Laraine Bennett. The Little Way of Living with Less: Learning to Let Go with the Little Flower. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2022. Paperback. $18.95. 176 pages. Available from the publisher.
A close friend once called me a St. Thérèse addict. I have an entire shelf of books by or about St. Thérèse, along with several statues and wall hangings. If you ask me for advice, I’ll often quote or rephrase something from St. Thérèse, putting it into my own words.
It started when I was preparing for my confirmation and needed to choose a saint’s name. I read about St. Thérèse’s Little Way and thought that by following her philosophy I could take a short cut to Heaven.
In The Little Way of Living with Less, Laraine Bennett also provides readers with a simpler path. She aims to show them how to create an inviting home that is a refuge of beauty, recollection, and communion. Through the writings of Catholic and secular authors, she explains how our domestic Church is meant to reflect the Church where we worship.
“This layout takes readers step by step through uncluttering a family home from unnecessary goods to uncluttering one’s soul from desiring and pursuing earthly—hence transitory—possessions,” Alexandra Greeley explained in her review. “Yes, families can retain furniture, clothing, children’s sports equipment, kitchen tools and canned goods, so long as none of these are excessive.”
Bennett noted the importance of detaching from material possessions for our health. “Did you know that when the eye sees clutter, the brain shifts into problem-solving mode? Neuroscience has discovered that this shift is accompanied by an increase in adrenaline—creating a sense of urgency and even anxiety! So clearing out the clutter of your desk, bedroom or apartment will help you return to a more peaceful state. The less stuff we have, the less cluttered our environment.”
Perhaps you can relate. At those times when I look at my desk and see an array of work to complete, bills to pay, and correspondence to address, it is harder to focus and easy to feel overwhelmed. Applying St. Thérèse’s spirituality of detachment and simplicity to lessen the clutter in my living and working spaces is liberating and helps me fix my gaze on God instead of stacks of stuff.
In her review of this book, Barb Szyszkiewicz shared, “Reading this book has pushed me to re-examine my relationship with the things I keep. Do I need all of them? Do I even want all of them? Would I benefit more if I moved some things along, by having more open space in my closet and on my shelves: do I have to have everything filled to the brim all the time?”
As St. Thérèse said, “No, there is no joy comparable to that which the truly poor in spirit experience.”
Laraine Bennett has co-authored six books with her husband, Art, including The Temperament God Gave You: The Classic Key to Knowing Yourself, Getting Along with Others, and Growing Closer to the Lord and The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse: Improve Your Marriage by Understanding Your Spouse. She recently released the game Know Thyself: A Game of Temperaments, also available from Sophia Press.
Members of the media may send an email to Sophia Institute Press’ Director of Publicity, Sarah Lemieux at slemieux@SophiaInstitute.com to receive a physical or digital copy of The Little Way of Living with Less, and/or to schedule an interview.