Before she died, St Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as St Thérèse the Little Flower, or St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, promised to “let fall a shower of roses” from Heaven, doing good for people on earth. The novena prayer is widely used by Catholics to ask favours from her, and it comes with a unique bonus: a rose. Those who pray the novena and ask St Thérèse to send them a rose report receiving the flower whether or not their favour is granted.
While the novena may be prayed at any time, a nice time to begin the novena is 9 days before St Thérèse’s feast day (October 1), so as to complete the novena on the day of the feast. Thus, one may wish to commence praying the novena on September 22.
1. Make the Sign of the Cross.
“Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, I thank You for all the blessings and favours You have showered upon the soul of Your servant Thérèse of the Child Jesus, during the 24 years she spent here on earth, and in consideration of the merits of this, Your most beloved Saint, I beseech You to grant me this favour, if it is in accordance with Your most Holy Will and is not an obstacle to my salvation.”
3. State or meditate on the favour you would like St Thérèse to grant, as well as your request for a rose.
Sample prayer for this step:
“O Little Thérèse of the Child Jesus,
Please pick a rose for me
From the heavenly gardens
And send it to me
As a message of love.
O little flower of Jesus,
Ask God today to grant the favours
I now place with confidence
In your hands.
(Mention your specific requests)
Help me to always believe,
As you did,
In God’s great love for me,
So that I might imitate your
‘Little Way’ each day.
4. Pray the Glory Be:
“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”
“St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, pray for us.”
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 23 more times, for a total of 24 recitations. This is in honour of the 24 years St Thérèse lived on earth.
7. Make the Sign of the Cross again to finish the prayer.
Follow steps 1-7 once a day for 9 consecutive days to complete the novena.
Origin of the novena:
“Father Putigan, a Jesuit, began the Novena to Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus on December 3, 1925, asking the glorious Saint for one great favor. For nine days he recited the “Glory be to the Father” twenty-four times thanking the Holy Trinity for the favors and Graces showered on Saint Thérèse during the twenty-four years of her life on earth. The priest asked Saint Thérèse , that as a sign that his novena was heard he would receive from someone a freshly plucked rose. On the third day of the novena, an unknown person sought out Father Putigan and presented him with a beautiful rose.
Father Putigan began the second novena on December 24 of the same year, and as a sign, asked for a white rose. On the fourth day of this novena one of the Sister-nurses brought him a white rose saying:
“Saint Thérèse sent you this.”
Amazed, the priest asked: “Where did you get this?”
“I was in the chapel,” said the Sister, “and as I was leaving I passed the altar above which hangs the beautiful picture of Saint Thérèse . This rose fell at my feet. I wanted to put it back into the bouquet, but a thought came to me that I should bring it to you.”
Father Putigan received the favors he had petitioned of the Little Flower of Jesus, and promised to spread the novena to increase devotion to, and bring her more honor.
In this fashion, from the ninth to the seventeenth of each month, those who want to participate in the Twenty-four “Glory be to the Father’s” novena, should add to those of their own, the intentions of all who are at that time making the novena, thus forming one great prayer in common.”
It is this experience, perhaps better than any other, that describes the life and mission of St Thérèse, the Church’s most recent Doctor. For it was from the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, her Spouse, that the Little Flower collected the graces and mercies of His Love to shower as roses upon the world. (+)