Sunday, August 10, 2014

European Adventure 2012: Lisieux Day 1 (Part 1)

The next stop on our trip was a life-long dream come true.  Saint Therese of Lisieux has been one of my favorite Saints since third grade.  Saint Therese was the patron Saint of my elementary school and childhood church.  I spent many years of my life learning about this holy young woman and her spirituality.  I love her simplicity and her heroic love.

When I was in college, visiting convents and discerning God's Will for my life, I prayed many novenas to Saint Therese asking her to pray for God's plan in my life.  I later discovered that my future husband (who also loves Saint Therese) also prayed many novenas during his college years asking Saint Therese to help him find his future wife!  Our heavenly friend did intercede for us, and we were married just a week and a half before her feast day in Saint Theresa's Church in Lincoln, NE. 

My sweet husband made sure that Lisieux, France was on our itinerary!  To visit the home of one of my heroines since childhood was absolutely unforgettable!

Saint Therese was born in 1873 and lived only 24 years, much of which was spent in a cloistered convent in Lisieux, France. Her spirituality is called the Little Way: doing small things with great love.  Her spiritual writings were so profound and applicable for every Christian that they are still very popular today.  She was declared a "Doctor of the Church" by Pope John Paul II in 1997.

The drive to Lisieux was breathtaking: French countryside with rolling green hills.  We found Lisieux to be a small, quiet, ordinary town.  A humble home for a humble Saint.

Our hotel was right across the street from Saint Therese's childhood church, St. Peter's!  Saint Therese went to Mass here with her family every week when she was a little girl. We loved this view from our hotel window!

Les Buissonnets was the childhood home of Saint Therese in Lisieux.  This is the setting of countless stories I've heard and read about little Therese and her family.  To be here was like a dream. 

We entered Saint Therese's childhood home and we were greeted by a sweet French nun who spoke zero English.  She smiled graciously and pushed the "play" button on a recorded audio tour of the home.  Peter snoozed serenely in his stroller as we listened to the tour and walked through her home. 

Saint Therese's entryway and fireplace

Saint Therese became very ill when she was young.  Her miraculous healing was attributed to the intercession of Our Lady.  Therese stayed in this room during her illness.

The Dining Room

One of Saint Therese's Dresses

Saint Therese's First Communion Dress

This picture was taken in the bedroom which Saint Therese spent the majority of her childhood.  It is now filled with many objects from her childhood.

Another picture of her childhood bedroom

This floor was the original floor in their home! 

The backyard gardens

We were the only people (other than two sweet nuns) at Saint Therese's house during the majority of our visit!  It made us feel like we were her special guests. It didn't feel like a tourist stop at all, it felt like a home.  It was incredibly peaceful and absolutely unforgettable.

Praise God for such an incredible gift.

"When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens, I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth."
Saint Therese of Lisieux

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