Dessert Europe October Religious Saints

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Feast Day: October 1

How To Make French Apple Tart

Today we are feasting with… Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

A portrait of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

To celebrate this feast day, we made a French Apple Tart. This tart is a flaky puff pastry adorned with slices of cinnamon-sugar-coated apples and arranged to look like a “little flower”.

My Little Queen

Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin, the youngest of nine children, was born in Alencon, France in the year of our Lord, 1873. Her father Louis was a successful watchmaker and jeweler. Her mother Zelie Guerin was a skilled lacemaker.

After the death of her mother, Thérèse’s father would give her anything she wanted to keep her happy. He often referred to her as “my little queen”.

Thérèse was a very sensitive little girl. Some would even call her spoiled as she would often stomp her feet and have a temper tantrum if she did not get her way. From a young age, this precocious child wanted everything!

By the age of eleven, Thérèse was ailing physically and emotionally. Yet, she was healed when she looked upon a statue of Our Lady. On Christmas Eve in 1886, she experienced a profound conversion from her selfishness.

When You Are Old Enough

Around this time she felt a call to enter Lisieux Carmel as a contemplative nun. She wanted to give herself entirely to Jesus. However, the Carmels told her she was too young. Appeals to the Mother Superior and the Priest Chaplain yielded: “when you are old enough”.

Discontent with this reply, Thérèse and her father appealed to the Bishop. Again, not getting the response they wanted, Thérèse appealed to the Pope while on a parish pilgrimage to Rome. During their audience with the Pope, they were asked not to speak to him, but that didn’t stop Thérèse. As soon as she got near him, she begged that he let her enter the Carmelite convent. She was quickly carried away by two of the guards, but the Vicar General was impressed by her show of courage.

At fifteen years old, Thérèse was finally admitted to the Carmelite convent. Now she could be with her sisters, Pauline and Marie, who had already joined. She took the religious name Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.

The Holy Spirit worked in Thérèse, and she was completely open to God’s Divine Love. She would often dream of taking on the world as a priest and missionary. These dreams would cause her to wrestle with her place in the Church. Yet, she finally came to realize that her true “vocation is love.” The love of God was the energy source for the Church and fulfillment of the human heart and longing.

The “Little Way” of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Despite her desire for a more exciting mission, Thérèse developed a simple spirituality based on childlike trust and confidence in God. The spirituality of her “little way” is not about doing extraordinary things. Rather, it is about doing the most simple things in life well, and with extraordinary love.

She believed and taught that “everything is grace”. God’s face and presence are in every person and situation in our lives. We only need to attend to people and situations with love and expectancy.

Her struggle, like ours, is to be where God places us in real-life situations. Her spirituality is simple, childlike, and profound. This is what made Thérèse shine in our confusing and complicated world.

Her poems and plays reflect her struggle to give all to God. Her Mother Superior (her sister Pauline) asked her to write down her reflections. These became known as her autobiography, Story of a Soul.

My God, I love You!

After a long struggle with tuberculosis, she died on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24. She passed believing that her life was only just beginning for God. Thérèse promised to spend her time in heaven doing good on earth and to let a “shower of roses” fall on us. Her last words were: “My God, I love You!”

The Church canonized Thérèse in 1925. In October 1997, Pope John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church. He did this because of the impact and challenge her spirituality has had on the lives of so many of God’s children.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux is the patron saint of aviators, florists, illness(es), and missions.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, pray for us.

Download French Apple Tart Recipe

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  • 4 sheets frozen Puff Pastry, thawed
  • ½ cup Cinnamon Applesauce
  • 3 Gala Apples
  • 2 Tablespoons Turbinado Sugar
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • ½ cup Apricot Jam
  • 2 Tablespoons Water

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut four 5 inch circles from the thawed pastry, then lightly score with a ½ inch border. Prick inside the border with a fork several times and lay pastry rounds on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. 
  3. Spread applesauce over the inner circles of the pastry rounds.
  4. Peel, core and halve apples, then cut into thin slices.
  5. Starting from the outside, arrange apple slices over the applesauce in a circular pattern, slightly overlapping, finishing with the smaller pieces of apple in the center.
  6. Sprinkle sugar over the apple and brush the pastry border with the beaten egg.
  7. Bake the tarts in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden and apples have softened.
  8. Place the jam in a small saucepan over low heat with 2 tablespoons of water. Warm gently.
  9. Brush the warm tarts with the jam glaze.