One may be a full-fledged saint, the other steps away from sainthood. But before they reached that revered title, they were human beings just like us.
As such, St. Therese of Lisieux once cosplayed her favorite female saint. And Blessed Carlo Acutis, ideal boy that he was, could also be tempted by sweets. (Read: 3 New Sugary Treats to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth)
Here are interesting anecdotes about them in their pre-saint days.
St. Therese of Lisieux: she fangirled a female saint
Her pure and sincere love for Jesus makes her a favorite saint of many. But did you know St. Therese of Lisieux had her own favorite female saint? The little flower of Jesus was a fangirl of the Maid of Orleans, Joan of Arc.
St. Therese’s devotion to the French teenage heroine inspired her to write two plays: “The Mission of Joan of Arc” and “Joan of Arc Accomplishing Her Mission.” The latter was where Therese would portray Joan of Arc herself, in full warrior regalia, for a production held on January 21, 1895. (Read: 4 Female Saints Who Are Warriors in Spirit)
Presented before the Carmelite community, the play was a little too realistic for comfort. While being burned at the stakes, Therese nearly experienced the same fate as her favorite saint, as the fire went out of control. Witnesses quickly tried to put out the flames, but Therese remained in character, “offering to God the sacrifice of her life,” she later told her sister Catherine.
Sadly, not everyone was on board Therese’s admiration for Joan of Arc. Upon learning that a certain Diana Vaughan credited Joan of Arc for influencing her conversion into Catholicism, Therese enthusiastically sent Diana a photo of herself in Joan of Arc attire. Diana acknowledged the token with a letter.
But the truth would soon come out. In 1897, a man named Leo Taxil came forward and admitted he was Diana Vaughan, a character he created to trap too trusting Catholics, like Therese. He then presented a blown-up photo of her in her Joan of Arc costume for all to see. Embarrassed, Therese tore up the letter sent to her by Diane and quietly endured this humiliation until her death soon after.
Blessed Carlo Acutis: This would-be saint loved Jesus, Mama Mary—and soccer and Nutella
In his short yet meaningful life, Carlo Acutis already had the makings of a saint. He attended Mass daily, said the rosary religiously, and made sure to pay a visit to the Eucharistic adoration. Apart from his mother Antonia, he named the Blessed Virgin Mary “as the only woman in my life.” “To always be close to Jesus,” he once said. “That’s my life plan.”
But this would-be saint was just like any normal teenager too, says reports. He joked around with classmates and teachers, and liked playing video games and soccer, “but very badly,” says his mom. He also had a weakness for Nutella and ice cream, which made him put on weight. (Read: ‘Techie Saint’ to Be Beatified This Week)
Otherwise, he was the son of every mother’s dream. “Do you think I should become a priest?” he asked Antonia in 2006. “You will see it by yourself, God will reveal it to you,” she said.
And to her as well: After Carlo succumbed to leukemia at the age of 15, his mother said in a report that she received visions of St. Francis in her dreams, telling her that her boy would not only be beatified but canonized a saint.