St. Theresa cited the old tradition of her father who aolways saluted the Blessed Sacrament when passing a Church; and he never met a priest without paying him a mark of respect. A word from his lips sufficed to silence whosoever dared blaspheme in his presence.
In reward for his virtues, God showered even temporal blessings on His faithful servant. In 1871 he was able to give up his business as a jeweller, and retire to a house in the Rue St. Blaise. The making of point-lace, however, begun by Madame Martin, was still carried on.
In that house the “Little Flower of Jesus” first saw the sunshine. Again and again, in the pages of her Autobiography, she calls herself by this modest name of the _Little Flower,_ emblematic of her humility, her purity, her simplicity, and it may be added, of the poetry of her soul. The reader will learn in the Epilogue how it was also used by one of her favourite martyr-saints–the now
Blessed Théophane Vénard. On the manuscript of her Autobiography she set the title: _”The Story of the Springtime of a little white Flower,”_ and in truth such it was, for long ere the rigours of life’s winter came round, the Flower was blossoming in Paradise.
It was, however, in mid-winter, January 2, 1873, that this ninth child of Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin was born. Marie and Pauline were at home for the Christmas holidays from the Visitation Convent at Le Mans, and though there was, it is true, a slight disappointment that the future priest was still denied them, it quickly passed, and the little one was regarded as a special gift from Heaven. Later on, her beloved Father delighted in calling her his “Little Queen,” adding at times the high-sounding titles–“Of France and Navarre.”
The Little Queen was indeed well received that winter’s morning, and in the course of the day a poor waif rang timidly at the door of the happy home, and presented a paper bearing the following simple stanza:
“Smile and swiftly grow; All beckons thee to joy, Sweet love, and tenderest care. Smile gladly at the dawn, Bud of an hour!—for thou Shalt be a stately rose.” It was a charming prophecy, for the bud unfolded its petals and became a rose–a rose of love–but not for long, “for the space of a morn!”