Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How St. Therese Helped Me Through My 20s

I'm in full St. Therese fangirl mode today. I bought the prettiest roses I could find (which you're currently seeing; the dark pink color symbolizes gratitude and appreciation) and I am watching the Therese movie via Amazon since it's free to watch with a Prime membership. The reason why today is so important to me is because St. Therese has been one of my best heavenly friends, especially in my 20s. This is the last St. Therese feast day in which I will be in my 20s (I'll be 30 in May) so I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on how she's helped me through this decade.

As most of you know, I reverted to the Faith shortly after I turned 21. The seeds of my reversion were planted at age 19 (a month before I turned 20; during the election of Pope Benedict XVI, actually) but I didn't fully return until 21. I was actually quite reluctant to ask St. Therese for her intercession when I had been a fresh reverted because she's so popular. I thought to myself "maybe I should find saints who are less well-known". However, St. Therese kept coming up and I eventually gave in and learned more about her.

St. Therese and I became good friends by the time I was 23. Her story inspired me (especially since I discerned the religious life between the ages of 22 and 23) and I began to learn how to let go of my immature habits through her story. Sadly, it is not my vocation to be a religious sister but a great love for nuns was established during this time and I still fangirl whenever I see them. Seriously, just look at my face when there are nuns within view. lol.

She and Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati became my best heavenly friends when I started classes at my CINO college alma mater. As many of you know, that was a nightmare because of the Church, Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, and priest bashing. I would sit through lectures, often unable to speak up (they knew my "trad" leanings, especially after I wore a veil to the Red Mass on campus), and occasionally cry whenever I heard them drag the Church through the mud.

During my first year there, I received a strand of sacrifice beads which I used whenever they spoke horrible (sometimes downright and openly heretical) things in lectures. In between classes, I would go to the chapel and pray or I would spend some time at the St. Therese alcove near the chapel. Most of my loveliest memories of my time at that prison involve time spent in front of the statue of St. Therese. There were a lot of tears, a lot of prayers, and a lot of moments in which I felt inner peace and they all involved St. Therese during my academic career. (side note: during the first Lent at the CINO college, I began the (now) annual tradition of using this St. Therese book during Lent.)

In my final year (I was there for only two years since I'd transferred from a community college), I made a shirt (which I think I have a picture of somewhere on this blog... please don't make me look for the link, lol) with a picture of St. Therese and the quote "For one pain endured with joy, we shall love the good God more forever." Yes, I deliberately chose that quote because it was my way of peacefully protesting what was being "taught" at that school. Whenever the Sisters who taught my courses made me cry (and I was openly attacked by at least one of them during lectures) I would remember to offer it up and would try to imagine what St. Therese would've done if she were in my shoes.

After graduation, I did freelance writing but I knew I couldn't continue because of how financially unstable it was. I was unsure if I should have gone for the Theology M.A. or if I had been right in choosing to switch career paths to SLP. I had submitted my application to USU shortly before her feast day last year and on her feast day I received a pink rose as a sign that I had chosen the right path. I was accepted on St. Teresa of Avila's feast day (two Teresas!) and have been on this path since.

During this past year, there have been many times that I have turned to St. Therese (she's become my vocation patroness) and she's showered me with roses. One of my favorite stories (which only a handful of friends knew until now) is from this past summer. I was driving past a house that I had (and have since) passed several times when I noticed they had beautiful pink roses in bloom. I even pointed it out to the passenger in the car, and said, in passing that I wondered if it was St. Therese's sign for me since I had been doing a novena to her at the time. Here's the kicker: that was the ONLY time those roses were pink. We passed by that house 2-3 days later and the roses were red. We've passed by that house for weeks afterward and they've stayed red. Unless there are some roses that start pink (and not dark pink) and end up bright red in the span of 2 days, we have no explanation other than they were a sign from St. Therese that things would work out (and they did). I know I didn't imagine the color because it was confirmed by the person who was with me.

As those of you who have been reading the blog lately know, I've been unsure about continuing SLP (into the Master's program) for a number of reasons. Today, on St. Therese's feast day, I received an email telling me that ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) had paired me with an established SLP to mentor me through graduation next year. I have yet to receive a rose (I asked for specific colors for SLP and for Theology) but St. Therese has helped me through so much, I know she'll send me one when the time is right.

There are a number of other stories (some way too personal to share) that involve St. Therese but let's just say that she's helped me through many of my hardest moments since my reversion. I know St. Therese won't discontinue to be there for me as soon as I turn 30, but I am grateful to have had her by my side through most of my 20s.

I hope all of you who did the novena to St. Therese receive a rose from her in the near future (if you already haven't). Never be afraid to ask her for her intercession, especially regarding vocations. It's been through her intercession that I've realized my career path and it's her intercession that I ask for when I pray for my friends who are discerning their vocations (especially my seminarian friends, Andrew and Thomas).

Anyway, that's my story. I tried to keep it as "in a nutshell" as possible or else this blog entry would've been at least twice as long. lol.

I hope y'all are enjoying her feast day and I'll leave y'all with my favorite quote by St. Therese...

"Jesus deigned to teach me this mystery. He set before me the book of nature; I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away from the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wildflowers. And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to lilies and roses but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God's glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists of doing His will in being what He wills us to be."

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

1 comment:

Jenny said...

I have a small story to share- once while praying (I was feeling a bit of dark night of the soul) I saw a nun walking towards me, handing me a flower. In this instant I felt both surprised and very much cared for! How blessed are we to have Saints that are interceding for our holiness! Thank you for your posts, Emmy. I've been reading your blog for about a year now and am so grateful for them. Please pray for me--I'm a college student a bit unsure of my major/career path. Thank you again for this post!