirituality, and especially by the lives and writings of the saints. this new book, written for the centenary by a specialist in ecclesiology, examines what Thérèse may have to offer for a contemporary theology of the Chrurch. In a Church which is often negatively perceived, St. Thérèse's self-identity as « love in the heart of the Church » can be a focus for a renewed ecclesiology. After surveying the many faces of the saint in this century in centenary overview, Father O'Donnell examines various intuitions of St. Thérèse such as the Communion of Saints, charisms, practical charity, intercession, suffering, missions, priests, faith, purgatory, martyrdom, the saints and Mary. He suggests that the development by St. Thérèse of these and other topics is especially significant today for a renewed and vital vision of the Church. A study written for the centenary by a specialist in ecclesiology : the contribution of St. Thérèse to the life of the Church, her profound theological genius.

VERITAS - 255 pages - 11.50 €


The Little Way of an unknown Carmelite nun who became a Doctor of the Church. Thérèse died a painful and lingering death of tuberculosis in her French convent in the Normandy town of Lisieux in 1897, at only twenty four-years of age. Thousands of soldiers in the First World War trenches carried her picture to their own deaths. This acclaimed booklet sets out what Thérèse called her Little Way and powerfully reveals the relevance of the Gospel to everyday living. A precious little book for those who want to discover the core elements of St. Therese’s spirituality and message. Simple and practical.

CTS - 48 pages - 3.60 €


A collection of texts written during the Centenary Year of Thérèse’s death, briefly elaborating themes such as : Thérèse and prayer, Thérèse and the Eucharist, Thérèse and the missions, Doctor of the Church… with quotations selected from her own manuscripts, prayers and poems. A well thought-out collection of texts within everyone’s reach.

VERITAS - 80 pages - 6.85 €


Saint Thérèse of Lisieux attained the summit of love by plumbing the depths of her own powerlessness. Confronted by this powerlessness in the events of everyday life, she abandoned herself more to Jesus Christ , the incarnation of God's mercy. In so doing, she received the Savior's healing, and the awareness of being loved by an infinitely merciful Father. We can all recognize our face in that of Thérèse. Like her, we are poor, finite and often overcome by fear. She can teach us that by following her way of abandonment we also will experience Love. Then we will be able to cry out, with her, in an excess of joy : « My vocation is Love …In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and so I will be everything… » We can all recognize our face in that of Thérèse. Like her, we are poor, finite and often overcome by fear. She can teach us that by following her way of abandonment we also will experience Love.

MEDIASPAUL - 172 pages - 15.00 €

WITH EMPTY HANDS the message of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

This is an entirely new edition and translation of Conrad de Meester's brilliant and moving presentation of the life, thought and spirituality of St.Thérèse of Lisieux. The author has completely revised ans amplified his previous book in the light of the new, thoroughly annotated editions of her own works and the many recent works of research and commentary, which have led him to develop and change some of his interpretations of teh saint's life and character. This is an entirely new edition and translation of Conrad de Meester’s brilliant and moving presentation of the life, thought and spirituality of St.Thérèse of Lisieux.

ICS PUBLICATIONS - 142 pages - 19.20 €

THE LITTLE FLOWER the story of Saint Therese of the child Jesus

« Papa, what's the new baby's name ? » asked one of the Martin girls. Little Therese was « the baby » of the Martin family. She was also her Papa's « Little Queen ». With her Mama, her Papa and her 4 big sisters to love her, Therese could have turned out to be a very spoiled little girl. And indeed, it is true that sometimes she was cross and naughty. But Therese had hit upon a plan : she had decided to become a saint.To do this, she would love God every minute and would always say, « Yes » to whatever He asked of her. Would this really make Therese into a saint ? Wasn't it too easy ? Or maybe it would sometimes be too hard ? And wouldn't Therese forget about her plan as she grew older ? This book tells what happened to little Therese : It shows how Therese received a second mother when she lost her first mother, how she was teased at school, and how she was cured of being a crybaby. It tells about her mysterious illness, her miraculous cure, her First Holy Communion, the terrible criminal whose soul she won back for God, and what she decided to do when grew up. All in all, here is the wonderful true story of what happened when littlle Therese Martin set out to become a saint. This book tells what happened to little Therese : It shows how Therese received a second mother when she lost her first mother, how she was teased at school, and how she was cured of being a crybaby.

TAN - 165 pages - 10.00 €


Where the spirit breathes there is life, there is love, there is boundless creative activity. Persons are glorified by teh Spirit of Love who possesses them. The human personality is elevated and broadened by this presence and possession of the Spirit. The senses are purified, the intellect refined, the will stengthened, and we are made whole. All christians, from the moment of their baptism, are called to know and to participate in the riches of God's own divine life in them and to experience the supernatural love which the grace of the sacrament contains. And more, they are to become the conscious collaborators of the sanctifying apostolic action of the Holy Spirit within them to save the world. The teaching presented here by Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus is at the heart of his personal experience and spiritual doctrine. An ardent devotee and disciple of St.Thérèse of Lisieux from whom he learned much about the working of the Holy Spirit and familiar himself with the action of the spirit in his own life, he teaches us the paths of silent prayer, which lead to the transforming action of the Spirit in our lives. He speaks of the loving and fertile collaboration we can have with the Holy Spirit and he describes here its requirements and its wealth, opening up to those who want to live their basptimal grace more fully the immense horizon of holiness which stretches out before them. Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus speaks of the loving and fertile collaboration we can have with the Holy Spirit and he describes here its requirements and its wealth, opening up to those who want to live their basptimal grace more fully the immense horizon of holiness which stretches out before them.

ALBA HOUSE - 290 pages - 9.75 €


Experience the adventures and challenges, herism and holiness of some of the greatest friends of God ! The saints live and breathe again in these stories you won’t want to put down. Each book in this ongoing series also features a special paryer and a glossary of terms. Collect them all, and meet the saints !

PAULINE - 129 pages - 6.80 €




Thérèse’s childhood Her world in Lisieux and in Normandy Thérèse’s life in Carmel her illness and death, her legacy

600 photo-documents 40.00 €

The life and the message of Thérèse illustrated by hundreds of magnificent photographs : from Alençon to the canonization, going through the drawings she made as a child, the holy pictures she painted in the convent, the convent itself and of course the precious photographs of her taken by her sister Céline. Commentaries are written by one of the most eminent French specialists : Pierre Descouvemont. This book is a work of art.

Prayers intentions

Prayers intentions

Novena of prayer

God our Father,You welcome near You those who serve You faithfully in this world : we invoke Saint Therese of the Child Jesus because of her love for You. Her childlike trust made her hope « that You would do her will in Heaven because she had always done yours on earth ». I beg You to grant the prayer I make to You in faith as I entrust myself to her intercession.

Our Father

Lord Jesus, only Son of God and our Saviour,remember that Saint Therese of the Child Jesus spent her life here below for the salvation of souls and wanted « to spend her Heaven doing good on earth ». Because she was your beloved spouse and was impassionned for your glory, we pray to her. I depend on You to grand the graces I implore through her intercession.

Hail Mary

Holy Spirit, source of all grace and all love, it is through your action that Saint Therese of the Child Jesus was so filled with divine attentions and responded to them with such perfect fidelity. Since she intercedes for us now and wants no rest until the end or time, we pray through her. I ask You to inspire and to hear my prayer, so that there may be granted to me the favour entrusted to her intercession.

Glory be to the Father

O Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, see what confidence I have in you, and welcome my intentions. Intercede for me with the Blessed Virgin Mary, who came to smile on you when you were suffering. Look on all those undergoing distress and trials and also on all those who pray to you : I unite myself to them as my brothers and sisters.

Through the graces we desire, if it be the Lord’s will, make us stronger in Faith, Hope and Love on the road to life. May we be assisted at the moment of death so that we may pass from this world into the peace of the Father and know the eternal joy of the children of God.


reliquaire à la Basilique
reliquaire à la Basilique

You can leave here your intentions of prayers

They will be put at Saint Thérèse’s reliquary inside the Basilica. The priests will take them in their prayers during the Sunday Mass.