"The greatest saint of modern times" said Pope Pius X back in 1914, speaking of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. And, in 1997, Pope John Paul II declared Thérèse a Doctor of the Church, citing the timeliness of her doctrine and the wisdom and practicality with which she grasped the Gospel message.
Why all this acclaim for Thérèse, who was only a little middle-class girl from France at the end of the 19th century? The Centenary of her death, 1897-1997, was celebrated all over the globe. Why is Thérèse so universally loved, invoked and imitated by people from all walks of life in every country in the world?
Fr. Bernard Bro, director of the French publishing house, Éditions du Cerf, and a key figure in publishing the definitive editions of Thérèse's writings, decided to set forth those aspects of her life, personality, and writing that do indeed mark Thérèse of Lisieux as one of the truly great exponents of Catholic doctrine. What she offers in her life and in her writing, he claims, is "one of the most certain and simplest evangelical shortcuts ever proposed". What we find in her words is a "struggle between darkness and faith, humor and sadness, realism and pretense, maturity and childhood. The life, words, and texts of Thérèse are of an astonishing freshness, accuracy, immediacy, strength, and genius.
According to Bro, Thérèse does not flinch before the important questions everyone must face: Why death? How can we continue in hope when suffering and pain threaten to overwhelm us? How can we remain faithful-and joyful–when we are shaken by the circumstances of our life? And first of all, how are we to love? Thérèse answered these questions both by her life and through her writing. Illustrated with many photos.
Fr. Bernard Bro, Dominican and doctor of philosophy, has been a professor at the Pontifical Faculties of Saulchoir, preacher at Notre-Dame in Paris, and recognized by the Academie Francaise for the whole of his work. He is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the life and writings of St. Thérèse.