I have gained insights into the lives of hundreds of people as a result of my lifelong interest in reading biographies and autobiographies. The life stories I read back-to-back recently were about two people who could not be more different - Mickey Mantle and St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

Of course, a reader could not expect to find many similarities between "the Mick" as a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and "the Little Flower" as one of the communion of saints.

As a member of the New York Yankees, Mantle won World Series and world fame with his skills on the baseball field. Few people outside St. Thérèse's biological family and her Carmelite family at Lisieux heard of her during her lifetime.

Mantle won recognition as one of the most feared sluggers and speedsters before injuries hobbled and eventually ended his career. His hard living eventually caught up to him and he died at the age of 63 of major problems caused by decades of alcoholism. St. Thérèse died at 24 as a result of tuberculosis that made her last years almost unbearably painful.

When Mantle died as one of baseball's all-time greats, his name was known to millions. St. Thérèse's death was noted by few outside the Carmelite convent where she spent her final decade.

Toward the end of his life, Mantle acknowledged his alcoholism and joined a church. St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus had never left her faith. "My God, I love you!" were reportedly her last words.

Mantle found fame and fortune in this life.

The saint's fame came well after her death when her autobiography, "The Story of a Soul," was revealed to the world. Her "little way" reminded people they do not need to do great deeds to become holy. They need only to respond lovingly to people and tasks in their daily lives.

Mantle realized near the end of his life about the true importance of faith and family. St. Thérèse learned that lesson early in life. When will you learn it?


Lives of love have happy endings.