This prayer service celebrates St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the “Little Flower.”
By Jean Grant
LEADER: Thérèse was born in 1873 and grew up as the youngest of nine children. Her mother died of breast cancer when she was four years old. Her sisters and father spoiled her, and she did not willingly do work around the house. When joining the cloistered Carmelite Sisters, she took the name Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She loved God and felt that God’s love was the most important thing. She had the disease tuberculosis for several years, but she didn’t tell anyone until it became serious. She died at the age of 24 on September 30, 1897. Her last words summarized her life’s mission: “My God, I love You!”
READER 1: St. Thérèse was encouraged by her sister to write in a journal. In Story of A Soul, her autobiography, she described her vocation as “love.” Her philosophy included the “little way” of trusting in Jesus. You do not need to do great things but do little things with great love. She related “scattering flowers” as each flower representing a small sacrifice, or a little action for God and love. Her sister edited her journal and had copies published. St. Thérèse became the third woman to be made a Doctor of the Church.
READER 2: Once St. Thérèse saw her sisters praying by a statue of Mary. Thérèse had a fever and was seriously ill, so it was a miracle when she saw the statue smile at her, and she was then cured. St. Thérèse was often one to give up in a rough situation, so when people badgered her about the vision of Mary she finally said she couldn’t give details and people thought she just made it up.
LEADER: Let us all recite the “My Novena Rose Prayer” used to place your petitions in the hands of St. Thérèse:
ALL: O Little Thérèse of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.
O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands …
(Mention in silence here)
St. Thérèse, help me to always believe as you did in God’s great love for me, so that I might imitate your “Little Way” each day.
LEADER: St. Thérèse developed the habit of mental prayer, where she would sit in solitude and think of God, life, and eternity. She had many horrible times in her life. On one occasion, she suffered from dryness in prayer. She remarked that “God isn’t doing much to keep the conversation going.” The only way she could prove her love for others was by scattering rose petals of love. Little sacrifices cost her more than big pronouncements. Thérèse struggled because she didn’t just want to be good; she wanted to be a saint. If love was the key, she realized her true vocation would be love.
READER 1: St. Thérèse of Lisieux became a patron of the missions. Although she had not traveled to any foreign places, she constantly supported the missions with her prayers and love. “It is the little things that keep God’s kingdom going.” Roses have been described and experienced as St. Thérèse’s signature.
To learn more about this saint, explore the Society of the Little Flower website, with adult supervision.
Jean Grant is a retired teacher from St. Charles, Missouri.