and the Priesthood
On the eve of her Profession, Thérèse solemnly declared
"I came (to the Carmel) to save souls and most of all, to
pray for priests".
will help priests, missionaries, the whole Church (July 13, 1897)
". This is why, in the wake of the two "spiritual brothers"
entrusted to her care in 1895 and 1896, many priests have sought
her protection and tried to follow in her path.
The first "spiritual
brother", Father Maurice Belliére, a 21-year old seminarist,
asked her to pray for his vocation. He became a "White Father"
and went to Nyasaland (now Malawi), before returning to France,
where he died, at the age of 33, in the Bon Sauveur hospital at
Caen in 1907. Thérèse's correspondence helped him
greatly. She wrote him eleven important letters.
The second, Father
Adolphe Roulland, of the Paris Foreign Missions, went to Sutchuen
in China and began corresponding with Thérèse, having
celebrated his first Mass in the Lisieux Carmel and talked to
her sister. She wrote him six letters. He died in France in 1934.
Her contacts with these
two young priests broadened Thérèse's horizons to
take in the whole world. Even when she was seriously ill she remained
deeply conscious of her own missionary role.
After her death, many priests and nuns found their vocations when
they encountered Thérèse. She kept her promise.
A host of priests and missionaries placed their ministry under
her protection. Founded in 1929, the Sacerdotal Union of Saint
Thérèse of Lisieux brings together priests from
all over the world who follow her path, entrusting themselves
and their ministry to her.
PRAYER FOR FATHER
O my Jesus! I thank You for fulfilling one of my dearest wishes,
that of having a brother, priest, and apostle. I feel very unworthy
of this favor, but as You deign to give Your poor little spouse
the grace to work specially for the sanctification of a soul destined
for the priesthood, I gladly offer You, for that soul, all the
prayers and sacrifices of which I am capable; I ask You, O my
God, to look not at what I am, but what I should and want to be,
a nun wholly consumed by the fire of Your love.
You know, Lord, that
my sole ambition is to make You known and loved; and now my wish
will be fulfilled. I can only pray and suffer, but the soul with
which You deign to unite me through the sweet bonds of charity
will go down onto the plain as a warrior to win hearts for You,
and I, on the Mount of Carmel, will implore You to give him victory.
Divine Jesus, hear
my prayer for the one who wishes to become Your missionary, keep
him safe amidst the dangers of the world, make him feel increasingly
the emptiness and vanity of passing things and the happiness of
disdaining them for love of You. Let his sublime apostolate already
work on those around him, let him be an apostle worthy of Your
Sacred Heart. O Mary! Sweet Queen of Carmel, to your care I entrust
the soul of this future priest, whose unworthy little sister I
am. Deign to show him the love with which you touched the Holy
Infant Jesus and dressed Him in swaddling clothes, so that He
may one day ascend to the Sacred Altar and bear the King of Heaven
in his hands.
I also beseech you
to keep him always within the shadow of your virgin's cloak, until
the happy day when, leaving this vale of tears behind, he beholds
your splendor and enjoys, for all eternity, the fruits of his