St. Therese of the Child Jesus
was born in Alencon, France on January 2, 1873. Baptized Marie Francoise Therese Martin, she was born to parents Louis Martin and Marie Azelie Guerin. After the death of her mother on August 28, 1877, her family then moved to Lisieux. Therese was only 4 years old then. Precocious and sensitive, Therese needed much attention. As a result, her father and sisters babied her. She had a spirit that wanted everything.
At age 14, on Christmas Eve 1886, Therese had a conversion that transformed her life. From then on, her powerful energy and sensitive spirit were turned toward love. At age 15, she entered the Carmelite convent of Lisieux to give her whole life to God. She took the religious name Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Living a hidden, simple life of prayer, she was gifted with great intimacy with God. Through sickness and dark nights of doubts and fear, she remained faithful to God, rooted in His merciful love. After a long struggle with tuberculosis, she died on September 30, 1897 at the age of 24.
She was proclaimed Universal Patron of the Mission, alongside St. Francis Xavier on December 14, 1927 by Pope Pius XI.
Pope John Paul II declared Therese Doctor of the Church on October 19, 1997. On October 16, 2015 Therese’ parents, Saints Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie “Zelie” Guerin, were canonized by Pope Francis; they were the first couple to be canonized together.