I felt the longing in the deepest recesses of my soul every time I saw the neighborhood girls at play. I wanted so much to have a child I could call my own, but I was as yet not pregnant. Or should I say I was pregnant with possibility, but not yet pregnant with a baby.
I turned to the Little Flower for help.
I had not long before learned of St. Therese — for some reason, during my eleven years of Catholic schooling, I do not recall her name coming up. But a favorite priest had identified her as his favorite saint, and I was moved to read her spiritual autobiography, The Story of a Soul. I became enchanted with her and curious about her vow to spend her heaven bestowing gifts on earth.
As a result, I decided to begin a Novena to St. Therese for the intention of becoming pregnant. I repeated the Novena every nine days and, at one point, I thought all was lost.
It was shortly after that that a pregnancy test, taken at the pregnancy help center where I volunteered, revealed my own personal miracle.
In honor of the sweet saint, I gave my daughter the middle name of Theresa (the spelling of which was an homage to my family’s half- Italian heritage).
When my little miracle was six years old, we together watched a beautiful film depicting the life of St. Therese. When the movie concluded, with tears in her eyes, my daughter made her way to the crucifix in the living room and touched it reverently. To watch the real-life drama unfold before my eyes was breathtaking.
Not long after that, I decided to give a copy of St. Therese’s autobiography to my mother. She then proceeded to tell me her St. Therese story. When my mother was eight years old, her mother was hospitalized. The pain of separation my mother experienced was great. For solace, she would spend time looking at a picture of St. Therese that was in her home — the same saint who had lost her mother at a young age. I had had no idea of my mother’s connection to St. Therese before that moment in the kitchen, as we both gazed at St. Therese’s face looking up from the front cover of her book.
My daughter is now a young, vibrant woman — but I continue my perpetual Novena to St. Therese. She has become my go-to girl in heaven. Since my own mother has passed away, the Little Flower remains my link to my ancestors. Placing my daughter’s intentions in her hands, I find she is also a bridge to my own offspring.
The mother-daughter bonding over the Little Flower continues through the generations and across oceans of time. And I am a far better person, daughter, and mother for knowing her and the depths of her love.
Is there a particular saint that has helped you to connect with the people you love?
Copyright 2017 Maria V. Gallagher