October 1st is the Feast Day of St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as “The Little Flower.” St. Therese wasn’t a missionary; she didn’t found a religious order, or perform great works. Yet her life has inspired millions. She’s probably best known for teaching that it’s the “little things” we do, the small gestures of kindness or thoughtfulness, the small sacrifices we make on behalf of others that show how much we love.
Now you may wonder what St. Therese has to do with writing and writers. And it may seem a little strange to be blogging about a saint on the Sluts site. But, well, in some ways she reminds me of a heroine from a novel. She was petite, kind, gentle and humble. But she was also one very determined young woman. Born in 1873, she became a Carmelite nun at the age of 15. Even by the standards of that era, that was young. Yet she knew what she wanted to be and overcame many obstacles to get what she wanted. You see, she didn’t just want to be a nun.
She wanted to be a saint.
St. Therese once wrote, “In spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint.” In 1925, she got what she wanted. St. Therese died in 1897 at age 24. Twenty-eight years later, she was canonized. To put that in perspective, Joan of Arc died in 1431 but wasn’t canonized until 1920. Today, many consider St. Therese to be one of the greatest saints of the 20th century. After her death, a collection of her letters and excerpts from her journal were published in THE STORY OF A SOUL. The impact of her writings was so great, that Pope John Paul II named her a Doctor of the Church. She is only the third woman in the history of the Catholic Church to be given that title.
I keep a book of her quotations, THE LITTLE WAY FOR EVERY DAY, next to my laptop. Today’s quote?
“I feel my mission is only beginning…”
I have no aspiration to become a saint. I doubt my novels will have the same impact on readers as THE STORY OF A SOUL. Not to sound trite, but in St. Therese’s life I find the inspiration to be persistent in my writing journey. St. Therese aimed for greatness and never lost faith. I hope to be like her in some “little way.”