There’s a joke amongst Catholics that the saints choose them instead of the other way around. In the case of Teresita “Terri” Ong, Saint Therese of Lisieux has been a spiritual big sister her entire life.
This book is a combination of memoir and reflections for those who have a strong devotion to Saint Therese. Each chapter starts off with a quote from one of Saint Therese’s writings, mostly Story of a Soul. The next section of each chapter is entitled “A Littleways Journey,” vignettes where Terri recounts various aspects of her life. “Dear St. Therese” includes prayers from the author to Saint Therese that can also act as prayers to Saint Therese that the reader can use. “Write it Down” is a section where the reader can reflect and write about their own personal journey.
Terri was born in Quezcon City, Philippines, on September 30th, the day that Saint Therese passed away. Her mother was greatly devoted to Saint Therese. Like Saint Therese, Terri was born into a big family with two boys and four girls, herself included. Like many Filipinos, Terri and her siblings went to Catholic school from childhood to college. Eventually, Terri got a job working in the travel industry, organizing pilgrimage trips and working with people from all walks of life.
Terri also points out this major oversight: The Catholic Church doesn’t really have any programs or ministries reserved for people who choose to be single. Terri emphasizes having a relationship with Jesus and creating a community.
As Terri hits her 40s and 50s, she becomes more persistent in looking for someone to marry., Around the same time, she dealt with changing jobs due to the recession. Terri lived so long in the “hustle culture” of her travel job that it basically took a recession for her to finally slow down. It wasn’t until she worked in wedding coordinating that she finally realized the blessings and benefits of life as a single woman. At the same time, like Saint Therese, she decided that Jesus was ultimately the bridegroom she was searching for all along. I recommend this book for Catholics who are very familiar with discerning vocations as well as those who are familiar with Saint Therese. Terri says that this book is primarily for singles who have never married and for those who feel alone in the world. While being single isn’t technically an actual vocation, it could be something that someone could be personally feel called to.