Our Patron Saint!
Hi! My name is Amy and I'm really glad that you are here! I'm so excited to have this page because I get to tell you about my favorite Saint who also happens to be our Catholic Kids 101 Patron Saint!
It is a wonderful thing to have a Patron Saint as a special friend and helper. A Patron Saint protects and guides a person or place by their prayers of intercession from Heaven. If we ask someone on earth to pray for us, how much more powerful are the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Heaven who are so close to God?
Who is your Patron Saint? Usually a person's Patron Saint is the Saint that you are named after. For example, if your name is Dominic then your Patron Saint would be the great Rosary-praying Saint Dominic. You can also pick a particular Patron Saint because there is something special about that Saint's life that attracts you to them. (That's what I did!)
Are you wondering who is our CK101 Patron Saint? Here at Catholic Kids 101 we thought it would be fun to give you a chance to be a detective! I will give you clues about our Patron Saint. See if you can guess who this person is...
Our Patron Saint had a dog named Tom.
A picture of Tom taken by our Saint's sister.
Our Patron Saint was three years old when the telephone was invented.
Our Patron Saint was a crybaby.
When our patron Saint was eight years old, it was really difficult for her to be away from her family. (Now you know our Saint was a girl!) She would be anxious and unhappy when she had to go to school. She was super sensitive and cried a lot. She even wrote this about herself: "I was no longer anything more than a sweet little girl who was a big cry baby."
Our Patron Saint loved it when her father took her fishing with him.
One time our Patron Saint got herself into a real pickle!
Not a pickle you eat but a pickle meaning trouble! Here is how she tells it: “Victoria (her family’s maid) was ironing the clothes and she had at her side a bucket of water. I was watching her and at the same time swinging on a chair, which was a habit of mine. All of a sudden, the chair slipped from under me and I fell, not on the floor, but into the bucket! My feet met my head and I filled the bucket like a little chick fills an eggshell! ... I was soaked to the skin!”
Our Patron Saint suffered from "scruples."
When our Saint was around 11 years old she started to have a problem with scruples.
Scruples is a terrible suffering. It is when a person thinks they are committing big sins when they really aren't. They feel paralyzed by their failures. They can't seem to remember God's great love for them. They are afraid to receive Jesus in Holy Communion. They feel unworthy. To have confidence in Jesus and receive Him in Holy Communion is actually the remedy! Our Saint was freed from her scruples when she was 13 years old. At Christmas that year she said that Jesus had made her mind: strong and courageous!
When our Patron Saint was 13 years old the dishwasher was invented.
Our Patron Saint really WANTED to be a Saint!
But she would read the lives of the Saints, like the great Saint Francis Xavier, and wonder:
"How could she ever be one?" It seemed so hard.
Saint Francis Xavier left his family and traveled to far away lands to tell people about Jesus. He had to learn different languages and cultures and suffer many hardships as a missionary priest. He did great and wondrous deeds for Jesus! He baptized and taught thousands and thousands of people.
Our Patron Saint knew she wasn’t capable of doing the heroic works and big penances like the Saints she read about. So she talked with Jesus about this. Here is what our Patron Saint wrote: “Jesus agreed to teach me this mystery. He set before me the book of nature. I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would loose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers.
A beautiful picture of a field of wild flowers taken during the springtime in the French countryside.
And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus’ garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to lilies and roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be. I understood, too, that Our Lord’s love is revealed as perfectly in the most simple soul who resists His grace in nothing as in the most excellent soul.”
Our Saint then understood that if she did even the littlest thing with great love for Jesus, it would be counted as something great in His eyes! How did she do this? She said, “The best rule is that we should follow what love inspires us to do from moment to moment, with the ONLY desire of pleasing the good Lord in EVERYTHING He asks of us." She called this her "little way."
Our Patron Saint was an Artist.
Our Patron Saint liked to write plays and think up poems. She was also an artist. She always tried to use her gifts and talents for God’s glory!
Here are three pictures of Jesus that she made. Two are paintings and one is a drawing. Just click the arrows on the side of the circles to see all three. Aren't they beautiful?
Our Patron Saint had a Patron Saint!
She had devotion to many of the Saints but her favorite was Saint Joan of Arc.
Saint Joan of Arc, "The Maid of Orleans"
Painting by Robert Alexander Hillingford
Our Patron Saint talked with the Pope!
When our Patron Saint grew a little older, she knew she didn’t have a vocation to be a wife and mother. Our Saint had a vocation to be a cloistered nun. Cloistered nuns aren't sisters who are teachers or sisters who are nurses at a hospital. No, cloistered nuns don't go out and about to places. They rarely ever go out. Instead, they live together in a little community where they pray and love Jesus in a very special, quiet way.
Ladies who are called to this kind of vocation are so happy to live their lives this way for Jesus! They spend a lot time praying for people. They especially pray that big sinners will turn and follow Jesus. They also pray a lot for the needs of priests and for the needs of the Church.
Our Saint knew she wanted to be a cloistered Carmelite nun. (Her two older sisters were Carmelite nuns.) She wanted to start her vocation as a Carmelite nun when she was only fourteen years old! Her bishop and the priests she knew told her she was much too young and that she would have to wait until she was twenty-one years old. But our Saint was determined because she truly believed that Jesus was calling her to begin her vocation as a young teenager. So when she was fifteen, she asked her dad to take her to see the Pope! She knew if the Pope said "yes" then everybody else would agree. Guess what? She did meet with the Pope! She asked him to let her be a Carmelite nun at the age fifteen. What did the Pope say? He didn't say: "Yes, you can enter the Carmelite monastery and become a nun." Instead he said: "You will enter if God wills it!"
Two months later permission was granted. The Bishop where our Saint lived changed his mind and said she could start her vocation as a Carmelite nun at the age of fifteen.
Our Patron Saint meeting with Pope Leo XIII
Our Patron Saint shares her "little way" of loving Jesus.
Our Saint did EVERYTHING for Jesus because she loved Him and was so grateful to Him! She lived her vocation with so much joy! Her secret was her "little way." The "little way" isn't a set of rules. It isn't a formula that you follow. The "little way" is an attitude. It a decision that you make to do everything for Jesus because you love Him! Living the "little way" is the way of trusting in Jesus, of having confidence in Him, knowing that He always knows what is best and will always take care of you because He loves you! And the great thing is you don't have to be a cloistered nun to live the "little way." Everyone can do this! Here are some things our Patron Saint wrote:
Jesus loves a cheerful heart.
He loves persons who are always smiling.
“If you wish to be a Saint, it is very easy... aim only at pleasing Jesus, at uniting yourself closely to Him.”
“To have beautiful and holy thoughts and to write books on the lives of the Saints do not count as much as answering as soon as you are called.”
“I came to love God more and more as I grew up and often offered my heart to Him...”
“I wanted above all else to serve Him and give Him glory.”
“I try to do everything to give pleasure to Our Lord.”
“If only everyone weak and imperfect like me felt as I do, no one would despair of reaching the heights of love, for Jesus does not ask for glorious deeds. He asks only for self-surrender and for gratitude.”
“When I am as it were without feeling, seem unable to pray or to practice virtue, that is the time I must look around for little opportunities, for “nothings” which please Jesus... for example a smile, a kind word.”
“Our mission is to forget ourselves... we are so insignificant and, yet, Jesus wants the salvation of souls to depend on our sacrifices, on our love.”
“I know that whenever I am charitable, it is Jesus alone who is acting through me and that the more closely I unite myself to Him, the more I will be able to love all.”
“To love means giving everything and giving ourselves. I love Him so much that I am always satisfied with anything He sends me. I love all that He does.”
“All we accomplish, however brilliant, is worth nothing without love.”
“The greatest honor God can ask a soul is not to give it much, but to ask much of it.”
“You cannot be a half Saint. You must be a whole Saint or no Saint at all!”
The bicycle was invented when our Patron Saint was a teenager.
Our Saint lived in Europe, in the country of France.
Our Patron Saint became sick with an illness called "tuberculosis."
During the time our Saint lived, there was a sickness that was common called tuberculosis. She got this sickness and died from it when she was only 24 years old. There were not a lot of people who missed her after she died. Only the nuns in the convent and her family and friends she grew up with who knew her.
Our Patron Saint's book goes EVERYWHERE!
After she died, a little book was published that she had written about her life. It is a custom that when a nun in a cloistered community dies, the story of her life is sent to nuns in other cloistered communities so they can read about her.
But there was a Person who had BIG plans for our Saint’s little book that told the story of her life. This Person was our Saint’s very best friend. You know who this Person is, don’t you? Jesus! And if your very best friend is Jesus, that’s all that really matters. Because He wanted everyone to know about our Saint’s “little way” of loving Him because He knew that EVERYONE could do it!
So the Holy Spirit guided that little book so that many people in the country of France began to read it. Then they sent it to their friends in other countries and more and more people came to know about our Saint’s “little way” of loving Jesus.
Just to give you an idea, less than 30 years after our Patron Saint died, before she was ever declared a Saint, more than 30 million picture prayer cards and 17 million relics were sent out by just 20 nuns from the convent where our Saint had lived. That is how many requests they received from people all over the world! All these people began to ask our Saint to pray for their special needs and Jesus answered those prayers by showering down MIRACLES! Our Patron Saint “took the world by storm” and drew people from all over the world to know and love Jesus!
And here is one of the most amazing things of all about our Patron Saint...
She never traveled to far away places to tell people about Jesus like the great missionaries. However, our Saint prayed that people all over the world would know and love Jesus! She did this by loving Jesus according to her “little way.” Even the very smallest thing she did for love of Jesus so that others would love Him too.
Because of the astounding number of miracles and the scores of people who came to know and love Jesus because of her, the Church declared her the second Patron Saint of Missionaries! Saint Francis Xavier, who I told you about earlier, was the one Patron Saint of Missionaries. Now there are two: Saint Francis Xavier and our Saint. They are: Co-Patron Saints of Missionaries.
A short time before our Patron Saint knew she was going to die because of her sickness, she actually prayed a novena to Saint Francis Xavier asking him to intercede for her. She had a very special request. She didn't ask him to pray that she got better. No. She asked Him to pray that Jesus would let her "spend her Heaven doing good on earth." (Jesus sure answered that prayer!)
This is the Basilica of Saint Xxxxxxx (our Patron Saint) in Normandy, France
Have you figured out who our Saint is yet?
If not, here is one last clue. (I'm sure you’ll know who she is after this!) In "The Story of Gemma and the King," she was Gemma’s friend!
Saint Therese said: “When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens… I feel my mission is soon to begin, to make others love God as I do, to teach others my little way. I will spend my Heaven doing good upon earth.”
I've been thinking a lot about the people in the world today who don’t know Jesus. They really don’t know how much He loves them. They don’t know about His Incarnation or His miracles or how He suffered and died on the Cross. They don’t know that He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday and that He is alive! They don’t know that He is in every Catholic Church tabernacle waiting for them to visit so He can help them and bless them.
But you and I do!
And we can join Saint Therese in her mission and together, by living the "little way" of loving Jesus, we can help bring many more people to know and love Jesus too! Saint Therese said: "Pick up a pin for the love of Jesus and you may save a soul." Remember when Veronica told us about the great gift of "sanctifying grace" on her CK101 Page? Because we are baptized, we have God's very own life in our souls! Because we are connected to Jesus in this way, when we do something for love of Him, it is very powerful. We give our "little offerings" to Jesus, our Savior, and He takes them and unites them to His BIG offering on the Cross. That's why our gifts of love are so powerful and pleasing to Him. And that's what St. Therese wanted everyone to know. And Jesus sure seems to be answering her prayer to let her keep teaching us and helping us until the end of the world!
I want to end our time together by telling you one of my favorite prayers. It's actually a prayer that Saint Therese wrote. One of my friends gave me a prayer card with a picture of Saint Therese on the front and this prayer was on the back. When I wake up, the first thing I do is make the Sign of the Cross. Then I jump out of bed and kneel down and pray this prayer. I have it memorized so I don't need to read it off the card anymore. I really wanted to share it with you! It goes like this:
Saint Therese's Morning Offering
O my God, I offer You all my actions of this day,
for the intentions and for the glory
of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
I want to make holy every beat of my heart,
my every thought and my simplest works
by uniting them to Jesus' infinite merits;
and I wish to make reparation for my sins
by casting them into the furnace of His merciful love.
O my God, I ask of You for myself
and for those whom I hold dear,
the grace to fulfill perfectly Your holy will,
to accept for love of You
the joys and sorrows of this passing life,
so that we may one day be united together in Heaven
for all eternity.
Your "Saint Therese" friend,
PS: I have one last question for any of you out there who are Super Sleuths! A clue to the question was given in one of the CK101 pages. (If you don't get it, don't feel bad. This is a real tough one!)
Okay, some of you may know that Therese's last name is "Martin." So, her name is "Therese Martin," right? Well, not exactly right.
The question is...
What is Therese's full first name?
Here is the clue: Way at the beginning on the Welcome to Catholic Kids 101! page, we listed the names of the CK101 kids who had their very own pages. The last name added to the list was: Mary Frances. Who is Mary Frances?
When Therese was born, her parents named her in French: Marie Francoise-Therese Martin. What would be the beginning of her first name in English?