St Thérèse of Lisieux (2 January 1873 – 30 September 1897), or St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, born Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin, was a French Carmelite nun. She is also known as "The Little Flower of Jesus."
St Thérèse loved the priesthood and consecrated herself for priests, calling herself "an apostle to apostles." She did not pray for priests for their sake only, but out of love for the souls they were to serve. She prayed for the priest in solidarity with Jesus in the Eucharist, with Mary, with the Church, and with the world, and offered her life for their apostolic ministry.
She felt an early call to religious life, and, overcoming various obstacles, in 1888 at the early age of fifteen, became a nun and joined two of her older sisters in the enclosed Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy. After nine years as a Carmelite religious, having fulfilled various offices, such as sacristan and novice mistress, and having spent the last eighteen months in Carmel in a night of faith, she died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-four. The impact of her posthumous publications, including her memoirThe Story of a Soul, made her one of the greatest saints of the twentieth century. Pope Pius XI called her the Star of his pontificate; she was beatified in 1923, and canonised in 1925. Thérèse was declared co-patron of the missions with Francis Xavier in 1927, and named co-patron of France with St Joan of Arc in 1944. On 19 October 1997 Pope John Paul II declared her the thirty-third Doctor of the Church, the only Doctor of his long pontificate, the youngest of all Doctors of the Church, only the third woman Doctor.
Devotion to Saint Thérèse has developed around the world and she was my own mother's favourite saint. My mother died on the day following the feast of St Thérèse. The depth and novelty of Thérèse's spirituality, of which she said "my way is all confidence and love," has inspired many believers. In the face of her littleness and nothingness, she trusted in God to be her sanctity. She wanted to go to Heaven by an entirely new little way. "I wanted to find an elevator that would raise me to Jesus." The elevator, she wrote, would be the arms of Jesus lifting her in all her littleness.