The Little Flower
St. Theresa is one of the most famous Catholic saints! She is called The Little Flower because after her death she showered the prayerful with roses from heaven. Her symbol is still the rose, and usually pink roses. The color pink symbolizes the heart chakra, where love and compassion reside. Her full name is St. Theresa of Lisieux (a city in France, pronounced “lee-sew”). There is also another St. Teresa, of Avila (a city in Spain). It gets confusing because in some languages Theresa is spelt with an “h” and in some it’s not, and some people write each name differently. I’ve always loved St. Theresa because Theresa is a common name in my family. Plus, she is known for her kindness.
Married to Jesus
St. Theresa of Lisieux was a real person. You can find photos of her on Wikipedia. She lived in the late 1800s. Besides being famous for flowers, she is famous for her writings about her deep love and devotion to Jesus. Many nuns back then considered themselves married to Jesus, and would even wear a ring on their wedding finger to symbolize this (some still do). She wrote impassioned passages about her great love for Him and she would spend hours praying in front of an image of Jesus with the Crown of Thorns (kind of dramatic!). She also wrote a book about her life (she was famous in her lifetime for performing miracles) called A Story of a Soul. She was a writer her whole life and wrote and starred in plays about Joan of Arc.
Be Nice to Get to Heaven
A concept that St. Theresa the Little Flower came up with is called The Little Way. She described it as a way to get heaven by doing good deeds, but not big heroic deeds like you might read about. Just simple kindness. I think she’s a good role model for children since she doesn’t preach rules or The Bible but instead being nice. She is very yin (emotional, feminine, gentle and kind) to the Catholic church’s yang (rules, following male priests and The Pope).
Saint Theresa Writing about Prayer:
“For me, prayer is a movement of the heart; it is a simple glance toward heaven; it is a cry of gratitude and love in times of trial as well as in times of joy; it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus. I very simply say to God what I want to say, and he always understands me.” (St. Theresa was way ahead of her times! She advocated not rote, memorized prayers but just talking to God directly about your problems.)
Saint Theresa Writing about Love:
“Love attracts love.” (Sounds like something a New Ager would say!)
“How sweet is the way of love!”
“Love penetrates me and surrounds me; this merciful love each moment renews and purifies me.” (Saint Theresa was very mystical and believed in the ecstasy of being physically bonded with Jesus. Seems weird, but a lot of saints had experiences like this.)
“Love alone have I ever given to God; with love he will repay me.”
On her Deathbed
Reportedly, as she lay dying in bed from tuberculosis, St. Theresa looked at the figure of Jesus on her rosary crucifix and said “Oh, I love Him!” She was very, very devoted! But nuns in those days saw it as their duty (especially cloistered nuns like she was) to pray every moment of the day and to reach higher and higher states of devotion, including having visions of Jesus talking to them and performing healing miracles in God’s name.
Her Message is Still Popular
As the comedian Ellen says at the end of her talk show each day: “Be kind to one another.”