Novena to St Therese 2016
22nd - 30th September
Feast Day: 1 October

This year, in keeping with the Year of Mercy, we are reflecting 
on the theme of mercy in the writings of 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

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


When St Therese was asked by her Prioress Mother Agnes (her sister Pauline) to write the story of her childhood (now known as Manuscript A of "Story of a Soul"), she began in this way, thinking first of God's Mercy:

Springtime story of a little white flower written by herself and dedicated to the Reverend Mother Agnes of Jesus. It is to you, dear Mother, to you who are doubly my Mother, that I come to confide the story of my soul. The day you asked me to do this, it seemed to me it would distract my heart by too much concentration on myself, but since then Jesus has made me feel that in obeying simply, I would be pleasing Him; besides, I’m going to be doing only one thing: I shall begin to sing what I must sing eternally: “The Mercies of the Lord”. (Ps 88:2)


Novena Day 2:  23rd September

Towards the end of St Therese’s life, her sister Pauline (Mother Agnes) recorded in a notebook incidents and things that she said. Here is the entry for July 29, 1897, only two months before Therese’s death:

One of the Sisters thought she was pleasing Therese by bringing her a certain object, but it had just the opposite effect. She showed her displeasure, thinking someone had been deprived of the object in question, but she was sorry immediately and begged pardon with tears in her eyes:

“Oh, I really beg pardon; I’ve acted through selfishness.
Please pray for me!”

A little later:

“Oh, how happy I am to see myself imperfect and to have such need of God’s mercy at the moment of my death!”


Novena Day 3:  24th September

St Therese learned about the corporal works of mercy at a young age from her father, and this inspired her with desires for spiritual works of mercy too. She writes in Story of a Soul:

During the walks I took with Papa, he loved to have me bring alms to the poor we met on the way. On one occasion we met a poor man who was dragging himself along painfully on crutches. I went up to give him a coin. He looked at me with a sad smile and refused my offering since he felt he wasn’t poor enough to accept alms… I wanted to console this man and instead I had given him pain or so I thought… Papa had just bought me a little cake, and I had an intense desire to give it to him, but I didn’t dare. However, I really wanted to give him something he couldn’t refuse, so great was the sympathy I felt toward him… Although I was only six years old at this time, I said: “I’ll pray for this poor man the day of my First Communion.” I kept my promise five years later, and I hope God answered the prayer He inspired me to direct to Him in favour of one of His suffering members.


Novena Day 4:  25th September

The Boundless Love of the Sacred Heart

If the greatest sinner on earth should repent at the moment of death, and draw his last breath in an act of love, neither the many graces he had abused, nor the many sins he had committed would stand in his way. Our Lord would see nothing, count nothing, but the sinner’s last prayer, and without delay he would receive him into the arms of his mercy.

(Extract from “The Little Way of St Therese of Lisieux”, CTS booklet).


Novena Day 5:  26th September


Do not let your weakness make you unhappy.  If we fall, an act of love will set all right, and Jesus smiles. He helps us without seeming to do so; and the tears which sinners cause him to shed are wiped away by our feeble love. Love can do all things. The most impossible tasks seem to it easy and sweet. You know well that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, or even their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them. What, then, have we to fear?

(Extract from “The Little Way of St Therese of Lisieux”, CTS booklet).


Novena Day 6:  27th September

Extract from a letter of St Therese to her spiritual brother, Fr Maurice Belliere, April 1897 (5 months before her death):

Oh Brother! I beg you to believe me. God has not given you as a sister a great soul but a very little and a very imperfect one. Do not think that it is humility that prevents me from acknowledging the gifts of God. I know He has done great things in me, and I sing of this each day with joy. I remember that the one must love more who has been forgiven more, so I take care to make my life an act of love, and I am no longer disturbed at being a little soul; on the contrary, I take delight in this. That is why I dare to hope “my exile will be short”, but it is not because I am prepared. I feel that I shall never be prepared if the Lord does not see fit to transform me Himself. He can do so in one instant; after all the graces He has granted me, I still await this one from His infinite mercy.


Novena Day 7:  28th September

Extract from “Story of a Soul”, Autobiography of St Therese:

I heard of a great criminal just condemned to death for some horrible crimes; everything pointed to the fact that he would die impenitent…. I offered to God all the infinite merits of Our Lord, the treasures of the Church… I told God I was sure He would pardon the poor, unfortunate Pranzini. I was absolutely confident in the mercy of Jesus…
The day after the execution I found the newspaper… He had mounted the scaffold… when suddenly, seized by an inspiration, he turned, took hold of the crucifix the priest was holding out to him and kissed the sacred wounds three times! Then his soul went to receive the merciful sentence of Him who declares that in heaven there will be more joy over one sinner who does penance than over ninety-nine just who have no need of repentance.


Novena Day 8:  29th September

Extract from a letter of St Therese to her spiritual brother, Fr Maurice Belliere, June 1897 (3 months before her death):

Do not think you frighten me by speaking “about your beautiful wasted years”. Ah! Brother, like me you can sing the mercies of the Lord, they sparkle in you in all their splendour… You love St Augustine, Saint Magdalene, these souls to whom “many sins were forgiven because they loved much”. I love them too, I love their repentance, and especially… their loving audacity!

Ah! Dear little Brother, ever since I have been given the grace to understand also the love of the Heart of Jesus, I admit that it has expelled all fear from my heart. The remembrance of my faults humbles me, draws me never to depend on my strength which is only weakness, but this remembrance speaks to me of mercy and love even more.


Novena Day 9:  30th September

Towards the end of St Therese’s life, her sister Pauline (Mother Agnes) recorded in a notebook incidents and things that she said. Here is the entry for August 12, 1897, just six weeks before Therese died:

How great the grace is that I received this morning when the priest began the Confiteor before giving me Communion… “I confess to Almighty God, to Blessed Virgin Mary, to all the saints, that I have sinned exceedingly…” Oh yes, I said to myself, they do well to beg pardon from God and all the saints for me at this moment… Like the publican, I felt I was a great sinner. I found God to be so merciful! I found it so touching to address oneself to the whole heavenly court to obtain God’s pardon through its intercession. Ah! I could hardly keep from crying, and when the Sacred Host touched my lips, I was really moved.


Feast Day:  1st October

On 9th June 1895, St. Therese composed a prayer offering herself to God as a sacrifice to allow His Merciful love to flow out on the whole world… On this, her feast day, it is fitting to conclude our novena with an extract from this prayer:

In the evening of this life, I shall appear before You with empty hands, for I do not ask You, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is stained in Your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own Justice and to receive from Your Love the eternal possession of Yourself. I want no other Throne, no other Crown but You, my Beloved!

Time is nothing in Your eyes, and a single day is like a thousand years. You can, then, in one instant prepare me to appear before You.

In order to live in one single act of perfect Love, I offer myself as a victim of holocaust to your merciful Love, asking you to consume me incessantly, allowing the waves of infinite tenderness shut up within you to overflow into my soul, and that thus I may become a martyr of our Love, O my God!

May this martyrdom, after having prepared me to appear before You, finally cause me to die and may my soul take its flight without delay into the eternal embrace of Your merciful 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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