Cardinal Dougherty’s 1925 Commentary on The Little Flower


By His Eminence D. Cardinal Dougherty, D.D.

Archbishop of Philadelphia

(Published in the Catholic Home Annual of 1925)

Before I set out from the Philippines in 1912, for a year’s collecting tour in the United States, I was requested by a Sister of the Assumption, then teaching in an Academy at Manila, to visit her own sister, a Carmelite nun in Philadelphia.

Upon reaching this country, I lost no time in calling at the Philadelphia Convent.  Entering it, I was asked by a soft-voiced, demure young lay-woman, dressed in black, who was acting as portress ((Many Carmels have an “extern”, a person who answers the door and directs people to the “Turn”.  In these years at Philadelphia Carmel, the extern was Miss Mary Reilly (1879-1937), who also labored at promoting devotion to Sr. Thérèse.   She later became aggregated to the Monastery as an out-Sister, with the name Sr. Teresita of the Child Jesus.)), to buy a life of The Little Flower, which she had on sale.

“Who is The Little Flower?”  I inquired.  I had never heard of her before.

“Why don’t you know of The Little Flower?”  She said.  “She was a Carmelite nun, who died in the odor of sanctity not many years ago.”

“I have been living on the other side of the globe,” I answered, “and have not been in touch with the outside world; hence you will pardon me if I say that I have never before heard of her.”

I bought the book; paid my visit to the Carmelite nun; returned to the priest’s house in which I was staying; and began to read the autobiography of Sister Therese.

Needless to say, it thrilled me.  I made up my mind at once to place under her patronage the collection which I was about to take up for the erection of a large hospital and an orphanage in the diocese of Jaro, where such institutions were needed, not only for charity, but also to counteract proselytism.

I was astonished at the almost palpable co-operation of The Little Flower in my work.  I never approached anybody for an offering without invoking her; and in many instances I could have not the slightest doubt of her intercession.

Having collected about two hundred thousand dollars in a few months, I made up my mind to visit the scenes of her life at Lisieux, in Normandy.  I arrived at that town in the month of October, 1913, at eight o’clock at night, in the midst of a downpour of cold rain.  I looked up the Sisters’ Chaplain, and from him got permission to say Mass the next morning at eight o’clock in the Convent Chapel.

The Little Flower and all her four Sisters became religious; one of them a nun of the Visitation Order ((Pauline (Mother Agnes), Marie (Sr. Marie), and Céline (Sr. Geneviève) were Carmelites at Lisieux; Leonie (Sr. Françoise Thérèse) was a Visitation nun at Caen.)).  All four are still living; and the three Carmelites are, and have been, at the Carmel of Lisieux.

The first to whom I gave Holy Communion on the morning of my visit was the oldest ((Actually, Marie was the oldest, and Pauline the second child.)) sister of the family, Pauline, so often spoken of by The Little Flower in her autobiography and styled by her “My Little Mother.”  The Little Flower at an early age lost her mother; Pauline took the mother’s place in the family.

I recall vividly my emotion upon administering Holy Communion to Pauline, now, as in 1912, Prioress of Carmel at Lisieux.  After breakfast I was admitted into the cloister, where I found four nuns kneeling just inside the door, ready to receive me.  As soon as I entered they threw back the long black veils, which screened their faces and bodies, arose and greeted me.  My first words were: “Which is Mother Agnes?”  The smallest of the four smilingly replied: “I am Mother Agnes”; after a little pause she added: “The Little Flower was taller than I.”

The four Sisters, accompanied by the Chaplain, conducted me through the Convent, now so familiar to lovers of The Little Flower through the pictures sent broadcast to all parts of the world.

I first visited The Little Flower’s cell, where she had passed her religious life.  At that time there was nothing in it except a plain couch, which had been her bed, and which was as poor as poverty could make it.  In leaving the cell, I noticed a thick piece of glass on the jamb of the door.  Mother Agnes called my attention to writing beneath it.  I examined it and found under the glass the word “Therese,” scratched there with a nail by the hand of The Little Flower.

Nearly everything connected with her religious life was at that time stored away in the adjoining cell.  In it were to be found her Bible, her Following of Christ, her discipline, and the savage-looking, pronged girdle of steel links, which she had worn about her waist next to the skin.  In another part of the cell, in a glass case, was to be seen the great mass of her long, waving chestnut hair, cut off when she received the Habit.  By its side was a beautiful white dress which The Little Flower had worn at her First Holy Communion.

Next I visited the sacristy, where I saw the pictures, particularly the angels’ heads, that she had painted on the wall over the opening through which Holy Communion is administered to the Sisters at Mass.  After taking a hurried look at the adjoining garden, where she had so often meditated, I was conducted to the infirmary in which she died.  This is a cell on the ground floor, leading out into the inner court.  It brought back to my mind some of the incidents of her last days.

On Holy Thursday ((April 2, 1896.)), she had spent the evening, until midnight, before the Blessed Sacrament, in the Chapel.  After reaching her cell, and lying down on her couch for her night’s rest, she suddenly felt a warm fluid rise to her mouth; and although she suspected what it might be, she controlled curiosity with religious fortitude, resigned herself into the hands of God, and went off to sleep.  Next morning, when she had arisen from her couch at the usual signal of the Convent bell, she went to the window to examine her handkerchief, and found it soaked with blood.  That was the beginning of her sickness, and her death knell.

Instead of collapsing from fright, she went to the Mother Prioress ((April 2, 1896.)) and asked permission to continue her Lenten fast, in spite of the hemorrhage.

About this time she was commanded by the same Mother Prioress, who, in those days, was not her sister Pauline, to write her autobiography ((The Cardinal refers to the version of the Story of a Soul as it was known at this time (before the Cause had been introduced): while actually being comprised of three different manuscripts addressed to three different persons, on being prepared for publication they were edited by Mother Agnes (at the insistence of Mother Marie de Gonzague) and formed into a single volume addressed solely to Mother Marie de Gonzague (to whom, as a matter of fact, only the final manuscript, written in June and July of 1897, was originally addressed).)).  She continued at this work as long as her strength lasted.

While she was lying on her death-bed in the infirmary, an old Sister, who had a special love for her, knowing The Little Flower’s fondness for flowers, gathered some in the garden and sent them in to her, asking, in return, a line of acknowledgment.

It happened that the life of St. Aloysius was at that time read in the refectory.  In it is stated that an old Jesuit Father, named Carbonelli, had special love for St. Aloysius, who lived with him under the same roof next to the Church of St. Ignatius at Rome.  Accordingly, the old Sister, in sending her little bouquet said: “Father Carbonelli presents Aloysius with a few flowers and asks a line in return,”

The Little Flower sent her back a note of thanks and added: “This morning during Mass I saw the grave of Father Carbonelli next to the grave of Little Aloysius.”  When the old Sister received this note she turned pale, trembled and said: “I understand.”  One year to the day after the Little Flower’s death, the old Sister was buried at her side in the grave-yard in the outskirts of the town ((This was probably Mother Hermance of the Heart of Jesus (1833-1898). )).

About the time of this prophecy an innocent young Postulant obtained permission to pay a visit to the infirmary.  Struck by the heroic patience and radiant holiness of Soeur Therese, she naively said to her: “Surely, when you die your body will remain incorrupt.”  The Little Flower replied: “Sister that would not be in keeping with my lowliness.”  This saying was borne in mind by the Community; and they were not surprised when, upon the exhumation of the remains for the canonical inspection ((September 6, 1910.)), which belongs to the Process of Beatification, nothing was found in the coffin save a few particles of bones, a little dust, and some scraps of her Habit ((Her body had so completely deteriorated that even the wood from her coffin, permeated with her dust, became a first-class relic.)).

After leaving the Convent, I immediately went to the cemetery where The Little Flower was buried and I read the simple inscriptions over both her grave and the grave of the old Sister by her side.  I then returned to the town and visited the Martin home, “The Buisonnets,” in which she had spent her girlhood.  In it she had a vision while still a young child ((In the summer of 1879 or 1880, when she was 6 or 7 years old.  Her father was away from home on a business trip at the time of this vision.)).  Looking out from her room on the second story, towards the building in the garden where she was wont to set up her Christmas cribs, she uttered a cry of distress.  Her governess and sisters, hearing the shriek, rushed to her room and inquired what was the matter; she said: “I have just seen father pass by with his head hidden in a cloud. ((“I saw a man dressed exactly like Papa … The man had the same height and walk as Papa, only he was much more stooped.  His head was covered with a sort of apron of indistinct color and it hid his face” (Story of a Soul, pp 45-48).  Paralysis affected M.  Martin’s mental faculties during the last five years of his life and necessitated a stay in a psychiatric hospital.  At one stage during his illness, he actually did veil his face.))”  When nothing of this could be seen by her sisters and governess, they concluded that the vision was a fancy.  But later on the apparition was recalled to mind, when M.  Martin, the Little Flower’s father, had a paralytic stroke, which finally led to a loss of his mind.  The affliction was the cloud which The Little Flower had seen in childhood.

Her father styled her his “Little Queen,” and was accustomed to take her by the hand into the Cathedral Church, passing through the park to its rear.  In 1913 the kneeling-stool of The Little Flower was still to be seen in the Cathedral by the side of the main altar.  It was here that she made her first confession; after which, upon returning home, she said to Pauline: “Should I not have said to the confessor that I loved him with my whole heart and with my whole soul?”

“Why should you have said that?”  Asked Pauline.

“Because when he forgives sin he is in the place of God,” answered the Little Flower. ((Story of a Soul, pp. 40-41.))

Whilst at the Cathedral, I had the pleasure of seeing the priest who had heard her first confession ((This was Father Alcide Ducellier (1849-1916), who remained her confessor until 1881.  He later testified at the Process.)).

From this stately Gothic Cathedral of the 11th century, it is a short distance to the Academy of the Benedictine Nuns ((This Abbey, along with some relics of St. Thérèse which it contained, was destroyed by the Allied bombings of Lisieux in June of 1944.  Miraculously, however, the Carmel, the Basilica and Les Buisonnets were unharmed.)) in which The Little Flower made her studies and received her First Holy Communion, at the hands of the Father Chaplain ((This was Father Domin.)), whom I also met and who told me some happenings of her early life.  It was in the street leading to this Benedictine Convent that occurred the incident related by The Little Flower concerning herself and her little cousin ((Marie Guérin (later Sr. Marie of the Eucharist in the Lisieux Carmel – 1870-1905).  This incident is recorded in the Story of a Soul, p.  55.)), likewise a pupil of the Benedictine Nuns.  As they were walking along the street, the agreed to imitate the lives of the early hermits of the desert; in order to shut themselves out from the world, at least as far as the senses were concerned, they closed their eyes and walked in recollection, until suddenly they stumbled over baskets in front of a grocer’s shop; whereupon they opened their eyes in alarm, and the two of them ran as fast as they could.

I spent three days in Lisieux, on one of which I noticed across from the Convent of Carmel a religious-object store, in which were sold the life of The Little Flower in various languages, and her portraits.  Upon entering, what was my surprise to find that it was in the charge of an English-speaking young lady.  I inquired if there were other English-speaking residents in Lisieux.  “I am the only one,” she said.

“And how,” asked I, “did you come to settle here?”

She said: “My name is Miss –, of Dublin.  My sister was given up for death by three doctors, who said she had but a few minutes to live.  I made a vow to The Little Flower that if my dying sister were cured, I would devote the rest of my life in spreading devotion to her benefactress.  My sister was cured instantly; and here I am.”

After my arrival in Rome, I called to see a Carmelite Friar, who had charge of the process of The Little Flower’s Beatification ((Father Rodriguez, OCD)), in order to deliver to him some letters from Mother Agnes.  Upon telling him that I had been at Lisieux, and the reason of my visit to that town, he begged me to inform Our Holy Father, then Pope Pius X, of my American experience, and of the help which I had received from The Little Flower.

The next morning I had my audience with the Pope.  He asked me how much I had received in the United States; and upon my telling him the amount he expressed surprise.  I attributed the success of my mission to The Little Flower; and went into detail in relating my experiences.  At the end he said to me in Latin: “By the intercession of Saint Therese you will receive still greater favors in your poor diocese.”  I was struck by the fact that he styled her “Saint” Therese, although her process had not yet begun.  He seemed to open his mind in her regard.

Within a few months, he himself, with his own hand (which, I believe, is unusual), signed the document permitting the introduction of her Cause ((This took place on June 10, 1914.)).

Three years later, in 1916, when I was returning a second time from the Philippines, I visited the French Jesuit Fathers in Shanghai; and thinking that Frenchmen would be interested, I told them about The Little Flower and my visit to her home.

There was present a Chinese Jesuit, who excused himself, went to his room, returned in a few moments, and presented me with a volume, saying, “Have the goodness to accept the life of The Little Flower in Chinese, written by myself.”

Two weeks later, I was a guest of the Jesuits in charge of the University of Tokyo.  In the Community room, after the evening meal, I related what had happened at Shanghai.  A Japanese Jesuit arose from his place, excused himself, went out; and, after an absence of a few minutes, returned and handed me a book, saying: “This is a Japanese life of The Little Flower, written by myself.”  I had not thought that the knowledge of the Little Flower and devotion to her were at that time so widespread.

Last summer, when, by invitation, I attended the three days’ celebration in Lisieux in honor of the Beatification of The Little Flower, I could not help thinking, as, on each afternoon, a hundred thousand people wended their way through the streets of that quiet little town, and as priests carried on their shoulders the golden and marble shrine in which is found all that is mortal of The Little Flower, how, at the early age of fifteen, she had turned her back on the world to live for the rest of her days, unknown, within the high walls of her Convent of Carmel, located in a little byway of that out-of-the-way town in Normandy.  Some of those present had personally known her; some of them had been her companions; but most of them were strangers from every part of the world.  She had fled from honor and distinctions; and now the whole world was doing her honor and showing her distinction, because, in a perfect way, she had loved God and had tried to sanctify her every-day life, with all its little deeds.

Once more I visited, in 1923, her Convent and the spots associated with her life.  On this occasion Pauline (Mother Agnes) requested me to say Mass in the infirmary in which The Little Flower had died.  Although this cell has been converted into a chapel, the death-bed of the Saint is still there.  In looking at it after my Mass, Mother Agnes said to me: “I have witnessed in this Convent the death of many Sisters; but I never knew any of them to suffer as much as Soeur Therese.  Her last illness was a protracted agony; she was assailed with fearful temptations against faith; but at the end, the anguish passed from her face, her eyes were lifted up to heaven, and an ecstatic look of peace and happiness settled upon her, which I shall never forget.”  Strange that The Little Flower who so loved God, who suffered for Him so much, who gladly gave her life in His service, should have temptations against faith!  This brought back to my memory the little blank-book which is found with her other relics; and which contains the Credo, written by her in her own blood, by her own hand, on the occasion of a violent temptation against faith ((Sometime in the fall of 1896, during a community retreat preached by the Premonstratensian priest Godefroy Madelaine (1842-1931), Thérèse confided to him these temptations against the faith that she was suffering.  It was he who gave her permission to write the Credo in her own blood and wear it over her heart, which she did until she died.  Father Madelaine played an important role in editing and publishing the Story of a Soul, even obtaining the Imprimatur from the skeptical Bishop Hugonin of Bayeux.)).

I took the liberty of telling Cardinal Touchet, of Orleans, instrumental in the canonization of Joan of Arc, that I thought that Lisieux will become a rival of Lourdes, in the devotion of the Faithful.  At first he would not accept this; but on the evening of the third day, in his masterly sermon before the immense concourse which filled the Gothic Church of St. James ((The parish church of the Martin family.)), he mentioned my remark; and said that, upon mature consideration, he was convinced of its truth.  And indeed, pilgrimages from all over the world are now made to Lisieux; and devotion to The Little Flower is waxing stronger as time passes.

When I saw Our Holy Father, Pius XI, in the month of August last, he told me that he deemed it an honor and pleasure that his first Beatification was that of The Little Flower.  Only God knows if, and when, she will be canonized.  But if she be canonized, even as early as next year, the Jubilee Year ((She was, in fact Canonized in 1925, the Jubilee Year.)), I for one shall not be surprised.




Bishop’s House

1035 Delaware Avenue

Buffalo, N.Y.

June 14th, 1916.

Rev. Mother Beatrix of the Holy Spirit,

Carmelite Convent,

66th Ave. & York Road,

Oak Lane,

Philadelphia, Pa.


Reverend dear Mother Beatrix:


I thank you sincerely for your kind letter of June the 8th, in which you offer me your congratulations for my installation and in which you inform me of the prayers of your Community for my welfare, and in which, finally, you had the kindness to enclose a relic of the dear “Little Flower”, which I shall prize both for her and your sake.


Please to accept my sincere thanks for so much kindness and be assured that I shall be grateful to you for it.


I mislaid my own copy of the Chinese life of the “Little Flower”, so Monsignor McCloskey promised to send you his copy and he may have done so by this time. No doubt he overlooked it in the hurry and bustle which preceded his coming to Buffalo; however, I shall write to him at once and request him to please send it to you as a souvenir of our trip through China, and as a token of our affection for the dear little saint.


I beg you to give my very kindest regards to each one of your community, but I especially beg you to continue your prayers for me that my coming to this Diocese may not be disastrous to it.


Very devotedly and gratefully yours,


                              (signed) + D. J. Dougherty.

                                             Bishop of Buffalo.




Dougherty 8 Dec 1914

Written in the Phillipines, Culasi, Antique Province





Islas Filipinas


Culasi, Antique Province,

8 Dec. 1914.


Rev. and dear Mother Beatrix:


The last time I wrote you I was on a diocesan visitation of the extreme eastern part of this diocese; now I am on a visitation of the extreme western part; and shall not return to Jaro until shortly before Christmas, after an absence of five weeks.


Your kind letter of October 24th, 1914, reached me here a few days ago. I answer now, but shall have to wait until I get home in order to post my letter. For there is a lack of postal communication where I am.


I prize the postal card which you so kindly sent me, in which is shown the breaking of the ground by Father Morrissey assisted by Father Moore, for your new chapel. I congratulate you on the undertaking and most sincerely hope and pray that it will have a special blessing of God.


Since my return to the Philippines from the U.S. I have done something to make known here The Little Flower. At the entrance to our present provisional hospital we have an enlarged photograph of her; and when our new hospital building is up, I shall name a ward after her. The Assumption Sisters, in charge of a Girls’ College; the Sisters of Charity, in charge of our orphan Asylum; and the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, in charge of our hospital, have a great devotion to her. It may interest you to hear this story. We had in charge of the medical and surgical department of the hospital an Orangeman named Dr Carson, a relative to Sir Edward Carson, the leader of the Ulsterites. The Doctor is queer; he gets brainstorms; and so made the Sisters’ lives intolerable. After putting up with him for several years we finally determined to get rid of him as chief doctor and surgeon. But we feared to dismiss him, lest we should not only lose his patients, who constitute a great part of our patrons, but lest, also, he should try to kill the hospital. I asked the hospital Sisters to pray that God would adjust matters, so that the Doctor would resign amicably. What was my astonishment to get unsolicited a letter of resignation from him within a few days, saying that he could no longer stand the impertinence of the assistant physician, a Filipino! But he continues to patronize us with his sick! I asked the Sisters how they got the result. They confessed to me that they had put a relic of The Little Flower in his hat, which they found hanging on the rack, and that he so carried the relic on his head, unconscious of it or its purpose. And so the Sisters got their wish. Please do not let this story get beyond yourselves, lest, if published, it reach Dr Carson.


I thank you sincerely for the prayers of yourself and community for me and my work and I beg of you to have the charity to continue them. I am greatly in need of them.


Please thank your Sisters for me and give them my regards and best wishes.


Hoping you are all well,

I remain,

Devotedly in Xt.

+D. J. Dougherty.

Dougherty 31 Dec 1913

Note written on-board the S.S. “Claudio Lopez”, on the Indian Ocean.  Mentions Cardinal Dougherty’s work in Rome to canonize the Little Flower.

SS. “Clau dio Lopez,” Indian Ocean,

31 Dec. 1913.


Rev. dear Mother:


When I reached Rome I called on the Carmelite Friar, Father Rodrigo, who is the Postulator for the cause of the Little Flower, and told him how, on the occasion of my first visit to your Convent, I was asked by the lay portress if I knew of the Little Flower, this being the first I heard of her; how I then determined to place my collection under her patronage; and my conviction that it is to her I owe its extraordinary success.


Father Rodrigo requested me to tell this to Our Holy Father when I should get my private audience with him. Accordingly, as soon as I saw the Pope, I told him all the details. He listened with his eyes wide-opened and a smile on his face. When I was finished, he said in Latin: “Gratulor tibi; in tua dioecesi, intercedente Sancta Teresia, uberiores fructus percipies.” What struck me was his styling her already “sancta.


Later on I related the foregoing to Father Rodrigo; then, accompanied by him I called on Card. Gotti and told him both what I had said to the Pope and his reply. The Cardinal laughed with pleasure; and Father Rodrigo rubbed his hands with delight.


This I send to you as a secret for yourself and Community.


When I was in Rome I delivered to Father Rodrigo a letter addressed to the Pope, asking for the canonization of the Little Flower, as you requested me to do.


I regret to say that I have not received as yet, from the Little Flower, a double favor, one spiritual, the other corporal, which I have earnestly besought of her, and for which I made my pilgrimage to Lisieux. I beg you and your Community to obtain for me from her this double gift.


I send you and each one of your Sisters my best wishes for a holy, happy New Year.


Very devotedly in Xt.


+D. J. Dougherty


Iloilo, Philippines

Dougherty Recounts Trip To Lisieux 1913






Rev. and dear Mother Beatrix:


On Wednesday evening at 4.30 of the 12th inst. I landed at Cherbourg; at 5.06 P.M. of the same evening I took the first train for Lisieux and arrived at nearly 9 P.M. that night. It was raining, had rained for weeks and kept raining there until this morning, when I left. Now and then the sun came out during my stay.


The town lies in a valley, among low hills. It raises cattle; and grows apples from which an excellent cider is made. It is pretty, prosperous, and has (I was told) 17,000 inhabitants, nearly all (even the Carmelite Sisters) the picture of health. They have clear complexions, bright eyes and deep-red cheeks.


I said the community Mass for the Carmelite Sisters each of the three mornings that I was at Lisieux; the first to receive Holy Communion each time being, of course, Rev. Mother Agnes, “the Little Mother” in the world of the Little Flower, and now as you know the Mother of the Little Flower’s own convent.

I requested the Sisters to show me the convent, and they, at my suggestion, fixed three o’clock that afternoon for my visit.


Before making the visit, I called to see the Cathedral where the Little flower, whilst living at home, was wont to hear Mass. In it are still the very chairs and prie-dieux at which she, her father and her family heard Mass, and in the very spot in the cathedral in which they used to be then. They have on them brass tablets with the name of Guerin, probably the mother’s family name. There I saw the Arch-priest to whom the Little Flower made her first confession and whom she afterwards said to Pauline that she should have told that “she loved him with her whole heart,” because he represented God. I send you a picture of this Church.


At three o’clock, accompanied by the Carmelites’ chaplain, I entered the cloister of the convent; was there met by four nuns covered with black veils, who at once knelt for my blessing, and in rising lifted their veils, and showed me four smiling countenances. I asked if their Mother Superior had that morning received a letter of introduction which I had given the Sister Portress from yourself. Then the smallest of the four, smiled broadly; said she was the Superioress, but that she does’nt know a word of English, and referred me, on that subject, to a young Sister, one of the four, who knows English. She is from Montreal; and was invited to meet me, to be interpreter. But we all pulled through in French.


I was astonished that the “petite” Sister, who smiled so blandly and looked like a good little business woman, was Pauline herself, The Little Mother of The Little Flower. Mother Agnes upon seeing me open my eyes must have thought that I wondered at her not being taller; for still smiling she said: “Soeur Therese etait plus haute que moi.” The ice was broken and we all went first to the Little Flower’s room. Her couch and furniture (?) are still there. On the jamb of the door Sister Teresa had scratched her own name, probably with a nail, and her signature is now covered with glass. The adjoining cell is converted into a repository of her relics. Among these I may mention the identical statue of the Bl. Virgin that smiled on her when she was gravely ill in her own home; her first-communion dress; her hair, thick, long, curling chestnut hair hanging down in a mass, inside a glass case; her prayer books, crucifix, hair cloth, discipline, barbed wire belt, writings, &c. The corridor outside is filled with ex-votos from beneficiaries of her intercession.


Next I went down stairs to the courtyard; visited the room in which she died and saw the bed in which she died. I went into the oratory in which she painted the decorations around the opening through which the Sisters adore the Bl. Sacrament exposed in the adjoining chapel. Lastly I visited the very sacristy in which the Little Flower loved to prepare the vestments and vessels &c. for Mass.


After that I drove to the outskirts of the city and there visited her grave in the town graveyard, in which she lies buried with her Sisters. Not far away in the same graveyard lies buried her father, and, I think, her mother.


The next day I visited the Benedictine Sisters’ Convent where she made her first communion, and had a conversation with Pere Domin who is her relative by marriage, and gave her her first Holy Communion, being then as now the chaplain there. He gave me the enclosed picture of her first Communion. The picture of himself is true. He knew her well, and saw much of her during the years she studied there, from her 8th to her 12th year, I believe. He told us anecdotes about her that were most interesting. Also of her father, whom he likewise knew well.


That afternoon I went to see her own house in Lisieux. They first showed me the dining room, containing the same furniture as when she saw it last: the round table about which the family sat when she was leaving them; her foot-stool &c. I went up stairs to her own room; saw where the Bl. Virgin smiled upon her when she was so ill; the original statue being now at the Carmelites, a copy is kept here. Nearby are her books and her playthings when she was a child. Another story up, brought us to the Belvidere or look out from which she loved to gaze on her parish church and the surrounding hills. She had here a nook in which she used to pray.


Next I went into the garden, saw the spot where she told her father she minded to become a Carmelite; her own little plot planted by her own hand with flowers, in front of a small Crib of Bethlehem; and the place where her father, ten years before his mind became clouded, appeared to her, who was looking from a window in her house, already as he afterwards became.


The last morning of my stay, after my mass at the Carmelite Convent, her three sisters came to the grill to say good-by to me. The three had their veils lifted. They knelt during our conversation, in spite of my invitation to arise. Mother Agnes told me she will send you the relics and souvenirs that you asked through me.


I must now end, as I’m leaving for Chartres.


My regards to all your community.


Very respectfully yours,


+ D. J. Dougherty.

Dougherty Postcard Lisieux 1913

This appears to be a very early postcard depicting T’s first communion; note that her name is not mentioned, perhaps because the apostolic (Roman) process hadn’t opened yet and there is a requirement of non-cultus to show no public worship before church okay’s it.


Enclosed with the Nov. 15, 1913 letter from Lisieux:


(1) Postcard

Front: Picture of the Cathedral with words:

14 LISIEUX. – La Cathedrale Saint-Pierre. – LL.


Back: “Cathedral in which the Little Flower was wont to hear Mass with her family. D.J.D. Lisieux 15 Nov. ’13.”


(2) Picture of St. Therese’s First Holy Communion



Renovation des promesses du Bapteme, un jour de Premiere Communion



Back: “Renovation of Baptismal vows by Sr. Teresa, on occasion of First Holy Communion. Presented to D.J.D. at Lisieux, 14 Nov. 1913. by Abbe Domin, who then officiated.”

Cardinal Dougherty requests letter of intro to Lisieux nuns

St. Francis de Sales’ Church,

4625 Springfield Ave. Philadelphia, Pa.

14 Oct. 1913.


Rev. and dear Mother:


I wish you and your community a very happy feast to-morrow, and God’s choicest blessings.


I am to visit Lisieux next month and then I will prepare the letter you ask for. But if you think that will be too late, I will write at once.


I wish to say Mass at the places in Lisieux sanctified by the Little Flower. Will you please send me now a letter of introduction to your nuns there?

With kind wishes, I am

Very faithfully in Xt.

+ D. J. Dougherty.


P.S. Many thanks for the scapular and picture of St. Teresa. I enclose a small gift in honor of the Little Flower.


Cardinal Dougherty Note 11 April 1913



Rev. Dear Mother:

Enclosed please find $10 for the two volumes, just come, for which I thank you.  Please do not return the change.  I hope that you are all very well and I again request your prayers.  Please ask from the Floweret of Jesus three special favors that I desire much.  Very respectfully in Xt. +D. J. Dougherty.