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"God uses our individual gifts as women to bring Christ’s love to all we meet."

- Dr. Carolyn Jacobs, Ph.D. & Auxiliary

St. Therese Couderc

The Life of Saint Therese Couderc

Saint Therese Couderc, the foundress of the Cenacle Sisters, was born as Marie-Victoire Couderc in Le Mas, France, in 1805. She entered religious life in 1826, joining the Sisters of St. Regis, a small group of sisters founded by Father Stephen Terme. Together, St. Therese and Father Stephen founded the Congregation of Our Lady of the Retreat in the Cenacle. For the full story on how the congregation was formed read Our Story. St. Therese died on September 26, 1885 in Lyon, France and was canonized a saint in 1970. Her official feast day is September 26th.

Spirituality of Saint Therese Couderc

Throughout her life, Therese Couderc grew in responding to the loving call of the Good God.

Many of us are afraid that if we surrender ourselves to God, then God will ask of us the very thing we hate the most, and our lives will be miserable. St. Therese recognized , on the contrary, that this total self-giving -- like that of Jesus who gave himself for us (see Galatians 2:20) -- is the only way to be happy.

To Surrender Oneself
"Oh! If people could understand beforehand the sweetness and the peace enjoyed by those who would hold nothing back from the Good God! How he communicates himself to the soul who sincerely seeks him and who knows how to surrender herself. Let them just experience it, and they will see that therein is found the true happiness which they are vainly seeking elsewhere."

- To Surrender Oneself, 1864; St. Therese Couderc



Therese Couderc knew that the God to whom she was saying "yes" was good. But one day in 1866, when she was thanking God after Mass, she had a mystical vision of the goodness of all things. This is the way she described her experience:

"I saw as in letters of gold this word Goodness, which I repeated for a long while with an indescribable sweetness. I saw it, I say, written on all creatures, animate and inanimate, rational or not, all bore this name of goodness. I saw it even on the chair I was using as a kneeler. I understood then that all that these creatures have of good and all the services and helps that we receive from each of them are a blessing that we owe to the goodness of our God, who has communicated to them something of his infinite goodness, so that we may meet it in everything and everywhere."

Both the goodness of God and of creation, and the call to surrender oneself, are characteristics elements in the spirituality of Saint Therese Couderc, and have been passed down to the Sisters of the Cenacle, who pray to live out of this vision of goodness and this call to give all to the Good God.

Writings of Saint Therese Couderc

Read more writings of Saint Therese Couderc on this website developed by Cenacle Sister, Sr. Rose Hoover.