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Pope will write apostolic letter on St. Thérèse

Therese de Lisieux

Pascal Deloche / Godong

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 06/07/23

This year is 150th anniversary of her birth, and 50th anniversary of her beatification. The Pope did not announce a date for the publication of his letter.

Pope Francis announced that he will write an apostolic letter on Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897) for the 150th anniversary of her birth (this year).

During the general audience he held this June 7, moments before it was announced that he would be admitted to the Gemelli Hospital for an abdomen operation, the relics of the saint of the Little Way were present.

They were brought by a delegation from the Diocese of Lisieux as part of a tour of Rome.

Arriving at the podium after passing through the Square in the popemobile, the 86-year-old Pontiff paused before the large reliquary. He has often said that Thérèse is his favorite saint.

Meditating on “apostolic zeal,” the pontiff invited the crowd to be “helped by the witness of St. Thérèse.” And he announced, “She was born 150 years ago and, on the occasion of this anniversary, I intend to dedicate an apostolic letter to her.”

The Pope did not specify the date of publication of this document.

In fact, his announcement is an answer to a request made by the saint’s diocese. During a general audience in December 2022, a delegation from Lisieux delivered to the head of the Catholic Church two letters containing several proposals: an invitation to come to Lisieux; a request to name Thérèse a patroness of priests; and finally, the publication of an apostolic letter on the occasion of Therese’s Jubilee.

The letters went unanswered, but a few months later the Vatican requested the presence of the relics at the general audience.


Pope Francis has often spoken of his devotion and admiration for St. Thérèse.

For example, last year, he noted how as a 14-year-old girl, she gives us a splendid description of spiritual consolation.

He has confessed he asks her for signs of her presence, which she has given. On an in-flight press conference in 2015, he explained:

I have the habit, when I do not know how things are going, of asking Saint Therese of the Child Jesus that if she takes care of some problem, anything at all, to send me a rose. At times she does, but in odd ways. In the same way, I asked her watch over this journey and to send me a rose. Instead of a rose, but you yourself came to greet me. Thanks to Caroline, many thanks to Therese and to all of you. Thank you and have a good day.

He was speaking about a carving of Thérèse that had been gifted him by French journalist Caroline Pigozzi.

Pope FrancisTherese of Lisieux
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