Getting by with Help from a Little Flower

How St. Thérèse of Lisieux answered my prayers

Statue of St. Thérèse of Lisieux at the National Shrine of St. Thérèse in Darien, Illinois. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Statue of St. Thérèse of Lisieux at the National Shrine of St. Thérèse in Darien, Illinois. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

In a time where instant gratification is the rule of the day, do we allow ourselves the opportunity to wait for an answer to a prayer? Most of the time, getting the answer takes a while. On other occasions, prayer affords quicker, clarion moments that provide understanding, enlightenment, and very cool opportunities for growth. This feast day of St. Thérèse of Lisieux serves as a reminder to me of how modern this wonderful saint is. And, what a blessing it was for her to show me that prayer works.

That blessing began to unfold as I was going about my chores on a particular Sunday, tackling the “excitement” of laundry and more in my apartment. I was listening to a Catholic podcast, and the host happened to be discussing how he had prayed about whether or not he should continue hosting his show. His prayer was in the form of a novena — a series of prayers that are said for nine consecutive days in petition for a special favor. He made his novena to St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

I listened with interest because I, too, was thinking about my current position and what the future might hold. To be honest, I had never heard about praying to St. Thérèse about a job. I had prayed to St. Joseph, the patron saint of workers — sure. But I had never prayed to St. Thérèse, commonly known as “The Little Flower.” I was intrigued. Maybe I should do the same?

As I was thinking this very thought, the host took a call from a woman named Jill. Yes, I know — Jill is a common name. But it felt like an invitation to do a novena of my own to St. Thérèse.

Still questioning whether St. Thérèse was the right saint to take this on, however, I decided to make this super easy and specific for her and for me. I asked St. Thérèse to pray with me about my current job and to send me the gift of roses if I should find a different job at my company. As I wanted a VERY clear sign, I stipulated that I wanted actual roses to be gifted to me if it was time to look for something different. They didn’t have to be real, of course. I mean — I wasn’t trying to be greedy. A picture of roses would’ve been great. But I didn’t want to randomly see roses when I was out on the town and wonder: Is that a sign? I wanted to “set us all up for success” (to use a clichéd corporate saying).

I also asked that if I were to stay in my current role, then I didn’t want anything to happen. Or, if she wanted, she could throw me a York Peppermint Pattie. I know, totally random, but I really do love York Peppermint Patties. But, honestly, I didn’t require one. If nothing happened, then, I thought I would be fine. I would have an answer.

Praying the novena was easy. The ninth and final day of the novena came and went. And — nothing happened. So, I had my answer. Nonetheless, I was kind of underwhelmed. I mean — that was it?

On day 10, the day after the novena, I was still prayerful but wistful. Even though I had received that which I asked for, I felt a little empty-handed. I thought I needed a “do-over” or something. Or, perhaps, I should start praying to St. Joseph. Nonetheless, as these thoughts were on my mind, St. Thérèse REALLY proved her point. At the end of day 10, I was walking into my office after a particularly annoying conference call, and a colleague yelled to me, “Jill — think fast!” I turned around, and she proceeded to lob a York Peppermint Pattie at me. (She had a basket of lots of different candy, but somehow this is what she gave me.)

I was incredibly dumbfounded and a little amused. Message received!

An hour later, my boss called me to discuss a number of things including some pretty important, very cool responsibilities that she wanted to add to my current role.

Talk about precision! I was excited, but a little freaked out. Soon thereafter, however, peace followed and prevailed in my heart about all of this. Our Little Flower delivered in a pretty big way. What a blessing that is — to have an answered prayer confirm the questions of your heart. I haven’t doubted St. Thérèse of Lisieux since, and I don’t plan to do so ever again.

Though I was skeptical at the start of this novena, I’ve honestly never doubted the power of prayer. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to show that prayer does, indeed, work. Just before the new responsibilities were added to my current job, a different colleague (who didn’t know about the novena) surprised me with roses since we wouldn’t be working very closely anymore. I took that as my final confirmation that I was on the right path as St. Thérèse often shows her support with the gift of roses. This was confirmed when I posted a picture of these roses on Facebook. Without even knowing my story, one of my friends commented, “St. Thérèse loves you!” How right my friend was. She really does.

You can learn more about praying a novena to St. Thérèse here.