Pope Francis has commended the “little greatness” of St. Thérèse of Lisieux in a new message focusing on the 19th-century Carmelite’s relevance for the Church today.
St. Thérèse’s “genius consists in leading us to what is central, essential, and indispensable,” the pope wrote in an apostolic letter published Oct. 15.
The young saint, whose life and writings focused on love and following a “little way” of holiness, “shows that, while it is true that all the Church’s teachings and rules have their importance, their value, their clarity, some are more urgent and more foundational for the Christian life,” he said.
“From heaven to earth, the timely witness of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face endures in all the grandeur of her little way,” Francis wrote.
The pope’s latest in-depth reflection on a saint takes its title, “C’est la Confiance,” or “It is Trust,” from a quotation in one of Thérèse’s letters: “It is trust and nothing but trust that must lead us to Love.”
St. Thérèse of Lisieux, also called St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face or “The Little Flower,” was a French Carmelite nun who died in 1897 from tuberculosis at the age of 24.
One of the Catholic Church’s most beloved saints, in 1997 she was proclaimed a doctor of the Church, an honor to this day granted to only 37 saints.
In her autobiography “Story of a Soul,” St. Thérèse recounted her “little way” of holiness and her desire to spend heaven “doing good on earth.” She is a patron saint of missionaries and her liturgical feast is Oct. 1.