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Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood

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2008/02/21 00:57:55 (permalink)

Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood

Dear friends,
 
Of only thirty three people recognised as Doctors of the Church, three are women...and one is Saint Therese of Lisieux.
 
In our 2,000 year history as faith community, the recognition of women as Doctors is something relatively new.  In 1970, Pope Paul VI proclaimed the first women Doctors, Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena in 1970. In 1997, Pope John Paul II recognised Therese of Lisieux and she followed as the third.

While I am certain it was not John Paul II's conscious intention to provide boost for the cause of women priests when he proclaimed Therese a Doctor, his esteem and international recognition of her has had this effect. 
 
Therese struggled with what she discerned to be a call to priesthood.  She grieved over the fact that sacramental Holy Orders were closed to her only because she was a woman.  As a saint and now a Doctor, she continues to raise awareness about God's invitations to women in priesthood. 
 
This thread will be devoted to our exploration of her calling.  If you have any questions, please let me know.
 
with love and blessings,
 
~Sophie~

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    Sophie
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/21 01:06:46 (permalink)
    Sophie
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/21 01:06:58 (permalink)
    Dear friends,
    Though author Catherine Broome OP titles her article, The priestly vocation of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, in it she includes plenty of discussion about all three of our women doctors. Broome aptly notes, "A long tradition was broken when, within a short period of time, three women were named Doctors of the Church."
    Broome's article is enjoyable in many respects. She:
    • looks at our women Doctors as spiritual authorities
    • highlights some of their writings
    • takes a look at Teresa, Catherine and Therese's vocational callings
    • explores how both Catherine and Therese strongly and clearly expressed their callings to be priests
    • examines some of the qualities that distinguish a Doctor
    The article follows. I know you'll find it interesting!

    With love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     
    The priestly vocation of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus*
    Catherine Broome, OP

    A long tradition was broken when, within a short period of time, three women were named Doctors of the Church. The first people to receive this particular title were Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory the Great and Jerome, who were seen in some respects as parallels to the four evangelists.(1)

    Women as spiritual authorities: They have been followed by many others. Throughout the years there have, of course, also been a small number of women theologians and prophets in whom the Church has recognised the voice of the Holy Spirit and who have been acknowledged as spiritual authorities. Before our century, however, it had not been conceivable that a woman too could be given such a specifically 'male' title as Doctor of the Church. In the 19th century it was still considered self-evident that titles such as preacher, priest, doctor of the church, were reserved for men. If anyone at that time had suggested giving the title of Doctor of the Church to a woman, there would certainly have been arguments found against it both in the Bible and from tradition. Through the workings of the Holy Spirit, however, there are now three women Doctors of the Church. A common characteristic of all three is a burning love for the Church and zeal for the salvation of souls. All three have also experienced pain at not being able to fully realise their apostolic vocation. They make us consider the question of the actual nature of vocation. How can God give the same calling to both men and women in the Church but only allow one of the genders the right to fulfil that calling? There are today many women who feel called to the priesthood. They are sometimes scoffed at and made to look ridiculous. Hopefully that tendency can be counteracted through a closer study of our three women Doctors of the Church and what they have to say to us about their vocation.

    Catherine and Thérèse: It is an interesting fact that two of these three women Doctors of the Church, Catherine of Siena and Thérèse of the Child Jesus, clearly stated their desire to become priests. As far as Teresa of Avila is concerned, we find no mention of this but here and there in her writings there are reflections which bear witness to a controlled sorrow over the fact that a woman does not have the same opportunity as a man to work for the Church. For example, in her first version of The Way of Perfection (ch 3) Teresa complains to the Lord about the way women are treated: "as if we couldn't do anything worthwhile for you in public and not even be able to put a finger on the sensitive point that we wept over in secret". It is always men who are the judges here on earth, she writes, and they have little faith in women's capabilities and virtues. She finishes by saying: "... when I see what the times are like, I feel it is not right to repel spirits which are virtuous and brave, even though they be the spirits of women"(2).

    With regard to Catherine of Siena, her confessor, the Blessed Raymond of Capua, relates in his biography of his penitent who was also his friend and teacher – how Catherine's apostolic vocation expressed itself in her desire to join the Order of Preachers (Dominicans, an order of priests). She did not have a vocation to be a nun, but seriously considered dressing as a man, so that she could fulfil her vocation and be accepted as one of the brothers, but she came to realise that such an attempt would never succeed. It should be noted that Raymond, who was an educated theologian and trained in the study of the Bible, has nothing to say against Catherine's desire to be a priest but has complete understanding for it and finds it inspiring. Besides, God made her to be a preacher, teacher and director of souls in other ways.

    Thérèse’s priestly vocation: Thérèse of Lisieux, on the other hand, is the one who most often and clearly spoke of her priestly vocation. It remained with her until the end of her life and it was, at the end, in this vocation that she found the deepest explanation for her early death. In contrast to her great predecessor Teresa of Avila, Thérèse of Lisieux does not complain of being born a woman; her vocation is what it is regardless. It is her 'littleness' and nothing else that causes her to choose another way. When she speaks about her littleness and her limitations, it has nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman. On the contrary, she sees her "little way" in faith and confidence as a way for every Christian.

    Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila and Thérèse of Lisieux were in one respect "uneducated". They had not received any higher education (but neither had any parish priest during the Middle Ages). But as far as their religious education went it was different. One should not get the impression that they wrote their works purely from intuition, as it were. All three had a burning interest in the Scriptures and religious writings and they were all thoroughly knowledgeable in matters of faith. For example, when one reads Catherine's The Book of Divine Providence (also known as The Dialogue) it is clear, as a member of the third order of Dominicans, she had received basic teaching in Thomistic theology. She was acquainted with highly educated men, her closest friend being Raymond of Capua, later to become Master of the Dominican Order. She had had the opportunity to listen to their lectures, and it must have been a joy for them to have the chance to teach this gifted woman.

    Thérèse’s love of the Bible: In the same way, through books, conversations and lectures the two Carmelites developed their theological competence. Their knowledge of the scriptures was by no means superficial. Ida Friederike Gorres, one of the first to do a systematic in-depth study of Thérèse’s life and spirituality, dwelt especially on Thérèse's love of the Bible before all other books. She knew the gospels almost completely by heart. In her letters and other writings she also quoted constantly from other books of the Old and New Testaments, made notes, compared, marked concordance passages, and so on. "She did not know Latin and had to be satisfied with the French translation," writes Gorres, "and she longed to be a priest and read the Bible in its original language 'to understand the divine thought just as God himself wanted to express it in our human language'"(3).

    It is worth noting that the title Doctor of the Church is in fact an acknowledgement of a person's familiarity with the Holy Scriptures as well as the teachings and traditions of the Church. One cannot put Thérèse’s expressed priestly vocation down to the fact that she was ignorant of what is said in the Bible on this issue or of what tradition has to say, or that it was a childish pious wish. Thérèse’s language can give an impression of childishness and sentimentality, but appearances are deceptive. All studies of her writings - and there are hundreds of them - have shown the theological strength of her thinking.

    The vocation of Thérèse of the Child Jesus: As we have seen Thérèse of Lisieux has spoken clearly of her calling to the priesthood, and so we shall remain with her and look more closely at some of her texts. This is not indeed to be a systematic discussion of all that she has written, but only evidence of how important her vocation was to her. The heart of the autobiography of Thérèse of the Child Jesus, that which gives us the key to her spirituality, is where she describes her vocation (manuscript B). "To be Your Spouse, to be a Carmelite, and by my union with You to be the Mother of souls, should not this suffice me? And yet it is not so. No doubt, these three privileges sum up my true vocation: Carmelite, Spouse, Mother, and yet I feel within me other vocations. I feel the vocation of the warrior, the priest, the apostle, the doctor, the martyr. Finally, I feel the need and the desire of carrying out the most heroic deeds for You, O Jesus. I feel within my soul the courage of the Crusader, the Papal Guard, and I would want to die on the field of battle in defense of the Church. I feel in me the vocation of the priest" (4) - Thérèse realises, of course, that she cannot be all this. The reason is that she is "too little". "Is there a soul more little, more powerless than mine?" "Jesus, I am too little to perform great actions"(ibid).

    Desiring to be a priest: In spite of all this she does not relinquish the thought of her vocation. It lives forcefully within her. To her sister Marie of the Sacred Heart she writes: "I feel in me the vocation of the priest. With what love, O Jesus, I would carry You in my hands when, at my voice, You would come down from heaven. And with what love would I give You to souls! But alas! While desiring to be a Priest, I admire and envy the humility of St Francis of Assisi and I feel the vocation of imitating him in refusing the sublime dignity of the Priesthood."

    Thérèse was a realist. She had to give up the idea of becoming a priest even though she so deeply desired it. She chose to abstain from the priesthood willingly. This was always her way. She was a very free person and instead of suffering under compulsion she freely chose to accept that which she could not change (5). In her attitude she was like her Master who laid down his life. "No one takes it from me; I lay down of my own free will, and as I have power to lay it down, so I have power to take it up again; and this is the command I have received from my Father" (Jn 10:18). Thérèse 'abstained' from becoming a priest but chose at the same time a path that would allow her to fulfil the vocation that was impossible to her by other means. The Church was made up of many different limbs, each with its own function. The most central organ in the body is the heart, the seat of love. Thérèse decided to be the heart, to take up Love as her appointed work. "Charity gave me the key to my vocation. ...I understood that love comprised all vocations, that love was everything." With this liberating discovery Thérèse found not only her own path but also a way for all Christians, for all "little souls" who like herself burn with a longing to do that which is beyond their powers, their possibilities and strengths. Thérèse’s discovery made her an innovator and spiritual guide of great stature.

    FOOTNOTES
    1. These four have been recognised as 'Doctors of the Church' since the 8th century. Boniface VIII wanted to make this precise and liturgical in 1295. Since the 9th century there has been an equivalent rank in the Eastern Church where a feast is celebrated on January 30th in honour ‘of the three hierarchs’ and ecumenical Doctors' Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostomos.
    2. This sentence is crossed out in the manuscript. It is given in a footnote in critical editions. It is included in the text as given here in the English translation of E. Allison Peers, Doubleday (Image Book) 1964.

    3. Ida Friederike Görres, Das verborgene Antlitz. Eine Studie über Therese von Lisieux. (Aufl. Freiburg 1947 S.314)
    4. The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux. Manuscript B, September 8, 1896 trans. John Clarke, O.C.D. ICS Publications, Washington, D.C 1996 (p 190-200) In spite of all this she does
    5. During the evening meditation she had her place in front of a sister who had the habit of making a strange and irritating noise. Instead of being annoyed and trying not to hear the noise Therese decided to listen to it 'as though it were a delightful concern,' and she offered the 'concern' to Jesus as her prayer (ibid., pp 249-250). There are several examples of Therese's way of transforming annoyances and irritations into a freely chosen pleasure.


    *This article first appeared in Spirituality (May-June 2000), a publication of the Irish Dominicans.
    Sophie
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/22 01:41:04 (permalink)
    Dear friends,
     
    The following comments were shared in another thread by our dear friend and long time friend, Connie.  Because the comments bear relevance to our dialogue about Saint Therese, I am copying the comments into this thread.
     
    with love and blessings,
     
    ~Sophie~
     
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     
    Dear Aaron and Deborah Milavec  and Dr. Wijngaards     Thank you for your great scholarship and dedication to the Roman Catholic Church.  I have been wondering about the way the Catholic church allowed itself to make saints of the Fatima  of Portugal children (1917 Marion visions) , the Bernadette of Lourdes France visions, and the Therese of Lisieux France writings. 

    This was a time of great unrest and change, the Industrial Revolution  was making great effect, people moving from farms to sweatshop factories and poverty living in the margins of the cities. Prewar instability and conditions as well as  equally devastating more local civil wars like in Spain and many other countries and the Spanish flu pandemic killed millions, as did tuberculosis (Therese too age 24) and typhoid, cholera, scarlet fever.   Science and post Enlightment scientists, philosophers and theologians were influencing the universities and seminaries too. Modernism was being condemned by popes, and one was putting out a Marion doctrine that was "infallible" to counter I suppose modernism and protestantism I suppose. 

    Why did the church then canonize the Fatima children and Bernadette and Therese of Lisieux.?  Were these attempts to "stop the clock" to resist modernity?  Therese of Lisieux was a true modern saint because she writes of her frustrated calling to be a real priest and preacher in the Catholic church.  Several times she writes of her very real calling to be ordained.   She wrote plays about Joan of Arc and had five novices under her care as her sister was prioress of the convent.  The church inadvertantly chose a powerful saint advocate for change and equality of women, for priesthood for women in choosing St. Thersese of Lisieux as far as I can figure. They made her Doctor of the Chruch, Why do you think they did that?  It did renew Catholic interest in France which was severely declining and   fascist regimes in Spain allowed the church great freedom.  Is that why? Why do you think the church made these people saints as they refuse to cononize and beatify so many applicants. 

    Also Therese quotes the Gospel over 1000 times--- that is  perhaps "modern" too and proves women can be scholars biblically and intelligent and knowledgable.  Connie
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/22 01:42:36 (permalink)
    Dear friends,
     
    Another timely comment made in another thread about Saint Therese of Lisieux.
     
    ~s~
     
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     
     Therese of Lisieux and The Shower of Flowers

        I was intrigued to see that the "Showers of Flowers" of St. Therese of Lisieux of roses was perhaps more of an expression of her frustration of not being allowed to use her gifts of spirituality and be a priest or preacher due to being a woman.  In a pamphlet  put out by Guy Gaucher then bishop of Bayeux and Lisieux he shows that she and her group of five assigned novices would throw rose petals at a statue of Jesus to see what could reach highest.  As she lay dying she wiped the Jesus crucifix wounds with rose petals.  She knew of St. Aloysius Gonzaga where a sick person who prays to this  saint it may help console or  cure the person--a symbol of the receiving of grace.  Therese longed to be a saint.  She longed to be a priest too and said she only knows one thing, how to love Jesus and as she was "Banned from preaching the Gospel and banned from spilling her blood, banned from doing great works, that the fragrant shower of freshest rose petals ,  these songs of love pass through the divine hands of Jesus and the divine touch of Jesus, valuable because of the divine touch of Jesus. To extinguish the sorrows of the church and gain victory for it."  Were rose petals strewn before the victory of St. Joan of Arc and the church and Dauphin when Joan was appreciated by the French church and court?  This is the meaning of the "Shower of Rose Flowers", the great sacrafice and frustration of the woman banned from doing great works by the instiutional church, banned from preaching the Gospel and banned from being a priest because she is a woman.  Therese quotes the Gospel over 1000 times in her writings and repeats many times how she longs to be a priest in the church.  A true advocate for women being ordained priests and a true Doctor and Saint of our church.
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/22 01:44:08 (permalink)
    Dear friends,
     
    Another transfer of commentary! Thanks for your patience.
     
    ~s~
     
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     
    The Jesuits were expelled from France, Portugal and Spain.  By making the Fatima children and Bernadette and Therese of Lisieux saints was the church also attempting to win back some popular support , some reconnection with the people?  I am trying to understand this better as the decision to designate a person a saint is interesting,  The founder of Opus Dei was quickly made a saint and that speaks volumes on the way ultraconservative ideas and any  money raising quality appeals to the current hierarchy, approving organizations that harm and create  loss of the integrity of the Catholic church.
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/22 13:13:51 (permalink)
                                               Women Saints, Women Religious Writers and Coping With The Catholic Church Patriarchy.
     
    In Catherine Broome's article about St. Therese of Lisieux and The Priestly Vocation of The Child Jesus   we see how Saint Therese has coped with the frustration of not being allowed to be ordained due to being a woman.  This is a reality that women cope with in a patriarchal system, the institution of the church, not the policy of Jesus, who had no gender discrimination or barriers to women.
     
    1.  Minimize, defer to one's feminine "smallness, weakness, littleness".  Saint Therese of Lisieux did this.
     
    2.  Belong to a Religious Order, have relatives who belong to a Religious Order, seek out a powerful or esteemed patron, saint, political figure, cleric.  Therese belonged to the Carmelites and so did her sisters,  One was the prioress of the convent.  Therese spoke out bravely at her audience with the Pope to try to get permission to enter the Carmelite order at the early age of 15, despite being warned she must stay silent.   Instead she questioned and argued with the Pope for the changes and requests to be a Carmelite and held his hand, not just klssing it.  This is not a meek or silent, submissive person.
     
    3. Use authority in your writings, refer to sacred biblical scripture, the Gospel, the New and Old Testament, theologians and saints.  Therese refers to the Gospel over 1000 times in her writings and also refers to saints.
     
    4.  Some women religious writers wrote anonymously or under a male psuedononym.  Margurite of Porete who was burned at the stake because she could not find a powerful patron to protect her, her writings survived and we can read them today because monks copying them thought they had been writtten by a male theologian.
    A written debate re women and the church is featured in this website Resources  section and was written in the 1300's and is likely written by a woman scholar who has had to disguise her identity making herself male in order to increase her ability to survive .  The Inquisition murdered far more women than men .
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/22 13:38:42 (permalink)
     A book which is an anthology or collection of women's writings in the middle ages and commentary about the writings is edited by Alexandra Barratt and published in 1994.  Called Women's Writing in Middle English it features Marie of France, Mechtild of Hackborn, Gertrude the Great, Marguerite Porete, The Mirror of Simple Souls, Elizabeth of Hungary, Bridget of Sweden, The Rule of Our Saviour, The Revelations, Catherine of Siena, The Orchard of Syon, Julian of Norwich, Christine de Pisan, Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe, Dame Eleanor Hull, Juliana Berners, Margaret Paston, Joan Keterychem Abbess of Deny, Elizabeth, Duchess of Suffolk, MS Rawlinson, Anchoress's Hymn to The Virgin, Lady Margaret Beaufort, The Imitation of Christ, The Mirror of God to the Simple Soul, Eleanor Percy. Tudor Lyrics from the Fairfax Manuscript, Anonymous Writings of religious ideas, On Human Dignity, Submit Reason to Faith.
     
    The strategies women used to write and get published and allowed for others to read their writings are also described in this very informative book.
     
    Authority of Experience:  abbess, anchorite, refer to saint,  theologian, scripture, nobility, royalty,
     
    Protection of Patron, Clergy, Theologian
     
    Submission, Anonymity, Psuedonym as male, silence, caution, disclaimers,  claims that one is a weak woman and defer to male authority,
     
    Appropriation and assimiliation:  allow other more well known, politically connected male -- cleric, religious order brother, priest,   to publish the work as their own or edit and comment on the work
     
    Hildegaard of Bingen had her priest confessor scribe her writings and was a very wealthy aristocrat herself who established a very popular and wealthy convent in Germany.
    She lived in 1189 C.E.
     
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/22 15:13:58 (permalink)
     Hildegard of Bingen was born  1098 C.E. and died 1178 C.E.  Some of her prayers are posted too in the Prayers part of this forum.  God bless.
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/23 20:05:42 (permalink)
                           Excommunication and women,   Jesus and Women   by Therese of Lisieux
     
    Therese of Lisieux   from her  Manuscript A,  66 vo)    "I still cannot understand why women are so easily excommunicated in Italy, for every minute someone was saying; "Don't enter here...Don't enter there, you will be excommunicated!..  Ah, poor women, how they are minunderstood!
     
    And yet they love God in much larger numbers than men do and during the Passion of Our Lord, women had more courage than the men apostles since they braved the insults of the soldiers and dared to wipe the adorable face of Jesus...  It is undoutedly because of this that He allows misunderstanding to be their lot on earth, since He chose it for Himself.
     
    Jesus will show in heaven that His thoughts are not men's thoughts, for the last will be first.....
     
    More than once during the trip, I hadn't the patience to wait for heaven to be the first.  (Ms A, 66 vo)
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/23 20:19:08 (permalink)
    wow!
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/23 20:59:03 (permalink)
    You are unaware of this history?  Excommunication also meant societal shunning in the Vatican enforced church and state theocracy by all "good women" and "good families" and it meant societal sanction for men to rape any woman declared excommunicated because that established her officially as a "bad woman," a target among targets.  It pretty much limited an excommunicated woman's survival options to prostitution.  It's why the terror of excommunication became such a huge one, because it was a death sentence.  It's why generations of good Catholic women locked their daughters indoors and beat them half to death to try to ensure they would be silent obedient "good women" (and either killed their rapists before they talked or married them off to their rapists), and shut them up from talking about sexual molestation as children.  It's why generations of young girls have venerated St. Therese, the epitome of the young, stifled, dead woman who was much better off dead, and who looks back on them with pity, understanding, compassion, and silence.  Welcome to Rome.
     
    woman who votes with feet
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/23 21:01:07 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: Guest

                           Excommunication and women,   Jesus and Women   by Therese of Lisieux 

      
    Jesus will show in heaven that His thoughts are not men's thoughts, for the last will be first.....
     

     
    Lest we forget, Jesus also said “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
     
    To do God’s will on earth, we cannot allow or accept discrimination against women.
     
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/23 21:05:50 (permalink)
              Ah! In spite of my littleness, I want to enlighten souls as did the Prophets and Doctors.  I have the vocation of the  Warrior. the Priest, the Apostle, the Doctor, the Martyr.  I would like to travel over the whole earth to preach Your Name and to plant Your Glorious Cross on foreign soil.  I want to be a missionary.  Finally I feel the need and desire to carry out the most heroic deeds for You. O Jesus.  As a priest with what love O Jesus I would take You in my hands when at my voice You would come down from heaven.  And with what love I would give you to souls.`  Manuscript B, 3 ro    Saint Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church
     
     
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/23 21:13:25 (permalink)
      Therese of St. Lisieux while referring to herself as `little`and in her `small ways`, in her `littleness`to demure to men, she still proclaims her role as priest,  preacher, missionary, doctor, , apostle, proclaims her need and desire to be all these roles, just as Jesus previously while He was on earth warmly welcomed and praised women being these roles.
     
    She is minimizing  herself `my littleness`while simultaneously staking her claim for womanhood to be treated with equality, dignity  and fairness that Jesus gave to women `: same spiritual church vocations as men including priest.            Connie
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/23 21:32:29 (permalink)
      Therese of Lisieux is clearly not a timid wilting flower.  She stood up to the pope of her day, boldly putting his hand in hers and directly insisting he help her to enter the Carmelite order at age 15, speaking to him directly and questioning and requesting of him though she was warned not to talk to him, just kiss his slipper and hand.
     
    Therese says in Manuscript B, 4 vo  `Well I am a child of God, This child knows how to do one thing now, to love You, O Jesus.  She is banned from doing great works, from Preaching the Gospel, from spilling her blood.  This church in heaven desirous of playing with her little child, will cast these flowers which are infinately valuable because of Your divine touch, O Jesus, upon the Church Suffering in order to extinguish its flames and upon the Chruch in order to gain victory for it.`                  The symbol of grace, a shower of roses, will fall on a supplicant according to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga. 
     
    In 1897 as she was dying from tuberculosis Therese of Lisieux said `God will take me at this age when I will not have had the time to become a priest.  If I could have been a priest it would have been at this  ordination that I would have received the Holy Orders.  Well, so that I would regret nothing, God is allowing me to be ill and I shall die before I have exercised my ministry.``  Therese of Lisieux, 1897.    Here she proclaims her unequivocal calling to be an orained priest of the church.  She bravely proclaims her vocation and her dignity of her calling to priesthood.
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/23 22:54:38 (permalink)
        The Lisieux Carmel was founded in 1838.  When Therese Martin entered in 1888, it had 26 sisters, average age 47. 
     
    They spent six and a half hours praying in the nun's choir every day (including two hours of communal prayer), worked to earn a meager living and had two hours daily recreation.  They did menial jobs like washing laundry as work.
     
    There was severe fasting.   All the sisters rose at 5:45 am even in winter and went to bed around 11 pm.  There are more than 800 Carmelite convents in the world, around 100 in France.
     
    On Mount Carmel in the Holy Land near the present day Haifa, one can still see caves where once hermits lived in accordance to a spiritual tradition of Prophet Elijah.  In the 13th Century the hermit brethren came together under a common rule as the Brothers of the Virgin Mary.  The Carmel was born.  In 16th Century Spain, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross reformed the Carmel radically, simplifying its way of life, emphasizing contemplative prayer, solitary work in a strictly enclosed setting and a life of community, to create small islands to pray for the world's salvation.
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/23 23:18:28 (permalink)
    Saint Therese of Lisieux's mother died when she was 4 and half years old and her father  died in 1894.  She was born in 1873.  Her sister Pauline Martin, Sister Agnes of Jesus, is elected prioress in 1893.  Her other sister Celine enters the Carmel in 1894.  She has some brothers and some of the siblings  died in infancy.  Influenza kills three sisters of the convent in 1891, including the former prioress.  In 1896 she writes her vocation is love and dies in 1897.  She struggled a long time with her vocation because her true vocation of priesthood was not allowed because she was female.  1923 Pius X1 beatifies her.  1925 Canonized by Pius X!, 1927 Lisieux Basilica started.  Therese made Patron Saint of Universal Missions with Saint Francis Xavier in Lisieux, its seminary is  put there.  1944 she is made Second Patron Saint of France by Pius X11. 1898 book Story of a Soul published.  1992 Centenary Edition of her works is published, presented to John Paul 11 in 1993.   1956 Autobiographical Manuscripts (story of a Soul) published.  Complete Works published 1971-1988.
      Made Doctor of the Church .
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/23 23:30:11 (permalink)
      It is written that St. Therese of Lisieux's  intuitions anticipate the great truths of the  Second Vatican Council brought to light: the primacy of Jesus's paschal mystery , the sense of holiness as something offered every baptised person, a devotion to Mary which sees her from the depths of a tried and tested faith, as a mother, poem "Why I love thee, O Mary," May 1897), an ecclesiology of communion founded on the presence of Love--the Holy Spirit--at the heart of the church, giving life to all the vocations within the Communion of Saints in Heaven and on  Earth.  Her vision of her own end was revolutionary too: not rest but action: "I will spend my heaven doing good on earth."
     
    Doing good on earth for the church would be to fufill the will of Jesus and the request and calling of St. Therese of Lisieux and ordain women as deacons and priests.
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    RE: Saint Therese of Lisieux: Called to Priesthood 2008/02/23 23:35:01 (permalink)
    Therese of Lisieux opened ways to ecumenism : her reading of the Epistle to the Romans  can appeal to Lutherans as well, Orthodox Christians  can put her on a par with Saint Francis of Assisi.  The universal symbols used by both saints makes it easy for others to accept them.  As a child of God she mirrors all of us and Jesus too who is the supreme child of God and fully adult too. 
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