Maria Francoise Therese was born on January 2, 1873, in Alencon, France, the ninth and last child of fervent Catholic parents, Zelie and Louis Martin.
After the early death of her mother, when Therese was only four years old, the family moved to Lisieux. Because of the excellent religious spirit in the home and the upbringing given her by her two older sisters, her love for God and desire to please Him alone in everything was awakened from the tender age of three. She entered the Carmel of Lisieux when she was 15, after overcoming many obstacles. There she led a hidden life of heroic, joyful virtue and continual sacrifice, and after undergoing long months of extreme spiritual and physical suffering, she died of pulmonary tuberculosis on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24.
Before she died, she often spoke of her mission about to begin of teaching others her Little Way of loving the Good God and of total trust in His merciful goodness. After her death, the numerous miracles attributed to her began to fill many volumes. She was canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 17, 1925, and became known as “the greatest Saint of modern times.”
In 1997 she became the 33rd person and the third female to receive the title “Doctor of the Church.”