Living with others isn’t easy. Here’s some great advice from St. Therese, who learned how to let it make her better.
St. Therese of Lisieux had a lot of experience with living with others. She was the youngest of five girls growing up. And then, she lived with many women in a convent for the rest of her life. St. Therese’s childhood is a bit unusual, as she was born and raised in a family by two parents who are also canonized saints, and a sister who is in the canonization process. Talk about a holy family! One habit that one of St. Therese’s sisters taught her was to use beads to keep track of little good deeds throughout the day. So, any time she was kind to a sibling, or did something she didn’t like without complaining, she would move one bead. At the end of the day, she would see how many she had done. (This is generally the idea of the sacrifice beads, if you want a visual).
This practice came in handy when St. Therese entered the convent, as there was one sister in particular who was rude to her, and whom St. Therese did not naturally like at all. But, after realizing she would have to live with her for the foreseeable future, St. Therese worked on never speaking rudely to her, and instead just smiling when she wanted to complain. She did little acts of kindness for her, even though the sister was always rude to her.
If you’ve ever lived with someone who completely rubs you the wrong way, you know what a feat never speaking rudely or complaining about someone is. And even if you generally get along with your roommates, the people you live with will inevitably annoy you at one point or another. When that happens, it is a great time to practice loving them in little ways.
In honor of St. Therese’s feast day, here are some suggestions for ways to show your roommates you love and respect them, even if they aren’t easy to love right now.
- Close your mouth instead of responding sharply or sarcastically to your roommate when they do something that irritates you.
- Watch a show that someone else wants to watch instead of insisting on your preferred show.
- Clean up your roommate’s mess without him or her knowing. (Another saint, St. Catherine of Siena, was the youngest in a big family. She would sneak upstairs when everyone was asleep and clean as a way to help out.)
- Make a snack or meal that you know your roommates like, and leave some for them to eat, or share it with them.
- Leave an encouraging note of affirmation for your roommate to find when he or she wakes up tomorrow.
We’re stuck with our roommates at least until one of us moves or the lease or school year ends. So, let’s show them some appreciation today, St. Therese style. You don’t have to clean the whole house or buy all of their groceries; you can just do one little act of kindness for them. Ready? Go.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?