Have you ever felt like you are being followed by a saint? That’s like the ultimate follower!

I want to share with you about my relationship with St. Therese of Lisieux. Along with St. Francis Xavier, St. Therese is patroness of missions. At first glance, you might wonder how a cloistered Carmelite nun could possibly be the patroness of missions! Then, you will remember that nothing is impossible with God, that prayer is powerful, and that death is not the end of our life, but the beginning of our eternal life.

I grew up attending The Church of St. Therese, so in my early formation I was taught to do small things with great love. As a kid, St. Therese’s “little way” was something that I could really grasp on to and feel like I was actively living my faith. In middle school, even though I was very shy, I saw that I could share God’s love with others by offering a smile. I even had the nickname “Smiley” in high school. I refused to take St. Therese as my patron saint when I received the Sacrament of Confirmation because I wanted to be different from everyone else and felt like all the girls at my church were picking her.

Even though my stubbornness dissuaded me from choosing St. Therese as my patron saint, she is one saint who I am continually drawn back to. When my husband and I were first married and were having trouble conceiving, I prayed to St. Therese, asking for her intercession to God for a child. About 6 months after making this initial request of St. Therese, I received three yellow roses and the answered prayer of conception! Sadly, we lost our first child in miscarriage and we named her after her intercessor, Therese.

Two years after we lost Therese, I served a summer as a missionary with Catholic Mission Trips, Inc. and St. Therese accompanied me throughout the summer. First, I was given a book with meditations from her that I used daily for personal prayer time. For two weeks, my team served at Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos in Honduras, an orphanage with over 450 kids. To prevent child trafficking, adopting a child from Honduras is very difficult, so these children would never again have a mom and a dad. I was still grieving the loss of our first two children and being surrounded by so many children who did not know family the way I knew family broke my heart. One morning after Mass, I found a rose waiting for me when I came out of the chapel and was reminded that God has all of our children in His care. In nearly every church we entered that summer, there was a statue of St. Therese. She truly was on mission with me.

Beyond that summer, St. Therese continues to play an important part in our lives as a friend and intercessor. We have found out that we were pregnant with two of our children on the feast of St. Therese, October 1. When my husband was changing careers in the middle of the pandemic, St. Therese helped to find us a new community. We are parishioners of St. Theresa’s, and I am grateful that my children are also receiving her lessons and example in their spiritual formation. As a mother of 5 children here on earth, I feel connected to her desire to serve on the missions and her obedience to pray for the missions from the confines of her cloister. It is amazing how powerful her prayers were while she was living and how widespread her mission has grown from heaven. She has touched so many hearts in all corners of the earth, teaching with simplicity how to love God and others.

St. Therese, pray for us!