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Saint Thérèse's Christmas Miracle: The Story of the Defining Moment That Helped Her Become a Saint

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux is a powerhouse saint and beloved Doctor of the Church. Through her writings and holy example, she gifted us with her Little Way to holiness.

What if I told you that her path to sainthood might be more relatable than you think?

On Christmas in 1886, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux was changed forever in a way that may surprise you.

Thérèse Martin was a difficult child. The young future saint was strong-willed and any minor inconvenience or conflict resulted in her crying–a lot.

Her mother, Saint Zelie, wrote of her stubborn and childish nature. Her parents often felt helpless and discouraged. Even Saint Thérèse herself knew it to be true!

In her autobiography, “Story of a Soul,” Thérèse reflects on this period of her life, saying,

“I made myself almost unbearable by being far too sensitive, and nothing that was said to me seemed to help me overcome this tiresome fault.”

She tells of the life-changing event that occurred on Christmas when she was 13 years old.

She later referred to this as her “Christmas Miracle.”

Thérèse and her family had arrived home from Midnight Mass to see their shoes filled with gifts. In years past, Thérèse would be spoiled with her father’s attention. This year was different. Instead, she overheard her father talking of how he hoped Thérèse would soon outgrow this sort of thing.

Thérèse goes on to say that her typical reaction included a lot of tears, but the Lord came to cure her of this childishness. 

She recounts the miracle that followed, saying,

“…I was not the same Thérèse any more; Jesus had changed me completely. I held back my tears, and trying to stop my heart from beating so fast, I ran down into the dining room. I picked up the shoes and unwrapped my presents joyfully, looking all the while as happy as a queen. Father did not look cross anymore now and entered into the fun of it, while Céline thought she must have been dreaming. But this was no dream. Thérèse had gotten back forever the strength of mind she had lost at four and a half.”

Thérèse referred to this change of heart as the beginning of a new period in her life. It completely changed her understanding of what the Lord was calling her to do to follow His will completely.

Therese concludes,

“God had lifted me out of my narrow world in a very short time, and I had taken the first step, but the road ahead was long. However, freed from my scruples and over-sensitiveness, my soul grew…”

Let this be a reminder that there is nothing too big–or too small–for the Lord. Our lives are full of mini miracles!

It’s important to recognize both the ordinary and the extraordinary ways God works in our lives.

This season, I challenge you to look for your own Christmas miracle. Even more, ask for the intercession of dear Saint Thérèse of Lisieux to help soften your heart to His graces.

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