The Simple Saint

A trip to France proves the power of Saint Thérèse's "little" ways.

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Posted in , Sep 10, 2014

Inside the dome of The Basilica of Saint Thérèse in Normandy, France.

Today's guest blogger is Meg Belviso.

When traveling, sometimes you have an unexpected experience, or two, that you'll always remember. I just had a week of such experiences as part of a tour called Spiritual France.

A visit to France often means Paris or maybe the French Riveria or Provence. But for me and two other journalists, it was traveling around Normandy and Brittany, visiting places where miracles were part of the very identity of the people who lived there.

Inside the Basilica of Saint Therese in Normandy, France.Our first stop was the town of Lisieux in Normandy, the home of Saint Thérèse, who lived for nine years at the convent there. Sadly, Thérèse died of tuberculosis in 1897 when she was only 24.

One year after her death, a book of her writing was published. In The Story of a Soul, Thérèse spoke plainly and simply about her relationship with God. It was this simplicity that endeared her to all the people who read her book, and today she is one of the patron saints of France, popularly known as "The Little Flower."

The other patron saint is Joan of Arc, one of Thérèse’s heroes. Thérèse loved her so much that she even wrote and starred in a play about the beloved saint that she performed for the other nuns.

Her costume is still displayed at the Basilica of Saint Thérèse at Lisieux, which opened in 1954. Today the basilica gets 2 million visitors a year, one of the biggest pilgrimage sites in France!

Perhaps Thérèse had an idea of God’s plans for her before her death when she said, "I feel that my mission is about to begin, my mission of making God loved as I love him, giving my little way to souls."

Today, her “little way” is something everyone can follow since, as Thérèse said, "Jesus doesn’t look so much at the greatness of our actions nor at their level of difficulty but, rather, at the love that we have to carry out these actions."

If you'd like to read and see more about my Spiritual France trip, check out #SpiritualFrance on Twitter.

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