Every now and then, something causes me to pause. I don’t believe in miracles or predestined events, but I can wrap my mind around coincidences.
Last Wednesday I leaped out of bed, late, and threw on my summery, floral shirt. Here’s a picture to reference:
I had a session with a Catholic client that afternoon, and we talked about the last few weeks. How she’s been, how she’s feeling, how can I help. In mid-conversation my client says, “You answered my prayers. I’ve prayed for a blessing and your shirt is the sign I needed today.”
As one might imagine, I was dumbfounded. I didn’t mean to do anything, so my first thought was, “What?” I asked her to elaborate, and like my husband informed me, Catholics are assigned a Patron Saint. My client’s Saint is Saint Therese, “The Little Flower” and Roses allegedly represent her signature. That’s her “thing”. She’s been described as the “greatest saint of modern times”.
My client went on to describe her Grandmother’s sentiments over 60 years ago. As a child, she was told that when she prayed for a blessing, a sign would appear in the form of roses. And last Wednesday, that sign was my shirt.
I didn’t know how to respond other than “Okaaay. That’s pretty cool”. I mean, I can’t say I didn’t appreciate relaying a blessing, as skeptical as I am when it comes to religious matters. I couldn’t help but do some digging that night, curious to learn more about Saint Therese.
When I stumbled across her alternate name, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, I paused. Why does that sound so familiar? What is my gut telling me? I Googled her again and added The Happiness Project in the search bar. Sure enough, Gretchen Rubin’s favorite spiritual master is Thérèse of Lisieux. I was obsessed with the Happiness Project in 2013, and each chapter represented a month, offering a different set of challenges and goals to accomplish. For August, Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin committed to an existential, religious focus, devoting her time and energy to “eternal things”.
I did the same. In fact, I wrote about my experiences in 2013 as I read memoirs of catastrophe, kept a gratitude notebook and aimed to imitate a spiritual master. My chosen figure was Oprah Winfrey, while Gretchen explored the teachings of Thérèse of Lisieux. I honestly didn’t give the saint much thought at the time. I wasn’t Catholic and had no desire to study Catholicism, but with this recent turn of events, I’ve learned all about Saint Therese.
This extraordinary woman lived a short, humble existence, seeking to touch others in her own “little way”. St. Therese’s commitment to the tasks and the people she met in her every day life went above and beyond what most would expect from her. Saint Therese believed in attending to every act of love she committed with great attention and detail, proclaiming
Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.
She described herself as the “little flower of Jesus”, imagining herself as a wildflower in God’s garden among the other flowers. She never meant to stand out; St. Thérèse of Lisieux embodied an altruistic persona, the epitome of what it means to be undistinguished, yet dignified. To learn more about this saint, click here.
I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with my client next week. Her coincidence inadvertently led to my own coincidence–rereading about a Saint whom I’m somewhat familiar with. It probably doesn’t mean anything, but it brightened my day to say the least. This entire situation reminded me to keep an eye out for coincidences. I’m not Catholic by any means, but I now most certainly appreciate the teachings of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, from her floral metaphors to her desire to complete the smallest tasks with the largest amounts of love.