Thérèse lived at the end of the 19th century and entered a Carmelite Monastery at the age of 15. She had to have special permission to enter. She died in 1897 at the age of 24, and was canonized just 28 years later.
Her life seemed to be rather unremarkable as religious life goes: she was faithful to her prayer life, to her rule and lived day in and day out the life she had freely chosen. Her focus was to "save souls and to pray for priests." During her short time in Carmel at the direction of her superiors, she wrote her autobiography "The Story of a Soul" ~ which is absolutely MARVELOUS. (Free audible version on my blog here) When she died, few knew of her life. In fact, the story was passed to other Carmelite Monasteries and normally no one else except the nuns would have read it. Two thousand copies were originally printed for this purpose and it was published on September 30, 1898.
Within twelve years of its publication, 47,000 copies were sold. Surprise Surprise! God takes little known works and can bring great things from them. In St. Thérèse's words:
"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."
Her little way of doing small things well, for the love of God, appeals to Catholics of all ages and walks of life as we strive to find holiness in our ordinary daily lives. Therese' story shows us that even if we aren't called to be famous saintly people, we don't have to do huge, difficult things to attain sanctity. By being true to our state in life and living out our Catholic life on a day to day basis, we can attain holiness in our own lives. Today millions have read her autobiography, countless miracles have been attributed to her intercession and she has even been named a Doctor of the Church.
As she said:
"I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth."
St. Therese, pray for us.