Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: A Gateway
July 9, 2012

In This Issue
In the footsteps of Louis and Zelie
The Poetry of Saint Therese online
What some Carmelites who lived with Therese thought of her
Replica of St. Therese's cell at shrine in Darien
Feast of the Martin spouses
Louis Martin's feast celebrated in Alencon
Mary in the Life and Spirituality of St. Therese
Relics of St. Therese return to Philippines
Carmelite Summer Seminar 2013

Quick Links

"Therese of Lisieux: Wisdom's Daughter" - a program by Dr. Keith Egan, T. O. Carm. for Now You Know Media

Featured Article
Basilica of Notre-Dame, Alencon
In Normandy this summer?  Every Tuesday, from July e3 through August 21, a guided tour, "In the footsteps of the Martins in the city of Alencon," will leave at 2:30 p.m. from the vestibule of the Basilica of Notre -Dame at Alencon.  Click on the photo for details in French.
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Greetings.  This month I want to share with you:: 
  • the historic first appearance online of the authoritative English translation of all the poems written by St. Therese.
  • What did the Carmelites who lived with Sister Therese of the Child Jesus really think of her?  I translated a letter from Sister Therese of Jesus, who lived with St. Therese in Carmel, to Bishop Lemonnier, saying what she thought of Therese.
  • A replica of St. Therese's cell which incorporates parts of her actual cell from Lisieux has been constructed at the National Shrine of St. Therese in Darien, Illinois. 

    Please see these and other articles below.  If you have events, publications, or ideas you'd like to see in future newsletters, please let me know.    
With wishes for a grace-filled summer,

Maureen O'Riordan

The Poetry of St. Therese:
the authoritative English translation
is available online
The English section of the Lisieux Carmel archives opened in the spring of 2012 and is steadily adding new resources.  I am happy to announce that for the first time, the English translation of The Poetry of Saint Therese of Lisieux published by ICS Publications is available online at the English Web site of the Archives of the Lisieux Carmel. 
The Poetry of Saint Therese of Lisieux, translated by Donald Kinney, O.C.D.
Note that the hard copy of The Poetry of Saint Therese of Lisieux, edited by Donald Kinney, O.C.D., includes a valuable general introduction by Jacques Lonchampt and detailed introductions and notes to each poem which illuminate the importance of Therese's poetry and share the context in which each poem was written.  These features do not appear online, so, if you have not read the book, it is richly worthwhile to order it.  To do so, please click on the image above.

I rejoice that, thanks to the Lisieux Carmel and the Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, the text of the poems written by St. Therese are available to everyone with Internet access. 

What some of the Carmelites who lived with St. Therese really thought of her
Article Headline
Sister Therese of Jesus
Sister Therese of Jesus
courtesy of the Archives of the Lisieux Carmel
On October 15, 1907,. Bishop Lemonnier, newly appointed bishop of Bayeux, called for information from those who had known Sister Therese of the Child Jesus.


On November 9, 1907, Sister Therese of Jesus, who lived with St. Therese in Carmel during all of St. Therese's years there, but who left the Carmel at her own request in 1909, .answered with this letter, translated from the Web site of the archives of the Lisieux Carmel:



I loved little sister Therese of the Child Jesus very much because of her youth..    She was a good child, never making trouble, loving to give services. A good little character; she had her imperfections: everyone does.


I have never seen anything that suggests she could be raised to the altar. Getting up in the morning, filling her little day, never overloaded.


 I lived 9 years and 6 months with her. I saw a child feted, cherished, adored, always placed on a pedestal. The Mother Prioress (then Marie de Gonzague) doted on her.   


The blood sisters of little Thérèse considered her a paragon, always giving her compliments, telling her that she was a saint, and the rest. Ah! I thought: they are imprudent. Here is a child who is praised to the skies. When her hair was cut, they kept the hair as a relic. It is easy to be amiable when you are fawned upon."


(Translation copyright 2012 by Maureen O'Riordan). 


This letter illuminates what more than one of the nuns who lived with Therese thought of her. It is interesting to read the letter in the light of the testimony of Sister Marie-Madeleine, Therese's novice, at the diocesan process on March 16, 1911:

"Generally speaking, the Servant of  God was unknown and even misunderstood in the convent.  Apart from some novices who were close to her, no one noticed the heroism of her life.  . . . As for the rest of the sisters, about half of them said she was a good little nun, a gentle person, but that she had never had to suffer and that her life had been rather insignificant.  The other half were affected by the party animosity I mentioned, so their view was more unfavorable.  These said she had been spoiled by her sisters, but they were unable, nevertheless, to make any more explicit criticism."  (St. Therese of Lisieux by those who knew her, tr. Christopher O'Mahony, O.C.D.  Veritas: Dublin, 1975, p. 264).

Clearly Sister Therese of Jesus, early orphaned, who had no real family life in her childhood, belonged to that "other half" who disliked the "Martin clan."  Her letter shows that St. Therese meant business when she said she wanted to be unknown to those with whom she lived, and that she succeeded in hiding her holiness from most of them.  May it encourage us to allow God to make us holy in the midst of human misunderstanding.
        Replica of the cell of St. Therese
at the National Shrine of St. Therese
in Darien, Illinois 

image courtesy of the National Shrine of St. Therese

On June 5, 2012 the National Shrine of St. Therese in Darien, Illinois dedicated a replica of the cell of St. Therese constructed within the shrine.  The replica of the cell includes authentic elements from the Lisieux Carmel, including the actual door-frame and door to Therese's cell, part of the floor leading to her cell from the corridor, and a window from the chapter room where she made her vows on September 8, 1890.  Above you can see the small antechamber to her cell where Therese did her painting work and received her novices.  In this antechamber, on June 11, 1895, she and Celine, kneeling before the statue of the Virgin of the Smile, made the "Offering of myself to Merciful Love" Therese had written about after being inspired to make the offering on June 9, 1895.

Click on the image above to view "Where holiness found a voice," a short (2:29) film of the dedication.

Feast of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin to be celebrated at Alencon and Lisieux

Article Headline
The liturgical feast of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin on July 12 will be celebrated at Alencon and Lisieux.

Thursday, July 12 - Mass for the feast of the Blesseds in the Crypt of the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux at 3:30 p.m.


Saturday, July 14 - Feast at Alencon. A day to celebrate the anniversary of your marriage: a pilgrimage, visits to the holy places, meditation, a conference, Mass, and activities for children and teenagers.  For details in French, clickhere


Sunday, July 15 - 10:30 a.m. - Mass at the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux. Mgr. Gerard Defois, archbishop emeritus of Lille, presides in the presence of Mgr. Boulanger, bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux, and Mgr. Habert, bishop of Sees. 

Feast of Blessed Louis Martin to be celebrated at Alencon July 29, 2012

On July 29, 2012 the feast of Blessed Louis Martin will be celebrated in Alencon:  

10:30 a.m. - Mass at the Basilica of Notre-Dame; Mgr Habert, bishop of Sees, presides.


2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. - Eucharistic adoration in the chapel of the House of the Martin Family, 50 rue Saint Blaise; exposition of the relics of Blessed Louis and Zelie.

4:30 - Vespers


5:00 p.m. - Conference - "The link between Franciscan spirituality and the Martin family," presented by a member of the Franciscan family at the House of the Martin Family.   

"Mary in the Life
and Spirituality of Saint Therese"
at the 2012 OCDS Congress

Article Headline
On August 18, 2012 I have been asked to present a conference on "Mary in the Life and Spirituality of Saint Therese" at the 2012 Congress of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites in Wakefield, Massachusetts. The theme of the Congress is "Our Lady's Commandments: Do Whatever He Tells You."
Relics of St. Therese to return
 to the Philippines in 2013

The Shrine at Lisieux has announced that the Centenary Reliquary of St. Therese (the "Brazilian Reliquary") will make its third visit to the Philippines from December 15, 2012 through April 15, 2013. 
Carmelite Summer Seminar for 2013
June 9-15, 2013  
St. Mary's College,
Notre Dame, Indiana
Article Headline
The next Carmelite Summer Seminar, sponsored by the Center for Spirituality at St. Mary's College in Notre Dame,. Indiana, has been scheduled for the above dates.  Please save the dates and look for details in 2013.