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How did St. Therese become known as the "Little Flower"?

St. Therese loved nature, and often used the imagery of nature to explain how the Divine Presence is everywhere, and how everything is connected in God's loving care and arms. Therese saw herself as "the Little Flower of Jesus" because she was just like the simple wild flowers in forests and fields, unnoticed by the greater population, yet growing and giving glory to God. Therese did not see herself as a brilliant rose or an elegant lily, by simply as a small wildflower. This is how she understood herself before the Lord - simple and hidden, but blooming where God had planted her.

Therese believed passionately that Jesus was delighted in his "Little Flower," and just as a child can be fascinated by the grandeur of a simple flower, she believed that Jesus was fascinated by her as his "Little Flower." Therese understood that she was just like the tiny flower in the forest, surviving and flourishing through all the seasons of the year. Because of God's grace, she knew that she was stronger than she looked. Following the Carmelite tradition, Therese saw the world as God's garden, and each person being a different kind of flower, enhancing the variety and beauty which Jesus delighted in. When various people tried to explain her powerful inspiration and her place within the Church, it always seemed to come back to one title "the Little Flower."

In her autobiography, she beautifully explains this spirituality:

Jesus set before me the book of nature. I understand how all the flowers God has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understand that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers. So it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. He has created smaller ones and those must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God's glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.

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When is her Feast Day?

The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Therese, the Little Flower, on October 1st each year. This date was chosen because Therese died on September 30th. Following the ancient custom of celebrating their entrance into heaven the next day, October 1st was chosen as the day to celebrate Therese's life and eternity. Some people may remember that her feast day was previously October 3rd. That date was established for several reasons, including a packed liturgical calendar. In the liturgical renewal of the 1970's, when the calendar of saints was updated and refined, St. Therese's feast was properly moved to the more appropriate October 1st date. It is interesting to note that St. Therese's home Church in France celebrates her feast day on the last Saturday of September, no matter what the date.

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How did she get the name "Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face"?

Following the biblical tradition, when people entered religious life, they took a new name to signify their new call from God. When she entered the Carmelite Monastery to give her life to God, Marie Francoise Therese Martin took the religious name "Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face." Therese had a great devotion to the Infant Jesus, and her spirituality was a childlike simplicity and trust in God's love. In Lisieux, the Carmelite Monastery had a great devotion to the suffering Holy Face of Jesus that was reflected on the veil of Veronica. This included an outdoor shrine in the cloister garden. Because Therese was constantly looking to see the hidden Holy Face of Jesus in everyone and everything, Therese took that second part of her religious name. She explained: "I desire that, like the Face of Jesus, my face be truly hidden that no one on earth would know me. I thirsted after suffering and I longed to be forgotten." Her religious name, Sr. Therese of the Child Jesus and Holy Face, therefore came to signify what she was about and how God's grace was working in her.

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What are the four miracles that made Therese a Saint?

Therese became a saint because of the way she responded wholeheartedly to God's love and the grace of the Holy Spirit within her. We believe that God embraced her upon her death and shared with her a risen life of Jesus in heaven. While the Church recognizes the holiness and sanctity of many good people, official canonization is a long process. The Roman Catholic Church seeks definite signs before she officially declares someone a saint. In the case of St. Therese, the process went swiftly. In the popular piety of the people, she became a saint in their hearts even before the official declaration. A person is declared "Venerable" when there is evidence of extraordinary holiness and inspiration for others. It means that the cause of their canonization is being pursued. In order to move to the next step "Beatification", two certified miracles are needed, attributed to the intercession of that person with God in heaven. Miracles must involve situations where there is no other natural explanation. They are evidence of supernatural intervention, through intercessory help.
Regarding St. Therese, in 1923 the Church approved of two spontaneous cures unexplained by medical treatment. Sister Louise of St. Germain was cured of the stomach ulcers she had between 1913 and 1916. The second cure involved Charles Anne, a 23-year-old seminarian who was dying from advanced pulmonary tuberculosis. The night he thought he was dying, Charles prayed to Therese. Afterward, the examining doctor testified, "The destroyed and ravaged lungs had been replaced by new lungs, carrying out their normal functions and about to revive the entire organism. A slight emaciation persists, which will disappear within a few days under a regularly assimilated diet." These two miracles resulted in Therese becoming beatified.

Once she was declared Blessed, it took only two years for the necessary next two miracles to be approved. In 1925, two cures had been investigated and judged to be supernatural, through the intercession of St. Therese. The first involved Gabrielle Trimusi from Parma, Italy. Gabrielle had suffered from arthritis of the knee and tubercular lesions on the vertebrae. The final cure involved Maria Pellemans of Schaerbeck, Belgium. Maria suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis which had spread, as Therese's illness had, to the intestines. The diagnosis of pulmonary and intestinal tuberculosis was made by a Dr. Vandensteene, who also examined Maria after she came back from visiting Therese's grave. The doctor testified, "I found Miss Pellemans literally transformed. This young woman, out of breath from the least movement, moves about without fatigue; she eats everything given to her, with a very good appetite. The abdomen presents no tender point, when formerly the least pressure produced severe pain. All symptoms of tubercular ulceration of the intestine have disappeared." In reports predating Maria's return to health, two other physicians confirmed Dr. Vandensteen's diagnosis of pulmonary and intestinal tuberculosis. On May 17, 1925, Therese was officially declared a Saint by Pope Pius XI.

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Is there a Novena I can pray to St. Therese?

The most loved and repeated novena to St. Therese is the "Miraculous Invocation to St. Therese" found on the St. Therese prayer card. It is as follows:

O Glorious St. Therese, whom Almighty God has raised up to aid and inspire the human family, I implore your Miraculous Intercession. You are so powerful in obtaining every need of body and spirit from the Heart of God. Holy Mother Church proclaims you 'Prodigy of Miracles... the Greatest Saint of Modern Times.' Now I fervently beseech you to answer my petition (mention here) and to carry out your promises of spending Heaven doing good on earth...of letting fall from Heaven a Shower of Roses. Little Flower, give me your childlike faith, to see the Face of God in the people and experiences of my life, and to love God with full confidence. St. Therese, my Carmelite Sister, I will fulfill your plea 'to be made known everywhere' and I will continue to lead others to Jesus through you. Amen.

There is also a "Novena Rose Prayer" on the back of the prayer card that is very popular and said by many. The Society will be happy to give you a prayer card. Simply visit our Web site at /welcome/freegift.asp, or send us your postal address via e-mail. If you would like more for sharing with family, friends, neighbors, etc. they can be ordered the same way or through our Religious Items Page.

A novena prayer is usually nine days. These prayers are powerful. Sometimes, just a long personal talk with St. Therese, in your own words and from your heart, is just as powerful. Therese proposes and used a very simple spirituality. While some people have proposed that certain prayers must be said at certain times and before certain hours, and connected with other prayers, this is not Therese's "little way". She took seriously Jesus' request that we not use lots of words, but rather pray to God our Father in simple, hidden and honest ways. Because a certain formula, place or time works for someone, it should not be canonized as the way to pray. Some people do a real disservice to Therese and her devoted friends by surrounding her and devotion to Therese with superstition. It is not important or even significant that a certain novena prayer be said before a certain hour or in conjunction with other prayers. This is nothing but superstition, not piety, as are chain letters, etc., which seem to be popular.

Pray to our saintly friend St. Therese with the honesty and love of a friend and the simplicity of a child. This is what she taught us. These novena prayers are very helpful and express the devotion of many hearts.

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What is meant by her "little way"?

Therese saw herself as a child of God. She liked to keep things simple and focused as a child does. Trust, especially trust in God, is a childlike virtue. Some spiritualities have stressed complicated practices and extraordinary journeys of the soul as it responds to God's grace and love. Therese's spirituality is simple and she calls it her "little way." She believed and taught us that life presents enough challenges and opportunities for grace. She teaches us that God is everywhere - in every situation and person - and in the ordinary, simple details of life.

"Everything is grace" is probably the theme song of her spirituality. Her "little way" teaches us to do the ordinary things of life with extraordinary love. A smile, a note of encouragement, a phone call, suffering in silence, always having a positive word, a simple unnoticed task to brighten the life of another, and so many other simple deeds, done with love - these are the examples of her spirituality. The smallest action, done with love, is more important than great deeds done for personal glory, gratification or simply out of obedience. Therese teaches us that Jesus is everywhere and is the power for love and goodness operating within us. Such is the power and presence of grace. Therese's life was hidden. To many even in the convent, she seemed like such an average, ordinary person. Her greatness showed in the constancy of her love for others in the most simple ways.

Even in prayer, Therese teaches simplicity - talking to God and Jesus in direct, personal and heartfelt ways. She did not like long prayers. She fell asleep during community prayer. She disliked the rosary. She prayed from her heart as a child speaks honestly and trustingly to a parent they love. God calls us to respond to Divine Love in a childlike relationship of love, trust and bold confidence to "Abba" (which literally means 'Dad'), and by doing the simple things for others, well and with love.

Therese was faithful to the Gospel of Jesus and the core of his message. She invites us to join in her "spiritual childhood" or "little way." The power, appeal and simplicity of her message is why our Church declared her a Doctor of the Church in 1997.

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What did she mean by her "shower of roses"?

Experience has shown that St. Therese's "shower of roses" is both figurative and actual. As she was dying in the convent infirmary, Therese could look out and see the rose bushes blossoming. She loved roses. She had thrown rose petals as a Child before the Blessed Sacrament. As she reflected on her quiet, hidden, and gentle life ending, she believed in faith that God had great things in store for her. She believed that her mission was only beginning as she entered the fullness of life with God. She explained: "After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth. I will raise up a mighty host of little saints. My mission is to make God loved..."

Shortly after her death, the rain of roses began. Sometimes roses literally appeared, and sometimes just the fragrance of them. Cures of painful and fatal diseases and many other miraculous experiences were attributed to her intercession. Sometimes people found inner peace and regained an inner warmth of spirit and confidence, by appealing to St. Therese. Many miracles and actions of St. Therese do not involve roses. More often than not, marvelous things happen in people's lives as they ask for her heavenly intercession. The miracles, healings and inner peace come from the trust one places in God, not from any manifestation of roses. St. Therese lived in the dark night of the senses and spirit, with little consolation. Thus, the friends and followers of St. Therese expect no consolation of sighted roses that their prayers are being answered. Her "little way" is about child-like trust and gentle love. She is the great apostle of faith in God's love, not simple reliance on physical signs. Jesus warned us, and Therese experienced that the desire for signs is a sign of weak faith. It is always important to remember that St. Therese did not experience extraordinary phenomena in her life. Her faith was refined and strengthened by God.

Roses are Therese's signature. It is her way of whispering to those who need a sign that she has heard, and God is responding. Thousands of people have given witness to the way Therese responds to their petitions and prayers with grace and roses. The grace is more important than the roses. So many miracles have happened through the intercession of St. Therese without any roses appearing - usually the deep inner peace of accepting God's will and seeing His loving plan and presence is the "rose" experienced. Sometimes the lack of a physical "rose signature" is an affirmation of a strong faith.

One does not pray for roses. Therese's message is about simplicity and love in the ordinary events of life. Trust in Therese is important, and when she wills, roses or their fragrance may appear. The stories are remarkable how roses have shown up in the lives and experiences of people, especially in the darkest times. The ordinary and constant way these roses and graces have shown up in people's experience is extraordinary. It is important to always maintain the rose of confidence that our All-Loving God hears and responds to our needs, according to the mysterious ways of His Love.

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Why is her name sometimes spelled "Thérèse," "Theresa," and "Therese"?

All three are appropriate, but if one is to remain faithful to her actual French name, it is "Thérèse." In English, we don't have the vowel marks which the French have, so she is simply "Therese." 

It was once popular to use the more Anglicized version "Theresa," but it has caused confusion between her and Teresa of Avila. In order to avoid confusion between the two Carmelites, many choose to use the spelling more reflective of her French name, "Therese." We believe she answers to all of them.

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How far is it from Paris to Lisieux, and should I consider making the trip?

By all means, if you are in Paris, get to Lisieux. Lisieux is a small town in Normandy, about 80 miles outside Paris. It is becoming one of the premier pilgrimage places in the world, currently receiving more than two million pilgrims a year, and the number continues to grow. It is a quick hour and a half train ride from Paris. The city is well established for receiving pilgrims, with a number of places related to the life of St.Therese. There you can visit her house "Les Buissonnets", the magnificent Basilica in her honor, her parish Church, and the Carmelite Convent. There is a small wonderful museum of her memorabilia. It is easy to get around and see everything in one day. Just walking around the town makes her come more alive. The Carmelite Nuns of Lisieux must protect the privacy of their life, so one cannot get into the Carmel cloister, but the Church is there and you can see the chapel where Therese prayed, her seat marked with a cross.

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Did any of Therese's sisters or other nuns catch tuberculosis because of her infection? How would she have acquired TB in the monastery without much contact with the outside world?

The tuberculosis bacteria was common in St. Therese's day and there wasn't any antibiotic treatment available.  We know that some people can be carriers of the bacteria without getting sick themselves and the disease can be present for a long period of time without the person showing many symptoms.  Although the sisters at Le Carmel were (and are) cloistered, they still would have people visiting the monastery.  Tradesmen would make deliveries and sometimes other people would visit, so it would have been easy for some item contaminated with the bacteria to enter the monastery.  The disease may have even been present in Therese's system before she went to Le Carmel.  The monastery was damp and drafty - a great place for TB to thrive and for those infected with the bacteria to worsen.  The convent lost two other sisters to tuberculosis in the same time frame that Therese was sick.  The great tragedy for Therese was the poor medical treatment she received.  The doctor who treated her never diagnosed her TB correctly and applied all sorts of very painful but ineffective remedies.

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What is the St. Therese Novena Rose Prayer?


To view the St. Therese Novena Prayer, please visit here.

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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.

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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.

Visit the link below to our photo gallery and see 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.

Photo Gallery

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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.

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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 in Avila Hall 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


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
webmaster@littleflower.org caweb@littleflower.org

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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.

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Has the Society received any awards?


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.

The Society of the Little Flower's Web site www.littleflower.org earned the "Fidelity Green Light Award: for Excellence in Catholic Fidelity" in 2006. 

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Donor Services

How are my donations used by the Carmelites?

Monies raised by the Society of the Little Flower and given to the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary support the wonderful work of the Carmelite missionaries, as well as the formation and education of the many Carmelite Seminarians and lay catchists God is calling to serve the Church. The Carmelites serve in over 50 countries around the world, with missions in developing countries such as Brazil, India, East Timor, Mexico, Kenya, and El Salvador, just to mention a few. The Society of the Little Flower also generously supports many Senior Carmelites, Cloistered Carmelite Nuns, parishes in poor areas of North America and several retreat houses of Carmelite Spirituality. Please call us to learn more about how our funds are used.

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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 webmaster@littleflower.org, or
2) fill out the Update Personal Information form on our website

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

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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 webmaster@littleflower.org 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.

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I have specific questions about St. Therese and/or the Society of the Little Flower. Which site sections can I visit to find out more?

For frequently asked questions (FAQs) about St. Therese, click here. For frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Society, click here.

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How can I search the Society of the Little Flower website?

At the top of each page, you'll find a search box.  Simply type in your search term and click the magnifying glass to search.

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I would like to contact the Society directly. How may I do this?

Please call, write, or email us using the following information:

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

Phone: (800) 621-2806
Email: webmaster@littleflower.org

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Charitable Gift Annuity

What is a Little Flower Charitable Gift Annuity?

It is a legal contract between a donor and the Society of the Little Flower.  The donor makes an unrestricted gift to the Society in exchange for the Society providing the donor and/or a loved one with fixed payments for life.

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Why does the Society offer Charitable Gift Annuities?

Our program provides our friends with an opportunity to make a significant gift to the St. Therese Endowment Fund.  This fund provides essential support for Carmelite ministries and education programs, including the Seminary Education of future Carmelite Priests and Brothers so that they can unveil God’s love to future generations.  At the same time, you and/or a loved one will receive fixed payments for life.  Through a Gift Annuity, donors help the Society as well as provide a benefit to themselves.

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What should be stressed to someone considering a Charitable Gift annuity?

First and foremost, it is a gift.  Secondly, Little Flower Gift Annuities are safe and simple to establish.  A Little Flower Gift Annuity also helps address concerns for receiving reliable future payments during one’s lifetime and provides relief from the responsibility of determining the future directions of the stock market, bond market, interest rates, and other investment considerations.  As with any financial decision, we recommend that individuals consult with their financial advisor before deciding whether or not to create a Charitable Gift Annuity.

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How are Gift Annuity Payments secured?

 Your Little Flower Gift Annuity contract becomes a legal financial obligation of the Society of the Little Flower and is backed by all of the unrestricted net assets and resources of both the St. Therese Endowment Fund and the Society of the Little Flower. Investments of the St. Thérèse Endowment Fund include cash, money market funds, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Since our program’s inception over 80 years ago, we have made every payment on time.

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Are there other benefits of a Little Flower Gift Annuity?

Yes!  A portion of each annuity payment you receive during your life expectancy is tax-free, and is not included as part of your total income when determining the taxable portion of your Social Security benefit.  In addition, part of your gift is tax-deductible in the year you establish your annuity.  Also, when you fund your Gift Annuity with long-term appreciated property (such as stocks or mutual fund shares) the reporting of your capital gain is spread out over your life expectancy.  Finally, a Little Flower Gift Annuity allows you to make a gift that will provide a competitive payment rate. 

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What is the minimum age and amount necessary to establish a Gift Annuity?

Individuals receiving payments must be at least 60 years old at their closest birthday when the Gift Annuity is created (unless you are interested in a Deferred Annuity).  Little Flower Gift Annuities can be funded with a gift of $1,000 or more.

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How can I fund a Little Flower Gift Annuity?

Donors may create a Gift Annuity at the Society via a check, money order, or bank draft; or by transferring ownership to the Society of marketable property, such as publicly traded stock or mutual fund shares.  (If owned for more than one year, gifts of appreciated securities provide additional tax benefits for donors.)  Gifts may also be made via credit card with the addition of a fee.  The Society’s Special Gifts staff would be pleased to share more information with you about ways to give.

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How does a Gift Annuity work?

To illustrate:  if Mrs. Rice, whose closest age is 71, contributes $10,000 for a Little Flower Gift Annuity, at our current payment rates she will receive $650 each year for the rest of her life.  Her payment is set at the time of her gift, is based on her age, and will never change. 

A portion of Mrs. Rice’s annual payment will be tax-free for a period of years, and the balance will be taxable.  Also, the gift portion of her $10,000 contribution is deductible in the year of her gift.  Mrs. Rice can choose to receive her annuity payments annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly, depending on her preferences and the amount of her Gift Annuity.  Our Special Gifts staff can provide you with one or more free proposals to illustrate some potential scenarios for various gift amounts and ages.

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How would a Gift Annuity for both my spouse and myself work?

In a Two-Life Joint Annuity, the annuity is initially made payable to both spouses.  After the death of either spouse, the payment remains the same, but is made payable to the remaining spouse and continues for the rest of his/her life.  Because it covers two lives, the payment rate is somewhat lower than for a One-Life Annuity, with the rates based on both persons covered.

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Can I arrange for my Gift Annuity to pay a second person after I die?

Yes.  In a Two-Life Successive Annuity, the annuity is initially made payable to the applicant for his/her life.  After the applicant dies, the annuity is then made payable to the second annuitant for the rest of his/her life.  Because this covers two lives, the payment rate is somewhat lower than for a One-Life Gift Annuity, with the rate based on the ages of both persons covered.

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What is a Deferred Annuity?

The Gift Annuity is created now, with payments beginning at a specific date in the future (such as your anticipated retirement date or 60th birthday). Payment rates for these annuities are higher and Deferred Gift Annuities also provide a substantial tax deduction in the year of the gift.  The Special Gifts staff can provide you with free proposals to illustrate some potential scenarios for various gift amounts and ages.

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May I have several Gift Annuities?

Yes!  A new contract may be created at any time.  New payment rates, based on your closest birthday at that time, will be issued.  This provides you with the opportunity to take advantage of the rates that are available as you get older.  You may also create a Gift Annuity to provide payments to a loved one, such as your spouse, child, niece, etc., as long as they meet the minimum age requirement of 60.

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May I withdraw my Gift Annuity?

No, due to the immediate tax benefits that donors receive, charitable gift annuities are irrevocable and cannot be refunded. 

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Who should I contact if I have questions or want to learn more about Little Flower Gift Annuities?

Please call Paula Tomsky or Lila Russell in the Society’s Special Gifts Office, toll-free, at 888-996-1212.  We will be pleased to provide you with additional information, including a personalized gift annuity proposal for you to consider and discuss with your financial advisor.

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