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The Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul

by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,268245,481 (4.29)21
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."… (more)
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» See also 21 mentions

English (20)  Catalan (2)  French (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
It was a much shorter story then I was hoping for but it was a very good summary of St. Therese life. If you want a brief summary I would recommend this book. If you want a more detailed story of her life then you should probably look elsewhere. ( )
  gsteinbacher | Dec 30, 2021 |
St. Thérèse of Lisieux in her autobiography Story of a Soul taught believers “the little way” of trust and absolute surrender to God. The first 15 years St. Thérèse was spent as a devout Catholic, and for nine years she lived a cloistered life as a Carmelite nun. She wrote the story of her brief life in ink with no thought that it would ever be published. On Good Friday, April 13, 1896 she suffered her first hemoptysis (coughing up blood due to a lung hemorrhage).

The facsimile edition of her manuscript was difficult to read because of capitalizations, underlined words, size, position of slant letters, with occasional corrections. Students of hers were still able to read texts in the original manuscript. The translated version however offered clear themes of love, abandonment to God’s mercy, and mission in the church. St. Thérèse saw the way of spiritual childhood as the path which led to eternal life.

Manuscript & Readers

In fits and starts during her spare time St. Thérèse wrote while she was ill. The manuscript in a highly edited form was first published in 1898 and praised by readers. It became a spiritual classic, read by millions, and was translated from French into other languages. For over 20 years, St. Thérèse’s book was a best seller. This story was originally the collection of three separate manuscripts addressed to different persons in 1895, 1896, and 1897.

St. Thérèse’s legacy to the world was her personal message about being like “little ones.” Her teachings came out of human experiences. To accomplish these tasks she ascended to the summit of heroic virtue that she described as “my vocation is love.” She believed we must be like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and viewed God as the keeper of “little ones.”

Beatification & Canonization

During the process of beatification and canonization Pope Benedict XV, and Pius XⅠ endorsed her beliefs. They hoped her teachings would be brought to the attention of the world. St. Thérèse, who was considered the greatest saint of modern times frequently meditated on the Gospels and the Old Testament. Her work has remained a source of deep religious inspiration, and believers think it came about through Divine Providence. The centennial celebration of her death was in 1996 - 1997. Story of a Soul’s translator John Clarke was a devotee to this “little flower.” ( )
  erwinkennythomas | Oct 27, 2019 |
MMD Reading Challenge 2017- For Fun
Category: Book You've Already Read Before

Back to the Classics Reading Challenge 2017
Category: Classic by a Woman Author

This book is one of my favorites. I have read it 5 or 6 times already, and I always get something new out of it. Her spirituality is accessible to everyone, and that is what I love about it. This is by far the best translation in my opinion. The language, while still flowery, is not saccharine sweet, which I have found to be the case in some other translations. Also, the earlier translations, were heavily edited by her sisters. Don't hesitate to read this book because it was written by a young nun during the 1800s. There is really something for everyone contained in her writings, and it's definitely worth re-reading. ( )
  DominiqueMarie | Sep 22, 2019 |
The lovely story of the short life of a Carmelite nun, as told in her own words. Young Therese was blessed with an loving and religious family. From an extremely young age, she decided that her future was to devote herself entirely to loving and serving Jesus. Her two older sisters became nuns, and Therese decided that she would as well.

She faced many sorrows in her short life, and many setbacks. She wished to enter the convent at age fifteen but several relations and clergy opposed this idea. However, supported by her adoring father, she appealed to the pope in Rome and eventually all hesitation among her guardians faded away to nothing. She entered, and found total satisfaction within the confines of the order until her death in her early twenties. Although her life was brief, her love and pursuit of Christ inspired many around her, and the short sketches of her experience was widely circulated. Eventually she was sainted and made a doctor of the church.

Reading the words of such a young and righteous woman was inspiring, convicting, and moving. ( )
  Juva | Mar 7, 2019 |
in storage
  WandsworthFriends | May 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Saint Thérèse of LisieuxAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beevers, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clarke, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edmonson, Robert J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Francois de Sainte-MariePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hendrik van 't H. HuisgezinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, VernonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knox, Ronald ArbuthnottTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, Thomas NimmoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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