pope francis and st. thérèse of lisieux

francis and therese

October 1st is the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. I fell in love with Thérèse as a child. In contrast to the big sacrifices of martyrs and missionaries, Thérèse promoted a “little way” to holiness.

Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.

Her own struggles showed that this was not necessarily an easier way. We all know that the “patience of a saint” is needed to face the frustrations and annoyances caused by trivial events and daily encounters with those closest to us. They may be small, but the effort is often a substantial sacrifice.

Pope Francis is a big fan of Thérèse and looks to her for guidance,

When I have a problem, I ask St. Thérèse to take it in her hands and help me solve it.

There were echoes of Thérèse in the pope’s homily at the closing mass of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

like happiness, holiness is always tied to little gestures…They are the little signs of tenderness, affection and compassion. Like the warm supper we look forward to at night, the early lunch awaiting someone who gets up early to go to work. Homely gestures. Like a blessing before we go to bed, or a hug after we return from a hard day’s work. Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home.

Holiness by way of little gestures. Such simplicity. Such wisdom.