Memorial of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus
(Nehemiah 8:1-4a.5-6.7-12b; Luke 10:1-12)
Lalia Ilivia Jones, a ninety-seven year-old African-American woman, died on August 24 at the Dominican Monastery in Marbury, Alabama. She had entered the monastery seventy years ago, only a year after being accepted into the Church. However, her biographer points out, Lalia Jones had converted to the Catholic faith at age six after witnessing a Catholic Mass. Sr. Mary of the Rosary, as she was called, desired to serve God “like the Little Flower.” It is the Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux, whose feast we celebrate today.
St. Therese is one of the most popular saints in history. Yet she hardly left the little town in which she was raised and where her convent was located. Although she had some aspiration to be a missionary, she realized that her vocation was as a contemplative. But she never abandoned the missionary ideal. She prayed fervently for missionaries and has been declared their co-patron.
In today’s gospel Jesus sends seventy-two disciples on an apostolic mission. He also directs them to pray that God will send multiple workers into the fields of souls. This is the same prayer that Sr. Mary of the Rosary and St. Therese of Lisieux took up. Now it is felt sure that their prayer is being continued face to face with the master of the harvest.