Therese Martin was born in Alecon (Orne), a small village in Normandy, France, January 2, 1873 by a wealthy bourgeois family of deep Christian faith, the last of eight children, three children die, because at that time, infant mortality was not won. However, despite the tragedies in the Martin family reigns a strong faith that agree to see every event in the presence of God.
Life of a Saint
His father Louis Martin was born August 22 in Bordeaux, was clockmaker had learned his work in Switzerland as a child he had followed his father in different garrisons (Avignon, Strasbourg) and knew the lives of military camps up to leave after his father retired to Alecon in 1830. Louis at twenty-two dreams of a religious life and is presented as a postulant at the monastery of the Great St. Bernard, but is not accepted because it did not know Latin, but for eight years led a life almost monastic, completely dedicated to work, prayer, reading.
The mother Zelie Guerin, born December 23, 1831 into a family of peasant origin, was educated by an authoritarian father and a mother is very strict, she thinks of the religious life, but his application to be received at the nuns's Hotel-Dieu d'Alecon is rejected and then launches into the manufacture of "point Alecon" opens a shop becomes a skilled worker and will have a full success.
Newborn Therese knows the pain in only a fortnight is likely to die from acute enteritis. Two months Therese overcomes a crisis but the mother is forced, however, on the advice of a physician, to separate from her daughter and entrusted to a nurse friend.
At the age of four years Mother Therese lost, undermined by a breast cancer, but the sisters do their best to grow the little Therese, at the same time moved to Lisieux (Calvados). Nine years old when his sister Pauline, her 'little mother', enter the Caramel of the city, Therese falls seriously ill. No one can diagnose the disease. Therese, family and friends are praying a lot. On May 13, 1883, when it seemed inevitable death. Therese saw the Virgin smiling and immediately healed. Healing sudden smile of Mary mother make her even more determined to realize the dream always had words to consecrate them wholly to love. First Communion (May 8, 1884) Therese experienced to feel loved "was a kiss of love, I felt loved, and I also told them: I love you, I give myself to you forever."
Subsequently also the eldest Mary entered the Caramel. At 14, Therese announces to her father's intention to enter Caramel. At 15 years (April 9, 1888) entered the gate of the enclosure, having obtained - given his young age - a special permission by Pope Leo XIII, who met November 20, 1887 in Rome. In Caramel was very calm and found the peace that did not leave even more during the test. Gonzaga's mother, despite the young age of Therese treated her harshly, but she did not complain ever.
Meanwhile, the conditions of his father fell. Arteriosclerosis devastated father of Therese who was banned for three years and hospitalized in a nursing home. This fact gave her a terrible pain.
But the biggest test for her was not that of health, but the "night" of the spirit that enveloped her for eighteen months. I experience this than by frequenting the atheists, but in the silence of God understood the impending condition of the atheist: "God has allowed my soul to be invaded by the thickest darkness, and the thought of Heaven, sweet for me, not more if it were not struggle and torment".
His poor health will not last long, however, the rigor of the Carmelite Rule and 30 September 1897, at age 24, died of tuberculosis, living from day to day sufferings in perfect union with Jesus Christ died on the cross for the salvation of men.
This period of nine years in the life of a religious, apparently without relief, have a wonderful spiritual significance, the stronger when one considers that since many people simply because of its example, feel they can emulate and achieve the same level of this soul without pretense or complications, but yet so terribly demanding on herself. Therese is one of the "way of childhood" or "little way" that does recognize its smallness and surrendered her to trust the goodness of God as a child in the arms of his mother.
In the life of Therese everything is in contrast. His language is poor and often childish, but his thought is brilliant. His life seemingly without drama is a tragedy instead of faith. Its existence was held between the four walls of Caramel, but its message is universal.
Therese has written extensively. He has written three manuscripts, one in 1895, "Story of a Soul" (manuscript called A), autobiography written at the request of her sister Pauline (Mother Agnes) another in 1897 (manuscript called B), when writing to obey the priority. Her sisters then collected his' last conversations "from May 1897 to the day of his death (this manuscript called C). It is then surprised by the large number of letters sent to the family and the many poems he composed. Therese has suffered a lot. The spiritual tests that crossed during this hidden life (night of faith, spiritual emptiness, temptation to unbelief) make it very close to those who doubt and disbelieve.
Therese is not known when he died in 1897, but when canonized twenty-eight years later, in 1925, the fame of his holiness has spread rapidly throughout the world: Lisieux become one of the destinations most sought after by large crowds of faithful from all over the world . Therese is proclaimed in the same year by Pope Pius XI ever universal patron of the missions - for whom she prayed incessantly - is the patron saint of France, like Joan of Arc.
In 1997, the centenary of his death, Therese was declared "Doctor of the Church," the third woman who rises to the maximum of the theological consideration of two thousand years of Christianity after St. Catherine of Siena and St. Therese of Avila.
The saint is seen as a prototype that polarizes the energies and shows how to make the Gospel in a given period. S. Therese of Lisieux is profoundly modern because it helps the mind and heart to melt the things of earth to the sky and understand the things of God, His love, to conduct more specific.
In today's language is often spoken of tension, to express the difficulty that man has to live consciously on a spiritual level. S. Therese offers a harmonious balance. For this reason can be easily taken as a model of spiritual life.