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The Autobiography of Saint Therese: The Story of a Soul [Paperback]

John Beevers
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 17 1987 Image Classics

Few spiritual figures have touched as many readers in the past century as Saint Therese of Lisieux, the saint popularly known as the Little Flower. Though she was only twenty-four years old when she died, her writings have had tremendous impact, making her one of the most popular spiritual writers in the twentieth century. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, has been a source of priceless inspiration ever since it was written, and has become the great spiritual bestseller of our time. A hundred years after her death in 1897, millions of copies have spread throughout the world and it has been translated into more than fifty languages.

The reason for the continued success of her autobiography is, quite simply, that it is unlike any work of devotion and spiritual insight ever written. Once it is read, it cannot be forgotten. Its appeal across cultures and generations has been extensive, moving both peasants and popes, men and women, young and old -- people of every kind of intelligence and education succumb to its spell. Yet is not a conventional work of religious devotion; instead, it is in many ways a supernatural book. In the words of Pope Pius XI, Saint Therese "attained the knowledge of supernatural things in such abundant measure that she was able to point out the sure way of salvation to others," and it is especially in The Story of a Soul that she has pointed out this sure way to the generations that have followed her. As Therese herself said of this book just prior to her death, "What I have written will do a lot of good. It will make the kindness of God better known."

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Product Description


"A wonderful story of love, told with such authenticity, simplicity and freshness that the reader will be nothing but captivated ... I would like to invite all of you to rediscover this great little treasure, this glowing commentary on the Gospel fully lived." –His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

From the Publisher

A spiritual guide for millions the world over, this is the autobiography of a holy woman who "attained to the knowledge of supernatural things in such abundant measure that she was able to point out the sure way of salvation to others." --Pope Pius XI

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I am going to entrust the story of my soul to you, my darling Mother, to you who are doubly my mother. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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5.0 out of 5 stars something to change your life April 24 2002
This book... well, read it and it really will change your life. This little saint, who lived a remarkable little life, has left those struggling on earth with their daily lives and routines, her little way of getting "UNDER" them. St. Therese shows us the value of living a simple, childlike life. She compares herself to "being a ball in the hands of the infant Jesus" or being a "little flower" (hence her nickname). This little book shows the value and importance of living a good and holy family life as well. St. Therese was one of nine children (three having proceeded her in death), she and her five remaining sisters, who helped in bringing her up after her mother's death from breast cancer, all had vocations to the religious life. She wrote her memoirs on her death bed before dying from tuberculosos at the age of twenty-five. When you read about the saint's death, her interior and physical trials, you go way realizing that there are so many worse things than suffering. . The Story Of A Soul leaves one with the realization that the quickest way to heaven is the smallest way. "Perfection consists in doing his will, in being what He wills us to be." I have read this book about five times and every time I read it, I learn something new. If you never read another spiritual book, at least say that you have read this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Delightful March 18 2002
I first heard about St. Therese when reading Merton's Seven Storey Mountain. It seems Merton was simply overjoyed at discovering this saint, this little flower of God's love.
Two years later, I've finally managed to investigate what Merton thought so important. Having read this autobiography, I can say that Merton was no dummy. Have you ever read a story and just walked away from it happy and not knowing what about it made you so happy? That is the feeling I got when I read this the "Little Flower's" account of her own life.
In short, words cannot accurately reflect how I feel about this book. This girl, this saint of the Church, was just so loving, so joyful in being alive, so happy to be in love with God, that she will rub off on every person who reads this book.
This is the first book in a long time that, as soon as I finished reading it, I wanted to read it again. I hope it does the same for you. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be even better the second time around.
And so, I take great joy in recommending this book. I can only hope that it impacts you as much as it did me.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The essence is intensely powerful Aug. 16 2001
Initially, in fact for many years, I found Thérèse's sweet, rather childish means of expression to be so trying that I failed to see the stark realism and love in her work. Though I still do not favour her literary style or means of expression, this book contains both a solid approach to spirituality and the picture of one who, contrary to first impressions, was actually a complex and fascinating personality.
One underlying truth is both that God works with whatever "material" our personalities and circumstances present, and that the influence of others in our lives is equally important. Thérèse is an intriguing study in contrasts: so timid that attending school was too much for her, yet so determined and willful that she would approach Pope Leo himself (against all instruction!) to petition him to allow her to enter the Carmel at 15.
Thérèse's writing of herself is completely without affectation or reserve. One delicious example, quite humorous yet giving the reader the picture of an intense and somewhat melancholy interior struggle, is that of her heroically remaining cheerful when she overhears her father expressing annoyance that, as a teenager, Thérèse still expects her shoes to be filled by Pere Noel. This story naturally has its hilarious side. Not only was Thérèse far past the age when Father Christmas might be expected to visit, but she was convinced of and actively pursuing a vocation to the austerity of Carmelite life. It is more humorous yet that, as an adult nun, she would include this as an example of the practise of virtue.
Yet, for all that the incident makes one smile, it does capture a very important truth, key in Thérèse's spirituality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best selling book of the twentieth century Jan. 8 1999
St, Therese of Lisieux, "The Little Flower", was recently declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II, the third woman to receive this honor in 2,00 years. She thus ranks with such intellectual and theological giants as St. Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. This elevation is all the more astonishing when we consider her background; born to a bourgeios family in provincal 19th century France, she entered a cloistered convent at the age of 15, and died in obscurity at age 24. The posthumous publication of her spiritual journals created a sensation in the Catholic world comparable to that produced in the postwar world by THE DIARY OF ANN FRANK. Adopted as a universal "little sister" by the French soldiers of World War I, St. Therese's naive, charming, but profound words were carried next to many an infantryman's heart. Therese's story and the effect of her powerful personality and passionate devotion have lost none of their force. "At last I have found my calling," she declared. "My calling is love." The core of her spiritual message, the "little way" is the recognition that any act, no matter how trivial, is infinitely valuable if done out of love. Her influence on other great 20th century figures such as Theresa of Calcutta and Edith Stein is obvious. This is a unique book, to be read with pleasure, with joy, and with the assurance of great spiritual benefit. The homely and human details of Therese's short life lead to the path of enlightenment.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Down to Earth
I really liked this "story of a soul" because it was down-to-earth, and allowed me to relate to St. Therese as a real person. Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2003 by C. Mann
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!!
I can't say enough good things about this book. I could read it again and again. Some criticize her style and her writing abilities; however, considering her small amount of... Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
St Therese was obviously not an accomplished writer and her prose become quite wearisome. She litters her writing with a combination saccharine-sweet sentiments and Victorian... Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2002 by T P Jarvis
5.0 out of 5 stars The Little Flower is a great Doctor of the Church
The insights of this cloistered Carmelite nun have profound impact over one hundred years after she put them to paper. Read more
Published on July 3 2002 by J.D.
5.0 out of 5 stars A spiritually illuminatig confession of unbridled devotion.
To have a veritably sacred and loving bond with God is a wonderful and unexplainable sensation, an ecstasy that no degree of hyperbole can befittingly describe, for, it is an... Read more
Published on May 30 2002 by Christian Engler
5.0 out of 5 stars A very beautifully written book.
This auto- biography on Saint Therese I very highly recommend. It is a must read for all Christians. her relationship with Christ is truly beautiful. Read more
Published on March 13 2002 by Rosella Ann Myles
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey for us all
For those of a Christian spirituality, the life of Thérèse is an inspiration of what can happen when we truly give our lives totally over to God. Read more
Published on June 1 2001 by RJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Triumph Through Daily Crosses
St. Theresa of Lisieux wanted all her life to be a saint. So earnest was she to enter the Carmelite Convent that she appealed to the Pope for special permission. Read more
Published on March 3 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest books
This is the kind of book that is "formative." After reading it, one is changed forever. Therese Martin's autobiography models for all of us a way of sanctity that is... Read more
Published on Sept. 12 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, joyful and inspiring
I found the autobiography of St. Theresa so easy to read. It was simple and yet very inspiring. Her passionate love of Our Lord shines through in every chapter from her early... Read more
Published on Sept. 9 2000 by Mildred K. Ducker
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