History of the Society of the Little Flower

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.

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 ensure that his work would continue, he founded the Society of the Little Flower in 1923.

Over ninety 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.

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.

The Society of the Little Flower is a part of the Darien Carmelite campus in Darien, Illinois here in the United States.  The Society’s Canadian office is located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, at the Mount Carmel Monastery campus by the falls.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long has the Society been in existence?

The Society of the Little Flower was founded in 1923 by Fr. Albert Dolan, O. Carm. Fr. Albert was a gifted preacher and prolific writer, and has been credited with introducing St. Therese to millions of people. From its humble beginning, the Society has grown to a membership of almost 300,000 devoted supporters.

How are my donations to Society of the Little Flower used?

Donations to the Society go directly to support the Carmelites of the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary. Through your donations, the work of the Carmelites can continue in many areas, these include:

The formation and education of future Priests and Brothers through our seminaries.

This is both an expensive and essential requirement for those that are called to serve the Catholic Church of the future. The Carmelites currently have seminarians in Washington, D.C.; Torreon, Mexico; Mexico City, Mexico; San Salvador, El Salvador; and Lima, Peru. Special emphasis is being placed in attracting quality candidates with minority backgrounds, so that the diversity of the Catholic Church population may be better served.

Serving the poor in parishes and ministries that are not self-supporting.

Many times in our economy, money only flows into those areas where the “Return On Investment” can be measured on a short-term basis. As a result, those people that need to know of God’s Love the most are often ignored. Through ministries of the Carmelites, these often neglected Children of God receive important life-lines, and become self-initiating and self-sustaining.

Providing retreat houses for spiritual ministry to people hungering for God and meaning in their life.

Spiritual retreat houses are not self-sustaining. However, without this important ministry, many lives could not be changed, and the spiritual lives of the participants would not be sustained either. The Carmelites believe that everyone should be able to develop their spiritual growth to their fullest potential, and they continually strive to do this in the most economical way possible.

Caring for the elderly within the Carmelite Community.

When a man becomes a Carmelite Priest or a Brother, he takes the evangelical vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. There are no pension plans. They live their life serving the people of God. They don’t complain, and they don’t regret it. But, when they can no longer minister to God’s people, they also do not have a bank account to rely upon, for paying life’s continuing expenses. These senior Carmelites are treated with dignity and respect, and their continued care is made possible through your donations.

The needs are endless, but so is the wonderful generosity of the friends of St. Therese and the Society of the Little Flower. St. Therese wanted to go to the ends of the world to make God’s love known. Through your generous offerings and sacrificial donations, the Carmelites are able to fulfill her missionary dream and preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Is the Society a tax-exempt organization?

Yes. The Society of the Little Flower is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization, and serves as the major fundraising organization for the Carmelite province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary. The Carmelites are one of the religious orders within the Catholic Church. All tax-exempt Catholic organizations listed in “The Official Catholic Directory” (published by P.J. Kenedy & Sons) have met the rigorous listing requirements of the Catholic Church. Our Federal Employer Identification Number is: 36-2174834.

Where is the Society located?

The Society of the Little Flower has offices in the United States and Canada.

In the United States, our address is:

Society of the Little Flower
1313 N. Frontage Road
Darien, Illinois 60561-5340

If you would like to visit the Society’s office, we are located adjacent to the Stevenson Expressway (I-55), in the western suburbs of Chicago. From the Stevenson Expressway exit at Cass Avenue -North (exit #274) then turn left at the 1st stoplight (Frontage Road). The Society’s office will be the 2nd building on the left, with the visitors parking area located right next to the building.

In Canada, our address is:

Society of the Little Flower
7020 Stanley Avenue
Niagara Falls, Ontario L2G 7B7

If you would like to visit us, we are located on the Mt. Carmel Monastery campus. From the QEW, follow the signs for 420 to Stanley Ave, and turn left. Once on Stanley, drive through several sets of lights, past the Sheraton, Loretto Christian life center, and Our Lady of Peace Shrine (which is located next to the Mt. Carmel Monastery). The Mt. Carmel Monastery is situated at the edge of the Promontory, overlooking the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, and is a 5 minute walk from the Falls.

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How can I reach the Society?

United States

Canada

1313 N. Frontage Road 7020 Stanley Avenue
Darien, Illinois 60561 Niagara Falls, ON L2G 7B7
800-621-2806 (within the US) 800-922-7622 (within Canada)
1-630-968-9400 (outside the US) 1-905-356-5029 (outside Canada)
littleflower.org ca.littleflower.org
[email protected] [email protected]

Is the Society eligible for the Matching Gifts program of my employer?

Society of the Little Flower on many occasions has received Matching Gifts from various employer incentive programs. Through these programs, employers are encouraging their employees to help make a difference through their charitable contributions. Because Matching Gifts programs are administered differently, please check with your program to see if religious organizations are eligible.

Has the Society received any awards?

Yes.

The National Shrine of St. Therese, serviced by the Society of the Little Flower, earned Excellence in Masonry Architectural Award in 2019.

The Society’s was awarded the 2009 Best of Darien Award in the Social Services category given by the US Commerce Association. The award was given for exceptional marketing success and the enhancement of a positive image through services to our donors and community.

I have changed my address. How should I update my records with the Society?

You may do one of two things to keep current in our database:

1) email [email protected], or
2) let us know using our Contact form

Whichever you choose, clearly indicate your old and new address.

How do I remove myself from SLF mailing lists and e-mail lists?

In this case, the person submitting the request should e-mail their full name and address in their e-mail correspondence to [email protected] so the Society can correctly update its database information.  Addresses are typically removed within 24 hours and email should stop almost immediately.  Postal mail can take 8 -12 weeks to cease as selected mailings are done months in advance.

Can I use the photos or written information from the SLF website?

We frequently get requests for permission to reuse the photos and images we have of St. Therese on our website.  These images are used by the Society with the permission of the Carmel of Lisieux, St. Therese’s monastery in France, who hold the copyright on all images.  Permission for reuse must come from the sisters at Carmel.  All written information on our site is copyrighted.


Other Carmelite locations at the Darien Campus

Carmelite Spiritual Center

Visit this web site to learn more about the spiritual development seminars and programs available to the general public through this retreat and conference facility located in Darien, Illinois.

Carmelite Gift Shop

The Carmelite Gift Shop is located within the National Shrine of St. Therese in Darien, IL.

National Shrine of St. Therese

The National Shrine of St. Therese is situated on a 50 acre Carmelite campus in Darien, Illinois. The Shrine includes both a museum devoted to the saint and a chapel where visitors can reflect and worship.

Carmelite Spiritual Center

Visit this web site to learn more about the spiritual development seminars and programs available to the general public through this retreat and conference facility located in Darien, Illinois.

Carmelite Gift Shop

The Carmelite Gift Shop is located within the National Shrine of St. Therese in Darien, IL.

National Shrine of St. Therese

The National Shrine of St. Therese is situated on a 50 acre Carmelite campus in Darien, Illinois. The Shrine includes both a museum devoted to the saint and a chapel where visitors can reflect and worship.


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