Just six years after the cause for sainthood of Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face was introduced in Rome, the Carmelites in Chicago conducted the first Little Flower Novena service at St. Cyril Church. This was in 1912.
Eventually, St. Clara Church on Woodlawn Avenue in Chicago became the National Shrine of St. Therese. It was just one of the places where the amazing "popular canonization" of St. Therese took place. Inspired by the devotion of people in Chicago, Carmelites spread out through the United States and Canada, telling the story of this remarkable young saint who captured so many hearts so quickly. At the canonization in 1925, Pope Pius XI described the Little Flower's rise to sainthood as a "storm of glory."
Perhaps the greatest apostle of St. Therese in the new world was Fr. Albert Dolan, O. Carm. A gifted preacher and prolific writer, he introduced the Little Flower to millions. To insure that his work would continue, he founded the Society of the Little Flower in 1923.
Over seventy-five years later it has become the largest organization in the world promoting devotion to St. Therese and teaching her "little way of spiritual childhood." The message of St. Therese's life is timeless. She is a powerful messenger of God's love to the modern world.
There are now more than 500,000 active friends of the Society of the Little Flower throughout the world. They take great pride and joy in their devotion because she has touched their lives many times with her "shower of roses." She continually leads them to discover God's love in their lives. This is why they try to imitate her "little way" each day and spread her devotion. Devotees of Therese share a closeness with her that is truly inspiring.
Society of the Little Flower is a community of faith and prayer. Six times each year friends join in Novenas of Masses honoring St. Therese and asking her intercession. Friends share a love for her "little way" which they will try to live each day.
The principal charitable work of the Society is aiding Carmelite seminarians. Hundreds of young men are priests and religious because of the generosity of the friends of the Society. These Carmelite brothers of the Little Flower are touching many hearts and lives with Christ's love. From college campuses to military chapels, and from high school teaching to psychotherapy, Carmelite friars live out their commitment in a wide variety of services.
Friends also use the services offered to them by the Society. These include beautiful gift memberships, Mass cards for living and deceased, religious articles, books and devotional literature.
- Fr. Albert Dolan, O. Carm. (1923 - 1930)
- Fr. Chrysostom Anderson, O. Carm. (1930 - 1939)
- Fr. Frederic Manion, O. Carm. (1939 - 1953)
- Fr. Paul Hoban, O. Carm. (1945 - 1965)
- Fr. Quentin Duncan, O. Carm. (1965 - 1981)
- Fr. Terrence Sempowski, O. Carm. (1981 - 1991)
- Fr. Robert Colaresi, O. Carm. (1991 - present)
How Your Donation Helps
Watch this video to see some of the ways in which your donation enables the Carmelites to continue the mission of St. Therese and spread the Gospel of God throughout the world.