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Teresa of Lisieux

1873-1897. Carmelite and devotional writer. Born Marie Françoise Thérèse Martin, she had a most trying childhood, including a grave illness. This led, however, at Christmas 1886 to a conversion experience that led to her monastic commitment. Religious from her earliest years, she now discovered what surrender and personal rebirth meant, and special permission was given her to enter the Carmelite convent in Lisieux at only fifteen. From 1893 she was acting novice- mistress and wrote Little Way; Benedict XV said it “contained the secret of sanctity for the entire world.” Dying of tuberculosis, she wrote her autobiography, the wide circulation of which has led to her extensive cult. Canonized exceptionally early (1925), she has been named patroness of foreign missions and joined with Joan of Arc as patroness of France (1947).