St. Therese of Lisieux desired to have a brother as a priest. She wrote, “I often used to think that if my little brothers had not gone to Heaven, I should have had the happiness of seeing them at the Altar. I greatly regretted being deprived of this joy. Yet God went beyond my dream; I only asked for one brother who would remember me each day at the Holy Altar, and He has united me in the bonds of spiritual friendship with two of His apostles.”
In 1895, the Prioress called Therese aside and read her a letter from a young seminarian. He wrote that he had been inspired by St. Teresa of Avila to ask for a sister who would devote herself specially to his salvation, and to the salvation of his future flock. He promised always to remember this spiritual sister at Mass. The Prioress told Therese that she had been chosen to be the spiritual sister of that future priest.
Therese supported him daily by prayer and sacrifice. From time to time, she wrote him letters. In 1896, at the end of May, Therese was told to be the spiritual sister of a second priest. Therese prayed and made sacrifices especially for her two spiritual brothers and the novices, whom she considered her little sisters. She also prayed in general for all priests (both local parish priests and missionaries).
For a while, Therese suffered from temptation against faith in the existence of heaven. Therese made many acts of faith and patiently endure spiritual darkness. One day, she was comforted by a dream. In her dream, she saw three Carmelites and she knew they came from heaven. She recognized one of them was Venerable Mother Anne of Jesus, foundress of the Carmel in France. Venerable Mother showed great affection for Therese.
Therese said to her: “Dear Mother, I entreat you, tell me, will Our Lord leave me much longer in this world? Will He not soon come to fetch me?” Venerable Mother smiled sweetly, and answered, “Yes, soon ... very soon ... I promise you.”
Therese asked again, “Dear Mother, tell me if He does not want more from me than these poor little acts and desires that I offer Him. Is He pleased with me?”
Venerable Mother’s face shone with a new splendour, and her expression became still more gracious: “The Good God asks no more of you, He is pleased, quite pleased.” Then, taking Therese’s head between her hands, she kissed her tenderly. This dream left a deep impression on Therese. It helped strengthen her faith in heaven and her devotion towards Venerable Mother Anne of Jesus.
Therese wrote, “On waking, I realized that Heaven does indeed exist, and that this Heaven is peopled with souls who cherish me as their child, and this impression still remains with me – all the sweeter, because, up to that time, I had but little devotion to the Venerable Mother Anne of Jesus. I had never sought her help, and but rarely heard her name. And now I know and understand how constantly I was in her thoughts, and the knowledge adds to my love for her and for all the dear ones in my Father’s Home.”
Therese admired the different vocations in the Church – priests, teachers, missionaries, and martyrs. From the writing of St. Paul, Therese realized that her vocation was love, which embraces all vocations. She prayed, “O Jesus, my Love, at last I have found my vocation. My vocation is love! Yes, I have found my place in the bosom of the Church, and this place, O my God, Thou hast Thyself given to me: in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be LOVE! ... Thus I shall be all things: thus will my dream be realized ...”
小德蘭仰慕教會內不同的聖召 ── 神父、傳教士、教師、殉道者等。從聖保祿宗徒書信中，小德蘭明白她的聖召就是愛 ── 愛，擁抱著所有聖召。她祈禱說：「噢，耶穌，吾愛。我終於找到了我的聖召。我的聖召就是愛！對，我在教會的懷抱中，找到了自己的位置；而這個位置是祢親自給我的。在慈母教會的心內，我將是愛！…..故此，我將包括一切：故此，我的夢想實現了…」