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St. Thérèse of Liseux

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PCA517 Package of 25 icon holy cards


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3 x 5

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Upon joining the Carmelites at Lisieux, this remarkable saint took the name of Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She is also known as “The Little Flower," having died at the age of 24. Her memoirs, “The Story of a Soul," has become one of the great spiritual texts of this century. She has inspired many, including Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa.

Icon holy cards are 3" x 5", a convenient size for use as gifts or bookmarks. The backs are blank except for a faint colophon at the bottom, leaving plenty of room for custom imprinting with your own message.

Image Origins

Brother Claude has created for us an original portrait of this famous saint in iconographic style, but it is obviously not an icon in the Orthodox sense. The image serves the traditional purpose, however, by allowing us to focus our attention when we pray and contemplate the spiritual inspiration of Saint Thérèse’s life and her words. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux was born Thérèse Martin in 1873 in Aleçon, France. She entered the Carmelite monastery at Lisieux at the age of 15, following two older sisters. She took the name of Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She died of tuberculosis at the young age of 24. During the final year of her life, she wrote a simple book of her memoirs titled The Story of a Soul. Her older sister, Pauline who was prioress of the convent at Lisieux edited the book and published 2000 copies. Thérèse’s "little way" of trusting Jesus and relying on small daily sacrifices rather than great deeds appealed to many people. She was declared a saint by the Church in 1924 and has been one of the most popular saints of the 20th century, frequently referred to as "The Little Flower." Among the many people who have found inspiration from her may be included Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa. September 30, 1997 will mark the 100th anniversary of her death. Her feast is celebrated in the Church calendar every year on October 1.

Theology and Symbolism

Saint Thérèse is presented to us dressed in her Carmelite habit, holding a small book. The book is a copy of the New Testament, which she carried at all times during her life as a nun. A bookmark is labeled with the words, "my way is sure." A Carmelite nun heard these words from Thérèse in a vision of her that occurred after her death. Thérèse’s head is surrounded by a halo of gold leaf. The halo is the traditional iconographic symbol of sanctity. Gold is a symbol of Divine light, chosen because the metal reflects and enriches light in so different a manner from pigment.

The two small flower medallions remind us of her ordination name and her nickname as mentioned above. The Child Jesus holds a rolled-up scroll, symbolic of the Divine Word of God, made incarnate in Christ Emmanuel. (See Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23.) The Holy Face is an ancient icon image, the Christ Achieropoietos. The Greek word means "not made by human hands," and refers to the ancient legend that Jesus imprinted His portrait on a cloth that was given to King Abgar of Edessa. The Holy Face is the oldest known portrait of Christ and is linked by some to the Shroud of Turin and to the legend of Veronica’s Veil. The halos around the two faces of Christ are marked with a cross and the Greek letters omicron, omega, nu. These translate as "Who [I] Am," the name for God given to us in Exodus 3:14.

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