A Shower of Roses
Thérèse died on September 30, 1897. Pauline was allowed to have Thérèse’s autobiography printed, to send to all the Carmels in the world. This was not unusual in a sense; the custom was to publish a short biography of a member of the Community. In this instance, because Thérèse had written this beautiful account of her life, and because it was dedicated to Mother Marie de Gonzague, Pauline was able to push it through. It took a year for the book to be printed. When the two thousand copies arrived at the Carmel, the comment that ran throughout the Convent was “Whatever will we do with all these? We will surely have them left on our hands.” That was a gross overstatement.
Almost immediately the supply of books was gone. Requests came from Carmels all over the world for more. Thérèse’s Autobiography began to be lent out to people outside the Carmelite Community. As a result, requests for the book on the little Carmelite began pouring in from Priests, laity, Religious of other Communities; it seemed like the whole world was catching the fever of Sister Thérèse. Just prior to Thérèse’s canonization, over four hundred thousand books were in circulation. Within ten years of her canonization, over two million were in print.
Her prediction “I will send down a shower of roses!” came about, almost immediately. Wherever her name was mentioned, wherever people had her little book, wherever petitions were sent up to the Saint, miracles occurred, usually accompanied by the reception of a flower. Physical healings, spiritual healings and conversions were credited to the intercession of Sister Thérèse. Burned-out Priests came back to life. Missions in far-off places were given renewed energy. All of this was attributed to the Little Flower of Jesus. And it has never stopped!
The brilliance of her writings, so simple in style, but so deeply spiritual, were felt by the entire world from the day the manuscript of “The Story of a Soul” was first sent to Carmels all over the world. In 1932, the question was first raised of her being elevated to Doctor of the Church. Then in 1991, the Assembly of French Bishops formally petitioned the Vatican to consider giving her this title.
Although the process had been in the works for over 60 years, it took the dynamism and love of our Polish Pope, John Paul II, to finally proclaim Thérèse a Doctor of the Church. On October 19, 1997, at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, His Holiness declared to a record-breaking crowd that this Little Flower of Jesus was to be called for all time, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church. We believe she is the youngest Saint to receive this honor.
Thérèse insisted the Lord had work for her to do. She had always felt that she would do more good in Heaven than she had done on earth. She told her sisters,
“God would not give me this desire to do good on earth after my death if He did not want to realize it . . .
“If you knew what projects I have in mind, what I will do with things when I am in Heaven. I will begin my mission.“ If God grants my desires, my Heaven will be spent on earth until the end of time. Yes, I will spend my Heaven doing good upon earth . . .
I will return! I will come down!”
For more information about this Saint go to http://www.bobandpennylord.com/St_Therese_of_Lisieux.htm