No images

Poems of Saint Therese of Lisieux


Introduction to the poetry



Introduction to the music scores

Teresa of Avila, the great reformer of Carmel, wrote poems herself, to express ineffable sentiments. John of the Cross, who worked at her sides for the reform, is considered today to be a very great Spanish poet. He took his inspiration from popular songs in fashion and transformed them into divine canticles. Thérèse found herself at the same time in line with our holy founders by also joining the tradition of French Carmels during her century. Each feast was the occasion to write several lines in verse, to celebrate the prioress or the jubilee of one of the sisters, for Christmas or another feast. Very often, this was a regular duty of the gifted sisters. Thérèse began to write poetry at the request of her female colleagues, but she quickly discovered there was a means of expression for the impulse of her heart more powerful than prose.



Thérèse didn’t use the rules of versification to create her poems. However, she pretty much followed the framework that was well established for a canticle or an existing melody. These musical pieces were constructed in a very consistent manner, our young poet had only to slip into a song she knew already to count the number of syllables she was missing to conclude her verses. We can see here all the original scores used which have been saved - they appear at the bottom of the poems. But there is more; she often imitated St. John of the Cross who knew how to transform a profane verse into a divine one. We can see, by comparing the text of the score with that of Thérèse, that she often used profane material to reshape it in her own fashion, keeping the initial elements of the vocabulary to express what she had to say.

Pn01 pn02 Pn03 pn04 pn05 pn06
pn07 pn08 pn09 pn10 pn11 pn12