Saint Therese of Lisieux is perhaps one of the most well loved saints even to this day. The late Bishop Patrick Ahern wrote, and Image Books has just released, a wonderful book on Therese titled Three Gifts of Therese of Lisieux: A Saint for Our Times. The book is a short but powerful read that is valuable resource on this great saint.
At its heart this book is a very informative overview of the life of Saint Therese. Bishop Ahern however took the project one step further. Throughout the book as he relates stories of Therese he explains how her story relates to each of us in our day to day lives. He also relates the impact Therese played on own his life. In fact Bishop Ahern was so drawn to Therese that, as the forward explains, he often wove stories about her into his preaching. Even more incredibly, at the age of 70, he learned French so that he could read Therese’s writings in their original language thus avoiding translations.
The book is divided into three parts each dealing with one of the three gifts the title eludes to. In Part 1, The Gift of Therese’s Universal Appeal, we learn of Therese’s losses as child which include the death of her mother as well her older sisters leaving for the convent. These each resulted in tolls on her psychologically but, in the end, Therese prevailed. In Part 2, The Gift of Therese’s Conviction, we see just how strong willed this little girl could be. The most telling example is the now infamous story of how she personally asked Pope Leo XIII to allow her to join the Carmelite convent early. Lastly in Part 3, The Gift of Therese’s Little Way, we learn of what has become known as the practice of the Little Way she made famous. As the title of the book suggests these are all gifts of example that Saint Therese has left for all to grow and learn from.
In every book I read there is always a sentence or paragraph that speaks to me. For me this book contained a paragraph that really got my attention. I quote here for your own discernment. “We are all meant, all of us, to grow into God’s Holy People. Those who are baptized – the secretary or a mother of a household, The bus driver or the gas attendant, the priest or the pope or the university professor – all are meant to be mystics. There are many levels of being a mystic. You and I are never going to reach the level of Therese, no more than we will ever reach the level of God’s most holy Mother, Mary. Somebody has to be the greatest, and that means the rest of us have to be less.”
This book is an excellent springboard into further reading of Saint Therese. Bishop Patrick Ahern’s short but powerful book is more than just a biographical sketch of this great saint. It is a testament of what Saint Therese can do for us and what she did for Bishop Ahern. Saint Therese of Lisieux is still relevant to us today and Bishop Ahern has left us with an additional gift…….this book.
I received a copy of this book for my review from Image Books.If you would like to learn more about the book or to purchase a copy click on the title in the review above.