Carrying Grocery Bags with St. Thérèse of Lisieux

This year, the Vincent Library will celebrate the four female Doctors of the Church. A book display will be put up before their feast day. A sweet, creative treat and prayer cards will also be available.

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St. Thérèse of Lisieux was born in 1873 to parents Saint Marie-Azélie Guérin and Saint Louis Martin. The youngest of five daughters, St. Thérèse grew up in Northern France. At the age of fifteen, she entered a Carmelite Monastery in Lisieux, France. There she contracted tuberculosis and died at the young age of twenty-four. She was canonized in 1925 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997. Because of her love for flowers, she is often referred to as “The Little Flower.” Her feast day is October 1st. Carlene Demiany, one of our chaplains, reflects on how St. Thérèse helps her accomplish menial tasks:

Carrying Grocery Bags with St. Thérèse of Lisieux

I sit in my parked car with my forehead resting against the steering wheel, not wanting to face the task in front of me. In my trunk are overflowing bags of groceries that need to be carried inside. I hate carrying those bags; I hate how they make my neck tense up; I hate how they always feel heavier than they did when they went inside my trunk.

I lift my head from the steering wheel. My thumb and index finger find the familiar touch of the pendant. I run my fingers gently over the form of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Hers is the pendant I wear around my neck when faced with a task I hate.

I clasp the warm pewter and remember St. Thérèse and her gift to the spiritual life – her “Little Way.” Instead of attempting to be great, famous or known, St. Thérèse constantly humbled herself before God and celebrated her “littleness.” Her little way towards God was performing with love and obedience all her menial tasks. No deed was too small or too tedious to be completed in the eyes of God.

Performing little deeds with love brought St. Thérèse into God’s presence. She sanctified her daily grind by seeing every task as holy, since it brought her towards the Holy One. Her “Little Way” reminds us that the path towards sanctity does not wind around the tasks we hate, but rather, intersects directly with the menial tasks of life. These tasks become holy when we realize they are the path towards God’s presence.

And so, with this in mind, I lean back in my car, pop the trunk, and open the door. As I walk towards the trunk, I pray for the obedience and humility to carry with love each one of these grocery bags.

~Carlene Demiany