"I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul."

These are the words of Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (1873-1897), a Carmelite nun who lived a cloistered life of obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. And her preference for hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Few saints of God are more popular than this young nun. Her autobiography, Story of a Soul, is read and loved throughout the world. Thérèse Martin entered the convent at the age of 15 and died in 1897 at the age of 24. She said she came to the Carmel Convent "to save souls and pray for priests." And shortly before she died, she wrote "I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth." †

September 30, 1997 marked the 100th anniversary of her death. And on October 17, 1997 she was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II. These pages are intended to offer an insight into her life and spirituality and to promote her "Little Way," especially as it relates to Lay Carmelites (also known as Third Order Carmelites). There is also a description of the origins of the Carmel and what it means to be a Lay Carmelite today. For further study, you may want to visit the resources page containing links to other sites that discuss Carmelite spirituality.

Thérèse's biography begins here



† Adapted from Saint of the Day edited by Leonard Foley, OFM. St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1975.