14-year-old Therese Martin (better known as St. Therese of Lisieux) personally met Pope Leo XIII in Rome, but received no clear direction from him when she boldly asked permission to enter the Carmelite Sisters at such a young age. Several days later, however, Therese’s father (Louis Martin, who knew the Christian Brothers from Alencon, France), went to St. Joseph’s College, a Lasallian school in Rome, to see his friend Brother Simeon, the Frenchman who directed that ministry. Br. Simeon played a behind-the-scenes role in the ultimate approval received by Therese to enter the convent. Br. Simeon remained in contact with her until her death at age 24.
Bro. Joe Grabenstein, oral interview with Bro. Joseph Schmidt, October 3, 2018. Bro. Joseph Schmidt also wrote an article on this subject entitled “Brother Simeon and Therese, His `Little Carmelite.'”
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