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On Oct. 15, 1885, only a few months before her 13th birthday and on the feast of Saint Teresa of Avila, Thérèse Martin officially enrolled in the Apostleship of Prayer (now known as the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network). Each month a volunteer would hand deliver a leaflet to the Martin family, so that little Thérèse could pray for the Pope’s monthly intentions. She had, at a very young age, a heart open to the world, wanting to make a difference through her prayers.
About two years after signing up to be a member, Thérèse felt an increasing desire to save souls. She wrote in her autobiography, Story of a Soul, “My one desire was to give my Beloved to drink; I felt my-self consumed with thirst for souls.”
This example of Thérèse is a perfect model for all youth, especially as the Church gathers for the Synod on Youth this month in Rome.
Thérèse maintained this heart, open especially to the challenges facing humanity and the Pope’s monthly intentions, throughout her whole life. When writing her autobiography she wrote, “I want to be a daughter of the Church as our holy Mother Saint Teresa was and to pray for the Holy Father’s intentions which I know embrace the whole universe. This is the general purpose of my life…this is how I am spiritually united to the apostles whom Jesus has given me as brothers.”
Even though she was never granted her desire to be a missionary, she fulfilled that desire by being a missionary in her heart, praying for the many challenges facing humanity that the Pope proposed.
This is our task today, to imitate Saint Thérèse (co-patron of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network) and open our hearts to the world, praying and putting our faith into action, working to help alleviate the suffering of so many people, especially those on the fringes of society