St. Thérèse and the Priesthood


On the eve of her Profession, Thérèse solemnly declared "I came (to the Carmel) to save souls and most of all, to pray for priests".

I will help priests, missionaries, the whole Church (July 13, 1897) ". This is why, in the wake of the two "spiritual brothers" entrusted to her care in 1895 and 1896, many priests have sought her protection and tried to follow in her path.

The first "spiritual brother", Father Maurice Belliére, a 21-year old seminarist, asked her to pray for his vocation. He became a "White Father" and went to Nyasaland (now Malawi), before returning to France, where he died, at the age of 33, in the Bon Sauveur hospital at Caen in 1907. Thérèse's correspondence helped him greatly. She wrote him eleven important letters.

The second, Father Adolphe Roulland, of the Paris Foreign Missions, went to Sutchuen in China and began corresponding with Thérèse, having celebrated his first Mass in the Lisieux Carmel and talked to her sister. She wrote him six letters. He died in France in 1934.

Her contacts with these two young priests broadened Thérèse's horizons to take in the whole world. Even when she was seriously ill she remained deeply conscious of her own missionary role.

After her death, many priests and nuns found their vocations when they encountered Thérèse. She kept her promise. A host of priests and missionaries placed their ministry under her protection. Founded in 1929, the Sacerdotal Union of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux brings together priests from all over the world who follow her path, entrusting themselves and their ministry to her.

PRAYER FOR FATHER BELLIÉRE

O my Jesus! I thank You for fulfilling one of my dearest wishes, that of having a brother, priest, and apostle. I feel very unworthy of this favor, but as You deign to give Your poor little spouse the grace to work specially for the sanctification of a soul destined for the priesthood, I gladly offer You, for that soul, all the prayers and sacrifices of which I am capable; I ask You, O my God, to look not at what I am, but what I should and want to be, a nun wholly consumed by the fire of Your love.

You know, Lord, that my sole ambition is to make You known and loved; and now my wish will be fulfilled. I can only pray and suffer, but the soul with which You deign to unite me through the sweet bonds of charity will go down onto the plain as a warrior to win hearts for You, and I, on the Mount of Carmel, will implore You to give him victory.

Divine Jesus, hear my prayer for the one who wishes to become Your missionary, keep him safe amidst the dangers of the world, make him feel increasingly the emptiness and vanity of passing things and the happiness of disdaining them for love of You. Let his sublime apostolate already work on those around him, let him be an apostle worthy of Your Sacred Heart. O Mary! Sweet Queen of Carmel, to your care I entrust the soul of this future priest, whose unworthy little sister I am. Deign to show him the love with which you touched the Holy Infant Jesus and dressed Him in swaddling clothes, so that He may one day ascend to the Sacred Altar and bear the King of Heaven in his hands.

I also beseech you to keep him always within the shadow of your virgin's cloak, until the happy day when, leaving this vale of tears behind, he beholds your splendor and enjoys, for all eternity, the fruits of his glorious apostolate.

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