St. Therese Society

a group of college and young professional women in St. Louis seeking to deepen their spirituality and grow in holiness while discerning a possible vocation to religious life

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Location: St. Louis, Missouri

"Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and a word, that it was eternal! My vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!"

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Happy Feast of St. Therese!

Therese Martin, a discalced Carmelite of Lisieux, ardently desired to be a missionary. She was one, to the point that she could be proclaimed patroness of the missions. Jesus himself showed her how she could live this vocation: By fully practicing the commandment of love, she would be immersed in the very heart of the church's mission, supporting those who proclaim the Gospel with the mysterious power of prayer and communion. Thus she achieved what Vatican Council 11 emphasized in teaching that the church is missionary by nature (cf. Ad Gentes, No. 2). Not only those who choose the missionary life, but all the baptized are in some way sent ad gentes.
Everyone thus realizes that today something surprising is happening. St. Therese of Lisieux was unable to attend a university or engage in systematic study. She died young. Nevertheless, from this day forward she will be honored as a doctor of the church, an outstanding recognition which raises her in the esteem of the entire Christian community far beyond any academic title.
Therese of Lisieux did not only grasp and describe the profound truth of love as the center and heart of the church, but in her short life she lived it intensely. It is precisely this convergence of doctrine and concrete experience, of truth and life, of teaching and practice, which shines with particular brightness in this saint and which makes her an attractive model especially for young people and for those who are seeking true meaning for their life.
Before the emptiness of so many words, Therese offers another solution, the one Word of salvation which, understood and lived in silence, becomes a source of renewed life. She counters a rational culture, so often overcome by practical materialism, with the disarming simplicity of the "little way" which, by returning to the essentials, leads to the secret of all life: the divine love that surrounds and penetrates every human venture. In a time like ours, so frequently marked by an ephemeral and hedonistic culture, this new doctor of the church proves to be remarkably effective in enlightening the minds and hearts of those who hunger and thirst for truth and love.
Yes, 0 Father, we bless you, together with Jesus (cf. Mt. 11:25), because you have "hidden your secrets from the wise and understanding" and have revealed them to this "little one" whom today you hold up again for our attention and imitation.
Thank you for the wisdom you gave her, making her an exceptional witness and teacher of life for the whole church! Thank you for the love you poured out upon her and which continues to illumine and warm hearts, spurring them to holiness. The desire Therese expressed to "spend her heaven doing good on earth," continues to be fulfilled in a marvelous way. Thank you Father, for making her close to us today with a new title, to the praise and glory of your name forever and ever. Amen!
--Pope John Paul II, October 1997, Homily at Mass Proclaiming St. Therese a Doctor of the Church

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