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


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 "the Little Flower, " she has been a source of consolation and uplift, an example of everyday sainthood by "the Little Way. " 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 herconviction. 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 innerwilderness.

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.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320 pages, 24 b/w halftones
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History of religion
  • ISBN: 9780199987665


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