Local chapters celebrate 50 years of Theresians

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower (Wikipedia)

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower (Wikipedia)CHARLESTON—Theresians International are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their founding with a host of activities throughout the year. 

Jeanette Whiland, a member of the Theresians of Charleston, said the yearlong celebration will start with a kickoff dinner in Houston, Texas.

It will culminate with a three-day conference in Dubuque, Iowa, in September 2011.

In between will be a variety of events honoring their patron saint, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower.

The local chapters, the first of which was founded almost 25 years ago by the late Pauline “Punch” Mullally, are also doing their part, reaching out a spiritual hand to current members and anyone else who loves St. Thérèse.

Theresians of Charleston, which is comprised of several different groups, is joining for a Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 16. A luncheon will follow at the Cathedral center.

Bishop Emeritus David B. Thompson will serve as the celebrant and will speak at the luncheon.

Whiland said individual groups will also gather for Mass, to break bread together and to pray.

A member for 22 years now, Whiland said she is part of the founding chapter, known as Theresians 1. She enjoys the camaraderie and spirit of the group, she said, adding that they have a lot in common and can support each other in their faith.

“Most of us have known each other for years and it’s a very congenial group,” Whiland said.

Bishop Thompson approved the formation of the Theresians during his tenure and has been involved with them ever since. He still speaks to the groups about topics of their choosing. The bishop remembers Mullally as an enthusiastic and active leader.

The international group of laywomen was brought to the United States in 1961 with a chapter in Colorado.

Following in the footsteps of their patron saint, members support each other and promote spiritual growth within small faith groups.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux was known for her “little ways” of spirituality.

“I am a very little soul, who can offer only very little things to the Lord,” she wrote of herself. “My ‘little way’ is the way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute self-surrender.”

The church recognized a profound and valuable teaching in the little way of St. Thérèse, saying it revealed a realistic awareness of one’s limitations, and the wholehearted giving of what one has, however small the gift.

For information on the Mass and luncheon, call Rosemary Cantey at (843) 884-9944.