Thérèse Martin's spiritual journey was lonely. Of course, she received a lot from her family, from her educators, from the Carmelite teachers. But no priest left a deep mark on her. In her, the Holy Spirit traced a path of authenticity - "I have never sought anything but the truth" - which revealed to her the depths of the Trinitarian Love and a "way" to reach them, without any concern. didactic: everything came from life, from daily events re-read in the light of the Word of God.

His incomparable contribution to the spirituality of the twentieth century is a return to the Gospel in its radical purity. “If you don't become like little children again, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. "(Matthew 18,3)

The “little way”, a way of trust and of total surrender of oneself to the grace of the Lord, is not a way to be trivialized, as if it were less demanding. It is in fact demanding, as the Gospel always is.
But, it is a way in which one is penetrated, with the sense of trusting surrender to divine mercy, which makes even the most rigorous spiritual commitment light ...

John Paul II - 1997

Although she was never able to dispose of the entire Old Testament, she made a return to meditating on the Word of God. Without any initiation, without any biblical culture, she quotes the Bible more than 1000 times in her writings. It was not until the age of twenty-two that two texts from the Old Testament crystallized in her a long search: the illumination of "The way of spiritual childhood" which will symbolize its contribution.

In June 1897, very ill, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face wrote obediently in a small notebook the memories of her religious life addressed to her prioress, Mother Marie de Gonzague.
From her second page, she tells him about the great discovery of what she calls her " small way », True spiritual illumination which will be decisive in the last three years of his life.

"I want to be a saint"

Thérèse, an ardent adolescent, left for holiness. She wrote to her father: “I will make your glory by becoming a great saint”. But very quickly, in Carmel, she will come up against her weaknesses and her helplessness, when she compares herself to the Saints. They appear to her like a mountain when she is only a grain of sand. “Growing up is impossible,” she says, but without losing heart. Because if God has placed these desires for holiness in her, it is because there must be a road, a way to climb "the rough staircase of perfection".


The Word of God will open the way for him: “If anyone is very little, let him come to me. "(Proverbs, 9,4)" So I came ", writes" little Thérèse "while wondering what God would do to the little one who would come to him, she read Isaiah 66: from then on, she understood that she was not will not be able to climb this staircase alone but that Jesus will take her in his arms, like a rapid elevator. From then on, Thérèse's littleness was no longer an obstacle, on the contrary. The smaller and lighter she is in Jesus' arms, the more He will make her holy by a rapid ascension. This is how Thérèse recounts her discovery of the little way (Manuscript C, 2). It is first of all a discovery of what God is: essentially Merciful Love. From now on, she will see all the divine perfections (including her Justice) through the prism of her Mercy.

This brings about a daring confidence on her part: “I want to be holy, but I feel my powerlessness and I ask you, O my God! to be my holiness yourself. "

Deed of Offering

Accepting to let yourself be taken in by God does not imply any easy infantilism. Thérèse will do everything possible to concretely show her love for God and her sisters, but in total gratuity, that of love. In all the situations and all the acts of her life, Thérèse will “apply” this way: God asks her this, she feels that she is incapable of it, therefore He will do it in her. An example: loving all his sisters as Jesus loves them is impossible for him. So uniting himself with Him, it is He who will love them in Thérèse.

“Yes, I feel it when I am charitable, it is Jesus alone who acts in me; the more I am united to Him, the more also I love all my sisters. "

Manuscript C, 13 r °

Here is a path of holiness which opens up for all, the little ones, the poor, the wounded: to accept the reality of our weakness and to offer ourselves to God as we are so that he can act in us. that such a sentence, for example, is the antipodes of sentimentality but on the contrary makes explicit the evangelical childhood preached by Jesus:

“Jesus is pleased to show me the only way which leads to this Divine furnace, this way is the abandonment of the little child who falls asleep without fear in the arms of his Father. "

Manuscript B, 1 v °

Her intuitions make her an announcer of the great truths brought to light by the Second Vatican Council: the primacy of the paschal mystery of Jesus over all particular devotions, the way of holiness for all baptized, Mariology which sees in Mary "more a Mother than" a Queen ”, having lived the test of faith (cf. the poem“ Why I love you, O Mary ”, Marian testament, May 1897), ecclesiology of communion founded on the presence of Love (the Spirit -Saint) at the heart of the Church which animates all complementary vocations in the Communion of Saints in Heaven and Earth.

Revolution also in the conception of the Last Ends: no longer rest, but action: "I will spend my heaven doing good on earth." "

Thérèse, without knowing it, opened avenues of ecumenism: her reading of the Epistle to the Romans seduced the Lutherans; Orthodoxy loves him with Saint Francis of Assisi (the universal symbols used by these two saints facilitate their inculturation into other civilizations.)

It was in Saint-Pierre Cathedral, one Sunday in July 1887, at the end of mass, that Thérèse received the Eucharistic grace for her mission.

Closing her missal, she is seized by an image of Christ on the cross which slides from the pages:

"I was struck by the blood which fell from one of his Divine hands, I felt great pain in thinking that this blood fell to the ground without anyone [not] hastening to collect it, and I resolved to stand in spirit at the foot of [the] Cross to receive the Divine dew which flowed from it, understanding that I would then have to spread it on souls… The cry of Jesus on the Cross also resounded continuously in my heart: “I am thirsty ! »These words kindled in me an unknown and very lively ardor… I wanted to give my Beloved drink and I myself felt devoured with the thirst of souls… It was not yet the souls of priests who gave me attracted, but those of the great sinners, I was burning with the desire to tear them from the eternal flames… ”

Manuscript A, 45 v °

His mission in Carmel

To be more missionary, Thérèse felt called to Carmel, following Saint Thérèse d'Avila, her “Mother”, by the gift of her life and the prayer that crossed all borders. Like the Spanish Madre, "she would like to give a thousand lives to save a single soul".

Abbé Bellière

Entering Carmel, she declares:

“I came to save souls and above all to pray for priests. "
“To love Jesus and make him loved” became more and more the goal of his whole life.

She is thrilled when she is given two spiritual brothers to help in their ministry through prayer and sacrifice:

THEAbbot Maurice Bellière, a twenty-one-year-old seminarian, asked for the help of a Carmelite nun to promote her vocation. He will be a White Father and will go to Nyasaland (now Malawi). He returned to France and died, hospitalized, at the Bon Sauveur de Caen in 1907 at the age of thirty-three. Thérèse will help her a lot with her correspondence. She will write eleven important letters to him.

Both will allow Thérèse to broaden her horizons to the dimension of the world. Sick, she "will walk for a missionary".

Father Adolphe Roulland

The "infinite desires" which make her suffer during prayer push her to want: "to travel the earth, (...) proclaim the Gospel in the five parts of the world and even in the most remote islands ... I would like to be a missionary, no only for a few years, but I would like to have been so since the creation of the world and be so until the consumption of centuries… ”

Ms B, 3 r °

His mission in Heaven

This desire will intensify even on his bed of agony in the hope of being even more missionary after his death:

  • “I fully intend not to remain inactive in Heaven, my desire is to still work for the Church and for souls. I ask the good Lord and I am sure that He will answer me. "(LT 254).
  • "Above all, I feel that my mission is about to begin, my mission to make the good Lord loved as I love him, to give souls my little way" (JEV, 85)
  • “I want to spend my Heaven doing good on earth until the end of the world. »(JEV, 85).

Its universal influence

The most astonishing thing is that the Church proclaimed her universal patron of the missions in 1927 with the Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier.

Patroness of the missions of the outside, patroness of the missions of the interior (Mission de France), Sister Thérèse, without ever having left her cell, has invested so much in the Trinitarian Love in the daily life of her life, that she has radiate the mercies of the Heart of God to the world.

After the death of Thérèse, innumerable priestly and religious vocations were born from their meeting with Thérèse. She kept her promises. A host of priests and missionaries entrusted their ministry to him.

More than 50 congregations around the world claim to be part of the spirituality of Saint Thérèse. Usually apostolic congregations have inculturated the Teresian message in their civilization. Their numbers are around 5000.



  • Deus Caritas, Lisieux
    • Secular Institute
    • foundation: 1963
  • Missionaries of the Plain and of St. Therese of the Child Jesus
    • Foundation: 1921
  • Missionary Brothers of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Bassac
    • Foundation: 1948
  • Oblate Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus
    • Foundation: 1924


  • Instituto Piccole suore di S. Teresa del Bambino Gesù, Imola
    • Foundation: 1923
  • I Sacerdoti oblati di S. Teresa del Bambino Gesù, Ravenna
    • Foundation: 1965
  • Carmelite Missionary of S. Teresa del Bambino Gesù, Santa Marinella
    • Foundation: 1925
  • Discepole di S. Teresa del Bambino Gesu, Qualiano
    • Foundation: 1926
  • Ancelle di Santa Teresa del Bambino Gesu, Salerno
    • Foundation: 1937


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


  • Company S. Teresa del Bambino Gesu
    • Lugano
    • Secular Institute
    • Foundation: 1926


  • Theresienschwestern des katholischen Apostolates
    • meringue
    • Foundation: 1928



  • Little Brothers of St. Therese of the Child Jesus
    • Cold River
    • Foundation: 1960
  • Little Sisters of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus
    • Cold River
    • Foundation: 1948


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


  • Missionarias of Santa Teresinha
    • Braganca do Para
    • Foundation: 1954


  • The Little Sisters of Our Lady of the Smile, Pious Union
    • Foundation: 1954


  • Eucaristic Missionaries of Santa Teresita
    • Foundation: 1936
  • Misioneras Carmelitas of S. Teresa del N. Jesùs
    • Puebla
    • Foundation: 1936


  • Hermanas Missionaries of Santa Teresita
    • Medellin
    • Foundation: 1929


Papua New Guinea

  • Sisters of Saint Theresa
    • Foundation: 1954



  • Congregation of the Sisters of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus
    • Foundation: 1959
  • Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus
    • (Limite) Kinshasa
    • Foundation: 1966
  • Sisters of Saint Thérèse
    • The job
    • Foundation: 1966


  • Daughters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus
    • Fort Portal
    • Foundation: 1940


  • Teresian Sisters
    • Iringa
    • Foundation: 1931
  • St. Therese Sisters
    • bukoba
    • Foundation: 1932


  • Bene-Teresiya (Daughters of St. Therese of Lisieux)
    • Expect it
    • Foundation: 1933


  • Teresian Sisters
    • Lilongwe
    • Foundation: 1984


  • Oblate catechists, little servants of the poor
    • Foundation: 1914


  • Congregation of the Sisters of St Therese of the Child Jesus
    • Kumba-Kumba
    • Foundation: 1970



  • Little Flower Congregation
    • Priests and seminarians, Kerala
    • Foundation: 1931
  • Congregation of St Therese of the Child Jesus
    • Frères
    • Foundation: 1931
  • Bethany Sisters of Little Flower
    • Mangalore
    • Foundation: 1921
  • Missionary Sisters of St Therese of the Child Jesus
    • Kerala
    • Foundation: 1959
  • Sisters of Jesus "Jesus Bhavan"
    • Sagar
    • Foundation: 1980
  • Congregation of the Mother of Carmel
    • Pious Union.


  • Two congregations existed
  • No information to date
  • Foundation: 1928 and 1931


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

Middle East


  • Maronite Congregation of the Sisters of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus
    • Foundation: 1935