Journeying towards merciful love with St Therese

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Journeying towards merciful love with St Therese
Ben Smith with copies of 33 Days to Merciful Love, the inspiration behind the virtual retreat.

Last month the relic tour of St Thérèse of Lisieux and her parents, Sts Louis and Zélie Martin, was suspended due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Despite this, a small group have continued their interior pilgrimage and are walking the Little Way together in a group online.

On Divine Mercy Sunday – this Sunday – they will each make a consecration to God’s merciful love.

The group has been meeting via video conferencing to work through 33 Days to Merciful Love—a six-week retreat authored Fr Michael Gaitley MIC, based on the writings of St Thérèse. Together they pray, talk, and reflect on the week’s events, readings and video.

The group began on the feast of St Patrick, and will make their consecration just days after the relics were scheduled to visit Tasmania on April 16-17.

“While the relics are not going to come, Divine Mercy Sunday is still happening and that is our focus now,” said Ben Smith, director of the Office of Life, Marriage and Family for the Archdiocese of Hobart.

The retreat’s themes are strikingly relevant to the current pandemic.

“The first few weeks cover how to have faith in darkness … it looks at being ‘like a child’ and trusting in God as a Father,” Mr Smith said.

“It is also a great way to understand Divine Mercy, something the world really needs right now,” he said.

The example of St Thérèse, who died from tuberculosis aged 24, is also relevant in the time of coronavirus, which particularly affects the lungs.

“She spent twelve to eighteen months really suffering in that condition, so it is a great consolation to people who might have this virus in a fairly severe way,” Mr Smith.

“Her patronage would be very much worth considering at this time.”

If you would like to join the movement of Mercy, contact Ben Smith for resources at ben.smith@aohtas.org.au