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Thérèse of Lisieux : God's gentle warrior…
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Thérèse of Lisieux : God's gentle warrior

by Thomas R. Nevin

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I can certainly say that I've never met the subject, but I found the biographer from my own--albeit heathen--point of view, to be something of a mediocrity. In fact, the kindest thing that I can think of to say about him is that he is a long-winded mediocrity. But I must allow myself to indulge in a little controlled viciousness, or restrained savagery...despite my fears of sounding like some class of Protestant as far as Catholicism is concerned. For I must elaborate by saying that I find him to be pompous, snobbish, bogus, and fake, despite all his protestations to the contrary. I must notice that it seems to be some sort of trend or fashion among Catholic scholars who choose to be vitriolic little pricks as well, to crucify long-dead Renan, while embalming and embodying, in their own particular, Popish way, all that is most corrupt and dead, (dead bones wrapped in robes of pedantry), in such disenchanted scholars of the crypt, and scribes of the tomb. I accuse this false biographer of bringing no-one to life, and by stifling life with smothering blankets of non-sense, of irrelevancies which kill the truth as swiftly as any set of lies ever could. I accuse him of abandoning his subject, neglecting the life he was to tend to, while floating away in a hot-air balloon of reveries about Classical clouds, Ancient this, and 19th-century that...a sort of mal-practice.

I think that the only thing that I learned from this book was that I learned nothing from it...and, of course, that I am glad that I do not live in the 19th century--but I suppose even I knew that.

But perhaps I should specify that, when I say that he tells me nothing about her, I mean, more specifically, that he speaks FAR TOO MUCH without saying *anything*. Although it is true that he has a morbid fascination with the illnesses that killed her, but maybe he'd have rather just written a biography of some cancer cells...but perhaps that's revealing too much daylight to the inside of the vampire's cave, where dwell those with *such brittle nerves*.

Comme des enfants.

(5/10) ( )
  Tullius22 | Feb 14, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0195307216, Hardcover)

Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897), also known as St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, is popularly named the Little Flower. A Carmelite nun, doctor of the church, and patron of a score of causes, she was famously acclaimed by Pope Pius X as the greatest saint of modern times. Thérèse is not only one of the most beloved saints of the Catholic Church but perhaps the most revered woman of the modern age. Pope John Paul II described her as a living icon of God. Her autobiography Story of a Soul has been translated into sixty languages. Having long transcended national and linguistic boundaries, she has crossed even religious ones. As daughter of Allah, she is venerated widely in Islamic cultures. Therese has been the subject of innumerable biographies and treatises, ranging from hagiographies to attacks on her intelligence and mental health. Thomas R. Nevin has gained access to many untapped archival materials and previously unpublished photographs. As a consequence he is able to offer a much fuller and more accurate portrait of the saints life and thought than his predecessors. He explores the dynamics of her family life and the early development of her spirituality. He draws extensively on the correspondence of her mother and documents her influence on Thérèses autobiography and spirituality. He charts the development of Therese's career as a writer. He gives close attention to her poetry and plays usually dismissed as undistinguished and argues that they have great value as texts by which she addressed and informed her Carmelite community. He delves into the French medical literature of the time, in an effort to understand how the tuberculosis of which she died at the age of 24 was treated and lamentably mistreated. Finally, he offers a new understanding of Thérèse as a theologian for whom love, rather than doctrines and creeds, was the paramount value. Adding substantially to our knowledge and appreciation of this immensely popular and attractive figure, this book should appeal to many general readers as well as to scholars and students of modern Catholic history.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:47 -0400)

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