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Saint Therese of Lisieux


Therese is known for her “Little Way”, of perfect obedience in the smallest things. I should have known going into this painting that I would be called to just that! Sure enough, I had barely begun to mix my paints when my daughter became fussier than she’d ever been, demanding my attention every couple minutes. With paint drying on my palette, I comforted her again and again and again (and halfway through writing this sentence she woke up from her nap, calling for my attention yet again). This painting is a testament that sometimes the greatest masterpiece is just doing God’s will in the small and unknown things.

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Dimensions 8 × 10 in


Therese was born into France in the year 1873. Following her mother’s death, the four-year-old girl developed delicate emotions, bursting into tears with ease. And yet, how deeply she desired sainthood. If only she could join her older sisters in the Carmelite convent and give her whole self to Jesus—but how could she endure rigorous religious life if she could not endure her own emotions? One Christmas, upon discovering this to be the last year for childish presents, she suddenly and finally grew up. In that moment, she was infused with the grace to be more sensitive to others than to herself. A year passed. Delicate Therese, her father’s Little Flower, had grown a spine of steel. Only fifteen years old, she was refused entrance to the convent—and yet she appealed to the bishop. And when the bishop refused, she pilgrimaged to the pope himself. Forbidden to speak to him, she could not help but plead her case the moment she drew near him, forcing two guards to carry her out. But her courage impressed the Vicar General standing by, and she was soon accepted into the convent. She became Sister Therese of the Child Jesus. Tragedy struck when her beloved father suffered a stroke. As a cloistered novice, she was not free to leave and help him—and here began her little way. She realized she could do nothing great in this life, only scatter flowers, which were every little sacrifice along the way to sanctity. She must be like a child, helpless to do anything more than allow Jesus to lift her Heavenward. When presented with an opportunity to sacrifice, she always embraced it, whether it be smiling at a sister she did not like, silently accepting a false accusation, eating everything on her plate without complaint—and even when, one morning, she coughed up blood, this too she offered to Jesus. At age twenty-four, in 1897, she died from tuberculosis, but her writings lived on, revealing a little—but great—saint to the world beyond her covent.