by Sr. Genevieve van Waesberghe MMM Tanzania/ Ireland 25.11.2023
Did you know that during the first World War, less than 20 years after her death, Thérèse had already conquered the heart of many soldiers battling in the trenches in France and Belgium? They had her picture and prayed to her. She appeared to some forty known soldiers. Many spoke of their miraculous protection. This was at the time when Marie Helena Martin (Mother Mary) was a VAD Nurse in Malta and France.
In 1997, Thérèse became a Doctor of the Church. Interestingly, out of thirty-seven Doctors of the Church, only four are women! Her science is “Love that has no borders.” She teaches us to love, in the ordinariness of life, accepting our own fragility and trusting God’s love for everyone, more especially the sinners, the poorest, and those on the periphery. I like to think of the conversion of the murderer, Pranzini, before his beheading in 1897 and of the singer Edith Piaf’s spiritual friendship with Thérese. Edith was cured of blindness when she was six and living in misery.
Therese was a missionary at heart. She never left her monastery but wrote to many missionaries, prayed for them. Mother Mary was a special friend of her and entrusted our MMM healing mission to her. Personally, Thérèse has been my ‘travel manager’. My ministry included travelling in Africa through many insecure areas, and Thérèse never let me down!
For many years, Therese’s relics have travelled the world over including to Russia (1999), to Ireland -Drogheda (2001) , and to Jerusalem (2011).
This year is a year of graces. We celebrate the 150th birthday of Thérèse (2nd Jan 1873) and the 100th anniversary of her beatification (29th April 1923). In France, during 2022-23, even UNESCO is paying tribute to Thérèse, recognizing her spiritual, cultural, and educational contribution to humanity. A special event will be held in Paris on 27th November 2023.
Recently, while in France, I prayed in front of the relics of St Thérèse. I had been deeply affected by the current news of hate, violence, and wars. I prayed for justice and peace, for all victims of wars, children, hostages, relief personnel, human rights defenders, and leaders.
I felt encouraged and close to Therese and wondered what would happen if all of us prayed for Peace through her intercession during this Jubilee year?
Thérèse show to us the way of Peace!