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
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
Day 1: 22nd September
|THE MERCIES OF THE LORD - by St Therese
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)
Day 2: 23rd September
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:
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!”
“Oh, how happy I am to see myself
imperfect and to have such need of God’s mercy at the moment of my death!”
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
Day 4: 25th September
Boundless Love of the Sacred Heart
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).
Day 5: 26th September
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).
Day 6: 27th September
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.
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
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.
Day 8: 29th September
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.
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
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.
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:
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be...
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.
St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, pray for us.