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ST. THÉRÈSE

Thérèse had a great love for the missions, beginning at the age of seven when she started school. She did well in her studies, and her father gave her a few pennies for each good paper or grade that she received. She realized even at a young age that these were not for her, so she put them in a little box and saved them for the children in China. She never stopped thinking this way.  When she was dying of tuberculosis at the age of 24, she told her sisters in the monastery not to buy any flowers for the altar but to send the money that would have been used to the missions in China and Africa.

While Thérèse was in the Carmel of Lisieux, she volunteered to go to Vietnam. When she was found to have tuberculosis, this desire could not be granted. Yet she knew that like all followers of Jesus, she was still called to be a missionary. She offered her prayers, her sacrifices, and the intense sufferings of her last illness for those missionaries serving in the poor countries of the world.

Because of her great love for the missions, Pope Pius XI made St. Thérèse Patroness of the Catholic Missions throughout the world, with the great Jesuit missionary to India and Japan, Saint Francis Xavier. On Mission Sunday, October 19, 1997, Pope John Paul II made her a Doctor of the Church, only the third woman to be so honored. The Holy Father spoke eloquently in his homily that day about St. Thérèse as a model to all Catholics in their call to help the missions.

        
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