On May 13, 1883, St. Therese was healed by the Blessed Virgin. At age 10, she began suffering from my mysterious illness. The doctors did not know what the cause of her convulsions, fever, and hallucinations. During this time Therese was very upset by the death of her mother and losing Pauline, her oldest sister, to the Carmel in Lisieux.
Here is her account of this event from her autobiography, Story of a Soul:
A miracle was necessary and it was our Lady of Victories who worked it…
I was suffering very much from this forced and inexplicable struggle and Marie was suffering even more than I. After some futile attempts to show me she was by my side, Marie knelt down near my bed with Leonie and Celine. Turning to the Blessed Virgin and praying with fervor of a mother begging for the life of her child, Marie obtained what she wanted.
Finding no help on earth, poor little Therese had also turned toward her Mother of heaven, and prayed with all her heart that she take pity on her. All of a sudden the Blessed Virgin appeared beautiful to me, so beautiful that never had I seen anything so attractive; her face was suffused with an ineffable benevolence and tenderness, but what penetrated to the very depths of my soul was the “ravishing smile of the Blessed Virgin.” At that instant, all my pain disappeared and two large tears glistened on my eyelashes, and flowed down my cheeks silently, but they were tears of unmixed joy. Ah! I thought, the Blessed Virgin smiled at me, how happy I am…
Our Lady of Victories has come to be known as Our Lady of the Smile due to Therese’s experience.
Prayer to Our Lady of the Smile
O Mary, Mother of Jesus,
and our gentle Mother too,
with a visible and radiant smile
you consoled and cured
your beloved child, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus.
We ask you now to smile on us,
amid the troubles of our lives.
May your gentle smile bring light and healing
to the darkness and disease of our body, mind and spirit.
Instill us with hope and deepen our faith
so that we enjoy forever
your maternal and enrapturing smile in heaven.
The Blessed Mother’s outstretched arms and smile reached out to Therese, let her do the same for you!
Request this 6-inch tall white porcelain statue of Our Lady of the Smile on our website.