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Apostolic Exhortation entitled “C’est la Confiance”

The new Apostolic Exhortation entitled “It is the Confidence”, dedicated to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face in Alençon (2 January 1873) and the centenary of her béatification (29 April 1923), Pope Francis published, on 15th October 2023, a new Apostolic Exhortation “C’est la Confiance”.  The title is inspired by the words Saint Therese wrote in a letter (September 1896): “C’est la confiance et rien que la confiance qui doit nous conduire à l’Amour”. It is confidence and nothing but confidence that must lead us to Love”.

In 2023 Pope Francis also devoted his weekly General Audience talks on Wednesday, 7 June  to Saint Therese, as part of a cycle of catecheses on apostolic zeal.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, known as “The Little Flower,” was born as Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin on January 2, 1873, in Alençon, France. Her deep love for God was nurtured by her mother, who passed away when Thérèse was young, and her father, who she adored. Thérèse entered the Carmelite convent at the age of fifteen and embraced religious life wholeheartedly. She wrote her autobiography, “The Story of a Soul” which provided insights into her family life and devotion to God. Thérèse died at the age of 24, leaving a legacy of love and faith.

Saint Therese is one of the best known and most beloved saints in our world. Like Saint Francis of Assisi, she is loved by non-Christians and nonbelievers as well. She is also known throughout the world, with many titles: Universal atron of Missions, together with san Francesco Saverio (proclaimed by Pope Pius XI on 1927), Secondary Patron of France (proclaimed by Pope Pius XI on 1944, on a par with Joan of Arc), Doctor of the Church (proclaimed by Pope John Paul II on 1997).

In this Exhortation Pope Francis recalls several times her spiritual pathway “Little Way” as a simple approach to the spiritual life that seeks to do ordinary things with extraordinary love: “I can, then, in spite of my littleness, aspire to holiness. It is impossible for me to grow up, and so I must bear with myself such as I am, with all my imperfections. But I want to seek out a means of going to heaven by a little way, a way that is very straight, very short, and totally new”. To describe that way, she uses the image of an elevator: “the elevator which must raise me to heaven is your arms, O Jesus! And for this, I had no need to grow up, but rather I had to remain little and become this more and more”. Little, incapable of being confident in herself, and yet firmly secure in the loving power of the Lord’s arms.



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