I wanted to share a story with you about one of the many sacrifices St. Therese made throughout her life. I like to think of her sacrifices as little gifts she gave to God. This gift took place shortly after she entered the Carmelite convent. The following is taken from the book Therese and Lisieux by Pierre Descouvemont, page 189:
"When Therese entered the Carmel, Sister Saint Vincent de Paul appeared to take malicious pleasure in humbling this young middle-class woman who seemed rather awkward when it came to manual work. She nicknamed Therese "the big nanny-goat"—a clear way of making her feel that she worked too slowly. When Therese came into the laundry room, Sister Saint Vincent de Paul said out loud: 'Here she comes! She certainly is in no hurry! When is she going to get to work?' Therese certainly suffered from these stinging remarks, but did not let it show. Jesus was simply asking for a new sacrifice. She never failed to smile at Sister Saint Vincent de Paul whenever she came to the laundry room."
Wow! Therese's feelings must certainly have been hurt by the sister's remarks. I know mine would have been. Do you ever hear hurtful things from kids at school? Kids can be very mean sometimes. Usually it's because they are feeling low self-esteem themselves, and need to bring other people down in order to make themselves feel good. She might have felt resentful toward Therese, since Therese was new, young, and not used to doing much housework.
And what did Therese do? Did she talk back to her superior? Did she give her a smarmy remark back? Quite the contrary! She turned it into something positive— an opportunity to offer it up for Jesus. Difficult, I know, to see the positive in that situation! But Therese was so good at that, and that is one of the reasons we love her so much. In her sweet way, she was giving a little gift to God. God has given us so many gifts. What gifts can we give Him back?