THE LIFE OF S. TERESA OF LISIEUX (1873–1897)

The Patron of Our Parish

Therese (christened Teresa) was the ninth child of Louis and Zelie Martin born in Alençon in France on 2 January 1873. Her mother died when she was four years old.
In 1877, the family moved to Lisieux where their aunt helped to look after the family. Teresa went to school with Benedictine nuns.
On Christmas Eve, just a few days before Teresa's fourteenth birthday, she had an experience that she referred to as 'my conversion'. She saw a vision of the infant Jesus that filled her with life and strength. It was because of this that she became known as 'Teresa of the Infant Jesus'.
Like her sisters, Teresa wished to enter the Carmelite convent at Lisieux. She did this at the very young age of fifteen, having gained special permission to do so.
Teresa never did anything extraordinary but did perform every element of the austere Carmelite regime extraordinarily well.


In 1895, she had a haemorrhage that was the first sign of the tuberculosis that was to kill her. On September 30th, 1897 she died in the Convent Infirmary at the age of twenty-four.
It is likely that she would have remained unknown if her Prioress had not ordered her, in the last year of her life, to write a short spiritual autobiography called 'History of a Soul'. The publication· of this book in several European languages caused a sensational spread of the influence of Therese.
Teresa was beatified in 1923, canonised in 1925 and was named a Doctor of the Church in 1997 - one of only three women Doctors of the Church. She is the patron saint of all missionaries, aviators, florists and AIDS sufferers. In art, Therese is represented in a Carmelite Habit holding a bunch of roses. Her feast day is 1 October.