Ti Jean (Kerouac’s nickname) was baptized in Lowell, Massachusetts, to a family of “mill rats”—French Canadian Catholics who lived in ghettos. Kerouac’s favorite intercessor was St. Joseph (a “humble, self-admitting, truthful saint”), on whose feast he was born in 1922. Ti Jean’s devotion to St. Thérèse of Lisieux continued through decades; until death he watched for her roses from heaven. Even so, he left the Church at fourteen. Mystifying memories of Ste. Jeanne de Arc’s statues returned to him regularly, though. Hes believed that he was able to, at times, “stop being a maniacal drunkard” on account of “the Holy Mother”: “Ever since I instituted the little prayer, I've not been lushing.”
I suspect Kerouac’s imperfect faith is as common as it is in the end efficacious.
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