By Thomas R. Nevin

For over a century, the Carmelite Sister Thérèse of the kid Jesus and the Holy Face (1873-1897) has been respected as Catholicism's most excellent folks saint of contemporary occasions. Universally often called "the Little Flower," she has been a resource of comfort and uplift, an instance of daily sainthood by way of "the Little Way." This e-book places apart that piety and addresses the torment of doubt in the lifestyles and writing of a saint top identified for the power of her conviction.

Nevin examines the dynamics of Christian doubt, and argues that it's essential to the adventure towards selfless love which Thérèse was once pressured to take. What, Nevin asks, did doubt suggest to her? What was once its resource and nature? What was once its item? He supplies shut recognition to her interpreting and interpretations of the previous and New Testaments as pathways via her internal desolate tract. Her Carmel of religious sisters turns into a shiny environment for this drama, with different girls hard Thérèse by means of their very own trials of religion. certainly one of Thérèse's vital classes, Nevin concludes, is the popularity of one's helplessness in the middle of religious darkness.

Bringing a brand new path to the examine of Thérèse, and of the demanding situations of sainthood itself, this ebook finds how Thérèse's reaction to divine abandonment is a distinct and painfully gained imitation of Christ.

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Extra resources for The Last Years of Saint Thérèse: Doubt and Darkness, 1895-1897

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Only such a full commitment can count for anything. Teresa became a master of the affective because she had to live it out with the sisters in her charge, think it out and write it out for the learnèd and disciplinary churchmen judging her efforts. The affective way was instrumental for spiritual directors because it served as a Her Spanish Masters 21 register of how legitimate one’s confessions of visions and other epiphenomena were: peace, joy, and especially a deeper humility were deemed reliable hallmarks of a progression toward divine union.

Characteristically, she makes an incident momentous, and from disaster she foresees triumph. The Valdès Index, sinister in intent, turned out to be a grace. The passage just quoted on the great censorship signals at once her new life in writing and the authorization for it. God consoled her, she writes, for the loss of her books on prayer. He told her she would be given a living book. 23 Teresa tells us that she came to realize the book was Christ himself “read” in her visions of his sufferings.

She saw the convent as a kind of substitute for purgatory. It would rescue her from a morbid fear of damnation. Why did she not enter one of the other orders, the Cistercian (which locally subsumed four Benedictine monasteries) or Dominican or Franciscan? All of these were acutely strict. Her entry into the Carmel of the Incarnation seems to have been prompted by a banal but important factor, the presence there of her friend, Doña Juana Suarez. From her, the adolescent Teresa learned of the Carmelite spirituality of that time.

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