(1873 - 1897)


Thérèse Martin entered the Carmelite monastery of Lisieux at the age of fifteen and lived there, completely unknown to the world, until her death at the age of twenty-four. The Carmelite custom was to send other Carmels a short biography of each sister who died. Under obedience, Thérèse had written her own spiritual autobiography before she died. By 1925 it was known throughout the world. It is considered a modern classic.

  I understood that God's love shows itself just as well in the simplest soul which puts up no resistance to his grace as it does in the loftiest soul. Indeed, as it is love’s nature to humble itself, if all souls were like those of the holy Doctors who have illumined the Church with the light of their doctrine, it would seem that God had not stooped low enough by entering their hearts. But God has created the baby who knows nothing and can utter only feeble cries…. The sun shines equally both on cedars and on every tiny flower. In the same way God looks after every soul as if it had no equal.

I suffered complete spiritual dryness, almost as if I were quite forsaken. As usual, Jesus slept in my little boat. I know that other souls rarely let him sleep peacefully, and he is so wearied by the advances he is always making that he hastens to take advantage of the rest I offer him. It’s likely that as far as I'm concerned, he will stay asleep until the great final retreat of eternity. But that doesn’t upset me. It fills me with great joy…. I should be distressed that I drop off to sleep during my prayers and during my thanksgiving after Holy Communion. But I don’t feel at all distressed. I know that children are just as dear to their parents whether they are sleep or awake and I know that doctors put their patients to sleep before they operate. So I just think that God “knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”
So this retreat before my Profession was quite barren - like those afterwards…. I have often noticed that Jesus will never give me a store of provisions. He supplies me continually with fresh food and I find myself fed without knowing how. 


In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.