Spiritual formation

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Saint Therese of Lisieux

Saint Therese of Lisieux

Jhie Celis Ramirez, 22nd Generation – Theresians

A religious nun wearing a brown habit and holding a crucifix and flowers on her chest… that was the only thing I knew about St. Therese when I entered Mother of Life Center. In the course of our formation, our generation had come to know more about her life and to discover her Way of Spiritual Childhood, her Little Way.

St. Therese of Lisieux was born in Alençon, France on January 2, 1873. She became a Carmelite nun at the age of 15. On entering Carmel she devoted herself to living a life of holiness, doing all things with love and childlike trust. Her spirituality is simple and she calls it her “Little Way”. She teaches us that God is everywhere, in every situation and person – in the ordinary and simple details of our life.

She was named Patroness of foreign missions in 1927 by Pope Pius XI. Considering she was a cloistered nun, however, she often expressed her desire to be a missionary to spread the love of God and …”to make God loved”.

She died due to tuberculosis on Sept 30, 1897 at the age of 24. And after her death, her autobiography – ‘A Story of a Soul’ was published where she taught us the Way of Spiritual Childhood. Many have been inspired to follow her little way… the way of abandonment and love. She was canonized on May 17, 1925 by Pope Pius XI and later proclaimed Doctor of the Church on September 24, 1977 by Pope John Paul II.

Her parents, Louis Martin and Marie Zélie Guerin who fostered faith in their family are the first married couple in history to be canonized by Pope Francis on Oct 18, 2015.


Recently, Tony and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. Indeed, God is gracious for He has accompanied us through all these years. It is in this life setting of marriage and family that God has called me to grow more deeply and more profoundly this way of abandonment and love that St. Therese wrote about. Indeed, it is in the ordinariness and the routine of day to day life that one can find God. I came to realize that the challenges faced by couples and children in trying to live out their Christian faith is a rich soil where holiness can be sowed. In our efforts to live peacefully and in harmony, we need God’s mercy. In our daily toil, we never fail to plea to God, for His providence. And yes, it is in being a wife and mother that love, as St Paul described in 1Cor 13, becomes enfleshed, of course, with God’s grace.

Tony and I, together with our children Carmela and John are still God’s work in progress. As we journey together, we pray that we may always be inspired by St. Therese’s way of trust and abandonment to our God who is Mercy. We continue to ask the guidance of the Holy Family… Jesus, Mary and Joseph, that in discovering the ‘joy of love’ that Pope Francis speaks about, and in our own ‘little way’ we may manifest God’s presence to others.