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The Hidden Face: A Study of St. Therese of Lisieux Paperback – March 1, 2003


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The Hidden Face: A Study of St. Therese of Lisieux + My Sister Saint Therese + Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, Third Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; Second Revised Edition edition (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089870927X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898709278
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Carol W. Seamant on October 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
It is unfortunate that Therese of Lisieux has become known primarily by the term "The Little Flower" and is expected to drop roses from heaven on her followers. This study of her life and "Little Way" reveals the journey of a pampered, excessivly emotional and devout middle-class French girl who was formed into one of the only three women who have been declared Doctors of the Church. Ida Gorres strips off the sentimentality that has threatened to turn Therese into a sugary caracature of herself. She carefully deals with all the negative aspects of Therese's culture, upbringing, life as a nun, and unglamorous, excruciating and humiliating death of TB at age 24. When Gorres has exposed all the aspects of the sentimental religiosity of that time and place, sparing nothing in revealing Therese and her family to us with all their "warts", she then proceeds to delineate how Therese rose above all that, and even contradicted it in her "new" spiritual understanding. It becomes clear that it was a direct action of the Holy Spirit, needed by the modern religious seeker.

Jansenism still tainted the devout Catholicism of that time. Somehow, Therese saw through the heresy and formulated a spirituality that returned the Church to the basics of Christianity. What is most surprising to me is that she did it alone, with no person to teach or counsel her. Indeed, very few of the people around her even understood her, including her loving blood sisters who were also in the same convent. Ida Gorres tells this story clearly and with considerable insight into true sanctity.

This is not a book to approach lightly, although it is not hard to read. It stretches the reader's understanding, calling one to greater love of God and the truth about following Jesus.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By J. C Marrero on May 28, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This remarkable book broke new ground in hagiography when it came out in the 1950s. Prior to this study, books about the saints centered on miracles, super-human feats and basically ignored the subject's upbringing, personality, and quirks. In this study, St. Therese is presented as Therese Martin, an intelligent, complex and totally God-focused individual who willed her way to sanctity. It seems that her nature was fully developed from infacy--from the start, she would do nothing by halves and insisted on making every moment of her life meaningful. Yet, she somehow avoided self-centeredness and by the end of her short life this very introspective young woman was simplicity itself. Her life was an unlikely interior adventure, leading her ever deeper into the mystery of God and of love. As told by Goerres, the journey was rough, uneven, and costly. But Therese Martin was no plaster saint, no little flower. This is the unsentimental story of a mighty oak.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Greg Hessel on June 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the best book on St Therese - far superior to anything written before or since. It is thoroughly researched and, thankfully, strips away the sugar-coated sentimentality that bogged down her other biographers - as well as Story of a Soul itself. Gorres guides you along the path to sanctity that St Therese followed and reveals how the saint was able to avoid strong temptations - such as how her sisters constantly venerated her during the her life in the convent without it causing St Therese to become self-centered - while making use of every day events to follow the path of humility and self-abnegation. I thoroughly recommend this biography much more than anything Bishop Guy Gaucher has written or some of the biographers
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Diana De Avila TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
I spent a 7 year period in my life studying the life of Saint Therese of Lisieux as a person in religious life at the time. I studied Therese because there was something about her that drew me to her "little way". There was also something that repulsed me about the way she was portrayed by most of the media available out at the time. I had the interesting experience of running across a first copy of "The Hidden Face" published in 1959 and was drawn to it like a bee to honey. After having read The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Âme): The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux and her The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Vol. I: 1877-1890 as well as her Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Vol. II I quickly discovered that her writings reflected the historical context in which she lived where monastic life was romanticized. The sweetness and romanticism was a staple of the times.

If you are a follower of St. Therese, it is important to see both sides of the Saint. The true person and her familial circumstances (some of which would certainly be considered dysfunctional these days) and the person of Therese who is human. Ida Goerrs' book shows that the life that Therese lived was not perfect (whose life IS perfect). The author makes Therese accessible to humanity ... and I think that this is the heart of the message in this book.
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