St. Therese was born on January 2, 1873, in Alençon, France, facing the challenges of severe illness from the start. Her parents, Saint Zelie and Saint Louis, were uncertain about her survival. After leaving the hospital, she required a caretaker's watchful eye for a year and a half due to her fragile health. Growing up in a family deeply devoted to the Lord, Therese displayed an all-or-nothing attitude, a trait that extended to her relationship with Christ. Despite her stubbornness, she held a close bond with her sisters, looking up to them as role models.
In August 1877, at the tender age of four, St. Therese experienced the heartbreaking loss of her mother, Zelie Martin, to breast cancer. This event left a profound impact on her young heart, leading her to seek a motherly figure, a role her older sister graciously assumed. St. Therese battled illness throughout her life, with the first instance occurring in the winter of 1882-1883 due to a nerve condition. This period of sickness became a turning point, deepening her commitment to Christ. Faced with suffering, she had a choice – turn to the world or turn to God.
After overcoming her sickness, St. Therese chose to devote her life to the Church by joining the Carmelite order, following in the footsteps of her sister Pauline. Within the convent, surrounded by holy women, she faced challenges that forced her to reflect more deeply on Christ. Despite her personal struggles, St. Therese found a way to serve those around her, demonstrating the love of Christ and developing what would later be known as her "Little Way."
"The Little Way" has profoundly impacted the lives of many Catholics today. St. Therese's philosophy is rooted in three principles: Spiritual Childhood, embodying a childlike spirit; Small Things with Great Love, performing everyday tasks and duties with immense love for Christ; and Surrender and Abandonment to God's Will, offering each experience daily to God's plan.
St. Therese lived a virtuous life that has significantly touched the lives of many Catholics today. Her story teaches us that through suffering, we can do extraordinary little things to follow her "Little Way" and lead a life of great abundance for God.