Saint Therese of Lisieux (1873–1897), known as the “Little Flower,” has long been associated in the minds of many with a childlike simplicity. Jean Guitton, a member of the Academie Francaise who was the only lay member of Vatican II, portrays Therese as a spiritual giant who ranks with Augustine, Joan of Arc and Teresa of Avila. This book, originally published in French in a shorter version in 1954, presumes a basic familiarity with Therese and her writings and spirituality. Guitton identifies seven themes in Therese’s character as especially important: love of the world as it is, to truth and authenticity, to the vision of eternity in the present moment. He also speaks admiringly of her unusually authentic use of language: “”Therese gives new value to the coinage of words. What she says is what she does.”” He compares her to two other Carmelite nuns roughly contemporary with her: Edith Stein, a convert from Judaism, and Elizabeth of the Trinity, also from France. With lucid insight and deep research, Guitton examines an underappreciated spiritual voice of the late 19th century.
Burns & Oates, 2001. Softcover, 176 pp.