SHIRT OF FLAME


Former barfly and cloistered 19th c. French nun join forces

SHIRT OF FLAME:
A YEAR WITH ST. THÉRÈSE OF LISIEUX

A Memoir

Heather King


Heather King is an ex-barfly, a former lawyer, and a Catholic convert turned writer. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897) was a bourgeois French girl and lifelong virgin who entered a cloistered convent at the age of fifteen and stayed there, unnoticed, unremarked upon, until her death nine years later.

But before she died, under orders from her Superior, she wrote her spiritual memoirs, now known as The Story of a Soul. In them, she set forth what is now known as the “little way,” a path that has proven so universally appealing and so universally available that Thérèse has become a bridge between believers and non-believers, laypeople and clergy, East and West, women and men, feminists and right-wing conservatives, the old, the young, and the middle-aged. She was canonized a mere (and to that point, unheard-of) twenty-eight years after her death, and in 1997, was made a Doctor of the Church, an extraordinary honor bestowed, to date, upon only three women.

A few years ago, King was struggling with the aftermath of a divorce, a sense of mortality after a brush with cancer, and the sense that her work and spiritual life were decidedly not bearing the fruit she’d hoped for. She needed a spiritual guide. And thus it came to be that a middle-aged convert/seeker/pilgrim/writer with a checkered past, a shaky present, and an unknown future came to spend 2009 wandering around the “colorful” neighborhood of Koreatown, Los Angeles, with a Carmelite nun who died of TB, at the age of 24, crying "I love Him!"...




“What St. Thérèse did for Heather King, she can do for each of us. 
If you are aching at some very deep places, let this book be your doctor.”
- Ron Rolheiser, author of  The Holy Longing

“What do Heather King and St. Thérèse  of Lisieux have in common? Their lives of faith have been propelled by a revolutionary refusal to reduce their desire for happiness. Read this book and you will want to join them in their defense of the desires that make us human.”
- Lorenzo Albacete, author of God at the Ritz

“A moving book written with so much humility, confidence, and love. The true meaning of the Little Way shines through Heather King’s grace-filled witness. The author’s original prayers are some of the most beautiful I have ever read.”
-  Fr. Peter John Cameron, OP, editor-in-chief, Magnificat

“Heather King’s sojourn with Saint Therese of Lisieux is a magnificent testimony not only to the Catholic conviction that the Saints endure in the life of the Church as real friends and lively companions, but also the uncanny ability of the “Little Flower” to graciously insinuate herself into the lives of the most unexpected people in the most surprising of circumstances.  One of the year’s best reads in Catholic spirituality!” 
- Father Robert Barron, Founder and Director of Word on FireCatholic Ministries

“Shirt of Flame is a profound meditation on the spiritual depths that can be ours if we are not afraid to start with ourselves, with our seemingly little lives, little concerns, and limitless longings.”
- James Stephen Behrens, OCSO, Monastery of the Holy Spirit (Georgia)

“This book brings out the grit of sanctity, how it is a continuous, no-holds barred full-on contact engagement with reality. The episodes from St. Thérèse’s life and Ms. King’s reflections concerning her own path show how both the French Carmelite and her L.A.-based follower simplify their lives, not as an escape, but precisely in order to face without distraction the gargantuan challenge and adventure of love, surrender, living out, to the last drop their embrace of the Savior of the world.”
- Fr. Vincent T. Nagle, Holy Family Parish, Ramallah, West Bank,
The Palestinian Territories

“Heather King’s walk with St. Thérèse is a profound account of turning one’s life toward the light—a journey to which, as she makes clear, we are all invited.”
- Bethany Saltman, Zen Buddhist, essayist and poet

“Heather King’s incisive honesty draws me in, makes me feel her agonies and joys, and sends me away enriched. St. Thérèse must be very pleased.”
- Robert J. Edmonson, CJ, translator and editor, The Story of a Soul: A New Translation





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