Friday, October 3, 2014

Honoring Therese

St. Therese of Lisieux, whose
feast day is Oct. 3, is usually
represented holding roses.
TODAY IS THE FEAST DAY of Therese of Lisieux, the saint known to millions as the Little Flower and one of the most popular saints of the 20th Century. Catholic Online describes her this way:
Therese died when she was 24, after having lived as cloistered Carmelite for less than ten years. She never went on missions, never founded a religious order, never performed great works. The only book of hers, published after her death, was an brief edited version of her journal called "Story of a Soul." ...  Within 28 years of her death, the public demand was so great that she was canonized.
Our shrine of St. Therese east of the Circle was first dedicated in 1946, built of local rock with a simple wood shelter by the groundskeepers. It was destroyed by fire in 1961 and rededicated in 1963 to the memory of a Mount student.

The original shrine to St. Therese,
at its dedication in 1946.
The Little Flower is immortalized in another way. Her tremendous fan base (as we'd call it today) was mirrored in the popularity of the name "Therese" among Catholics. Many Mount alumnae born in the early and middle 20th Century were named Therese or Terese (not to mention Teresa, after that other Carmelite mystic Teresa of Avila).

Among the Sisters on the faculty and staff of the Mount over the years, we count at least 13 Thereses -- Cecile Therese, Michele Therese, Catherine Therese, Miriam Therese, Eloise Therese, Daniel Therese, Therese Cecile, Therese, Marilyn Therese, Therese, Pauline Therese, David Therese, and Therese. (Surnames, in order, are: Beresford, Dumont, Knoop, Larkin, Mescall, Flynn, Pratt, Denham, Rudy, Donahue, Daries, McClean and Fassnacht.) That is quite a tribute!

St. Therese was canonized on May 17, 1925, just a few months before the Mount was founded. Perhaps that isn't just a coincidence. It's nice to think that the Mount has an important saint, one of just four women Doctors of the Church, remembering us in her prayers.

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