LINCOLN – “Thérèse: The Story of a Soul,” a live, theatrical one-woman drama performed by Audrey Ahern and directed by Patti Defilippis of Saint Luke Productions (view a trailer here), will be presented at the St. Thomas Aquinas Church-Newman Center in Lincoln June 2.
Admission for the 7 p.m. performance is a free-will offering.
“Thérèse: The Story of a Soul” is a face-to-face encounter with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. In this one-woman performance, Thérèse speaks directly to the audience. Organizers call the production “an honest, loving portrait of a real girl who struggled with anxieties, but overcame these obstacles by trusting in God…. (It) speaks powerfully to our busy culture with the encouraging message that anyone can become a saint.”
The musical score was composed by Sister Clare Sokol, herself a Carmelite nun. Sister Clare and scriptwriter Patti Defilippis worked closely together to achieve an authenticity to do justice to Saint Thérèse.
“Thérèse: The Story of a Soul” is particularly suited to young adult and teen audiences and also to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life declared by Pope Francis.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux was born in 1873, the youngest child of a middle-class French family. Her mother died when Thérèse was 4, and she grew into a sensitive, temperamental and emotionally unstable child. Despite this, she developed a deep and sincere love for God, undergoing a profound conversion at the age of 13. After this, Thérèse was determined to enter the Carmelite monastery “to save souls.”
At the Carmelite monastery of Lisieux, Thérèse soon began to discover the “Little Way,” which became her great contribution to the understanding of how to live the Christian life. Thérèse breathed new life into the Church with a message of God’s mercy and an acceptance of one’s weakness as a way of growing closer to Him. It is a way for ordinary people to become saints; to do small things with great love.
Thérèse contracted tuberculosis and as her health declined, she wrote her famous autobiography, “Story of a Soul” at the request of her superiors. She died Sept. 30, 1897, at the age of 24. Soon after, the book began to spread throughout the world and devotion to this hidden Carmelite multiplied.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux was canonized in 1924, and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II, one of only three women to be given this honor in the history of the Church.