Novena to St Therese 2017
22nd - 30th September
Feast Day: 1 October

This year we are reflecting on some of the many poems written by St Therese.

After reflecting on the given text from the writings of St Therese for each day, the prayer given at the bottom should be recited. We pray with and for you as you journey with St. Thérèse for these nine days.

You may also wish to look at our previous novenas:
2013:  written by the Sisters at Kilmacud
2014: texts from Therese on different themes
2015: Therese and her family
2016: St Therese and the Year of Mercy

Quick Links:      Day 1    Day 2    Day 3    Day 4    Day 5   
                            Day 6    Day 7    Day 8    Day 9    Feast day

Novena Day 1:  22nd September

MY SONG OF TODAY - by St Therese
(extract from a much longer poem)

My life is but an instant, a fleeting hour above me,
My life is but a moment escaping swift away;
Thou knowest, O my God, on earth, in time, to love Thee
Naught have I but today.

O how I love Thee, Jesus, - for Thee my soul aspires,
For this one day remain, my sweet and gentle stay;

Come, reign within my heart; Thy smile my soul desires,

If only for today.

 I long to see Thee, Jesus, unveiled to me – unclouded,
But while I wait, how near Him each moment shall I stay;
His countenance of love shall ne’er from me be shrouded,
If only for today.


Novena Day 2:  23rd September

This poem reflects St Therese’s desire to be a missionary

O Mother! thou my heart's desire
Hast granted now; so hear my cry
Of gratitude and love like fire
Thy child uplifts to thee on high.

By love for God and all mankind,
By bonds of prayer and earnest will,
Thou deignest now my soul to bind
To those who Christ's last wish fulfil.

'Tis theirs through pagan lands to go,
And raise the cross of Christ on high;
'Tis mine, within the cloister low,
His slightest will to satisfy.

(7 stanzas omitted)

The fruit of our apostolate
Our longing eyes at last shall see,
When, pressing on through heaven's gate,
Our souls shall meet the saved and Thee.

Be theirs the honour of the fight,
My priestly brothers far away
Be mine, reflection of their light,
At last, in heaven's eternal day!


Novena Day 3:  24th September

- by St Therese ( Jan 1897)

How many souls on earth there are,
Who vainly seek for peace and rest!
With me, 'tis otherwise by far;
Joy dwells forever in my breast.
No fading blossom is this flower,
Of its decay no fear have I;
Like fragrant rose in springtime's bower
So fair it is, yet shall not die.

My peace, 'tis like a child to be,
That doth not plan, nor understand;
So, when I fall, Christ raiseth me,
     And leads me gently by the hand.
My childish love I manifest,
And for His grace alone implore;
Then, if He hide, my love to test,
I only love Him all the more.

My peace, it is to hide my tears,
Nor ever show my bitter pain.
What joy to suffer through the years;
To veil with flowers each galling chain!
To suffer, yet make no complaint,
Since this, my Jesus, pleases Thee!
Could any trial make me faint?
'Tis Thy sweet cross is laid on me.

I long would live an exile here,
If that be Thy dear will for me;
Or soon would flee from exile drear,
If thou shouldst call me unto Thee.
Since Love's divine, celestial breath
Is all I need, my heart to bless,
What matters life, what matters death?
Love is my peace, my happiness!


Novena Day 4:  25th September

As we begin the working week, this poem of Therese (written in Nov 1896) is particularly suitable for us in Kilmacud as we too work to make altar breads.

(selected stanzas)


What from our lot could us entice!
'Tis ours the altar breads to make

For that tremendous sacrifice
Where Christ is offered for our sake.

No queens are reigning anywhere
In joy as great as ours today
Our very work is love and prayer,
And binds our Spouse to us always.

A holy envy fills our hearts
For this fair work of our delight:
For these small snow white hosts, whose arts
Shall hide the Lamb of God from sight.

The priest's high lot is like our own,
In this our daily work for God.
Transformed by Him, we tread alone

The very path that He once trod.

By prayers, by acts of love divine,
His brave apostles we must aid;
With them our grace we must combine,
And fight their battles unafraid.

Our joy, our glory, our delight,
O Jesus! is this work for Thee.
Thy Heaven is these ciboriums bright
Our prayers shall fill with souls for Thee.


Novena Day 5:  26th September

Canticle to the Holy Face
by St Therese (August 1895)

Dear Jesus! 'tis Thy Holy Face
Is here the star that guides my way;
Thy countenance, so full of grace,
Is heaven on earth, for me, to-day.
And love finds holy charms for me
In Thy sweet eyes with tear-drops wet;
Through mine own tears I smile at Thee,
And in Thy griefs my pains forget.
How gladly would I live unknown,
Thus to console Thy aching heart.
Thy veiled beauty, it is shown
To those who live from earth apart.
I long to fly to Thee alone!

Thy Face is now my fatherland,
The radiant sunshine of my days,
My realm of love, my sunlit land,
Where, all life long, I sing Thy praise;
It is the lily of the vale,
Whose mystic perfume, freely given,
Brings comfort, when I faint and fail,
And makes me taste the peace of heaven.
Thy face, in its unearthly grace,
Is like the divinest myrrh to me,
That on my heart I gladly place;
It is my lyre of melody;
My rest my comfort is Thy Face.


My only wealth, Lord! is thy Face;
I ask naught else than this from Thee;
Hid in the secret of that Face,
The more I shall resemble Thee!
Oh, leave on me some impress faint
Of Thy sweet, humble, patient Face,
And soon I shall become a saint,
And draw men to Thy saving grace.
So, in the secret of Thy Face,
Oh! hide me, hide me, Jesus blest!
There let me find its hidden grace,
Its holy fires, and, in heaven's rest,
Its rapturous kiss, in Thy embrace!


Novena Day 6:  27th September

To Saint Joseph
- by St Therese

Joseph, in deep humility
Passeth thy life, so fair, so great;
Jesus and Mary dwell with thee,
Their beauty thou dost contemplate. 
The Son of God an infant lay
Full oft upon thy heart at rest,
With joy submissive to thy sway,
Obedient to thy least behest.

Like thee, in solitude we serve
Jesus and Mary, day by day;
Their joy we seek without reserve,
For this we long, we toil, we pray.
So keenly was Teresa stirred
With trust in thy unfailing power,
She tells us each swift prayer was heard
With answering aid, with soulful dower.

When all of trial passeth o’er,
One sweetest hope shall vision be;

Nigh unto Mary evermore, 
O Father, we shall look on thee!

Thy story then our hearts shall learn,
Too fair for mortal eye to see;

Thy glory then shall we discern,

Anthemned in Heaven eternally.


Novena Day 7:  28th September

by St Therese (extract from a longer poem written Nov 1896)

 Here below, our work of love
Is for the Altar to prepare,
The matter for the Sacrifice
That earth and Heaven together share.

The queens of earth may happy be.
More blissful is thy task and mine;
Our Office is a living prayer
That binds us to our Spouse Divine.

With holy envy we behold
The Work our feeble hands design,
The little Host so small, so white,
So soon to veil the Lamb divine.

 And Lord, Thy love hath chosen us;
O Spouse, O friend, our hosts are we.
Full soon by Thine Almighty power
O may we live transformed in Thee!

O happiness! Our glory here,
To work for Jesus, we implore;

His Heaven is our Ciborium,
Filled with elect for evermore.


Novena Day 8:  29th September

(by St Therese, written on June 28, 1896)

O Jesu! O my Love! Each eve I come to fling
Before Thy sacred Cross sweet flowers of all the year.
By these plucked petals bright, my hands how gladly bring,
I long to dry Thine every tear!

To scatter flowers! that means each sacrifice,
My lightest sighs and pains, my heaviest, saddest hours,
My hopes, my joys, my prayers, I will not count the price.
Behold my flowers!

With deep, untold delight Thy beauty fills my soul.
Would I might light this love in hearts of all who live!
For this, my fairest flowers, all things in my control,
How fondly, gladly I would give!

To scatter flowers! - behold my chosen sword
For saving sinners' souls and filling heaven's bowers.
The victory is mine: yes, I disarm Thee, Lord,
With these my flowers!

The petals in their flight caress Thy Holy Face;
They tell Thee that my heart is Thine, and Thine alone.
Thou knowest what these leaves are saying in my place;
On me Thou smilest from Thy throne.

To scatter flowers! that means, to speak of Thee,
My only pleasure here, where tears fill all the hours;
But soon, with angel hosts, my spirit shall be free,
To scatter flowers!


Novena Day 9:  30th September


The last poem written by St Therese – May 1897
This is a very long poem, we only share a few stanzas here.


Ah! I would I sing, O Mother blest! the reasons why I love thee;
Why e'en to name thy name, with joy, O Mary! fills my heart;
And why the glorious thoughts of thee, in greatness far above me,
Inspire no fear within my soul, so dear and sweet thou art.
Yet, if I were to see thee now, in majesty stupendous,
Surpassing all the crowned saints in highest heaven above,
Scarce could I dream I am thy child, (O truth sublime, tremendous!
For I should think myself to be unworthy of thy love.

The mother, who desires to be her child's best earthly treasure,
Must ever share its grief with it, must understand its pain.
Queen of my heart! how many years, thy sorrows had no measure;
What bitter tears thine eyes have shed, my worth­less heart to gain!
So, musing on thy earthly life, in Scripture's sacred story,
I dare to look upon thy face, and unto thee draw nigh;
For when I see thee suffering, concealed thy marvellous glory
It is not hard, then, to believe thy little child am I.

For truly thou dost love us all as thy Child Jesus loves us;
And for our sake thou didst consent to stay when He had risen.
Since, if we love, then all to give, e'en self, both tries and proves us,
So thou, to prove thy love, didst stay in earth's dark, dreary prison.
Thy love for souls our Saviour knew, that love His heart had sounded;
He left thee to us when He went to God's right hand on high.
Refuge of sinners! on thy prayers how many hopes are grounded!
Christ gave thee to us from His cross; for us He hears thy cry.
Soon I shall hear that harmony, that blissful, won­drous singing;
Soon, soon, to heaven that waits for us, my soul shall swiftly fly.
O Thou who cam'st to smile on me at dawn of life's beginning!
Come once again to smile on me.... Mother! the night is nigh.
I fear no more thy majesty, so far, so far above me,
For, I have suffered sore with thee; now hear my heart's deep cry!
Oh! let me tell thee face to face, dear Virgin! how I love thee;
And say to thee forevermore: thy little child am I.


Feast Day:  1st October

TO LIVE OF LOVE  (extracts)
St Therese: February 25, 1895

To live of love, 'tis by Thy life to live,
O glorious King, my chosen, sole Delight!
Hid in the Host, how often Thou dost give
Thyself to those who seek Thy radiant light.
Then hid shall be my life, unmarked, unknown,
That I may have Thee heart to heart with me;
For loving souls desire to be alone,
With love, and Thee!

To live of love, 'tis not to fix one's tent
On Tabor's height and there with Thee remain.
'Tis to climb Calvary with strength nigh spent,
And count Thy heavy cross our truest gain.
In heaven, my life a life of joy shall be,
The heavy cross shall then be gone for aye.
Here upon earth, in suffering with Thee,
Love! let me stay.

To live of love, 'tis without stint to give,
And never count the cost, nor ask reward;
So, counting not the cost, I long to live
And show my dauntless love for Thee, dear Lord!
O Heart Divine, o'erflowing with tenderness,
How swift I run, who all to Thee has given!
Naught but Thy love I need, my life to bless.
That love is heaven!

To live of love, it is to know no fear;
No memory of past faults can I recall;
No imprint of my sins remaineth here;
The fire of Love divine effaces all.
O sacred flames! O furnace of delight!
I sing my safe sweet happiness to prove.
In these mild fires I dwell by day, by night.
I live of love!

After the reflection for each day continue as follows:

(Mention petitions)

Recite the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be...

Prayer to St. Thérèse

St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face:
teach us to follow your little way
of confidence and trust.

Help us to realise that a Father's love watches over us each day of our lives, in sorrow as in joy, in trials as in peace.

Obtain for us the graces we hope for from God's infinite goodness.

Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, pray for us.

Read our page about St Therese here 

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