The Story of a Life: St. Therese
by Guy Gaucher
Completed June 2001
Guy Gaucher is considered the world's foremost expert on the life of St. Therese of Lisieux and is the author of a number of books about her. I believe this is his first or second. Although I had just read St. Therese's Story of a Soul (see review) and thought this would be largely redundant, it certainly wasn't. Bishop Gaucher weaves together a much more comprehensive portrait of St. Therese, bringing in quotations from Story of a Soul with her letters, other writings and the letters and comments of those who knew her personally. If anything, the picture which emerges is even more compelling.
In her autobiography, we only see St. Therese from her own perspective. We can't see her impact on others or -- more significantly, I think -- the strength with which she lived her life and experienced her death. St. Therese's spiritual strength definitely emerges in Story of a Soul, but in Gaucher's biography, we see that her strength was not simply a spiritual, almost other-worldly strength. Her burning passion and love of Christ wasn't just exhibited in her thoughts and personal sacrifices. Gaucher shows us that it was everywhere -- in the way she wrote to her family, struggled with her tuberculosis and interacted with her Carmelite sisters in Lisieux.
While Gaucher's book is certainly not a substitue for Story of a Soul, if you want a more complete and in some ways more believable portrait of this modern saint and her Little Way, I would definitely recommend The Story of a Life.
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