Saint Therese, Doctor of the Church

  • By Nancy Arey
  • 26 Sep, 2015
Saint Therese was named a Doctor of the Church in 1997. She is one of only four women and the youngest of all the thirty six who have been promoted to Doctor of the Church. What is a “Doctor of the Church” and what is it about St. Therese that distinguished her as a Doctor?

A saint is promoted to the level of Doctor of the Church very rarely. There are three requirements. They must have shown great sanctity, and therefore only those already declared saints are considered. The saint must be of eminent learning and writings. The last is that the proclamation must come from the Church: a Council or the Pope.

After a childhood of joys and sadness (Therese lost her mother when she was only 4), illness and miracles, Therese participated in a pilgrimage lasting a month and bringing her before Pope Leo XIII during his Jubilee year celebrating fifty years as an ordained priest. Therese took the
opportunity to beg the Holy Father to permit her to enter the Carmel at the very young age of 15. With his blessing, he assured her, “You will enter if God wills it.” Less than a year later, she was accepted into the austere, cloistered convent, where she remained until her death less than ten years later.

Therese was not without trials in the convent, but she overcame them in humility and simplicity. Her writings are notable in describing her “little way,” a humble way of life that saw her choosing the most menial chores, and offering them to Jesus with love. Without seeking out
sufferings, she bore all the great and small trials that came her way without complaint or even attempts to soften the discomforts. It was this little way of perfection that made Therese a saint. She lived out her life in service to God and neighbor, or to God through neighbor. She desired to be hidden and unnoticed while giving all glory to God, and is called “The Little Flower.” St. Therese promised to spend her heaven doing good upon earth and said that she would let fall a shower of roses. Many faithful receive a sign of a rose when they ask the intercession of St. Therese.

St. Therese wrote, under obedience, a memoir which her superior had printed and distributed immediately upon her death. It has become a classic writing, which leads many to learn to live holiness quite simply in the place where they find themselves. St. Therese’s great, but humble
holiness and the depth of her spiritual understanding and her simple way of trust and great love have earned her the esteem of the whole Church and the title of Doctor. Many offer a novena, beginning on September 22, leading up to her memorial feast which is celebrated on October 1.
By Nancy Arey 26 Sep, 2015
Saint Therese was named a Doctor of the Church in 1997. She is one of only four women and the youngest of all the thirty six who have been promoted to Doctor of the Church. What is a “Doctor of the Church” and what is it about St. Therese that distinguished her as a Doctor?

A saint is promoted to the level of Doctor of the Church very rarely. There are three requirements. They must have shown great sanctity, and therefore only those already declared saints are considered. The saint must be of eminent learning and writings. The last is that the proclamation must come from the Church: a Council or the Pope.

After a childhood of joys and sadness (Therese lost her mother when she was only 4), illness and miracles, Therese participated in a pilgrimage lasting a month and bringing her before Pope Leo XIII during his Jubilee year celebrating fifty years as an ordained priest. Therese took the
opportunity to beg the Holy Father to permit her to enter the Carmel at the very young age of 15. With his blessing, he assured her, “You will enter if God wills it.” Less than a year later, she was accepted into the austere, cloistered convent, where she remained until her death less than ten years later.

Therese was not without trials in the convent, but she overcame them in humility and simplicity. Her writings are notable in describing her “little way,” a humble way of life that saw her choosing the most menial chores, and offering them to Jesus with love. Without seeking out
sufferings, she bore all the great and small trials that came her way without complaint or even attempts to soften the discomforts. It was this little way of perfection that made Therese a saint. She lived out her life in service to God and neighbor, or to God through neighbor. She desired to be hidden and unnoticed while giving all glory to God, and is called “The Little Flower.” St. Therese promised to spend her heaven doing good upon earth and said that she would let fall a shower of roses. Many faithful receive a sign of a rose when they ask the intercession of St. Therese.

St. Therese wrote, under obedience, a memoir which her superior had printed and distributed immediately upon her death. It has become a classic writing, which leads many to learn to live holiness quite simply in the place where they find themselves. St. Therese’s great, but humble
holiness and the depth of her spiritual understanding and her simple way of trust and great love have earned her the esteem of the whole Church and the title of Doctor. Many offer a novena, beginning on September 22, leading up to her memorial feast which is celebrated on October 1.
By Nancy Arey 26 Sep, 2015

Jesus established His Church with St. Peter at her head, and exclaimed that the gates of hell  would never prevail against her. (Matt 16:18) To Peter, and to his successors, our Lord gave the  keys to the kingdom, and the profound responsibility of guiding the Church through the rough  waters that will seek to toss her to and fro. Salvation is given to the whole world, by His blood  and through the Church that Christ established. Pope Francis is the current successor to St. Peter,  and he faithfully guides the Barque of Peter, the Church, through the storms that assail her from  every direction in these days. The forthrightness of Pope Francis causes some dismay, especially  when the media transmits his words with a lack of comprehension of his motives, his methods  and his message of mercy. But there is no need for dismay: only delight. 

Pope Francis has a disarming way of humbling himself and calling all of humanity to a similar  humility. He seeks to bring the Barque of St. Peter right up to the people and have them embark.  He is working to remove any obstacle that might prevent a soul from approaching the boundless  mercy of God. To that end, the Pope has recently written a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella,  who is in charge of the preparations for the upcoming Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy; outlining  several points which he believes are necessary to ensuring that every faithful believer will be  able to participate fully in this gift of grace. Pope Francis is considering every outlier who might  believe that gift is withheld from them. By doing so, he is drawing all of us safely together onto  the Barque, and steering us straight towards our Merciful Lord. He writes, “The forgiveness of  God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the  Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father.” 

Pope Francis gives the usual conditions for obtaining the Jubilee Indulgence.   “As a sign of the  deep desire for true conversion,” one must make a “brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door” during  the year long Jubilee, which will commence when the Holy Doors are opened on December 8,  2015. The Holy Doors are of the four Papal Basilicas in Rome, but the Pope also designates  every Cathedral as well as any churches which a Bishop may designate, but he goes even further  than that. With compassion towards the sick, the elderly, the imprisoned, the Holy Father insists  that their obstacles themselves can be the Holy Door for them. The homebound can receive the  indulgence by participation in the sacraments however it is possible for them. For those who are  incarcerated, he suggests that they direct their thoughts to the Father every time they “cross the  threshold of their cell” as signifying their Holy Door. The Pope exhorts all to practice the  corporal and spiritual acts of mercy, and thus receive the Jubilee Indulgence, and promises that  by this means, no one is excluded! Even the dead are to be remembered in the Sacrifice of Holy  Eucharist, bringing them to the mercy of God.  

Two special situations were given explicit directives. The separation of those who have procured  an abortion is to be mercifully resolved in the Sacrament of Reconciliation with any priest. This  is not something new, as the media might have falsely projected. Pope Francis is simply  publicizing what is most often already done, especially in the United States. Also, in the matter  of the illicit Fraternity of St. Pius X, whose Bishops are excommunicated, the faithful who are  absolved by a priest of the Fraternity are in fact validly and licitly absolved, and our Holy Father  writes that he trusts that solutions will come about soon, which will return to full communion  those priests and superiors of the Fraternity of St. Pius X.   


Pope Francis wants every soul carried in the blessed Barque to berth in the port of mercy. Do not  neglect this open invitation by the representative of Christ on earth (and bring a friend)! 


Nancy Arey


September 9, 2015

By Nancy Arey 26 Sep, 2015

Camden Diocese has been preparing for the Philadelphia visit of our Pope by highlighting his   cue to hear and respond to the “cry of the poor.” The Catholic Charities branch of Camden   Diocese, which started in 1936 as the Catholic Aid Society, reaches out to the poor and   vulnerable of the diocese in varied and effective ways.   At the forefront of their endeavors is a   mindfulness of the dignity of the human person, and the respect due to each one. The theological   virtue of Charity, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church identifies as superior to all the   virtues (CCC 1826), impels us to love “our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.” (CCC   1822)  

When we give to an agency such as Catholic Charities, we are extending ourselves to reach out   to those more in need than we. Through the work that Catholic Charities does in our own   diocese, we are helping our proximate neighbors. Listening to the quiet inspirations of the Holy   Spirit, we can also help on a more intimate level those in our own families or communities,   touching the very individuals with whom we come into contact. Seeing the face of Jesus in each   individual, we respond with His own mercy and love, and reflect His face to those we help.  

Charity begins at home, and all of us can find ways to give to those closest to us. Sometimes that   offering is of greater sacrifice of love than an offering through an agency, but agencies allow us   to provide help to those whose needs cannot be met by their immediate neighbors. There are   myriad causes for the poor and needy across the globe and giving has never been easier than in   this era of immediate “one-click” donation.  

In a homily on June 16, 2015, Pope Francis taught of a “theology of poverty” describing the   “mystery of Christ who humbled Himself, who let Himself be impoverished in order to enrich   us.”   The Holy Father reminds us to give of ourselves and of our want, not of our surplus, thus   enriching others. I know a man who, hiking across the country, was touched by the loving gifts   offered him, even by those who lived in poverty themselves. Pope Francis said this is what is   meant by Christian poverty. We follow Christ as our model. Let us all be open to the ways we   might practice charity and respond to the cry of the poor, both near and far.  

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