Chosen by St. Therese: How the Community was Named
By Sandra Ferrell, Founder and Executive Director
A friend that I met through the Adult Children of Alcoholics twelve-step program invited me to join a group of women who prayed the rosary for peace and I accepted even though, as a Protestant, I didn’t understand “praying the rosary.” I went to the Catholic bookstore to purchase a rosary and sat on the floor in front of the open case of rosaries, picking each box up, turning it over and looking at them. Suddenly, I felt tears come to my eyes as I stared at a red one and decided to buy it. When I took it to the register, the clerk said, “You’ve found a friend. She chose you.” I was puzzled and asked what he meant; he said, “This is St. Therese of Lisieux, you should take it and have Father Joe Tagg bless it.” Since I didn’t know what that meant, I smiled and said thank you and paid for it and left.
When I met my friend that night, the woman leading the prayers asked to see my new rosary. When she took it, she got quiet and said, “You’ve found a friend; you didn’t choose her, she chose you.” I asked what she meant and was told again that it was St. Therese, the Little Flower, and I needed to take it to Joe Tagg to bless it because he had a devotion to St. Therese. She explained what all that meant, and a few days later I found Joe Tagg in the Diocesan office and he blessed the rosary. He also introduced me to St. Therese and gave me a copy of The Story of a Soul, St. Therese’s autobiography.
Through that book, I began to get to know Therese and developed a deep relationship with her. She has walked through the recovery journey with me and I trust that she walks with us as we work with women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets.
The life of St. Therese informs our ministry. Out of gratitude for the grace we have experienced in our own lives, we have committed to living out our calling by following St. Therese of Lisieux in performing little acts, always helping others when we are able and affirming the good in others.