Born the youngest child of a pious watchmaker and his wife, Therese became a Carmelite nun at the age of 15. She hoped to join their missionary foundation in Vietnam but illness kept her in France. For nine years Therese lived a simple, obedient life, her "Little Way" loving and trusting in God. Although suffering from tuberculosis she wrote a short autobiography, "The Story of a Soul".
After her death at the age of 24, this simple book was translated into many languages and charmed readers around the world. Her life and writings were popular for showing that even without great deeds or talent a person could achieve sanctity. She was canonized in 1925 by Pope Pius XI and made the patron of missions in 1927. She was made a patron of France in 1944. Her feast day is October 1.