Calming the Inner Storm

St. Thérèse of Lisieux and the Path to Peace

Calming the Inner Storm

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Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, popularly known as the Little Flower, died in 1897 at the age of twenty-four. Had she lived to be ninety, as two of her blood sisters did, she would have died in 1963.

She is, therefore, in a sense, our contemporary. As Pope John Paul II said when he named her a Doctor of the Church in 1997, she offers us a contemporary understanding of love, the essence of the gospel.

But what exactly can we learn from Thérèse? She seems so far removed from the challenges and struggles we face today. After all, she spent her last nine years in a cloistered convent in France. Not to mention that she is often presented as a sentimental and even syrupy saint who lived in undisturbed, peaceful piety.

It may come as a surprise, then, that one of Thérèse’s most significant teachings has to do with how to handle the more troubling feelings and emotions that we are all too familiar with —anger, hostility, and melancholy, for example, as well as the desire for…

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