Personal Introduction

Welcome! My name is John Roselle, SJ, and I took lifelong ("perpetual") vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as a Jesuit on August 13th, 2011 after a two-year novitiate. I am now a Jesuit Scholastic for the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus. I will study philosophy and theology for the next three years at Loyola University in Chicago. At the same time, I will do part-time ministry in some capacity with the poor. After that, I will likely teach for three years before finishing three more years of theology. Then, God willing, I will be ordained a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest! It's a long road, but a blessed, fun, and enriching one. This blog exists as a resource for friends, family, and others who are interested in my progress through the Jesuit process of formation. Every day is its own adventure, and I am happy to have you along with me to share in this. This blog contains my own personal thoughts and should not be taken to speak for the entire Society of Jesus. Feel free to contact me. God bless you!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Difference St. Therese Makes

Today is the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux "The Little Flower," a saint to whom I have grown quite close since entering the novitiate.  She has become perhaps my favorite saint among many "favorite saints" :)
I'm sure many of you know her story, but for those who would like a refresher, here is some basic info.

Shorter Biographical Info:

Longer Biographical Info:

Why does St. Therese matter to me?  To the Church?  To the world?  After all, she died at the age of 24 after living her religious life behind the "grille" of a Carmelite convent.  She was weak, struggled with mental and physical ailments, was not steeped in scholarship, was misunderstood, and frequently suffered.

So much for her lifelong desire to be a crusading minister and missionary of the Church!  Yet, almost a century later she is perhaps the best-loved, most influential modern saint.  She is the youngest of 33 doctors of the Church, the only one declared so by Bl. John Paul II.  She has inspired Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Jean Vanier, and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

I think one finds the key to understanding Therese in her renowned autobiography "The Story of a Soul," when she says after reflecting on her various senses of calling:

"Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: “O Jesus, my Love, at last I have found my vocation, my vocation is Love!... Yes, I have found my place in the Church, and it is you, O my God, who have given me this place... in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be Love!.... Thus I shall be all things: thus my dream shall be realized!!!”  (you can read the whole excerpt at

Pure and simple: St. Therese was brought through the crucible of suffering to the infinite love of Jesus Christ.  She is an embodiment of the Christian paradox that although we are broken, we can be bold before God, because we are His beloved sons and daughters.  St. Therese desired to live in Heaven praying for souls on Earth, to send a "shower of roses" upon her brothers and sisters.  And she has!  Countless miracles, of both the "big" and the "little" kinds, have occurred through her intercession.

Therese has been a soul-friend to me as I have gone through my time as a Jesuit.  She reminds me of who I am as a disciple and evangelist, ever needing to follow (despite how much I fail!) her example of bold humility.  I can't recommend highly enough getting to know St. Therese's thought and works.  She was a poet, a painter, a writer, and above all a person of prayer.  She is now the co-patron of the missions, along with St. Francis Xavier.  

Although St. Therese died a century ago, she is as relevant and fresh today as ever, as a new generation of Catholics and all people of goodwill strive to be saints as well.

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