St. Thérèse of Lisieux, often called The Little Flower, inspires us to live in simplicity and put love at the forefront of daily life. We pray the St. Therese Novena to grow our trust in God’s love for us.
Let us not grow tired of prayer: confidence works miracles.St. Thérèse of Lisieux (The Little Flower)
Who was St. Therese?
St. Thérèse was born in 1873 in France to Zelie and Louis Martin. The youngest of five siblings, St. Thérèse was stubborn but devout from a very young age. She was quite bright but often became bored at school because of it. Around age 9, Thérèse became ill with no working treatment; she prayed for a cure to her illness. Turning to a statue of the Virgin Mary smiling down on her, Therese was healed. She wrote, “Mary’s face radiated kindness and love.”
Her inclination towards religious life grew even more fervent after this healing, though she was still so young. She hungered to grow closer to Christ. By age 13, two of her old sisters had already entered the Carmelite monastery in Lisieux, and St. Therese longed to be there with them. She begged the local bishop, and even Pope Leo XIII, during a pilgrimage to Italy. He told her, “Go, go, you will enter if God wills it.”
She entered the Carmelite monastery in Lisieux in 1888 — at age 15. She grew in peace, humility, and love. In 1896, she fell ill with tuberculosis. She wrote the Story of a Soul during the months preceding her death. She passed away in 1897, praising God up until her last moment on earth.
“The Little Way”
The rich spirituality of St. Thérèse of Lisieux is known today as the “Little Way.” The modern Saint so easily resonates with many of us for the pure ordinariness of her life, though she lived it in an extraordinary way. Her “Little Way” towards Christ was made up of small steps to find holiness in everyday life. She devoted her life to spiritual simplicity — she focused on loving God.
“If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”St. Thérèse of Lisieux
In devoting her little way to God, she truly lived out “blooming where you’re planted.”
St. Thérèse was canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. At the time, she was the youngest Saint ever to be canonized — she passed away at the young age of 24. Her parents Zelie and Louis Martin were canonized, too. In 2015, Pope Francis canonized them as the first and only married couple to be made Saints together.
The holy spouses Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin practiced Christian service in the family, creating day by day an environment of faith and love which nurtured the vocations of their daughters, among whom was Saint Therese of the Child Jesus.Pope Francis
A doctor of the Church
Before this, however, St. Pope John Paul II honored St. Therese for her spiritual contribution to the Church. In 1997, he declared St. Therese a doctor of the universal Church. A doctor of the Church is a Saint whose writings and teachings are recognized by the Church to have contributed greatly to Catholicism. With this title, the Church deems their work true and beneficial.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux did not only grasp and describe the profound truth of Love as the centre and heart of the Church, but in her short life she lived it intensely. It is precisely this convergence of doctrine and concrete experience, of truth and life, of teaching and practice, which shines with particular brightness in this Saint, and which makes her an attractive model especially for young people and for those who are seeking true meaning for their life.St. Pope John Paull II, October 19, 1997
St. Pope John Paull II recognized that, though St. Therese died young, she understood the “divine Love that surrounds and penetrates every human venture.” Her unfaltering trust in God continues to inspire us in our daily lives today.
Today, there are 36 recognized doctors of the Church who St. Thérèse sits among in Heaven. However, only four of them are female doctors of Church — St. Hildegard of Bingen, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila (Hallow’s patron saint), and St. Therese of Lisieux.
Why pray the St. Therese Novena?
We pray this novena to become more like St. Thérèse — to find beauty in the simplicity of life, to trust God wholeheartedly, and live a life full of love. St. Thérèse was a remarkably humble and young follower and friend of Jesus. We pray in the footsteps of her little way to love God and seek goodness the way she did.
In a time like ours, so frequently marked by an ephemeral and hedonistic culture, this new doctor of the Church proves to be remarkably effective in enlightening the mind and heart of those who hunger and thirst for truth and love.St. Pope John Paull II, October 19, 1997
When should we pray the St. Therese Novena?
We can pray the St. Thérèse Novena whenever we need guidance to grow our trust in God’s love for us. Whether it’s to discover our own “Little Way” in this world or seek simplicity, we can pray this novena asking for St. Thérèse’s intercession in our lives.
The St. Thérèse Novena is commonly prayed before St. Thérèse’s feast day on October 1, the day when she passed away from tuberculosis.
How to pray: St. Thérèse Novena
On Hallow, we pray with the Pray More Novenas’ version of the St. Thérèse novena.
Make the Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of divine love.
Call on St. Thérèse
Dearest St. Thérèse of Lisieux, you said that you would spend your time in heaven doing good on earth.
Your trust in God was complete. Pray that He may increase my trust in His goodness and mercy as I ask for the following petitions … [name your petitions]
Ask St. Thérèse to pray for you
Pray for me that I, like you, may have great and innocent confidence in the loving promises of our God. Pray that I may live my life in union with God’s plan for me, and one day see the Face of God whom you loved so deeply.
St. Thérèse, you were faithful to God even unto the moment of your death. Pray for me that I may be faithful to our loving God. May my life bring peace and love to the world through faithful endurance in love for God our savior.
Talk with God
Loving God, you blessed St. Thérèse with a capacity for a great love. Help me to believe in your unconditional love for each of your children, especially for me.
The day’s prayer
Your guide on Hallow will lead you through each day of the novena. Rest with today’s intention to grow closer to God through the intercession of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
This novena is one of our upcoming Community Challenges, and we couldn’t be more excited to pray with you to grow our trust in God’s love for us. In the meantime, you can pray the Surrender Novena, the 54 Day Novena, the St. Joseph Novena, and the Divine Mercy Novena, and the Sacred Heart Novena with Jonathan Roumie, the actor who plays Jesus in The Chosen.