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The Last Years of Saint Therese

Thomas R. Nevin

Published in print July 2013 | ISBN: 9780199987665
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199346264 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199987665.001.0001
The Last Years of Saint Therese

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For over a century, the Carmelite Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (1873–1897) has been revered as Catholicism's foremost folk saint of modern times. Universally known as “the Little Flower,” she has been a source of consolation and uplift, an example of everyday sainthood by “the Little Way.” This book puts aside that piety. Drawing upon the Carmel archives at Lisieux, now online, it looks to a neglected, all-but-hidden source for inspiration and community. Beginning with the Reformed Carmel founded by Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, Nevin examines the dynamics of Christian doubt, and argues that it is integral to the journey toward selfless love that Thérèse was compelled to take. He examines her reading and interpretations of the Old and New Testaments as pathways through her inner wilderness. Her Carmel of spiritual sisters becomes a vivid setting for this drama, as other women challenged Thérèse by their own trials of faith. Of finally greater significance, two men appear who stand outside and opposed to the Church. They introduce Thérèse to a vast congregation of non-believers, the loneliest crowd. In its midst, she discovers her mission of solidarity, as she identifies herself with the sceptical and the atheistic, even as she remains Christian and not of them. Bringing a new direction to the study of Thérèse, and of the problematics of sainthood itself, Nevin's book reveals how her response to divine abandonment is a unique and painfully won imitation of Christ.

Keywords: Community; Imperfection; love; struggle; mission

Book.  336 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Christianity

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Table of Contents

Her Spanish Masters in Darkness: Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross in The Last Years of Saint Therese

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Seeking Light in the Bible in The Last Years of Saint Therese

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Bearing the Cross of Community<sup>1</sup> in The Last Years of Saint Therese

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<i>Final Charity</i>: <i>The Last Autobiography</i> in The Last Years of Saint Therese

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