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In God We Can Trust

New book shares lessons from the Little Flower

During his flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines in January, Pope Francis received a carved silver image of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the young Carmelite nun commonly called the Little Flower.

“I have the habit of, when I don’t know how things will go,” the Holy Father said, “to ask her if she takes a problem in hand, that she send me a rose.”

“But instead of a rose,” Francis mused with the gift in hand, “she came herself to greet me.”

Connie Rossini

That the Holy Father has a devotion to St. Thérèse comes as no surprise to Connie Rossini, an author, columnist and blogger on Carmelite spirituality. In Trusting God with St. Thérèse (Four Waters Press), Rossini talks about what the life and writings of Thérèse can teach us about trust in God. Writing in an engaging narrative style, she also shares her own struggles as a wife, mother and homeschool teacher to live out such saintly wisdom, as well as tools others can use to apply the Little Flower’s lessons in their lives.

Recently, Rossini responded to questions from FFG associate editor Jason Godin via email.

Fathers for Good: As you researched the life and writings of St. Thérèse, what lesson about her trust in God initially surprised you?

Connie Rossini: Initially, the story St. Thérèse told Father Belliere about asking God for a kiss when we sin was eye-opening. I had read before in other saints' writings that we should remain undisturbed when we sin, but I had found that difficult to do. Thérèse said we should act like a child who has total trust in his father and asks him for a kiss instead of punishment (understanding, of course, that we are truly repentant). I was in a place where I would get so bent out of shape by my sins, that I knew I needed to try this. So immediately I started asking God to give me an increase of his grace when I sinned, so that I could follow him more closely. I believe he has done that. Now, instead of berating myself when I sin, I am at peace.

FFG: A lot of people equate Carmelite spirituality with the interior prayer life of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. What does St. Thérèse add to this tradition?

Rossini: We should understand, first of all, that St. Thérèse was especially devoted to the writing and teaching of St. John of the Cross. So in some ways, her message assumes his. But what she teaches us most profoundly is that even ordinary, weak people can have a deep intimacy with God. Our spiritual life does not depend on our strength, but on his. Trust is the key. What we cannot do for ourselves, God desires to do for us, but we must completely abandon ourselves to him.

FFG: What do you think is the greatest lesson on trust that St. Thérèse teaches today’s dads?

Rossini: God is a loving Father. Sometimes dads think they need to be in control of everything that happens in their lives and the lives of their family members. When disappointment or even tragedy happens, dads can feel like they are responsible, that they have done something wrong. St. Thérèse can teach dads that even when they don't have everything in control, God does. Dads can trust totally in him and his plan, just as they would like their children to be able to trust totally in them. He will not let them down. He alone makes no mistakes.

Visit Rossini’s blog Contemplative Homeschool to find Trusting God with St. Thérèse and other titles.