You don’t have to feel a personal connection to every saint. Saints have personalities like the rest of us. What makes St. Therese of Liseux so important for the Catholic Church is her theology. It is impeccable. Her writings can be read in two ways, as biographical or as theological.
As biographical they don’t always impress the reader. But the reader who is seriously interested in Mystical Theology will find that she exposes and explains some very profound theological truths that the Church can grab on to and pass on to future generations.
Her greatest contribution to the area of Mystical Theology was her theology on the cloister and the missions. She presents something that had never before been thought of by theologians.
Most people do not think of cloistered nuns as being missionaries. In fact, the missionary vocation has always been part of active orders, not monastic orders. Therese shows that there is a seamless connection between the cloister and the missionary vocation of the Church. She demonstrates, using logic and theology, that without the cloister the Church’s missionary vocation would not be fulfilled, much less successful.
In her writings she expounds on the true meaning of contemplation and mission and how the two are inseparable in the mind of Christ. It is this profound wisdom that has earned her a place among the giants of the Church such as Augustine, Aquinas, Bonaventure, Bellarmine, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Catherine of Siena and other Doctors.
She is not a little saint. In the mind of the Church, especially the Congregation on the Faith, she is a theological power to be reckoned with.
But that does not mean that we have to be buddies with her. That’s not what her work or life was about, nor did she want that. She wanted to explain a mystery to be contemplated by the Church, her vocation to contemplation and to evangelization and the Church found that she did an outstanding job of it. That’s why she was named a Doctor or Teacher of the Church. That’s what the term Doctor means in Latin, a Teacher with a capital T.