The Last Years of Saint Therese: Doubt and Darkness, 1895-1897

ISBN : 9780199987665

Thomas R. Nevin
320 Pages
162 x 242 mm
Pub date
Sep 2013
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For over a century, the Carmelite Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (1873-1897) has been revered as Catholicism's foremost folk saint of modern times. Universally known as " she has been a source of consolation and uplift, an example of everyday sainthood by " This book puts aside that piety and addresses the torment of doubt within the life and writing of a saint best known for the strength of her conviction. Nevin examines the dynamics of Christian doubt, and argues that it is integral to the journey toward selfless love which Therese was compelled to take. Therese's metaphors for doubt were 'tunnel', 'fog', and 'vault', each one suggesting darkness, dimness, and enclosure. What, Nevin asks, did doubt mean to her? What was its source and nature? What was its object? He gives close attention to her reading and interpretations of the Old and New Testaments as pathways through her inner wilderness. Her Carmel of spiritual sisters becomes a vivid setting for this drama, with other women challenging Therese by their own trials of faith. One of Therese's indispensable lessons, Nevin concludes, is the acceptance of helplessness. Bringing a new direction to the study of Therese, and of the problematics of sainthood itself, this book reveals how Therese's response to divine abandonment is a unique and painfully won imitation of Christ.


Preface: Dwelling Upon Darkness
I. Her Spanish Masters: Darkness within the Carmel
II. Seeking Light from the Bible
III. Bearing the Cross of Community
IV. Her Spiritual Brothers Guide Her Down
V. Final Charity: The Last Autobiography
Conclusion: Out of the Darkness
Appendix 1: The Text of Her Darkness
Appendix 2: The Darkness of Teresa de Jesus
Selected Annotated Bibliography

About the author: 

Professor of Classical Studies, John Carroll University

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