Last evening I celebrated Mass with the Sisters and girls and young women at Holy Family Home here in Bacolod City. You can read about Holy Family Home here, here and here. We were celebrating the feast of Blessed Laura Vicuña about whom I posted yesterday. This was our third year to do so. Blessed Laura is the patron of those who have suffered from abuse.
I link the celebration with that of St Agnes, whose feast was the day before, and who was martyred at the age of 12 or 13. Blessed Laura, who died exactly 1600 years and one day after St Agnes, was just a few months short of 13. Two years before her death she had offered her life to God for the conversion of her mother. God listened to her prayers.
St Agnes, El Greco (detail)
As I was telling the stories of these two young girls who had given their lives to God, I recalled what had happened in the life of the great Thérèse of Lisieux when she was 14. The website of the Apostleship of Prayer gives this account of the story which the saint recounted in her autobiography, Story of a Soul:
St. Therese joined the Apostleship of Prayer on October 15, 1885 when she was twelve years old. The practice of the Daily Offering planted the seeds for her great spiritual doctrine known as "The Little Way." In her autobiography, she wrote that she had great desires: to be an apostle, a missionary, even a priest, and a martyr. But how could she fulfill these desires? She was a cloistered Carmelite nun. She wrote: