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Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897) was born Thérèse Martin in Normandy, France. She entered the Carmel of Lisieux at the age of fifteen. At that time the notion that God's anger on account of sin must be appeased by voluntary self-offering was prevalent in the Church. Instead, within nine years, Thérèse achieved holiness through her grasp of the central Gospel truth of God's merciful saving love for everyone without exception.

Her short autobiography was written at the request of others and revealed her strong desire that all should know this truth and respond in trust no matter what their condition; sinner or saint. Her teaching has rescued convicted criminals, alcoholics and other addicts from despair as well as pointing out the simple way of trust to countless Christians.

She is the patron saint of missionaries and in 1997 was declared a Doctor (that is, an official teacher) of the Church. She is one of the most popular and best loved of all the saints. Her feast day is 1 October.

Deepen your spiritual journey with St Therese of Lisieux

The Carmelite friar Fr Tadgh Tierney of the Infant Jesus Parish in Morley, Australia, has composed an insightful and soul-enriching booklet about the life and spirituality of St Therese of Lisieux. Click here to download this wonderful free resource. 

Below is a magnificent short clip that captures the essence of St Therese's spirituality. 

Principal Events in the Life of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

1873 — Thursday, January 2: Thérèse born in Alençon

1880 — At the beginning of the year or end of preceding year: Thérèse makes first confession.

1883 — Sunday, May 13 (Pentecost): Thérèse cured suddenly by the Blessed Virgin's smile.

1884 — Eleven years old, Thursday, May 8: Thérèse's First Communion, at the Abbey. Saturday, June 14: Thérèse confirmed by Bishop Hugonin at the Abbey.

1886 — Saturday, December 25 (Christmas): grace of “conversion."

1887 — Sunday, May 29 (Pentecost): Thérèse receives her father's permission to enter Carmel. Monday, October 3 1: Thérèse visits Bishop Hugonin in Bayeux. Friday, November 4 to Friday, December 2: Thérèse on pilgrimage to Paris, Switzerland, Italy, and Rome.

1888 — Monday, April 9 (Annunciation): Thérèse enters Lisieux Carmel.

1889 — Thursday, January 10: Thérèse clothed in habit.

1890 — Monday, September 8 (Birth of Mary): Thérèse's final profession of vows.

1895 — During the year: Thérèse writes Manuscript A. Sunday, June 9 (Trinity Sunday): Thérèse makes her Offering to Merciful Love.

1896 — Friday, April 3 (Good Friday): First hemoptysis, repeated in the evening. Sunday, April 5 (Easter): Beginning of Thérèse's “trial of faith," which continues until her death. Tuesday, September 8: Thérèse begins Manuscript B.

1897 — Beginning of April: Thérèse falls seriously ill at the end of Lent. Tuesday, April 6: Mother Agnes begins recording Thérèse's Last Conversations. Thursday, June 3: Thérèse begins Manuscript C. Thursday, July 8: Thérèse is transferred to the monastery infirmary. Friday, July 30: Thérèse experiences continued hemoptyses and feelings of suffocation. At 6 PM she receives viaticum and extreme unction. Thursday, September 30: Thérèse dies at about 7:20 PM. Her finals words are “My God, I love you." Monday, October 4: Thérèse is buried in the Lisieux cemetery.