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The Unmentioned Martin

Like many, I first encountered St. Therese of Lisieux on a prayer card. I was a kid and felt fascinated by a saint who did not look much older than I. I read her words about wanting to shower roses from heaven and kept the prayer card tucked into the mirror on my bureau, peeking at it periodically.

So when I was older I eagerly picked up The Story of a Soul to further encounter the sweet-faced saint on the prayer card.

I confess I did not love the book as much as I had hoped. Perhaps I had grown a bit too jaded with age. For all her enduring wisdom, the writing at times felt more saccharine than sweet to me.

At one point in the book, there is a jarring moment where Therese rejects the desire of her sister Leonie to stay by her side when she is sick. She only wants her older sister Marie. Therese admits, “Leonie is so kind to me, doing her best to keep me amused. I sometimes hurt her feelings. She could tell that for me no one could replace Marie.”

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