I was drawn to this book , an autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, while reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The Story of A Soul had a profound effect on Rubin, and St. Therese became her spiritual master. The story of a simple nun who called herself the Little Flower of Jesus intrigued me and I wanted to read more...
Although, I grew up Catholic and attended 12 years of parochial school, I knew relatively little about St. Therese. I was born in 1965, during Vatican II. In the 1970s, many of the teachings of the church, like the praying of the rosary and the lives of the saints, were not emphasized in the faith formation at Catholic schools. At least, they were not in the Catholic elementary and high school I attended in Central Coast California.
However, as an adult, I see the importance of learning how holy men and women try to live ordinary lives of extraordinary grace. I also would like to teach my children about the saint, whose favorite bible quotation was, " Let the little children come unto me. Do not hinder them. The kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:13).
It was in this way, I approached reading about the life of St, Therese. Like Gretchen Ruben, I, too, wanted learn from and imitate this spiritual master. It would be difficult to find someone who had a more personal relationship with Jesus than St. Therese. At the age of 14, she traveled with her father to Rome will the hope of obtaining special permission from the Pope to enter Carmel in Lisieux . In fact, she was literally dragged out of the audience room with Pope Leo XIII after she grabbed his legs and refused to let go while begged him for his blessing. Although young, she was determined and persistent. Therese wholeheartedly desired to be a Bride of Jesus.