This past summer, I served as a missionary at Catholic Youth Summer Camp. As part of our programming, we have a night on saints, which includes staff members dressing up as saints, being stationed around the campus, and giving a testimony from the standpoint of the saint. The campers travel from saint to saint in a Eucharistic procession, ending with adoration down at the lake.
Before summer started, our staff received an email with the saints we’d be doing, and to pray about if we were called to be a particular saint.
Immediately, I felt drawn to St. Therese, and immediately, I was annoyed. St. Therese is the saint that every single young adult girl is obsessed with, and that’s just basic. There’s my pride showing– despite having some experiences of St. Therese in the past, I’ve been hesitant to share them because, again, everybody has some story of a rose showing up out of the blue and whatever. And if there’s anything I pride myself on, it’s being anti-basic.
But she kept tugging on my heart, so I emailed our camp director and told him that if absolutely no one else wanted to be Therese, I’d do it, if he really wanted.
He responded thirty seconds later and said he had already put my name down for homegirl T. I could practically feel St. Therese rolling her eyes at me.
Honestly, though, I feel like Therese wouldn’t have wanted to be Therese either. She’s so SASSY. She constantly wanted to be different than everyone else and stand out. Maybe that’s why I’ve seen her fight so hard for me in my life. Especially in terms of relationships; she has always made it so clear to me when I need to make hard decisions and walk away from things I’d been settling in, to step into the greatness for which I’m created.
Greatness- that’s what I ended up focusing on for my St. Therese testimony. She has this huge desire for greatness, and she steps into greatness in the most unique of ways. God fulfills every desire of her heart, in a completely different way than she expected.
This is what I learned, being St. Therese for hundreds and hundreds of teenagers at camp this summer: Jesus realizes our desires for greatness, and He fulfills them His way. I would spend the fifteen minutes before every monologue asking her to enable me to walk in the same simplicity she received from the Holy Spirit, and it happened. From St. Therese, I learn to be wide open, to receive everything as coming from Him, to receive everything as a gift. Because that’s what she did: she was able to find Him in everything, because He was already there.
So, if you were like me, and tried to not talk to St. Therese because everyone’s obsessed with her: it might be time to get over yourself. Because she knows the Father’s heart in such a pure, simple way, and she wants to show you who you are by showing you who He is.