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The Letters of Thérèse of Lisieux (2 volume set)

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The Letters of St. Thérèse of Lisieux 
and Those Who Knew Her

General Correspondence, vols. 1 & 2

Thérèse of Lisieux (the Little Flower) 
Translated from the critical edition by 
John Clarke, OCD

Letter writing at the end of the nineteenth century was an important activity for the people of France. Those who received letters from family and friends alike usually kept the hand-written texts sent to them as precious gifts. That is why this collection of letters by and to one of the greatest saints of modern times is so interesting to us today. No mere notes slapped together in distracted haste, the missives found in this volume reveal communications of warm personal sentiment along with expressions of lively spiritual development.

Thérèse's efforts as a fifteen-year-old to enter Carmel before reaching the required age appear in revealing detail. This "tortuous course of a very subtle diplomacy" is set out not only by the letters of Thérèse herself, but also by those of so many others who shared her hopes and eventual victory.

In volume 1, the translator-editor gives us 75 pages of introductory remarks to Thérèse's letters. This volume also includes 4 pages of facsimiles of Thérèse's letters.

Volume 2 contains all of Thérèse's letters from the end of September 1890 (during her novitiate) until her death in 1897, as well as many letters written to or about her. Here the mature Saint Thérèse shows the path of her growth as a religious and as a deep spiritual writer. The reader learns much about all of her correspondents, including her two "missionary brothers," and gains familiarity with the development of her thought and message. Fifty pages of complementary documents give us useful tools for studying the texts.