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Type: Journal article
Title: Thérèse of Lisieux: the appeal of a French saint at a time of international crisis
Other Titles: Therese of Lisieux: the appeal of a French saint at a time of international crisis
Author: Drapac, V.
Citation: French History and Civilization: papers from the George Rude Seminar, 2011; 4:118-132
Publisher: The George Rude Society
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 1557-3605
Statement of
Vesna Drapac
Abstract: Thérèse Martin (1873-1897), known as Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, or often simply as Thérèse of Lisieux (henceforth Thérèse), was canonised in 1925. Her cult enjoyed almost immediate cross-generational, cross-class and truly transnational appeal on, as many argue, an unprecedented scale. Men and women alike were devoted to her. Biographies and studies of her writings and spirituality abound. However, it is less common for scholars to consider the wider historical context of the Thérèse “phenomenon” and its intertwining with the institutional life of the Church across national boundaries. It is the broader transnational and institutional aspect of the cult of Thérèse in the middle years of the twentieth century that is the focus here. My paper aims to fill a gap in our understanding of the impact of the young French Carmelite nun on modern Catholicism and constitutes a preliminary study for a larger project that explores the cult of Thérèse and involves historians coming to the subject from different national perspectives. This is not a systematic study of a particular body of evidence related to Thérèse’s life or her writing. Rather it draws on material broadly dating from the period between 1920 and 1960 which reflects lay and institutional evocations of Thérèse within and outside France.
Rights: Copyright © 2011 by the George Rudé Society, all rights reserved
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