St Thérèse of Lisieux is one of the best-loved of all saints. In this reprint of a 1938 text, renowned spiritual writer Vernon Johnson explains how she is also a profound teacher of prayer.
Johnson had no interest in or sympathy for Catholicism as an Anglican clergyman. During a chance visit to the Carmel of Lisieux, however, where St Thérèse had lived and died, he was overwhelmed by her story and witness, and began to consider the Catholic Church more favourably. He eventually became a Catholic, was ordained priest, and was one of the earliest and most eloquent advocates in English of the spirituality of St Thérèse, the “Little Flower”. He wrote several CTS pamphlets on her life & teaching; two of them have been continuously in print for eighty years.
His synthesis of St Thérèse’s spirituality – the “little way” – is of enduring value. He saw beyond the superficial sentimentality of Thérèse’s style to the radical nature of her teaching of spiritual childhood: our need to admit to our heavenly Father, as a child does to its parent, that we need help, and our trust that he will not fail us.