Review of Life Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Review of Life Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux, written by Br. Joseph F. Schmidt, FSC and Marisa Guerin, PhD by Melanie Hartshorn, Spiritual Springs Community, Fort Bend, Texas
As Theresians, we are well acquainted with the life and spirituality of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Like most members of a Theresian community, I have read numerous books about our patron saint, and was touched by them all. Recently, I came across a new book titled Life Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The book was written by Br. Joseph F. Schmidt, FSC and Marisa Guerin, PhD. Br. Schmidt was one of the world’s most respected scholars on the teachings of St. Thérèse. Marisa Guerin is a former leader of the youth ministry office of the U.S. Catholic Bishops and has served as a consultant to religious institutes in the U.S. and abroad. These two have teamed up to present us with a fresh look at St. Thérèse, her “Little Way” and her “Only Treasure.”
The book is divided into two main parts – Thérèse’s Healing Vision and then Six Heart Qualities of that Healing Vision. Each section is presented in chapters which begin with background on Thérèse’s life – much in her own words and thoughts. The authors make liberal use of her personal experiences, memories, and letters, allowing the reader to travel along with Thérèse as her spirituality grew and developed over time. Following this biographical information, we are presented with Mentoring Messages for Reflection. This section helps us to adapt Thérèse’s experiences to our own life. The reader will gain a new understanding of Thérèse. Even though she lived and died over 100 years ago, and much of her short life was spent as a cloistered nun, the challenges that Thérèse faced are in many ways very similar to our own. With this realization, we can open our hearts more fully to the beautiful thoughts the authors present in the Mentoring Messages that conclude each chapter.
Much attention is devoted to deepening the reader’s understanding of what Thérèse called her “only treasure” – her gentle and patient acceptance of her own limitations coupled with her total confidence in God’s love and mercy. Thérèse’s radical message to accept one’s faults patiently and lovingly is a challenging concept. As Theresians, we have a special connection with Thérèse and her spiritual wisdom – a connection that will be strengthened by prayerfully meditating on all that this little book has to teach us. Oh, and don’t forget to pray for Saint Thérèse’s intercession as you read!!