Saint Teresa was born at Alencon in France, on 2 January 1873, as the youngest of the nine children of Louis and Zelie. Of the nine, only five, all girls, survived. In their younger days, both Louis and Zelie had felt drawn to religious life. While both of them became successful business persons, He called all their five surviving children to the religious state. While still young Teresa entered the Carmelite monastery at Lisieux and practices the virtues of humility, evangelical simplicity and a firm confidence in God.
God granted special graces to this young nun. She made such quick progress in her religious life that when she was 22 years old she was appointed Novice Mistress. That was a rare exception. At that age many of the religious are making their novitiate and not the guiding the novices! By her words and example she taught the novices the lessons of spiritual life and guided them in the ways of God.
Teresa’s great love for God, her childlike trust in Him and her constant self-sacrifice made Teresa a saint. She put herself in the arms of God like a little child in the arms of her/his mother or father. She sincerely believed that from God who is so compassionate one can never ask too much. She was convinced that “One will obtain from Him exactly in proportion to one’s reliance upon Him”. She had her little way of performing perfectly the small duties of everyday life for the love of God. In this way she became the model and inspiration of countless ordinary people.
During her nine years of convent life she was always she was always humble and self-sacrificing. No one noticed anything extraordinary in her. She realized that it was her duty to help priests and missionaries with her prayers and sacrifices. She suffered much in mind and body, her religious life was a long martyrdom. She offered all this to her dear God with resignation and heroic patience as a victim of His merciful love, for the salvation of souls and for the spread of the faith in the mission lands. Thus she became a great missionary without getting out of her convent.
Teresa had been suffering from tuberculosis for nearly three years though she continued doing all her duties without fail The illness had now become acute. On her deathbed she affirmed, “I will let fall a shower of roses; I will spend my heaven doing good on earth”. On 30 September 1897 as her breathing grew weaker, the sisters knelt around her bed to pray. She looked at her crucifix and said, “I love Him”. A second later she said, “Dear God, I love You!” Then, with great joys in her eyes, she breathed her last. She was 24 years old. Twenty-eight year later, in 1925, she was canonized. Along with Saint Francis Xavier, she is patron of Catholic missions. In 1997 Pope John Paul II declared her Doctor of the Church.
Saint Teresa who lived a humble life is now venerated all over the world as a great saint and a patroness of the missions. Let us pray to her t o obtain for us the grace of humility and childlikeness. May she help us all become beautiful little flowers in the garden of heaven, to the praise and glory of God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You promised Your Kingdom to the little ones and the humble at heart. Give us grace to walk confidently in the way of Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus, so that, helped by her prayers, we may see Your eternal glory. We pray this in the name of most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jakarta, 1 October 2018
A Christian Pilgrim