Thérèse’s mother died when she was four, and her father moved with his daughters to Lisieux in Normandy. At fifteen she was allowed to become a Carmelite nun, though she had longed to do so earlier. Ironically, she had only nine years of convent life before she died of tuberculosis. She became very concerned for the plight of unbelievers and asked to share the darkness of their night so that she might help to bring them to faith. She had intended to offer herself as a missionary nun to work in Hanoi in French Indo-China, later Vietnam, but the onset of the disease convinced her that this would not be possible. Her own written story of her interior life was reworked after her death by her sister and was published. It had instant appeal and was translated into various languages. In 1952 her own original version, ‘The Story of a Soul’, was made available. We include her in the Community’s list because of the profound impact of some of her reflections, which may also be found in the readings in ‘Celtic Daily Prayer’.
Show me, Lord, what it means to live in the night of unbelief, so that my life in the light of faith may help unbelievers to attain to the joys of Your grace. With Thérèse I pray, ‘What does it matter that I should catch no glimpse of heaven’s beauties here on earth, if that will help poor sinners to see themselves in heaven.’ Amen.