1873 AD (Alençon, France) – 1897 AD (Lisieux, France)
Saint Thérèse is one of my all-time favorite saints and I hope she will be yours too after you hear this story. From among the hundreds of saints whose example the Church encourages us to follow, only 35 have been picked as “Doctors of the Church.” I’m sure you know what a doctor is, right? But, did you know that the word “doctor” originally meant teacher? So, the saints who are Doctors of the Church are the ones who have a lot to teach us. They include great saints like Teresa of Ávila, John of the Cross, Anselm and Ambrose, who have studied a lot during their lives and who have written many important books.
Will you believe me if I tell you that Saint Thérèse, who only lived a very short life and was a simple nun in a small town in France, is a Doctor of the Church too? That’s right! In- stead of spending a lot of time studying and thinking up clever arguments like Saint Anselm, Thérèse understood something very important. It is not us, who can turn our- selves into saints just by what we do, but God from whom all holiness comes. Saint Thérèse knew that she was little and couldn’t do great deeds like when Saint Ambrose calmed down an angry mob or when Saint Francis rebuilt and old chapel. But, instead of feeling sad about it, she realized that it will be Jesus who will turn her into a saint. All she had to do was to listen to him and to love him in even the simplest chores. When Saint Thérèse had to sweep the yard in her convent, this was not a boring job that just had to be done, but a great way of showing Jesus her love.
Do you ever have to do chores? Next time you do, why don’t you try saying “I’ll do this for you, Jesus!” You’ll see that you will be very happy not only because you helped someone, but also because you did it with Jesus. Because Saint Thérèse knew that she could love God even in the smallest things, she became one of the greatest saints ever. She showed us a way to God that is always open to us. We don’t need to wait until we grow up or until something important happens where we can try to be like the saints. Loving Jesus is something we can do now.
“Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.”