Online Course in Spiritual Theology

OCST14 Saint Thérèse of Lisieux


“The whole world will love me”, Thérèse once said. This course is based on the conviction that Thérèse (1873-1897), the youngest Doctor of the Church, has still much to teach us. As St. John Paul II said: “Thérèse of Lisieux is held up as an eminent model and guide on the path of Christians, as we approach the third millennium”.

Provide an initial knowledge of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, with a special attention given to first-hand contact with her writings; stimulate interest in the students for Thérèse; offer a method for the critical analysis of theological texts, in particular those of Thérèse.

The content of the course will focus on six major themes that permeate Thérèse’s experience and writings: her “Little Way”; the Most Holy Trinity and Thérèse; Jesus as Spouse and Thérèse; the Blessed Virgin Mary and spiritual maternity in Thérèse; fraternal charity in Thérèse; the “Passion” of Thérèse. Various chosen texts of Thérèse will also be read and discussed together.

All the lessons will be held live, on Zoom. In the first hour of our lessons, I will give a lecture for 30 minutes on one of the themes mentioned above; the lecture will be followed by 15 minutes of discussion and dialogue with the students. In the second hour, I will dedicate 15 minutes to the explanation of Thérèse’s writings (Manuscripts A,B,C, Letters, Poems, Plays, Prayers, Last Conversations); for the remaining 30 minutes, we will read together and discuss some selected texts of Thérèse.

Criteria for evaluation
The choice will be given to the students regarding the examination modality: the students may either write an essay (from 4-6 pages in length), or otherwise they may sustain an oral exam (lasting from 10-15 minutes).

Time distribution
The time distribution of studies will be the following: 12 hours of lessons on “Zoom”; about 12 hours of personal reading; about 12 hours for the preparation of the essay or of the oral exam, for a total of about 36 hours of study.

Essential bibliography (articles and other materials will be supplied on the Moodle Platform)

  • Gaucher, G., Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: The Story of a Life, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA 20202.
  • Official Site of the Carmel of Lisieux Archives (translation available in English):
  • O’Mahony, C., St. Thérèse of Lisieux by those who knew her. Testimonies from the Process of Beatification, Veritas Publications 1989.
  • Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, Story of a Soul: Study Edition; Letters of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. General Correspondence, Volume I (1877-1890) and Volume II (1890-1897); The Poetry of St. Thérèse of Lisieux; The Plays of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. “Pious Recreations”; The Prayers of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The Act of Oblation; Her Last Conversations, (M. Foley – J. Clarke et al.), ICS Publications, Washington, D.C. 1977-2014.
  • Sister Geneviève of the Holy Face (Céline Martin), My Sister Saint Thérèse, Tan Books 1997.