The two saints whose lives Vita Sackville-West contrasts in this double biography were recorded by very different epithets: 'the great' and 'the little'. Both women were Carmelites, both canonised and both shared the same name. But whilst Teresa of Avila was aristocratic, intellectual, vigorous and humorous, a Spanish woman of the sixteenth century, Thérèse of Lisieux was a guileless and sentimental figure of the French bourgeoisie. Teresa, the great mystic, is the patron saint of Spain; Thérèse, the humble nun, is probably the most beloved saint in the entire Calendar. The extraordinary rise of the cult of both women is scrutinised.