By: Glenn Dallaire
When studying the lives of the Mystics of the Church, certain remarkable facts come to light. One of these would certainly be the extraordinary appearences of Saint Therese "the Little Flower" in the lives of the mystics. In light of this St Therese, it seems, could perhaps be condidered a "Patroness of Mystics". And then again, did she not write in her Autobiography-- "I will spend my heaven doing good upon the earth. I will let fall a shower of roses"
Servant of God, Brother Marcel Van C.Ss.R.-The spiritual brother of St Therese
Brother Marcel Van strongly desired to become a saint, but was frightened at the austere sacrifices that he thought were necessary to becoming one. He wrote in his Autobiography: “In spite of my great desire to attain holiness, I was certain that I would never achieve it, because to be a saint, you have to fast, lash yourself with a whip, wear a rock around your neck and little chains covered with spikes, a coarse horsehair shirt, endure the cold, the scabies, etc...My God, if it is like this, then I give up... All that is way too much for me.”
The appearance of St Therese of Lisieux –The Story of a Soul One day, Van spread out on a table books on the lives of many Saints. He said a prayer, asking God to guide him, promising that he would read whatever book his hand fell upon. Then, with his eyes closed, he put his hand down at random. “I opened my eyes. My hand was resting on a book I had never read before—“The Story of a Soul" by Saint Therese of the Child Jesus.”
Marcel Van quickly looked over the book—one that he had never read before, but dismissed it as containing nothing unusual. But he soon reproached himself saying “Ah, by acting like this, you have broken your promise!” I then took the book again with my head full of muddled questions—‘What is this “Story of a Soul”??? Who is this St. Therese of the Child Jesus??? Where did she come from???’ What is certain is that is that she resembles many thousands of other saints.’
“Then I summarized her life in an amusing manner in these terms---'Since her birth until her last breath she had many ecstasies, and performed a number of miracles. She fasted on bread and water only taking one meal a day. She spent the night in prayer and gave herself to discipline until she bled. After her holy death her body emitted a very pleasant fragrance and many extraordinary things happened at her tomb. Finally she was canonized by the holy Church...etc...’
“Today I see clearly how rash these statements were without knowing anything about St. Therese. I had dared to sketch out her life in such a summary manner. Oh my dear sister, you must necessarily be a Saint of great courage to put up with me and the foolish statements that I made about you!”
As promised, Van then began to read the book. He states:
“I had scarcely read a few pages when two floods of tears were flowing down my cheeks...What moved me so deeply was little Therese's reasoning:
'If God only stooped to the level of the most beautiful flowers, the symbol of the Holy Doctors, His love wouldn't be quite absolute, because it is Love's nature to stoop to the farthest limit... Just as the sun shines at the same time on the cedars and on every little flower as if it were the only one on earth, so does Our Lord take care of every soul as if there were no other soul like it'
“I understood then that God is Love... Like St Therese, I can sanctify myself through all my little acts... A smile, a word or a look, provided that everything is done in love. What happiness!....From now on, sanctity will no longer frighten me....my tears were flowing like an inexhaustible spring.”
“I had received therefore, that afternoon, a source of grace and happiness. “The Story of a Soul” had become my dearest friend, and followed me everywhere and I did not cease reading or rereading it, without ever getting weary of it. There was nothing in this volume which did not conform to my thoughts, and what pleased me even more in the course of my reading was to see clearly the spiritual life of Therese was identical to mine. Her thoughts, even her yes or no were in harmony with my own thoughts, and the little events of my life. Truly, never in my life have I met a book which was so well adapted to my thinking and feelings as is “The Story of a Soul”. I can confess that the story of Therese's soul is the story of my soul....”
The next morning, Van woke up and kneeled before the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary and prayed: “... Blessed Virgin, my Mother: Today is truly the first day that I have been given to taste such a sweet happiness; the day which introduces me to a new way.... From now on, my Mother, guide me in my new way to teach me to love God perfectly, and to offer myself to Him in total confidence. I dare to express a wish to you: That I may be wrapped in your love, as was formerly Therese, the Little Flower. I even wish you to give me this Saint as my guide in her “Little Way”. Oh what happiness there would then be for me since I feel that my life cannot free itself from the feelings of childhood that God has engraved in my soul as an innate gift”
Then turning to Jesus, he prayed: “Oh Jesus, my only and beloved master, you know that I love you and look only to respond to your wishes. You have aroused in my mind the desire to become a saint. Then, you made me find, in a very simple manner, the “Little Way” by which you guided St. Therese of the Child Jesus. You have used the hand of this little Saint to write for the use of souls, the sweet councils to which you have led her on her little way. Today, I know that you love me, and that in your immense love you behave towards me as with a little child. Oh, how you deserve to be loved in return! From now on I have decided to follow in your footsteps as you wish, and so that each of my steps conforms to your Will, I wish, oh my God, that you grant me this favor: Give me St. Therese of the infant Jesus is my guide, so that she can teach me to love you as I ought, since I am very ignorant. Grant me also the grace to persevere in your love right to the end, so as to love you afterwards eternally, in the homeland of love reserved for those who love you.”
Van becomes the little spiritual brother of St Therese
Soon afterwards, Van went on foot to a nearby hill to pray and read. Suddenly, in the silence, he was startled by a voice that was calling him. “Van, Van, my dear little brother!” But, no one was around him! The voice spoke again: “Van, my dear little brother!” ‘I was stunned and a little troubled, but I remained calm and guessed immediately that this voice which called me was a supernatural voice—-I then let out or hurried cry of joy—“Oh, it's my sister Therese!”— “Yes, it is indeed your sister, Therese... From now on, you will personally be my little brother, just as you have chosen me to be your big sister... From this day on, our two souls will be just one soul, in God's one love... from this moment I will let you know all my beautiful thoughts on love that which has occurred in my life, and has transformed me in the infinite love of God.... it is God himself, who has arranged this meeting. God wants the lessons of love that He taught me before in the secret of my soul to live on in this world, and He has deigned to choose you as a little secretary to carry out His work, which He wishes to entrust to you.... ”
This first appearance of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus went on for quite sometime, and there were many other appearences of St Therese who became a "spiritual director" to Brother Van. So those interested should read "The Autobiography of Marcel Van" to read all of the intercessions of St Therese in the life of Br. Marcel Van.
However, before leaving Van on this first occasion, St. Therese says in closing: ‘I love you because you are a soul who is a member of my friends of Love. As for you my little brother, my only wish is to see accomplished the works that the divine Love desires so ardently for you. So, little brother, listen to me: from now on in your relations with our heavenly Father, do not fail to follow my advice. But for now it is late, allow me to end our conversation here, since it is already mealtime. Tam and Hien are waiting for you, and Tam is getting impatient..... I am giving you a kiss.....We will have plenty of opportunities to talk together again. And we can do it no matter where, without fear that anyone might know.’
“Therese stopped talking, and I was like someone coming out of a dream; half anxious and half happy, and when she said ‘ I am giving you a kiss’ , I immediately felt as if a gentle breeze was touching my face. And I was overcome by such a joy that I momentarily lost consciousness. Some of this sweet joy stays with me today, but I do not know what to compare it with exactly.”
From then on, St Therese became Van’s close companion and spiritual director, intimately guiding him in his spiritual life and his ascent towards God.
I created an article with more information about St Therese's appearences to Br. Marcel Van here.
St. Therese obtains a miraculous cure for Rhoda Wise
Rhoda Wise lived in Ohio with her husband and daughter. She was a Protestant who was in the last stages 0f stomach cancer when St Therese interceeded for her in a remarkable way.
March 25: "…I feel tonight as if even God has forgotten me. I just cannot bear anymore. I know I am going to be in terrible misery if I go home and do not have someone to do my dressings all the time. [Rhoda had what the doctors believed to be stomach cancer, with an open wound in her abdomen that continuously leaked acidic stomach fluids, which caused her painful burning in this area -editor]. I know I cannot get the care I need, for it takes money to do that and there isn't any ... Oh God, I wonder what the outcome will be. You have never failed me yet dear Jesus, and I know that you won't now. When the clouds were darkest and I was in despair you always showed me a way out, so I'll just trust that you to take me out of this .... "
In April her intense suffering continued, mixed with deep faith and prayer.
April 20: "…I am praying so hard to St. Therese and she is going to help me. She seems so close to me. I am not laughing now, Little Flower, but trusting and praying I may be helped. I could look at your beautiful picture all day. All I do is look at your picture and whisper a prayer for help. I know you are listening to me. Won't you please help me?"
In her diary on May 16 she writes: “…It is awful to be like this. God, if I am not to get well, let me die right now. Each day I wish there would be no tomorrow. I did not think it possible for anyone to suffer so much. This drainage about sets me crazy. If I could go to sleep for just one night it would be heaven for me. Little Flower and Jesus, I am praying so hard for you to make me well, and if that is not to be, let me die at once. These dressings are terrible. No one wants to do them. I can hardly do them anymore either."
June 28, 1939: "I guess everyone will say I am dreaming again or seeing things. What happened to me was done by no dream. I saw Jesus again last night standing in my bedroom door. While I looked at Him, He said, 'Here I am as I promised.' St. Therese, the Little Flower, was right by Him. She came to my bedside. She wanted the cover off me. I pushed it off. She then wanted the dressings off, so I pushed them off. She put her hand on my stomach and said, 'You doubted me before. You have been tried in the fire and not found wanting. Faith cures all things.' She walked back to Jesus and when I looked at Him He said, 'I will come again. There is work yet to be done.' They vanished. I looked at my stomach. I was entirely healed. Not one drop of anything had even come out of my stomach. That awful irritation and everything was gone. What my feelings were I can never tell…."
But Rhoda also had another serious health problem. She had severely broken her foot and ankle one night when she inadvertantly stepped into a sewer hole. The doctors tried repairing the damage to her lower leg and ankle by repeatedly putting various leg casts upon it, but could not seem to repair the severe damage to the bones and surrounding ligaments. She was therefore confined to her bed and unable to walk. In her joy of being cured of her stomach cancer wound, she understandably hadn't even thought about asking St. Therese to obtain a cure also for her foot, because the appearence of Jesus and the Saint along with the instantaneous cure of her abdomen completely astounded her, and filled her heart and soul with unimaginable joy!
The Miraculous Cure of Her Foot –The Second Miracle
Rhoda writes again in her Diary:
Aug. 10, 1939: ".....Tomorrow I go in the hospital again. God, may this be the last cast, and if it is Thy Will, may my foot be straight and may I walk."
The cast they applied to Rhoda's foot was to be on until November 10. Rhoda's doctor told her there would be a person ready who would fit her with a brace as soon as the cast came off, and that she would be wearing the brace for the rest of her life. The doctor and everyone else was about to see for a second time that Jesus and St Therese had other plans.
Aug. 15, 1939:[Feast of the Assumption on the Blessed Virgin Mary] "Oh, what a day! I was so happy to begin with because the Little Flower came to me and cured my foot. I was sitting up in bed and crying because my foot hurt me so much. The Little Flower came and said, 'That is a little thing. Stand up and walk.' I stood right on my feet and the cast broke and I stepped right out of it. She then said, 'Go to church now' .... "
Another miracle! Who can imagine the joy of Rhoda, her family and all who knew her! Her husband George nearly fainted when he walked into the room and saw her standing on her own, the cast shattered all over the floor. Needless to say this second miracle drew a flood of persons wanting to see and talk to the woman of the miracle. Her apostolate of leading souls to God began and God increased his grace upon her by giving her the stigmata and other mystical gifts.
Click here for the complete story of the American Mystic, Rhoda Wise
St Therese appears and obtains a miraculous cure for Therese Neumann
Therese Neumann was a well known German mystic and stigmatist who lived in Germany from 1898-1962. St Therese obtained an extraordinary cures for her both on the day of her Beatification, and on the day of her Canonisation.
The first miraculous intercession of Therese of Lisieux
After four years of suffering with paralysis and blindness, a very joyful day was approaching for Therese. Sunday, April 29, 1923 was the day scheduled for the beatification ceremonies in Rome of the Carmelite nun, the saintly Therese of Lisieux, who had promised before her death to let fall from Heaven a "shower of roses." In the bedroom of Therese, flowers were arranged to adorn the picture of the “Little Flower” which Therese had received from her father. Many days before she had begun a Novena in spiritual preparation for the day when the Little Flower would be officially numbered among the beatified.
The day of the Beatification arrived and as the ceremonies at St. Peter's in Rome were drawing to a close, the newly beatified Therese of Lisieux "showered a bouquet of roses" on her devoted sufferer; at the instant of beatification, Therese found that her eyesight was completely restored.
The second miraculous intercession of Therese of Lisieux
On May 17, 1925, when Therese of Lisieux was canonized and became officially recognized as a saint of the Catholic Church, Therese Neumann heard her voice. Softly and distinctly, the saint said to her, "Therese, do you not want to become well? Therese answered, ''Anything is all right with me: to be healthy, to remain sick, to die, whatever is the will of God.” The voice continued, seemingly wanting to test her spirit- "Therese, would it not cause joy to you if you received some relief of your suffering, at least to be able to sit up and walk again?” Therese answered, "Anything that comes from God causes joy in me.” Again the voice said: "Therese, I shall obtain for you a small joy. You shall now be able to sit up and to walk, but you will still have much to suffer. However, be not afraid; you have received help through me in the past and I will also help you in the future.”
As St Therese of Lisieux was speaking, it was as though two strong hands lifted Therese from her bed, and after being paralyzed for six and one half years, she found herself completely healed. Not only was she healed of the paralysis, but of the gaping bedsores on her body as well. According to medical reports, some of those sores were deep enough to expose her bone. In a matter of seconds, the sores were completely healed and were covered with a fresh layer of skin.
A third intercession of St Therese of Lisieux occurred on November 13, 1925, when Therese again became very ill with an acute attack of appendicitis, for which her Physician ordered that she be taken to the hospital at once. As arrangements were being made, St Therese again appeared to her in a vision, and obtained for her an instantaneous cure. These extraordinary graces inspired in Therese Neumann a deep and most profound trust and confidence in God, which was very much needed in what was soon to come in her life.
One year later Therese Neuman was to receive the holy Stigmata during Lent, 1926.
Click here for more information on the victim soul Therese Neumann.
St Therese appears on two occasions to the Servant of God, Maria Esperanza
Maria Esperanza de Bianchini (1928-2004) of Betania, Venezuela is a very recent mystic who cause for Beatification-Canonisation is currently at the stage of "Servant of God" in the Catholic church. Maria Esperanza had two very notable visions of St Therese of Lisieux, and perhaps others.
The first vision of St Therese to Maria occured when Maria was only five years old. The vision took place when Maria was at a port saying farewell to her mother who was leaving for an extended trip. Quoting from the book "A Bridge to Heaven- Interviews with Maria Esperanza of Betania" by Michael H. Brown, Maria explains this first appearence of St Therese "The Little Flower":
"...When we were at the port saying good-bye to my mother, I was on the dock and everyone was saying good-bye to my mother, and I stared at the river that was coming very strongly at us. I was watching waves that were really strong and were going up and down. And I remained there, staring. I had a pain in my heart, feeling as if I couldn't separate myself from my mother. When I saw Saint Therese ... it seems like a distant dream right now. I saw Saint Therese smiling with these big beautiful blue eyes. How precious. And she stayed there staring at me."
[The person conducting the interview asks Maria] 'Many visionaries see Jesus, Mary, or other heavenly visitors in different ways. The Virgin often comes in different appearances according to the culture and circumstances. We realize that heavenly entities can make themselves appear any way they want to. For example, Saint Therese had brown eyes, yet you saw them differently.'
"There was such a blue, an intense blue in her eyes, almost green. It was such an intense color, it tore at my heart. And she smiled. She arose from the waters, came from the waters and smiled at me. I'm trying to recall everything now, when I was there looking, watching Saint Therese coming up from the water with a rose in her hand. It was a very, very beautiful red rose. And she threw it at me. And I moved around. I don't know how I did it, but I caught it in my hands. And I was so little at the time. I was playing, and I ran to my mother who was leaving, and we were all saying good-bye to her. And I said, "Mom, Saint Therese, Saint Therese!' And my mother said to me, "Oh, my love, God gave you this rose!'"
Maria is given the Stigmata for the first time through the interecession of St Therese
The second appearence of St Therese in the life of Maria Esperanza occured in 1954 when Maria was 26 years old. She was living in a convent at that time, hoping to become a religious Sister. Quoting again from the aforementioned book, Maria states:
"One day when we were there in prayer, on October 3, 1954, I saw from the altar after Mass ended, there was something incredible that I felt. I saw Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. She threw a rose to me, and this rose, I tried to catch it, just as I had done when I was five years old. But it was a fresh rose. It happened that it pinched me right in my hand, and I saw blood start to come out of my hand.
I got very scared, and I felt at that moment that He told me I should not be here anymore, that I should go to Rome to see the Holy Father, because the Lord wants me in the world. "You will be a mother". And they [the Sisters] sent me to Rome. I didn't know what to tell the sisters. It made me ashamed. I felt very bad. I cried alot. It was very difficult, but I had to leave."
Maria Esperanza was to become a wife and mother, just as St Therese had predicted. Click here for more information about the Servant of God, Maria Esperanza.
St Therese appears to the Servant of God, Marthe Robin on three occasions
The Servant of God Marthe Robin was an extraordinary French mystic, stigmatist, and victim soul who suffered for over 50 years in union with Jesus for the conversion of souls. She died recently in 1981. There was quite a close connection between Thérèse and Marthe. Marthe was drawn to the Carmelite life as she entered her twenties, but this hope was frustrated by growing illness. However, in 1925 she received mystical visits from Thérèse on three occasions, and these had a profound effect on her.
October 3, 1926, the day of the first celebration of the feast of Saint Therese of Lisieux, who had been canonized the preceding year, Dr. Aristide Sallier of Saint-Uze visited and found Marthe in a coma. "There is nothing more that can be done," was all he said. The Parish Priest, Fr. Faure could only replace the doctor at the bedside to administer the Sacrament of the Sick to "his parishioner," as he called her. It was the second time that she had received it. Everyone expected that each day would bring her death. The coma lasted three weeks.
Apparitions of Saint Therese of Lisieux
But while the coma progressed and death seemed to be imminent, Marthe experienced three apparitions of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. The Carmelite of Lisieux revealed to her that she would not die yet and that she would recover, and that she was to be a victim soul who would extend her mission throughout the entire world. Having surprisingly come out of her coma, Marthe confided the messages of St Therese to Fr. Finet, even adding, laughingly, "Oh that rascal, in the end, she's left it all to me!"
Click here for more information the mystic, stigmatic and victim soul Marthe Robin
St Therese appears in a dream to St Faustina Kowalska
(150) "I want to write down a dream that I had about Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. I was still a novice at the time and was going through some difficulties which I did not know how to overcome. They were interior difficulties connected with exterior ones. I made novenas to various saints, but the situation grew more and more difficult. The sufferings it caused me were so great that I did not know how to go on living, but suddenly the thought occurred to me that I should pray to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. I started a novena to this Saint, because before entering the convent I had had a great devotion to her. Lately I had somewhat neglected this devotion, but in my need I began again to pray with great fervor."
"On the fifth day of the novena, I dreamed of Saint Therese, but it was as if she were still living on earth. She hid from me the fact that she was a saint and began to comfort me, saying that I should not be worried about this matter, but should trust more in God. She said, "I suffered greatly, too," but I did not quite believe her and said, "It seems to me that you have not suffered at all." But Saint Therese answered me in a convincing manner that she had suffered very much indeed and said to me, "Sister, know that in three days the difficulty will come to a happy conclusion." When I was not very willing to believe her, she revealed to me that she was a saint. At that moment, a great joy filled my soul, and I said to her, "You are a saint?" "Yes," she answered, "I am a saint. Trust that this matter will be resolved in three days:" And I said, "Dear sweet Therese, tell me, shall I go to heaven?" And she answered, "Yes, you will go to heaven, Sister." "And will I be a saint?" To which she replied, "Yes, you will be a saint." "But, little Therese, shall I be a saint as you are, raised to the altar?" And she answered, "Yes, you will be a saint just as I am, but you must trust in the Lord Jesus." I then asked her if my mother and father would go to heaven, will [unfinished sentence] And she replied that they would. I further asked, "And will my brothers and sisters go to heaven?" She told me to pray hard for them, but gave me no definite answer. I understood that they were in need of much prayer."
"This was a dream. And as the proverb goes, dreams are phantoms; God is faith. Nevertheless, three days later the difficulty was solved very easily, just as she had said. And everything in this affair turned out exactly as she said it would. It was a dream, but it had its significance."
In accordance with the words of St Therese in her dream, Maria Faustina Kowalska was raised to the altars and formally canonised a Saint on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 30, 2000.
St Therese & Blessed Elena Aiello--The Little Flower miraculously helps with the foundation of a little girls orphanage
Lastly there is the extraordinary intercession of St Therese in the life of Blessed Elena Aiello, the Italian mystic and stigmatic who was recently Beatified on September 14, 2011.
St Therese appeared and assisted Blessed Elena on several occasions, miraculously assisting her in finding the house that was to become an orphanage for young girls, along with being a convent for Mother Elena and her religious sisters.
One day Elena went on a bus and was pondering where she was going to find the house she needed for the foundation of an orphanage for young girls. She had beseeched her patron saints and particularly St. Therese of the Infant Jesus. A young Carmelite nun walked on the bus and the two struck up a conversation. The nun asked her if she was looking for a house. Elena, thinking it was one of the sisters in the area, kissed her hand and told her how hard it was to find one. The nun smiled sweetly and said, “Come, I will show you the house.”
When they got off the bus, the nun pointed to a balcony and said the woman has an offer of 260 lire but will take 250 from you. When Elena looked back at the nun, she noticed there was an unusual glow around her and then saw a bouquet of roses cascading from the crucifix in her hand. Suddenly the nun faded away and Elena recognized that she was speaking to St. Therese of Lisieux and full of excitement went to speak to the landlady. Everything was exactly as St. Therese had said. The landlady accepted the 250 lire. Elena told the Archbishop and he suggested that Elena name their first house in Cosenza after St. Therese, which Blessed Elena gladly did.
St Therese makes another appearence
One time St. Therese of the Infant Jesus appeared to several of the little ones who were praying while sewing in the work room. Sister Elena rushed downstairs to the shouts, “We have seen the Carmelite Saint!”
Upon arriving, Sister Elena too saw the saint smiling at her, and she knew that St Therese's presence was a sign of her heavenly concern and an assurance of her ongoing assistance for Mother Elena's orphanage and her fledgling religious community of Sisters.
~St Therese of the Child Jesus, pray for us!
-For those interested, there is an excellent FREE audiobook here which details a number of miracles through the intercession of St Therese that were used for her beatification, or were reported to her Sisters at the Carmel of Lisieux. The stories come from the book "Soeur Therese of Lisieux, The Little Flower of Jesus" edited by Father TN Taylor.
"I will spend my heaven doing good upon the earth. I will let fall a shower of roses" -St Therese of Lisieux in her Autobiography "The Story of a Soul"