The Christmas Grace and Epiphany of St. Therese of Lisieux

St. Therese of Lisieux is a Giant Soul among the Saints being one of the Doctors of the Church. On this her birthday (Jan 2), Guest Marika Zimmerman and Host Frances Harry talk about her famous Christmas Conversion. We go into a great deal of in-depth discussion about this moment. What was the conversion all about? When did it occur? How did St. Therese describe this event about the “magic shoes” at Christmas? In what way can we peer into her mindset at this pivotal time? What were some of the results of the graces given? What are some of the lessons learned? How was the one-hour old Jesus magnified in the rest of her life? How may we imitate her trust and abandonment to the Lord?

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“The Story of a Soul” by St. Therese of Lisieux, Translated by John Clarke, OCD and Study Edition Prepared by Marc Foley, OCD; ICS Publications.

“Therese, the Little Child of God’s Mercy: Her Spiritual Itinerary in the Light of Her Autobiographical Manuscripts” by Angel de les Gavarres; ICS Publications.

“Everything is Grace: the Life and Way of Therese of Lisieux” by Joseph F. Schmidt, FSC; The Word Among Us Press.

Lessons from St. Therese of Lisieux on Death and Dying

As we approach All Saints Day and All Souls Day, our thoughts turn to the topic of “Death & Dying.” Many people try to avoid thinking about that topic, as it brings on feelings of anxiety…or gloom…or fear. The fact of the matter is, we gain much wisdom by pondering death during our life. As the old saying goes: “The art of living well is in knowing how to die well.” What is death? How does one prepare for death? How do we confront our fear of death? St. Therese of Lisieux was confronted with death early in her life, from hearing about and seeing death all around her and especially in the death of her own mother when she was only 4 ½ years old. These occasions, rather than causing her to flee from the subject, enticed her throughout her life to ponder them deeply and seek the treasures of wisdom hidden therein. Yes, St. Therese had her own fears to confront. She confronted the meaning of death. She grasped the seed of faith in her belief in Heaven, beyond even her feelings. God allowed her to be purified especially in the last 18 months of her life. Her faith and embrace of God’s will and plan for her life surged forward in an ever- deeper surrender and abandonment to God. St. Therese shares her wisdom with us on this all-important topic which will help us today to prepare for that final day of this exile.

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Scripture:  1 Thes. 5:2; 1 Cor 2:9; Ps. 23:4;

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  #1016

“The Most Insightful St. Therese of Lisieux Quotes on Death” by Catherine Birri,

Books: “Story of a Soul: the Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux,” Study Edition, Trans. by John Clarke, OCD; Prepared by Marc Foley, OCD; ICS Publications.

“Living on Love!…” and “What I’ll Soon See for the First Time!…” found in “The Poetry of St. Therese of Lisieux,” Trans. by Donald Kenney, OCD; ICS Publications.

“The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux and Those Who Knew Her: General Correspondence, Vol. 2,” Trans. from the critical edition by John Clarke, OCD; ICS Publications.

“St. Therese of Lisieux: Her Last Conversations,” Trans. from the critical edition by John Clarke, OCD; ICS Publications.

“Holy Souls and Purgatory through the Eyes of Love” with guest, Tammy Jetton

How did what was once a way of consoling a friend at the loss of her mother become a way of remembering family and friends at the local cemetery? How did that develop into simple but heart-felt prayer? In what does a devotion to the Holy Souls of Purgatory consist? How can this devotion help you become better formed in our Catholic faith and increase your charity for others? While making an effort to help the poor souls in purgatory, we must also become much more aware of God’s original plan for all of us to come directly to Heaven. St. Therese of Lisieux provides us with some insights that help us go from a “severe, punishing” view of God to the loving, merciful Father He truly is. Her radical teaching should enlighten and help us all aim for Heaven.
“Manual of the Purgatorian Society” reprinted with permission of the Redemption Fathers with Ecclesiastical approbation by the Catholic Men for Christ the King—Vexilla Regis Association, Inc.
“The Handbook of Indulgences: Norms and Grants;” Catholic Book Publishing Co.
“Purgatory: Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints” by Fr. F. X. Schouppe, S.J.; Tan Books.
“Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory” by Gerard J. M. Van Den Aardweg; Tan Books.
The Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux on Purgatory by Father Dr. Hubert van Dijk, ORC

Thoughts on the Novena with St. Therese of Lisieux” with Guest, Colleen Sollinger, OCDS

Pope Pius X proclaimed St. Therese of Lisieux as the “greatest saint of modern times.” So many people throughout the world identify with her and her little way of spiritual childhood. It is only natural that so many would want to pray a novena to St. Therese asking for her intercession. Colleen Sollinger headed up a “Novena of Holy Hours for Jesus with St. Therese” at her parish. What format did she use? What novena did she pick? What were the themes? What was the setting? What kind of reflections were used? Here some sample reflections on St. Therese’s confidence in God, zeal for souls, and her mission. See how you can do this at your parish next year. Just think of the impact it would have on souls!! What a joy to gather up lots of Holy Hours for Jesus with St. Therese!
“Story of a Soul” trans. by John Clarke, OCD; ICS Publications.

“Thoughts of Saint Therese” trans. by an Irish Carmelite; Tan Books and Publications.


“The Canonization of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin” with Guest, Maureen O’Riordan

Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, parents of the well-known St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, will be canonized Saints coming up Oct. 18th, 2015 on Mission Sunday. What was their path to Sainthood like? How did their canonization come about and why were they each considered? Since they died at different times and in different dioceses from each other, how did their cause come together as one? What has to happen to be declared Venerable, then Blesssed, then Saint? What were the 2 miracles that were recognized to propel their cause forward? Special Guest, Maureen O’Riordan, sheds the light on these questions and more. See her website for even more details:

“Formative Events in the Early Life of St. Therese with Her Family” with Guest, Chris Cotter, OCDS

What were the life changers in the early life of our Little Flower, St. Therese? How did her family impact her? How do you raise a Saint? When the Church is talking about the family, and when we have the upcoming canonization of Therese’s parents (and the process of beatification has begun for her sister, Leonie, the problem child), wouldn’t you like to hear more and get into some of the details of Therese’s life and the impact of her family on her formation…not only formation as a family member, but as a Catholic, and, of course, how influential her upbringing and life’s events were in forming her into a Carmelite, Saint, and Doctor of the Church!
Book: Story of a Soul

My Vocation is Love part 3

In this third and final conversation on the life of St. Therese of Lisieux, from a book by Fr. Jean LaFrance entitled, “My vocation is Love,” Mark and Frances deal with one of the most difficult issues we face along the Spiritual Journey. At some point every soul will struggle with the temptation against Hope, and the sense of abandonment by God. This is the most trying time the human soul can experience, but St. Therese, who experienced this trial herself, provides us with very helpful advice and witness as to how we must respond to this situation. She also offers, through the observations of Fr. LaFrance, great insights on how the soul can benefit from such trials. Finally, St. Therese’s very life is a witness to the great joy that is available to us if we would only surrender ourselves to God’s will and allow Him to work freely in us.

“My Vocation is Love” part 2

This conversation picks up on the series from the book on St. Therese of Lisieux titled “My Vocation is Love.” The second section of the book focuses on St Therese’ own movement of Abandonment to the will of God in her life. Mark and Frances discuss how this simple little French Carmelite had to muster a great deal of courage in order to completely give herself over to the action of God in her soul. The author of this work goes so far as to suggest that the act of Abandonment really summarizes all of St. Therese’ very profound spirituality. Indeed, in this conversation we hear directly from St. Therese own experiences as Fr. LaFrance gives us insight on conversations between Therese and her older sisters, to whom she (Therese) ends up providing spiritual counsel. We also hear again about the importance of prayer, and we are give St. Therese of Lisieux’s, a Doctor of the Church, own definition of prayer. This is powerful conversation for those who would like to gain a deeper insight on just how simple but powerful our prayer life can become.

“My Vocation is Love” – part 1

In this first of a series of conversations, Mark and Frances discuss a book about the great Carmelite Saint Therese of Lisieux, from a book by Fr. Jean LaFrance entitled “My Vocation is Love.” The book is broken into two major sections, in the first Therese focuses on her own nothingness and her continual need for God’s great mercy. She finds this mercy reflected most powerfully in the face of Jesus, to which she was profoundly devoted. It is from these experience of her own littleness and the discovery of God’s mercy that Therese composes her personal prayer of Oblation (offering) to Merciful Love. It is also in through this discovery of mercy that Therese experiences total confidence in God, a confidence she would retain until the end of her life. This is a particularly powerful conversation for those who may be struggling with doubts about God’s great mercy, or their own confidence in God.
Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux

“Understanding the Merciful Love of God with St. Therese, the Little Flower” with Guest, Jade Silverman

“Mercy” is a big theme this year, even more so as we lead up to the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy being declared by Pope Francis. What do we mean when speaking about God’s mercy? Some scholars say that “the greatest grace of Therese’s life was her understanding of mercy.” Guest Jade Silverman talks with Frances about examples of “mercy” in the life of St. Therese and how we can imitate her. Therese was really very revolutionary in this aspect during her lifetime. We are the great beneficiaries of the lights she was given on God’s mercy. It was through prayer that her interior developed. It is very important for all of us to develop the interior life and analyze one’s intentions with the Lord. St. Therese guides us along this path by a deeper understanding of God’s mercy especially in regards of our littleness and weakness. As St. Therese said: “Let us love our littleness, let us love to feel nothing, and we shall then be poor in spirit and Jesus will come to look for us, however far away we are. He will transform us into flames of love. ….It is the blind hope I have in his mercy…. There is my only treasure.” (Letter 9/17/1896)
Book: “Story of a Soul” Study Edition, Trans. John Clarke, OCD and Prepared by Marc Foley, OCD;
Act of Oblation to Merciful Love” by St. Therese of Lisieux
Maurice and Therese: The Story of a Love” by Patrick Ahern, Auxiliary Bishop of New York
Book: “A Year of Mercy with Pope Francis” Daily Reflections; Our Sunday Visitor
Book: “Tell My Priests: The Words of Our Lord to Priests about His Mercy” by Rev. George W. Kosicki, CSB