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  Home / About St. Therese / Biography
BiographyWritingsPhotosPrayersNovena
The Watchmaker | The Lace Maker | Her Early Years
The Winter of Great Trial | Her School Years
The Price | Her Life at Lisieux Carmel | Carmel
Therese Develops Her Little Way



THE PRICE

Early Years

"Spiritual torment" was to be her lot for years to come, slackening only when she started preparing for her long-awaited First Communion. At the age of eleven, on May 8, 1884, Therese received her first "kiss of love", a sense of being "united" with Jesus, of His giving Himself to her, as she gave herself to Him. Her eucharistic hunger made her long for daily communion. Confirmation, "the sacrament of Love", which she received on June 14, 1884, filled Therese with ecstasy. Shortly thereafter though, the young Martin girl experienced a peculiarly vicious attack of scruples. This lasted seventeen months. She lived in constant fear of sinning; the most abhorrent and absurd thoughts disturbed her peace. She wept often. "You cry so much during your childhood," intimates told her, "you will no longer have tears to shed later on!" Headaches plagued her once more. Her father finally removed her from the Abbey school and provided private tutoring for her. During this time her sister, Marie, became very close with Therese, and helped her to overcome these fears. But Marie in turn, also entered the Lisieux Carmel (on October 15, 1886). This was very hard on Therese, who at the age of thirteen, had now lost her 'third' mother.

After midnight Mass, Christmas, 1886, the shadow of self-doubt, depression and uncertainty suddenly lifted from Therese, leaving her in possession of a new calm and inner conviction. Grace had intervened to change her life as she was going up the stairs at her home. Something her father said provoked a sudden inner change. The Holy Child's strength supplanted her weakness. The strong character she had at the age of four and a half was suddenly restored to her. A ten year struggle had ended. Her tears had dried up. The third and last period of her life was about to begin. She called it her life's "most beautiful" period. Freed from herself, she embarked on her "Giant's Race". She was consumed like Jesus with a thirst for souls. "My heart was filled with charity. I forgot myself to please others and, in doing so, became happy myself".

Now, she could fulfill her dream of entering the Carmel as soon as possible to love Jesus and pray for sinners. Grace received at Mass in the summer of 1887 left her with a vision of standing at the foot of the Cross, collecting the blood of Jesus and giving it to souls. Convinced that her prayers and sufferings could bring people to Christ, she boldly asked Jesus to give her some sign that she was right. He did.

In the early summer of 1887, a criminal, Henri Pranzini, was convicted of the murder of two women and a child. He was sentenced to the guillotine. The convicted man, according to police reports, showed no inclination to repent. Therese immediately stormed heaven for Pranzini's conversion. She prayed for weeks and had Mass offered for him. There was still no change in the attitude of the condemned man. The newspaper La Croix, in describing Pranzini's execution, noted the man had refused to go to confession. Then on September 1, 1887, as the executioner was about to put his head onto the guillotine block, the unfortunate criminal seized the crucifix a priest offered him and, the newspaper noted, "kissed the Sacred Wounds three times." Therese wept for joy, her "first child" had obtained God's mercy. Therese hoped that many others would follow once she was in the Carmel.

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