Born in France during 1873, Thérèse was one of five daughters and a sickly child. After praying to a statue of Mary alongside her sisters, Thérèse saw Our Lady smile and was cured of her illness.
Following this miracle, Thérèse developed a habit of prayer and longed to join the Carmelite religious community. When she tried to do so, though, the superior and bishop both turned her away. Yet, Thérèse did not give up. Instead, on a pilgrimage to Rome she went to see the pope to ask permission (the Swiss guard had to pull her away from him), and though he didn’t grant her request, she learned to be patient until her local bishop did.
So, at the young age of 15, Thérèse entered a Carmelite convent.
As a cloistered nun, Thérèse could not go out into the world to be a missionary. Knowing this, she said, “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.” For this reason, Thérèse is also known as “Little Flower.”
After becoming sick, Thérèse died on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24, and was canonized in 1925. In 1997, she was recognized as the third female doctor of the Church by St. Pope John Paul II.
Her feast day is on October 1. St. Thérèse is the patron saint of florists and missionaries.
Get to know the Little Flower through our playlist inspired by her life — featuring artists Ane Brun and Lauren Daigle and themes of trust and growing toward holiness in little ways.