Three Gifts of Therese of Lisieux is the newly released from late Bishop Patrick Ahern. What I expected was a typical memoir of a great Saint. What I got was surprising insights into the vocational call of a very holy man, who was obviously very dedicated to that call. As a mother who prays that one of her own sons will find God calling to priesthood, I enjoyed all the 'behind the collar' though processes. I particularly loved how he tied this discernment with his relationship with St. Therese. Bishop Ahern writes, "Therese had a special love for priests and a desire to help them, and the thought that she would support me encouraged me to pursue the priesthood without fear. She opened up a new world for me and made me feel like someone who was grown up. ' Confidence and nothing but confidence.' was her motto..." (pg. 24).
Being a great devoutee of St. Therese, until reading the Three Gifts, I thought I knew her so well. Admittedly I have not read every biography, the great amount I have I still very much enjoyed the new tidbits Bishop Ahern shared - especially about all the maternal losses she endured, including little known background from her infancy. His writing invokes feelings of someone writing of a best friend and contemporary (although she was not), and you want to know more and more, and to be close friends with St. Therese as well.
While Bishop Patrick Ahern deftly shares Therese's three gifts, it is very clear that St. Therese, truly 'a saint for our times" is the true gift! "Living in the present moment is not something we learn to do quickly. It grows slowly over time into a habit of being, and even over the course of a long lifetime we will not master the art to the degree that Therese did. But we may never lay hold of a working principle so fundamental and important as this, one may we apply ourselves with the same determination and finality with which she gave herself to it. Surely we do not expect to equal her achievement by only to follow her way." (pg. 117)
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review