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How Saint Thérèse of Lisieux Lived Through the Pandemic of Her Time

How Saint Thérèse of Lisieux Lived Through the Pandemic of Her Time In her short life, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux experienced a pandemic similar to the coronavirus crisis or likely more gruesome. This …More
How Saint Thérèse of Lisieux Lived Through the Pandemic of Her Time

In her short life, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux experienced a pandemic similar to the coronavirus crisis or likely more gruesome. This was the Russian flu that killed about one million people worldwide. Thérèse writes about this in her autobiography.

Days of Sorrow

The Russian flu hit Saint Thérèse’s Carmel towards the end of 1891. Thérèse was 18 years old. Personally, she was only slightly affected by the disease and, together with two other Sisters, she was able to take care of the sick nuns. According to Thérèse quote - “it is impossible to imagine the heartrending state of our Carmel throughout those days of sorrow.” The sisters who suffered the worst were nursed by those who could hardly drag themselves about. Quote: “Death was all around us. When a Sister had breathed her last, we had to leave her instantly.”

Sister Magdalen’s Death

On the day of Thérèse’s nineteenth birthday, the 2nd of January 1892, Mother Sub-Prioress died from the flu. Quote, “I assisted with the infirmarian during Mother’s agony, and two more deaths quickly followed.” One of them was Sister Magdalen. One morning, when it was time to rise, Thérèse had a presentiment that Sister Magdalen had died. The corridor was still in darkness, no sister was leaving her cell. Thérèse decided to go in to Sister Magdalen. Quote, “I found her dressed, but lying dead on her bed. I was not in the least afraid, and running to the Sacristy I quickly brought a blessed candle, and placed on her head a wreath of roses.”

I Felt the Hand of God”

This is how Saint Thérèse of Lisieux looks back on this time. Quote, “Amid all this desolation I felt the Hand of God and knew that His Heart was watching over us. Our dear Sisters left this life for a happier one without any struggle; an expression of heavenly joy shone on their faces, and they seemed only to be enjoying a pleasant sleep.”

Thérèse’s Unspeakable Consolation

Thérèse writes that “during all these long and trying weeks I had the unspeakable consolation of receiving Holy Communion every day. Quote, “How sweet it was! For a long time, Jesus treated me as a spoilt child. He came to me daily for several months after the influenza had ceased, a privilege not granted to the Community. I had not asked this favour, but I was unspeakably happy to be united day after day to my Beloved.”
Holy Cannoli
Col. Buckshot
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