I personally have a deep devotion to St. Therese and have most of my life; our Mark Thomas who is turning 3 yrs old was born on her feastday, surprisingly. Strangely or perhaps "Godly" that is.....I had done a special novena to St. Therese, one year before in October, hoping that we could be blessed with another child. A few weeks after the novena I received the sign of her mystical roses (another story there), and then a couple months later, we discovered we were to have another child. Mark was due on October 14th of 2003, and I awoke exactly at midnight of October 1st with the first labor pangs. Unbelievable. I kept saying no way this is real labor and this baby is going to be born on her feast -- I just couldn't believe it, as if, I had doubted St. Therese's help, I was to be sure to become very aware of it now! What a gift. And so it was Mark Thomas, who would have been Marie Therese, was born early that afternoon of Oct 1st; early but an absolutely beautiful uncomplicated labor and delivery, - and for a couple weeks early, he was 7 pds even, healthy and happy.
While we are focused on St. Therese, I'd like to suggest a personal retreat based on her teachings. As a busy homeschooling mother, I really appreciate things of a spiritual nature that can be easily achieved in the home and fit into an ordinary day (or series of days).
There is a wonderful book for just this purpose: I Believe in Love, by Father Jean C. J. d' Elbee, published by Sophia Institute Press. I originally received this book as a gift from a friend who knew I had devotion to St. Therese and didn't have a lot of "mom time" to spend outside of the home. This book is a special find for a St. Therese devotee, but certainly anyone can benefit from it. Fr. d' Elbee captures Therese's teachings as meditations in ten "conferences" that take you through the retreat. Here is a short description from the backcover:
"Fr. Jean C. J. d' Elbee, a French priest deeply imbued with St. Therese's spirit, brings you St. Therese's teachings on God's love and the confidence in Him that it should inspire in your soul; humility, peace and fraternal charity; the apostolate; the Cross; and what it means truly to abandon yourself to Divine Providence."
Here is a short excerpt from the first conference, Love for Love:
"My principal aim in this retreat is to give some answers to your personal problems; those, in short, which preoccupy you most, sometimes to the point of anguish, because they have to do with the eternal life of your soul and because on your sanctity depends the light that will radiate through you upon your neighbor and the world." Fr. Jean C. J. d' Elbee
Later, Fr. d' Elbee states: "Oh how I would love it if at the end of this conference, and even more, at the end of this retreat you were able to cry out with the psalmist, 'Lord You have opened my heart, and I run in the way of Your commandments.'"
"This book comes like heavenly music, saving music, to fill with hope the emptiness of man's heart and to fill it to overflowing." (from: Preface of the American Edition; H. Lyman Stebbins)
"Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be - and becoming that person." Saint Therese of Lisieux, from Story of a Soul
St. Therese, Pray for Us!