The most recent subject of our formation has been the autobiography of St. Therese, Story of a Soul. At first, I was afraid this would be over my head, since I am a little girl from Georgia and St. Therese was an over-scrupulous Carmelite nun who knew her vocation since the age of two. But little did I know how much I would learn from the “Little Flower.”
Not soon after I started reading the autobiography, I received and email from both of my aunts. They told me about how my grandmother, who died when I was only a few weeks old, absolutely loved St. Therese. She was her confirmation saint and often discussed her “Little Way” with my aunts. One of my aunts, the younger of the two, cherished this so much that she also took Therese as her confirmation saint.
Being the youngest of the cousins on my father’s side, I was always jealous that I didn’t have any memories of my grandmother (who we call “Muv”) and they seemed to have so many. But I realized that through studying and trying to live more like St. Therese’s Little Way, I share something with my Grandmother that they haven’t before. I see the beauty in her way of life as I have heard so much about it through my family members. In a way, I am able to create my own memories of my Grandmother.
What did Muv think when she heard the story of St. Therese breaking into the Coliseum? What would she say if I told her the story of her doubting her vocation a few short days before her Final Vows? What would she do if I told her about all of the ways the other sisters annoyed her, and then she started taking joy in the things that annoyed her so much? Muv would probably say, in her sweetest southern accent, “Well we could probably use more people so alive in their faith that they are willing to break into the Coliseum. We need people willing to be bold enough to even take a step toward a religious vocation. We need to be like St. Therese and pray for those who might not bring us joy at first. Maybe they will be our best friend if we show them the love they deserve.”
There are times when I wish God had left Muv here on Earth a little bit longer so that I could have real memories of her. But, as God took her in His perfect timing, I know it will make our reunion in Heaven that much sweeter! But until then, “Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be – and becoming that person.” – St. Therese