Join us for a morning of study and chant as we go beyond her "Little Way"

Thérèse of Lisieux, known in English-speaking countries as “The Little Flower” is sometimes reduced to sugary language. When Pope John Paul II made her the third woman Doctor of the Church, he spoke only about her focus on love, on doing every little thing with love as her well-known Little Way.  Thérèse's "Little Way" is at the core of her writings, but there is also much more to her.  Thérèse suffered strong psychological distress that had its roots in multiple maternal losses. She wrote about her struggles with faith when she was dying from tuberculosis at 24. She also had a strong desire to be a priest that is mostly discounted by church authorities, but has been embraced by those supporting the ordination of women and some very well-known French writers. Many of her “less orthodox” teachings, her psychological distress, and her struggles with faith continue to be mostly unknown.

In this seminar we will present details Thérèse’s life, her writings, her contemplative teaching and practices and we will try to understand her as a young woman of a specific historical period and sociocultural context who has a lot to teach us about searching for God in the silence of contemplation. And, finally, we will learn from her unfiltered words about ways of life and contemplative prayer that bring us to God in simple and yet profound ways. 

This program is being offered free of charge. 

We invite you to contribute what you can so that we can continue to provide these opportunities. 

Thérèse of Lisieux Seminar

February 27, 2021

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (pacific time) via zoom

Presenter: Oliva M. Espín

Bibliography for Continued Reading

Oliva  M.  Espín

Oliva M. Espín, PhD, is Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University, having served the institution from 1990-2007. A native of Cuba, Espín received her bachelor's degree from the Universidad de Costa Rica in 1969, and her doctoral degree from the University of Florida in 1974. Upon receipt of her doctoral degree, Espin worked as a psychotherapist, taught in Canada and at Boston University, and received a National Institute of Mental Health fellowship at Harvard University.

In addition to her many years of teaching experience, Espín’s research and advocacy work is also laudable. She has fought for refugee women to gain access to mental healthcare services, and her articles, book chapters, and books are interdisciplinary in nature, tying in psychology, social justice issues, politics and religion to raise questions about gender, sexuality, language and race barriers. Her presentations in the U.S. and the world at large are just as exciting as her classroom lectures. She has been a pioneer in introducing intersectional perspectives into Feminist Psychology. Among other books, she recently published Women, Sainthood, and Power: A Feminist Psychology of Cultural Constructions.

In the Latinx community, where religion is a large part of the culture, there is a strong stigma against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) persons. Throughout her career, Espín bravely produced an extensive multitude of publications that challenged LGBTQ issues and laid the groundwork for many other Latino/a psychologists to do the same. For her, spirituality did not negate sexual orientation/gender identification, it instead strengthened her self-care, her teaching, and her psychotherapeutic practices.