My Story About the Little Flower

“I feel my mission is soon to begin, to make others love God as I do, to teach others my ‘little way.’ I will spend my Heaven doing good upon earth.” ~ Saint Thérèse of Lisieux


My Story about the Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux:

When I arrived at St. John Paul II Seminary in 2018 many of my brother seminarians had a devotion to this little saint whom we celebrate today, St. Therese of Lisieux. At first, I didn’t know what to make of her. I figured that I already had a devotion to saints like Francis, Philomena, John Paul II, and others, so what need was there to get to know another saint? I chose not to pursue her and her story for some time because it seemed almost frightening. She illustrated a mysterious life of holiness that was foreign to me. But in time and in a miraculous way she pursued me and chose to reveal herself to me.

In the fall of my junior year, her feast day was approaching and many of my brother seminarians were going to pray a novena to her, asking her to “bring a rose from heaven.” They brought their most difficult intentions to her so she could present them to the Father. Although I didn’t know her, I could see in my brothers that there was something about devotion to her that brought confidence and joy. I had so many intentions that I wished so badly would be answered, but after some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, it became clear which intention I needed to pray for.

The previous July, I had received word that one of my sisters had had a miscarriage and was dealing with serious infertility concerns in her marriage. I didn’t know much beyond that, but the pain was obvious and certainly hurt for me and my family. Knowing the desire of my sister and her husband for a child, it became a prayer of my own to pray and offer my sufferings for that intention. I knew that I needed to bring this to St. Therese with confidence. I figured that I had nothing to lose! At the beginning of the novena – the nine days leading up to her feast day – I approached Therese in prayer and told her,

“Little Flower, I don’t know much about you… I don’t even know you, but I offer you this intention, That my sister and her husband may be given the grace of a child. I bring this to you in confidence that you hear me and that my prayer will be answered according to the Father’s will.”

Over the course of the nine days of the novena, I noticed that my confidence grew, and that it wasn’t simply me who was praying this intention but Therese herself, along with Mary and Joseph. I had growing confidence that my prayer was going to be answered as the feast day approached. In this confidence, I dared St. Therese and added a request to my prayer, “Therese, I simply want a text from my sister that she is pregnant.”

On the morning of October 1st, 2021 (the feast day of St. Therese), I served Mass at the seminary. During the homily, I received a clear message from St. Therese herself, “John Paul, your sister has good news for you!” I was instantly ecstatic and knew it was true, that my prayer had been answered! After Mass, I went with great excitement to my phone to see if I had received a text, but I hadn’t. I wondered if I should text her, but doubt crept in. What if I was wrong? I can’t tell my sister she is pregnant, – she just had a miscarriage a few months ago. I went to my classes wondering what to do, but by the time I returned to the seminary, I knew I had to send her a text.

“Do you have some good news for me?” I asked.

She responded, “why ya asking.”

“St. Therese asked me to ask you,” I said.

My sister seemed confused and responded with a question mark, but I texted her again with growing confidence, “St. Therese told me you had some good news… I don’t know… I swear she told me that in prayer today.”

“Are you serious?” my sister asked.

“Yes,” I wrote back.

It was then that she texted me, “Yes I’m Pregnant, found out this morning… you’re freaking me out… only you and Maggie [another sister of mine] know.”

Now my sister and her husband are the parents of little Theodore Daniel, and I am blessed to be his godfather. He was baptized on Sunday, August 8th, 2021.

I share this story because it shows God’s participation in our lives and that he is looking for confident disciples to bring their prayers to Him! Further, this miracle taught me how saints can choose us long before we choose them. They seek us out and reveal the Father to us. And further, it showed me the beauty of St. Therese who wished to spend her time in Heaven “doing good upon earth.”



Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, pray for us!

John Paul Shanahan

About the Author: John Paul Shanahan

John Paul (Jack) is currently in College IV in formation at Saint John Paul II Seminary in Washington, D.C.