St. Therese was born January 2, 1873, in Alençon, France to Louis and Zelie Martin. She was the youngest of five daughters, all of whom entered religious life. The Martins were a faithful and loving family.
When Therese was four, Zelie died of cancer. Louis moved his family to Lisieux to be closer to relatives.
St. Therese first felt called to religious life at the age of nine. But she did not actively pursue this desire for a few years. She started to seek permission to enter the Carmelite convent in Lisieux at the age of 14. Her request was denied and she was told to wait until she was 18. However, St. Therese never gave up and sought permission from the pope while she was on a pilgrimage to Rome. She entered Carmel shortly after, at the age of 15.
During her time at the convent, St. Therese did not do anything remarkable; she performed simple and mundane tasks. She was instructed to write down her childhood memories, which became the first part of her autobiography called Story of a Soul. Her amazing manuscripts were published as a book a year after her death.
It was through her story that we have come to know and adore her “little way” of spiritual childhood. By doing small things and daily duties with great love, we show the love of God.
St. Therese died of tuberculosis at age 24 after nine years of religious life. Many intercessions are attributed to St. Therese. Because of her deep and profound writing, she was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997.
To read more about the life of St. Therese, visit littleflower.org.