Only 24 when she died, the Carmelite nun, St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897), is one of the most beloved Catholic Saints. Therese Martin shared with the world a remarkably contemporary spirituality. In her spiritual autobiography, she taught that holiness is not necessarily signaled by visions or extraordinary penance. Instead, like Vatican II, which she preceded by more than a century, she loved and taught a “Little Way” which everyone is called to. In her doctrine, doing everyday things for the love of God is the secret of holiness attained by all.
Her mysterious promise, “After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses,” caused Bishop John B. MacGinley to interpret a white rose that appeared on his desk, as an answer to his prayer in a difficulty. In gratitude he requested of the Holy See that his new diocese of Monterey-Fresno be dedicated to the Little Flower, who was canonized in 1925.
The Diocese of Fresno holds St. Therese as its patroness and has dedicated the original Our Lady of Victory parish to her honor, as well as the church at Shafter. In 1997, the 100th anniversary of her death, St Therese, was named a doctor of the Church for the profundity of her teaching. She is only the 33rd saint in history to become a doctor of the Church and one of only three women.