Born to a pious middle-class French family of tradesmen; daughter of Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guérin Martin, and all four of her sisters became nuns. Her mother died when Francoise-Marie was only four, and the family moved to Lisieux, Normandy, France to be closer to family.
Educated by the Benedictine nuns of Notre-Dame-du-Pre. Confirmed there at age eleven. Just before her 14th birthday she received a vision of the Child Jesus; she immediately understood the great sacrifice that had been made for her, and developed an unshakeable faith. Tried to join the Carmelites, but was turned down due to her age.
Pilgrim to Rome, Italy at for the Jubilee of Pope Leo XIII whom she met and who knew of her desire to become a nun. Joined the Carmelites at Lisieux on 9 April 1888 at age 15, taking her final vow on 8 September 1890 at age 17.
Known by all for her complete devotion to spiritual development and to the austerities of the Carmelite rule. Due to health problems resulting from her ongoing fight with tuberculosis, her superiors ordered her not to fast. Novice mistress at age 20. At age 22 she was ordered by her prioress to begin writing her memories and ideas, which material would turn into the book History of a Soul. Therese defined her path to God and holiness as The Little Way, which consisted of child-like love and trust in God.
She had an on-going correspondence with Carmelite missionaries in French Indo-China, often stating how much she wanted to come work with them, but her health prevented this.
Thérèse's final years were marked by a steady decline that she bore resolutely and without complaint. Tuberculosis was the key element of Thérèse's final suffering, but she saw that as part of her spiritual journey. After observing a rigorous Lenten fast in 1896, she went to bed on the eve of Good Friday and felt a joyous sensation. She wrote: "Oh! how sweet this memory really is!... I had scarcely laid my head upon the pillow when I felt something like a bubbling stream mounting to my lips. I didn't know what it was." The next morning she found blood on her handkerchief and understood her fate. Coughing up of blood meant tuberculosis, and tuberculosis meant death.
In July 1897, she made a final move to the monastery infirmary. On August 19, 1897, Therese received her last communion. She died on 30 September 1897 at the young age of 24. On her death-bed, she is reported to have said:"I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more, because all suffering is sweet to me." Her last words were, "My God, I love you!"
Propers for Thérèse of Lisieux - Mystic, Writer and Monastic
O GOD, by whose grace the blessed Thérèse of Lisieux with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we may be inflamed with the same spirit of discipline and love, and ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle -Philippians 3:7-15.
HOWBEIT what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffer the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself yet to have apprehended: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye are otherwise minded, even this shall God reveal unto you.
The Holy Gospel - St. Luke 12:22-37.
JESUS said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you. Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life? If ye then be not able to do that which is least, why are ye anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of anxious mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall he added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.