St. Therese and the new evangelization

Here’s an excerpt of a story I very much enjoyed preparing.  It’s published now on the website of B.C. Catholic.

Five years ago, Jim Anderson knew little about St. Therese of Lisieux when he applied for a post directing a formation program based in her spirituality.

A priest-friend had recommended he go for an interview. Within about six weeks, Anderson and his family had moved from Ontario to Bruno, Sask. to join the brand-new St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission.

Today, Anderson is convinced the Institute’s nine-month program of intellectual and spiritual discipleship for young people who live in community and who practice the saint’s “little way” offers a key to new evangelization and the hopes Pope Benedict XVI’s has for the Year of Faith.

It did not take Anderson long to catch on to St. Therese’s spirituality, because, before moving to Bruno, he had become steeped in Catherine Doherty’s after living for 12 years near the Madonna House, the lay apostolate she founded in Combermere, Ont.

“If you know Catherine, you know St. Therese,” he said.

“The ‘little way’ [of St. Therese] gives us the way; the ‘little mandate’ [of Catherine Doherty’ gives us the how,” he said. “Catherine Doherty is just St. Therese with work-boots on.”

More than that, Doherty gives a contemporary and Canadian witness to St Therese’s little way, he said.

In the Year of Faith, the Holy Father is calling us to rediscover the content of our Catholic faith and to draw closer to Jesus by living it, Anderson said. Living that experience of faith makes our relationship with Jesus Christ increasingly firm, he said.

Jesus Christ came into the world to share the poverty of human experience, to be with the poor, Anderson said, referring to ideas in Cardinal Ratzinger’s 2000 letter on The New Evangelization: Building a Civilization of Love. Ratzinger wrote the deepest poverty is the lack of joy, and the lack of joy is precipitated by and in turn causes the inability to experience love,” Anderson said, adding his reading that letter was “an Emmaus moment” for him.

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1 Response to St. Therese and the new evangelization

  1. Pingback: St. Therese and the new evangelization | Catholic Canada

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