Saturday, April 10, 2010

St. Therese of Lisieux (Jan. 2, 1873 to Sept. 30, 1897)

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be just like my Auntie Betty when I grew up. She always had the most beautiful clothing, the latest hairstyles and makeup, and she was the sweetest person, too. We'd decorate Easter eggs, go to her beach house by the ocean in the summer, and make candy apples at Halloween.
Auntie Betty had a vanity in a small area off her bedroom. I would sit in front of the mirror and my aunt would put lip gloss and eye shadow on me and give me updo. Then, I'd walk around all day like a little princess.
But, there was one thing that scared the hell out me. It was when I'd be downstairs and my aunt would say, "If you go upstairs and get some nail polish off my vanity, I will paint your nails." That was every child's dream except in order to get to the small room, I had to walk by a painting of a nun dressed in full black garb.
It was terrifying because the eyes seemed to watch my every move. One day, I told my aunt I didn't want to go by the scary picture anymore and she explained to me that it wasn't scary. It was a beautiful person called St. Therese of Lisieux.
She was also known as St. Therese of the Child Jesus or the Little Flower of Jesus. St. Therese was born in Alencon, France on Jan. 2, 1873. She was a French Carmelite nun who took her vows at age 15. Her memoir, "The Story of a Soul," was published after her death.
St. Therese died of tuberculosis in Lisieux on Sept. 30, 1897. She was canonized in 1925.
When I saw the movie "La Vie en Rose," about the life of Edith Piaf, it showed the French singer as a blind 7-year-old at the grave of St. Therese (who was not yet a saint). Miraculously, Edith was cured and able to see again.
St. Therese's feast day is Oct. 3 and she is the patron saint of aviators, AIDS sufferers, florists, and loss of parents.

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