The exhibition on the life and inner flame of St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Sep 30, 2012 |

The exhibition on the life and inner flame of St. Thérèse of Lisieux


« Thérèse de Lisieux ou la brûlure d’amour »

« Thérèse of Lisieux or Burning with Love »

About 7 million people who have visited the Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, these past months have enjoyed this exhibition on St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the French saint who is also the youngest Doctor of the Catholic Church.

It wasn’t easy to plan the exhibit. St. Thérèse, also known as “The Little Flower,” died at the age of 24, but she managed to leave quite a mark. To chart her life, organizers focused on her message, including her illnesses and suffering.

Commissioner, Thérèse of Lisieux: ‘The Burn of Love’

“The exhibition has a message, which is one of joy. Thérèse was a very joyful woman. It carries a message of serenity and confidence in God. This is reflected in the images. A quiet and joyful surrender in Jesus.”

Vice President, Friends of Thérèse and of the Carmel of Lisieux

“She brings consolation to people. She brings graces, she brings conversions, she brings healing. And she brings healing to the people that suffer like she suffered. But she brings something else, which is stronger, which is what we are trying to bring. She is a message not only of hope but of courage”.

Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris)

“We’ve been very surprised by the public reaction. We knew she had global impact, but we didn’t know or even imagine that visitors from all over had heard of her.”

What is ironic to many is that the short life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux wasn’t that extraordinary. She didn’t found an Order, she didn’t preach to thousands of people, nor was she understood by those around her.

She did however create the so called “little way,” which was a type of spiritual journey based on her trust and love for God.

The exhibit includes 36 panels that represent the different types of ‘love’ Thérèse experienced.

For example the love within her family. She was one of four sisters and was close to her father. Her mother died when he was still a child.

Then, the love she felt for the Virgin Mary, which also marked her life and her experiences.
Then there’s also the Saints who inspired her the most like St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila), St. Mary Magdalene, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Cecilia and St. Joan of Arc, patron saint of France.

Commissioner, “Thérèse of Lisieux: ‘The Burn of Love’

“Thérèse had an inner fire. She loves everything. She wants everything. Inside the Church she wanted to be love. And this strong inner passion is what we used to title the exhibit: “The Burn of Love.”

Vice President, Friends of Thérèse and of the Carmel of Lisieux

“The aim of this exhibition is really to go to places where Thérèse hasn’t gone: to prisons, to hospitals, to places where people suffer.”

The idea to have this exhibit came from the ‘Association of Friends of Thérèse and Carmel of Lisieux.’ It will eventually be taken to hospitals and even prisons, and perhaps next year it will also make its way to Rio for the forthcoming World Youth Day.

October 1st is the feast day of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Virgin and Doctor of the Church. During the general audience on April 6th 2011, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI explained what “The Little Flower” can teach Christians about spirituality.


“Theresa received permission to enter the Carmel of Lisieux at the tender age of fifteen. Her name in religion – Sister Theresa of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face – expresses the heart of her spirituality, centred on the contemplation of God’s love revealed in the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption.

 In imitation of Christ, Theresa sought to be little in all things and to seek the salvation of the world. Taken ill in her twenty-third year, she endured great physical suffering in union with the crucified Lord; she also experienced a painful testing of faith which she offered for the salvation of those who deny God.

By striving to embody God’s love in the smallest things of life, Theresa found her vocation to be “love in the heart of the Church”. May her example and prayers help us to follow “the little way of trust and love” in spiritual childhood, abandoning ourselves completely to the love of God and the good of souls.”


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