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St. Thérèse, pray for us!

By Stephen P. White, The Catholic Thing, October 1, 2020

Stephen P. White is executive director of The Catholic Project at The Catholic University of America and a fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Note: Robert Royal will present “In Defense of Christopher Columbus” at the Basilica of St. Mary in Alexandria, VA tonight, October 1, 2020, at 7:30 pm. Registration for the in-person event at the Basilica is required. The lecture will also be live-streamed. For more information, click here.

Stephen P. WhiteMy flight landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on October 1, 2003 – the Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The real significance of this date would become apparent to me much later, but at the time I noted it since she is a patron saint of (among other things) pilots and flight crews.

On that day, I was bound for Allen Hall, the seminary of the Archdiocese of Westminster, where I would be living for eight or nine months. I arrived jet-lagged and not entirely sure what I was doing in this strange new place.

I had come to London to enroll – if enroll is even the right word – in a program that would come to be called “St. Patrick’s Evangelisation School,” SPES for short. It had been recommended to me by a priest that I knew as an opportunity for vocational discernment and evangelization. I would be living in community with a small group from four different continents. There was one other American. We’d be housed in the seminary (which had lots of rooms and few seminarians) and work in the parish of St. Patrick’s in Soho.  …

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