Friday, September 23, 2022


October 1 is the feast day of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.

This year, this will be the final feast day of our Saint before 2023, when the world will celebrate a year of great joy for the 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF HER BEATIFICATION which took place on April 29, 1923.

{Other Language Translations: [SPANISH] [PORTUGUESE] [ITALIAN] [POLISH] [GERMAN] [FRENCH] [RUSSIAN]}                            

The world knows her as Therese of Lisieux, as the Little
Flower, as St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Pope
Pius XI described her as the guiding star of his pontificate and
declared her "the patroness of all the missions"  (Bishop A.A.

Countless Churches across the world have been dedicated
to her name. Numberless homes, rich and poor alike, have statues
and photographs of her in their little alcoves and on their walls.

Who is this Little Flower of God? How could she possibly
touch my daily challenges, my relationship with God, my prayer
life, my fears, my family hurts, my memories, my joys, my

How could she, a French nun who lived over 100 years ago,
give meaning to my sufferings today?

Her name, which holds mystical depths, is a door which opens to reveal
answers to these profound questions.

Light begins to shine for us into a first mystical depth that plumbed her life 
when we focus on how she is often called simply, St. Therese of the Child
Jesus. In this abbreviated form of her name, we recognize her
deep love for the innocence, vulnerability, total dependence of our
Savior as Child of Mary. And her choice of name causes us to pause, 
like St Therese, and to curl into the arms of Our Mother to ask her 
to teach us humility, smallness, hiddenness, abandonment to God. 
Therese lived these. 

Her name opens our own pathway into the arms of Our Immaculate Mother 
because there, Our Beloved Spiritual Mother will reshape us into those spiritual 
depths of holiness. She will etch out the Features of her Son 
and imprint them in our soul. 

We may begin by remembering...what is our name? Our Baptismal
name, our Confirmation name? 

Both were inspired by the Spirit Lord, Roah, Mighty Breath of the 
Father and the Son, breathing this name into our soul, as He did into Therese. 
Do we give life every day to the virtues of the saints whose names we chose? 
Has this been our life-mission thus far? 

Therese's life mission was to reveal the Child Jesus Who was Humility 
made Flesh. 

Her life in Carmel imaged His Humility.

But, as Father John Clarke OCD reminds us, a mutilation of her name
leads necessarily to a mutilation of her message, her entire life,
her devotion to the Passion of Christ and her desire to use the
merits of Christ to bring salvation to others. 

Therese was gripped by the Image of the Holy Face described
in Isaiah 53, "…despised, rejected, pierced, crushed, oppressed
"... for the transgressions of his people he was punished,… He
bore the sins of many."

From her sickbed, St. Therese revealed to Mother Agnes the
powerful and eternal mission within her name. "These words of
Isaiah ... have been the whole foundation of my devotion to the
Holy Face, or, to express it better, the foundation of my whole
piety. I also have desired to be without beauty, to tread the
winepress alone, unknown to every creature" (Father Guy
Gaucher OCD).

We may now ponder the glorious message hidden within the second part 
of the name of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. 

How can that message, so brutally made visual in the Holy Face, be 
understood by us as it was by Therese? 

It was by entering into and immersing herself in the suffering of the Holy Face 
that her great love and faith and trust spills over to enrapture us 
at those times when we too may be invited to share in His suffering 
for the salvation of our soul or for the soul of another:

"Your lot is indeed a beautiful one, since Our Lord has chosen it for you, 
and has first touched with His own Lips the cup which He now 
holds out to yours".

These profound words of our saint give eternal meaning 
to the suffering we may endure in our own days and that of our dear ones. 
In prayer, Therese's insight draws us into the mysteries and power 
of abandonment to God's Will and into His Death and Rising. 

A second door is opening into the mystery of the message of St. Therese. 

We began by stepping a little way into that mystery by asking 
how we could encounter Humility in His Sacred Humanity and 
we found our answer in the first part of Therese's name. 

Now, the latter part of her name in Carmel brings us face to Face 
with The Suffering Servant. 

If we feel trepidation, daunted by those interior fears that torment us 
when we behold the Suffering Christ, taunts like: I could lose my health, 
my family could be damaged, I could be financially ruined if I follow 
the Savior. 

St. Therese quiets us. She reminds us:

"Jesus does not demand great actions from us, but simply gratitude and surrender".

So, how therefore can we begin to surrender, to become docile to 
His Will and unglue ourselves from our own determined will 
to abandon ourselves into God's Will?

St. Therese gives us her "little way" of breaking our own will into 
full abandonment into God's Will. Spirit Lord may inspire us with 
our own "little ways" of surrender....

We may have been waiting with great anxiety for a particular letter 
concerning a financial matter and when it finally arrives, 
we leave it, unopened, for at least an hour, 
abandoning all it contains along with all the anxiety and 
fear at the foot of the Cross of the Savior ...
and our will is made subject to God's Will. 

United with Christ's on the Cross, our small sacrifice is grasped 
by the mighty power of Spirit Lord and spiritual miracles happen. 

A loved one may be turn back to God after years of rejecting His love; 
a suffering and fear-filled woman may hesitate on entering an abortion clinic 
and decide to give life to her unborn child; a great grandchild 
who will only ever see photographs of us 
may be filled with a passionate love for the Savior and 
may be the one whose heartfelt prayer will lift us from Purgatory 
into Heavenly Union in God. 

"Prayer causes the Heavens to pour down the Righteous One".
(Hans Urs von Balthasar)

Prayer offered through Love soars beyond place and time.

(St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face)

AND LOVE HAS A NAME.                   


(Extracts from Seven Petals by Anna Rae-Kelly OCDS, Teresian Press. 2022. 
Seven Petals and other Carmelite Teresian Press titles and all TMP productions are available from


  1. Only knew St Therese growing up in Ireland as the Little Flower. Never knew her full religious name until this article by Anna, a Carmelite. So much power in her full name and the incredible challenges of the Little Way. I have never thought of leaving an important letter unopened and offering up the suffering of not knowing what is inside. It goes against my nature but I will definitely be trying to do this from now on. So many graces could follow. Thank you.

    1. Dear Charles, your inspired reply humbles me. Thank you. Perhaps you'll walk her road into sanctity and take many of your loved ones with you ....
      "God would never inspire me with desires which cannot be realized; so in spite of my littleness, I can hope to be a saint."
      St Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.

  2. Connie Maccobi, SarasotaSeptember 26, 2022 at 8:32 AM

    Excellent. This article had a profound impact on me in the way in which Anna brings into focus how St. Therese was anything but little in her spiritual life and in her incredible sacrifices for the Lord Jesus. Thank you, Anna, for making this saint's life and work so applicable to my own daily life and how we can humbly and prayerfully impact others because "love embraces all time". May the God Lord bless you and yours for this wonderful service in His honor. Connie OCDS

  3. Knowing that prayer is Presence, I will meet you there, Connie.
    In Carmel.

  4. Thank you for this magnificent and timely message on the eternal meaning of suffering from St. Therese. Your words are inspired and inspire. God bless you.

    1. Thank you, Stephanie. St Therese surrendered to an "all embracing Presence"....and as you put it perfectly, this draws us into "her timely message." Wishing you a blessed special day with her on Saturday.

  5. Wonderful testimony to our Little Flower on her feast day. Thank you! St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, pray for Anna and her work and for us.

  6. Just wonderful! St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us.


Thank you and may our tender God continue to bless you with His great Love.