Many Seton graduates choose to include their Confirmation names on the diplomas. By a wide margin, the most popular patron among Seton’s young women is St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the saint of the Little Way of life. Her spiritual counsel to do ordinary things well and for the glory of God clearly strikes a chord with Seton students. How very appropriate for our times is this choice of heavenly friend!
During her short life, St. Thérèse dwelt in almost complete obscurity within the Carmelite convent. A few privileged souls were able to speak to her on occasion, but she really became known to the Church at large only with the publication of her autobiographical papers, titled The Story of a Soul. Within a remarkably short time, her spiritual counsels swept through the Catholic world, having a profound impact upon the lives of huge numbers of Catholics. For instance, the ghastly trenches of World War I saw her writings serving as inspiration and solace for countless numbers of French soldiers.
Most Catholics are called to live in much the same fashion as St. Thérèse. Few will attain great fame and influence in the world or even be much known beyond a certain limited circle of friends and family. Most of Seton’s young ladies will enter marriage and spend their lives carefully teaching their children to know, love and serve God, a noble undertaking, but one which will bring little fame in this life.
There is a further lesson from St. Thérèse. The modern world is a dangerous place for Catholics. Each day, the news brings a steadily increasing number of stories about the rise of persecution, even to the point of martyrdom for many. The Church will need many members who do not attract much notice and who will weather the storms of persecution, winning through to calmer times. They will survive to implement the rise of Catholicism once godlessness runs its course.
The Church sees to it that saints are named at appropriate times to benefit the faithful. The Little Way of the Little Flower offers a plan for life which is attainable, practical and very badly needs to be effected by the Catholic world. St. Thérèse is one of the saints who is very clearly a model for our behavior in these perilous times.